The University of Massachusetts medical school, now known as the T.H. Chan School of Medicine, is a public, state-sponsored medical school in Massachusetts that has a become a center of research and innovation since a faculty member won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. The Nobel Prize win brought a wave of public and private investment numbering in the billions. The school has since increased the size of its medical school and added two state-of-the-art teaching hospitals to its campus. This article will detail other notable aspects of the UMass Chan SOM such as its , academic offerings, and how to get in.
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“Our mission is to advance the health and wellness of our diverse communities throughout Massachusetts and across the world by leading and innovating in education, research, health care delivery and public service.”
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The short and succinct mission statement of the school perfectly encapsulates its focus on caring for the residents of Massachusetts, while also showcasing its commitment to propelling research and education. The school also espouses certain values, such as diversity, education and community service, which it prizes and strives to embody through the medical school and all of its community members, whether students, residents, faculty members or patients.
Overall Acceptance Rate: 3.2%
In-State Acceptance Rate: 10.3%
Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 1.2%
Average MCAT of Incoming Students: 515
Average GPA of Incoming Students: 3.76
Preference for master’s or PhD: No
Experience of Accepted Medical School Applicants
The T.C. SOM is a state-funded public medical school so it must show preference for Massachusetts residents, even though it does accept and admit out-of-state students, Canadian applicants, permanent residents or applicants with DACA status. Out-of-state and Canadian applicants do not face any extra medical school requirements aside from the regular ones, so it is both an and a .
Foreign graduates who have a degree from a school outside of North America must complete at least one year of study at an accredited US or Canadian institution. This requirement can also be fulfilled by completing all the required course work at a US or Canadian school, or obtaining a graduate degree, if you are wondering, “” also earned from a US or Canadian college or university, or finally, enrolling and completing a .
MCAT and GPA
Average MCAT of Incoming Class: 515
Average Overall GPA of Incoming Class: 3.76
The school does not have an official or a minimum MCAT score to apply, but having high medical school stats is an important part of making your application competitive. While the school does not have an official minimum score, all applicants must submit their latest , which cannot be older than three years.
Students who have a low GPA can try to enroll in one of two post-bac programs the school runs for those who want to increase their medical science knowledge, learn and increase their overall GPA stats. There is no stated GPA minimum, but having a GPA at or higher than 3.0 is always recommended.
The school has also decided to add the exam as part of the application process for the upcoming application cycle. Students must submit their PREview scores along with their primary AMCAS application, along with their MCAT, GPA and all other application documents such as personal statements.
Coursework and Undergrad
The T.C. SOM requires all applicants to have a full bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college in the US or Canada. International students who want to enroll in the program must complete at least one year at an institution in North America to be considered, or complete all the required course work, or participate and complete a post-bac program, or earn a graduate degree prior to applying.
Prerequisites and Recommended Courses
The school has short list of that emphasizes science above other disciplines, but it does not discourage non-science majors from applying so there are ways . The school will accept courses completed online or at community colleges, but it strongly urges all course work to be completed in class, at a four-year school and with a traditional grade, although pass/fail grades will be accepted for course work completed during the pandemic.
- One year or two semester of Biology w/lab work
- One year or two semesters of Physics w/lab work
- One year or two semesters of English (composition, literature or any writing specific course)
- One semester of Statistics
- One year or two semesters of Chemistry (any combination of inorganic, organic, general and biochemistry will fulfill the requirement)
AMCAS Work and Activities
There are no extraordinary qualities the school looks for in its medical school candidates besides the normal ones such as a proclivity for the sciences, a commitment to service and leadership, humanistic qualities, and series of , whether previous research or .
The TC-SOM participates in the AMCAS application portal and all medical school application must be submitted via the service’s online site. The portal allows students to upload their entire application package such as:
- MCAT and AAMC PREview scores
- GPA and official transcripts
- Personal statement or personal comments essay
- Letters of recommendation
- Sample AMCAS Work and Activities Entry
The or the , which is called the personal comments essay, is one way for you to speak directly to the Admissions Committee about . The essay must not be any longer than 5300 characters and you must use the space to talk about your motivations for wanting to become a doctor and the ways you have manifested this desire through some concrete example (post-bac program, shadowing, etc.).
