Learn about the MD program(s) at SUNY Upstate Medical University in 2024 and understand what you can do to make your medical school application stand out, and what their admissions team is looking for in each candidate. SUNY offers a renowned, competitive medical program that allows students the opportunity to hands-on, patient-focused learning in small groups, as well as incredible research opportunities, and each year they admit only the most passionate and motivated candidates to their program(s).

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Article Contents
8 min read

Mission Statement Available Programs Academic Curriculum Application Timeline Admissions Statistics Recommended Courses Tuition and Debt Funding Opportunities How to Get Into SUNY Upstate Interview Formats Acceptance and Waitlist Information Contact Information FAQ

Located in Syracuse, NY, SUNY Upstate Medical University is just one of four of SUNY’s medical schools, and one of many disciplines within the SUNY university system. It is the only academic medical center in central NY. Upstate is widely regarded as being a top medical school and research enterprise, most notably for research involving preventative human diseases like Cancer. SUNY Upstate’s vision is, “United in expertise, compassion and hope to create a healthier world for all”. SUNY Upstate also believes in adopting new innovative technologies to enhance the research and educational experience for all who attend their institution and hope to become exemplary medical professionals, whether that be as a medical doctor, a nurse, or an expert in another are of healthcare, such as biomedical sciences. Since 2006, SUNY Upstate’s enrollment has increased by 30%, and the university attributes this to the fact that they constantly shift and improve to meet the needs of their community.

Mission Statement

“The main mission of SUNY Upstate is the education of health professionals and to conduct biomedical research. Upstate's clinical faculty and health care professionals commit themselves to education and patient care, demonstrating excellence and compassion. In pursuing its mission, Upstate provides its faculty, staff, students, and volunteers an environment of mutual trust and respect, with opportunities to grow personally and professionally, and to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Available Programs

Check out these helpful tips to get into medical school in New York:

Academic Curriculum

The MD program at SUNY has been recently revised to integrate foundational, clinical and health systems sciences. Among the required medical courses and elective options, students will be able to have early clinical exposure and clerkships, which offer students first-hand experience and knowledge in their chosen field of study, for example, Neuroscience or Family Medicine. Clerkships occur on a rotational basis for 45 weeks while students complete electives in 5 weeks. Students will participate in community engagement, standardized patient, simulation and interprofessional experiences throughout the curriculum, as these are an integral part of the MD learning experience and journey at SUNY. MD students will focus on improvement of the health system, ethics and legal issues, and leadership throughout their program, and will have the opportunity to pursue an accelerated MD pathway program, a rural medicine program, combined degrees or micro credentials, and a number of research opportunities. 

SUNY Upstate strives to help students “acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to become competent, caring physicians. offers clinical experience beginning in each MD students” first semester of study, and believes in integrating basic and clinical sciences to teach students how to address all aspects—especially the humanistic ones—of medicine. In their third year, a portion of the students (1/4) moves to Binghamton Clinic Campus, and the other ¾ of the students remain at Upstate in Syracuse. Students will learn the same skills, however, Syracuse offers learning experiences at a university hospital, whereas Binghamton training occurs in community-based environments. Applicants must indicate their clinical preference at the time of their application—within two weeks of their admissions interview—as designated campus will be assigned once they are accepted to the program.

At SUNY, lecture attendance (for many courses in their MD program) isn’t mandatory, as they’re pre-recorded. Many such classes are available online. SUNY also has a pre-matriculation program, where students will experience the rigors of medical school for 4 weeks prior to beginning their program officially; this is similar to a program orientation and is intended to introduce students to their curriculum, classmates, faculty and provide a solid foundation.

SUNY assesses MD students on a Pass/Fail basis during their first 2 years, and Honors/High Pass/Pass in 3rd and 4th years.

Application Timeline

Medical school application timelines can vary by institution and program, but for SUNY, the timeline is as follows:

Time applicants have to respond to their offer: Maximum 2 weeks

The primary application service used is AMCAS, which is the American Medical College Application Service. As with 138 other medical schools, SUNY participates in the AMCAS Letters of Recommendation/Evaluation Service. This means that applicants may have their letters of recommendation submitted directly to AMCAS, rather than to each individual school and program.

SUNY Upstate requires applicants to have completed the MCAT and CASPer.

