With more than a century and a half of history, the University Of California San Francisco School Of Medicine (UCSF School of Medicine) is ranked in the top 15 medical schools in California and the whole world, especially with regards to microbiology, immunology, and neuroscience which are ranked in the very top. Not only is the UCSF School of Medicine offering exemplary education, but also a diverse working environment, adaptable application requirements, and excellent conditions for students of all backgrounds. In this blog, you will learn all about UCSF medical school admission requirements, statistics, and tips for how to get in!
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The UCSF School of Medicine strives to advance human health through a four-fold mission of education, research, patient care, and public service.
The institution offers a wide range of programs, including Post Baccalaureate programs, as well as MD-Ph.D. and research programs. This includes all four fields of focus with specialized programs that are meant to both educate students with the latest advancements in medical science and technology and to prepare them for the work in their desired field.
This includes cooperation with hospitals as well as the San Francisco Department of Public health. As such, students will get an encompassing education with which they can start working immediately after finishing their studies.
The UCSF medical school allows for several different Medical Doctor Programs. These can include a Medical Science degree, a Master's degree in advanced studies, an MD with a dissertation, or a degree obtaining the title of Master of Public Health.
According to UCSF, the purpose of medical education is not only to reduce or remove the suffering due to illnesses and diseases in patients but also to educate students who will improve the health of communities and increase the overall wellbeing of everyone.
The UCSF School of Medicine Bridges Curriculum educates MD graduates to excel necessary in modern doctors and physicians. The collaborative work including extraprofessional teams aims to provide competent and compassionate patient care while simultaneously broadening the competence, knowledge of the student, and the advancement of the medical sciences as a whole.
The MD program objectives consist of seven core MD competencies: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, systems-based practice, and interprofessional collaboration.
The Bridges Curriculum has three phases, aiming to provide foundational knowledge on top of which the student could increase their ability to provide specific care and immerse themselves into different settings and scenarios that they might encounter during their future career.
Finally, the career launch phase of the curriculum offers an individualized opportunity for learning where the student will select the clinical experiences or scholarly projects that suit their professional goals.
Pass/Fail is used for pre-clerkship courses and non-required clerkships. You can earn “Pass with Distinction” in required clerkships.
As is the case for many medical schools, you are expected to apply before obtaining your bachelor's degree if you are interested in some of the courses provided by the UCSF medical school and allow the process to finish by the time you have completed the prerequisite coursework.
There is no deposit necessary to apply and you can, and are encouraged to do so, apply for multiple programs inside the school, including the MD and MD-PhD programs.
Below is a general medical school application timeline starting in May of one year and the classes starting only in September of the next.
Admissions Statistics and Eligibility
UCSF School of Medicine is one of the most competitive institutions of higher learning in the nation. Roughly 7.5% of applicants are interviewed, with a ~2.4% matriculation rate overall.
- Overall Acceptance Rate: 2.40%
- In-State Acceptance Rate: 3.66%
- Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 1.23%
- Average MCAT Total Score: 518
- Lowest MCAT Accepted: 512
- Average GPA: 3.86
- Lowest GPA Accepted: 3.49
UCSF medical school welcomes applicants from all the United States, including US residents with a valid visa as well as individuals who’ve been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services at the time of application. Regretfully, the UCSF School of Medicine doesn’t accept international or Canadian students.
Students must have a Bachelor’s degree at the time of matriculation. The MCAT is required. Students’ MCAT must be written within two years before matriculation year.
The UCSF School of Medicine requires the following prerequisites from all applicants:
This formal course requirement is considered a basic foundation for all applicants, with most of the current and former applicants and especially matriculants surpassing the prerequisites and will have demonstrated the ability to perform at a higher level academically.
Although not stated explicitly, most students that will be accepted to the UCSF School of Medicine will have at least one upper-level biology course, as well as a full year of organic chemistry.
Take note that while financial aid is possible for all students of UCSF School of Medicine, and that the school will take special notice according to the needs of the accepted applicants, the tuition fees will be greater for attendance by students who are out of state compared to those with residence in California.
Cost of Attendance for In-State Students:
- Tuition and Fees: $36,765
- Other: $33,755
- Health Insurance: $6,026
- TOTAL: $76,546
Cost of Attendance for Out-of-State Students:
- Tuition and Fees: $49,010
- Other: $33,755
- Health Insurance: $6,026
- TOTAL: $88,791
According to the LCME Student Financial Aid Questionnaire from, the percentage of students attending the UCSF School of Medicine that are receiving some kind of financial aid is 91%. The average indebtedness of graduates is $134,922. This amount correlates with 150% of average annual salaries for fields expected to be entered once the student acquires their degree.
The UCSF medical school offers several grants either through the Student Financial Aid Office (SFAO) or via private grants, loans, and medical school scholarships. Eligible students are also welcome to take subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans, as well as other means of financing that may be available to them.
The school will not penalize or discriminate based on financing available for the student. But, for the users of private financing and funding, there might be a question of further need for assistance.
For some courses, the UCSF School of Medicine will forgo tuition fees for exemplary students that engage in classes that are proven to benefit the institution, the community, or the medical sciences in general.
The UCSF School of Medicine awards students entering its courses primarily on the basis of need, with merit being regarded only if other factors are equal. General financial support is awarded through the Student Financial Aid Office and can be a combination of loans, grants-in-aid, and scholarships. This aid is only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents and can’t be applied for by international students and scholars.