The school makes a key part of your application, as there are several that you can choose to write your essay, including one prompt that asks you to write something similar to a . Students who submit their primary AMCAS application, which has been verified both by AMCAS and the school, are eligible to receive a secondary application, but the school does not screen application based on other aspects such as a minimum GPA or MCAT score.
Q1) Please discuss any part of your application that you feel requires further explanation. For example, discuss grades or MCAT scores that do not reflect your true ability, and/or a gap in time that is not explained elsewhere in your application. Discuss any impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on your academic, service, extracurricular or employment experiences.If you are reapplying to T.H. Chan SOM, highlight how you have strengthened your application. (250-word limit)
Q2) If you have participated in T.H. Chan SOM or UMass Memorial Health Care, or UMass Chan Medical-Baystate sponsored programs (SEP, Summer Research Program, Worcester Pipeline Collaborative, AHEC, BaccMD, HSPP, Academic Internships, BSEP, Summer Scholars) please describe how these programs helped you decide to apply to T.H. Chan SOM. (200-word limit)
Q3) Why did you apply to T.H. Chan SOM? (200-word limit)
Q4) If you are currently taking a gap year, in what activities are you engaged? (200-word limit)
Sample Answer to Prompt #4
I will be continuing to volunteer at the Hospital for Sick Children, which I have done since my undergraduate. I will be completing a year-long commitment, and I look forward to it because I enjoy it. One mother whose son had a spinal injury and was in a full body cast never left his side. She started sleeping in the chair next to his bed, but one morning I saw that she moved to the floor in the middle of the night, so I brought a cot and some bedding to the room. But I do whatever they need: go on coffee runs, bring them food, tell them about community and social services the hospital provides or just sit with them. I also volunteer as a researcher at Sick Kids whenever its needed, which is good since it has exposed me to several different fields, and specialties. I am also involved with a research project on childhood diabetes where I collected and analyzed samples, and perform simple data entry. But I am also currently working on research project trying to devise new ways to perform an EKG on pediatric patients, which gives me a lot of direct patient interaction.
The T.C. SOM has similar requirements as other schools, among them being that it strongly prefers and recommends students submit a single pre-medical advisory committee letter than any other letter, if they are able to obtain one.
The exact requirements are:
- Two letters from previous science faculty (physics, chemistry, biology, biochemistry)
The Admissions Committee will also accept letters from those who know you well, such as mentors, employment, research, or community service supervisors, as supplementals to your academic letters. Letters from friends and family members will not be accepted.
The T.C. SOM is holding all of its medical school interviews virtually for the time being, but the school also uses the MMI format to conduct its interviews, which means all applicants should review and scenarios to prepare. The MMI interview format was devised by researchers at the to help find a way to rank candidates based on metrics such as critical thinking, capacity for compassion, ethics, and interpersonal skills.
Students invited to an interview following submission of their secondary application will be notified by the Admissions Committee and given access to the PeopleSoft platform to choose an interview date and time. The interview at T.C. SOM consists of eight separate stations. Each station involves a different scenario the applicant reads about and then discusses with the interviewer. All answers are graded and scores are added to all application packets, which are then forwarded to the Admissions Committee for a final decision.
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Sample T.C. SOM MMI Scenario
Since the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak most health care institutions have put into place rigid visitor policies that allow a limited number of visitors to visit patients and only during specified hours of the day. In many health care institutions, a common restriction has been a limit of two visitors at a time during a six-hour period each day. Initially, staff and health care organizations were very satisfied with visitor policies. However, patients, families and patient advocates launched multiple complaints regarding the restrictive visitor policies.
Consider the viewpoints both supporting and opposing restrictive visitor policies and discuss these with the interviewer.
People do not like having restrictions placed on them, especially people with loved ones in the hospital. But a hospital’s main priority should be the safety of patients and staff, even if it comes at the sacrifice of extended visitor hours. The hours are not being eliminated entirely, and I think six hours a day is a reasonable accommodation. But there is no mention of how restrictive the policies are and whether the hours can be extended to eight from six, as a further accommodation. But I believe any institution that has implemented only a six-hour window was right to do so and they can communicate with patients, families and patient advocates about their concerns and complains and also tell them that the measures are temporary, not permanent.
The school begins notifying all applicants of their final decision starting on October 15, which is a few months after the opening of the interview season which begins in August. Interviews run the entire summer, so students will be notified from October until the following year or until all the 170 spots are full. Up to 750 applicants end up on a and close to 70 waitlisted applicants are offered spots in the upcoming class, but those figures vary from year to year.