Admissions Statistics

SUNY Upstate welcomes domestic students, as well as international students, out-of-state applicants, Canadian residents and DACA eligible citizens. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) applicants must have completed at least 90 semester hours of course work in either the United States or Canada prior to applying, and these credits must be from an accredited institution.

SUNY’s admissions team values and practices neutrality when reviewing each application, meaning a comprehensive and holistic review is conducted without any consideration for the applicants’ race, sexual orientation, national origin, age, creed, marital status, age or disability. Rather than solely focussing on transcripts, GPA’s and test scores, SUNY values each applicant’s potential as a whole and considers what they may be able to contribute to the medical learning community based on extracurriculars, interests, unique abilities, talents, and personality. SUNY takes a modern approach to the admissions process and opts to review each applicant as a human being, rather than a number. Each applicant who is admitted to SUNY will be required to complete a background check in order to begin their program.

Here are current admissions statistics/ acceptance rates for SUNY based on current data:

In-state: 4.9 % admission

Out-of-state: .23% admission

International: 0% admission

Total: 2.9% admission

Recommended Courses

In terms of eligibility, applicants are required to have certain medical school prerequisites completed prior to the start of their MD program. Premedical experience is an asset as well, and while SUNY doesn’t require a definitive number of shadowing hours, they strongly recommend hands-on clinical experience to support your application.

Premedical experience most commonly reported by applicants in recent years includes research lab experience (93%), medical community service/volunteering (89%), clinical hours for medical school and shadowing (85%), general community service (81%), paid employment in a medical/clinical setting (52%) and finally, military experience (1%).

It’s important to double check the requirements for each course—in terms of how it’s graded, how many credit hours are required, and the delivery method—to ensure that it will be accepted by SUNY on your application. For example, Biology taken online or at a community college may be accepted on a case by case basis if you did not complete biology in-person during your undergraduate studies. Further to this, certain courses that were graded on a ‘pass/fail’ basis will be permitted, as SUNY recognizes that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students may have had limited access to in-person, graded courses.

The median MCAT score for admitted students at SUNY Upstate is 514, and the median GPA is 3.79.

Tuition and Debt

Based on current statistics, medical school tuition for in-state students is $45,213, with about $23,340 in additional fees related to school. For out-of-state, this number is greater, at $66,703 for tuition alone.

In total, in-state students spent $68,553 on tuition on average, and out-of-state students spend $90,043. The average graduate indebtedness for MD students at SUNY is $225,825.

Funding Opportunities

According to recent data, 82% of SUNY MD students reported to have received some sort of financial aid.

Applicants who are US citizens, or permanent residents are allowed to apply for financial aid, and award letters are sent out as soon as January each year. Financial Aid opportunities may vary by program, city, and state. All information about applying for Financial Aid and Funding at SUNY can be found here.

Here are a few details and highlights about some internal medical school scholarships and grants available to enrolled students:

Medical Alumni Scholarships— $350,000 dispersed among recipients, awarded annually to students who qualify based on individual criteria.

Jonathon Bernard Henry, MD Student Endowed Scholarship—$500.00 awarded to one student from each of the four Upstate colleges for an outstanding project, paper, or another accomplishment in a related topic area.

Upstate University Medical Associates at Syracuse Scholarship—this scholarship aims to support an enable disadvantaged students to pursue a medical career. $54,000 will be awarded to one applicant, several conditions apply and application/nomination steps must be followed.

Several external scholarships are available for SUNY students to apply for, and both state and federal grants are available to qualifying applicants.

Check out this video for more helpful tips to get into med school:

How to Get Into SUNY Upstate

Getting into the MD program at SUNY Upstate means you’ll have to complete all required pre-requisite courses, strive to achieve an MCAT score of (approximately) 514, as that is their median, and also aim to achieve a GPA of roughly 3.79. Along with this, you should consider experience that may set you apart from other applicants: pre-med experience, volunteering and shadowing, paid workplace experience, completing additional recommended courses in good standing, and also having a strong application.

Your primary and secondary application must be submitted in a timely manner, and your medical school recommendation letters, along with all additional materials, should be written in a way that highlights your experience, traits, and suitability well. Prior to beginning your primary application, it’s imperative that you review how to write a medical school letter of intent, prepare for medical school secondary essays accordingly, and also allow yourself enough time for medical school interview preparation so that you can approach each step in your application with complete confidence.