External Funding Resources
The UCSF School of Medicine encourages students to actively research and apply for external funding for both tuition and research. The UCSF Student Financial Services is active in informing students about the possibilities and requirements of different loans, grants, and other opportunities that can be beneficial to students and scholars.
The UCSF medical school prides itself on having unique qualifications for every applicant individually that aims to select additions to the class not solely based on academic achievement but potential and intellectual and personal characteristics that the admissions committee deems as desirable for future medical students and finally physicians.
Both the academic and other cognitive factors, as well as non-cognitive factors such as the applicant's medical school personal statement, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation will contribute to the selection process.
Depending on the combination of these factors and their nature, a list of 500 applicants will be selected for an interview.
The selection process will be conducted on the following principles:
- To ensure that all accepted students have convincingly demonstrated the capacity to meet the academic challenges they will encounter at UCSF, based on their undergraduate or graduate school record, post-bac training, and/or MCAT performance.
- To value personal qualities that contribute to outstanding performance during a career in medicine including, but not limited to, intelligence, judgment, humility, maturity, selflessness, collaboration, etc.
- To value applicants who demonstrate the capacity and preparedness to take advantage of the many opportunities at UCSF to delve deeply into co-curricular activities such as research, an additional degree, and community service.
- To value outstanding performance in the humanities as well as the ability to communicate in languages that are commonly used by non-English speaking populations in the United States.
- To uphold UCSF’s commitment to increasing the number of physicians from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic populations.
- To uphold UCSF’s commitment to diversifying the physician workforce in all domains of diversity.
MCAT and GPA
All applicants must complete the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) no later than three years of matriculation at the point of admission. This means that the applicant’s MCAT score must not be more than two years old at the moment of application.
The test needs to be completed by September of the year before the intended entry into medical school.
According to the latest data, the average MCAT of accepted applicants is 518 with the lowest MCAT accepted being 512. The average GPA of accepted applicants is 3.86, with 3.49 being the minimum GPA requirement.
All students entering the UCSF School of Medicine must meet the UCSF Technical Standards, with reasonable accommodation if necessary. The student and applicant will be expected to be able to certify that they meet this standard.
The applicant is expected to supply between three and five letters of recommendation, with the committee letters and letter packets being preferred, but also accepting individual letters of recommendation from a singular author.
Applicants are encouraged to request letters from committees in the prior academic institutions or other entities where they might have obtained practical or cognitive competencies that would be beneficial for their application.
The applicants are encouraged to list their extra-curricular talents, academic interests, and career aspirations to give a better view of their future prospects and ambitions.
The UCSF medical school has a goal of making an energetic, inspiring, and diversified community of students that would benefit not only from the faculty and amenities of the institution but from cooperation with fellow students and researchers.
The most common premedical experiences for first-year students are:
Medical/Clinical community service and/or volunteers
Physician shadowing/ Clinical observation
Medical/Clinical paid employment
Interview Format for MD and MD/Ph.D. Applicants
The interview format for all applicants consists of two blind interviews, each with a duration of forty minutes to one hour.
The interviews are conducted between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Pacific Time and are conducted without a prior review from the interviewers of the applicant’s file. At least one of the interviewers will be a member of the faculty with the other often being a medical student at the UCSF School of Medicine.
This type of application assists those students with lower academic but higher practical achievement to attend on an equal playing field with others who have met the basic qualifications for the programs.
Acceptance and Waitlist Information
UCSF medical school acceptance letters are sent out as early as January and as late as the middle of May. Students who received an acceptance have up to two weeks to acknowledge receipt of the offer of admission through the electronic system. You can defer entrance requests.
Every year, the UCSF School of Medicine does have multiple waitlist positions. The number varies annually. Generally, offers of admissions are sent out from the waitlist to acceptable candidates in late April until the class size is filled. Learn how to get off a medical school waitlist in our blog.
Email: [email protected]
1. What kind of undergraduate degree do I need to get into UCSF School of Medicine?
There isn’t an undergraduate degree specified. All applicants must have a finished MCAT as well as foundational courses in biology, chemistry, and physics.
2. Does UCSF School of Medicine accept international students?
No. The UCSF School of Medicine only accepts applicants from the US, including those with resident and DACA status.
3. Do I need to apply for financial aid every year?
Students are encouraged to apply for every type of financial aid they are eligible for as frequently as possible. If your aid is stated to be reexamined annually you will need to re-apply every year.
4. Are undocumented students eligible for financial aid?
Undocumented students without a resolved DACA status are not eligible to apply for the UCSF School of Medicine.
5. Can my letters of recommendation be submitted after my application?
While it is beneficial for the applicant to have the letters of recommendation provided with the application, it is possible to supplement the application with these letters by the end of the application deadline.
6. What is the overall acceptance rate?
The overall acceptance rate for the UCSF School of Medicine is 2.4%, with the acceptance rate for students in California being 3.6% and for applicants outside of the state being 1.3%.
7. What is the interview format?
The interview phase consists of two blind interviews which last 40-60 minutes. Blind interviews mean that the interviewers don’t have access to the applicants information and only work from what is presented by the interviewee.
8. What is the average MCAT?
The average MCAT of accepted applicants is 518 for total points.
9. What is the average GPA?
The average GPA of accepted applicants is 3.86 for both in-state and out-of-state acceptances.
10. What are the available programs?
In total, there are 36 different programs available. This includes:
- PhD Programs
- Basic and Biomedical Sciences
- Social and Population Sciences
- Master Programs
- Professional Doctorates
- Certificate Programs
- Summer Research
To survey the full list of programs you can visit the UCSF web page to familiarize yourself with the options.
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