It’s important to keep in mind that SUNY is an institution that strives to include students of all socioeconomic, cultural and of diverse backgrounds and abilities, this is why it’s crucial that you don’t rely on your GPA and test scores for admission, but also, your values and goals, your experience and your passion for medicine. SUNY looks for outstanding applicants to attend their medical school and believes these qualities stretch beyond numbers and scores.

Interview Formats

SUNY will be conducting virtual/online MMI interviews for the upcoming school year, so it’s advised that know how to prepare for your MMI interview, and review MMI practice questions, so that during your interview you’ll be able to respond, to the best of your ability, and show the admissions committee why you’d make an exceptional medical student at their institution.

Acceptance and Waitlist Information

Out of 5717 total applications, 793 were interviewed, 14 were deferred, 16 were granted admission to the EAP program, 6 to the MD/PhD and 171 matriculated.

The estimated number of new entrants this upcoming school year, based on data from previous years at SUNY, is 175.

Here is a breakdown of matriculation data for a first-year class:

In terms of diversity, SUNY has made a commitment to implementing diversity strategies, as they remain a predominantly Caucasian-American institution, with only 20-30% of students reporting to be from a medically underserved community, or of a disadvantaged status. SUNY also promotes a diverse student population by utilizing their holistic approach to admissions, where they consider the ‘whole person’ as an applicant above solely focussing on a test score or GPA, because this allows intrinsically motivated students from underrepresented communities a better chance at unbiased admission. Click here to learn more about the best medical school recruitment strategies for diversity and understand why this is important for the future of medicine!

SUNY’s waitlist does not have a set number of students placed on it, as it changes from year-to year.

Contact Information

Main Campus

SUNY Upstate-Syracuse (Office of Admissions & Financial Aid)

766 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, NY

13210-2306 USA

Telephone: (315) 464-4570

Fax: (315) 464-4570

Email: [email protected]

Click here to view the SUNY admission’s website.


1. What previous education do I need in order to apply to the MD program at SUNY?

In order to be considered for an MD (or combined) program at SUNY, you must hold a 4-year Bachelor’s degree, in good standing, from an accredited institution. If you have additional training or graduate-level education, your grades and/or scores will also be considered alongside your undergraduate transcript. You do not need a specific science degree, however, you must have all of the required prerequisite courses completed, and it’s recommended that applicants have adequate pre-medical experience, as well as some of the courses recommended by SUNY.

2. When can I apply? What is the application process like?

The earliest initial applications will be accepted at the end of May, with application reviews beginning in July, interview invitations will begin being sent in August, and initial application deadlines falling in mid-October (dates vary annually). For secondary applications, the deadline is in December each year. Interviews will span from September until March, decisions will be made in the spring, however early decisions could be made sooner—or, up until the beginning of the program. Regardless of when a student receives their acceptance letter, they will have two weeks to respond. Classes commence in early August.

3. How can I submit my recommendation letters to SUNY?

SUNY participates in AMCAS, so letters can be uploaded accordingly on your AMCAS account. Committee letters are preferred, by letter packets and individual letters will also be considered. Always ensure that you submit all letters before the deadline.

4. How many recommendation letters are required?

SUNY accepts a minimum of 1 letter, and a maximum of 5. Be sure to review your application to understand any additional instructions or preferences for recommendation letters, and never exceed the recommended number of letters, as this can hurt your chances of admission.

5. Do SUNY MD students need to take the MCAT or CASPer?

Yes, applicants will only be considered if they have taken the MCAT and CASPer.

6. What is the EDP at SUNY?

The Early Decision Program at SUNY is for applicants who apply prior to August 1, with admissions decisions being made prior to October 1. Applicants who are not accepted to the EDP will still be considered for regular admissions following that date. This program is intended for exemplary applicants who have a high chance of acceptance.

7. Are there specialization or research opportunities at SUNY Upstate?

Yes, SUNY has many combined MD programs—MD/PhD and MPH/MD, along with MBA/MD—as well as several areas of specialization that MD students can choose to pursue: family medicine, neuroscience, pediatrics, gynecology, and several other fields are available at SUNY. Students who pursue the 6-year MD/PhD combined program will be able to immerse themselves in various research projects, as well as receive the necessary 4 years of MD training and courses.

8. How can I access additional support to help with my application to SUNY?

If you’re interested in applying to medical school, such as SUNY, but feel you’d benefit from support and guidance from professionals, BeMo Academic Consulting can help! Our admissions consultants work 1-on-1 with students to help them prepare for their medical school application process, essays and interviews.

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting

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