Primary AMCAS Application Deadline: October 13
Secondary Application Deadline: December 1
The school does not use a policy to notify applicants of their application status, but students are still encouraged to submit their completed applications as early as possible, since the AMCAS application window opens in May. Successful applicants to the medical school are notified by the Associate Dean and are given two weeks to accept the offer. Students are given a provisional acceptance until a criminal background check is performed to vet the candidate. If any criminal record does exist, the candidate will be given a chance to explain.
In-State Tuition: $37,120
Out-of-State Tuition: $63,832
Average Yearly Cost-of-Living Expenses (in-state and out-of-state): $33,100
Average Debt of Graduating Students: $165,625
The school uses the FAFSA application form to gather important financial information about candidates to determine the level of institutional aid the school can provide. The form is also for students who wish to apply for federal financial aid, which close to 72% of enrolled students use since it is one of the primary ways for how to pay for medical school.
Medical school scholarships are another way but the school uses a private server, Net Partner, to determine which students are eligible for financial aid given out by the school and is not related to federal loans. All medical students admitted to the T.C. SOM are automatically enrolled into the Learning Contract, which is an initiative started by the state to funnel medical school graduates into primary care position in the state.
All students are granted a tuition waiver in the amount of $5,568 for as long as the student accepts it, since the tuition waiver must be repaid either financially or via a service commitment determined by the length of financial assistance provided. Students can enter the contract for up to 9 years, which they can repay at an interest rate of 8% or four years of service in a primary care field.
The TH SOM has a perfect match rate for its students, as 100% of the most recent graduates matched into the residency, they ranked highest on their . Many of graduates chose to remain in Massachusetts with many opting to remain within the UMass system or at affiliate teaching hospitals to perform their residency. Graduates chose mostly primary care specialties, as most graduates opted for either an , or pediatrics.
TH SOM Residency Match Rate
1. Four-Year MD Program
TC SOM has introduced a new medical school curriculum called Vista that comprises three key phases – Discovery, Exploration and Horizons – all of which cover the standard components of a traditional curriculum (pre-clinical, clerkships, etc.) but introduces a health system science pillar as a key component of a medical student’s education. This pillar was introduced to compound student’s knowledge of population–wide health care issues, such as discrimination, inequality and access to health care.
The Discovery phase lasts for 18 months and extends all the way to the middle of a student’s second year. This phase covers the basics of medical science through a systems-based approach so students familiarize themselves with normal and abnormal states of the body. Throughout this phase, students also participate in small, self-directed study groups with classmates and are aided by new technology available to medical students such as iPads, VR/AR technology and high-fidelity simulator models.
The systems-based approach continues, as does the Discovery phase, until the middle of the second-year where students take the exam to advance into the clerkship phase. A part of the Discovery phase is learning so students are better prepared for their introduction to real clinical experiences.
The Exploration phase is where students explore all aspects of clinical medicine by doing rotations in several departments of teaching hospitals or community clinics around Massachusetts. The Exploration phase is divided into four separate blocks known as Integrated Units. Each block lasts for 12 weeks, as students pass through several specialties so they know later on.
When students have completed their required rotations and medical school electives, they enter the Horizons phase, which is consists of eight 4-week blocks. Upon reaching the Horizons phase, students continue training in various medical specialties, while also participating in Intersession modules to refresh their medical science knowledge. Students continue taking rotations right up until they prepare to apply for residency by studying common .
2. Baccalaureate MD Program Pathway
This post-baccalaureate MD program is intended to give students from disadvantaged backgrounds currently attending any of the undergraduate schools within the UMass system a chance at entering the medical school. The program is open to everyone but students from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are members of groups usually underrepresented in medicine (racial minorities, underprivileged) are shown preference.
The other application requirements include having graduated from a high school in Massachusetts, and having completed a series of prerequisite courses, such as calculus, statistics, psychology, and sociology. They must complete all of the required courses with a B or higher and must have a GPA of 3.2 to be considered.
3. Health Sciences Preparatory Program (HSPP)
Similar to the post-bac program, this preparatory program is intended to give those applicants who are often underrepresented in medicine (racial minorities, economically depressed, etc.) another pathway to medical school. However, unlike the school’s post-bac program, this preparatory program has no application process, but is offered to students who apply to the medical school and have at least a GPA of 3.0.
Applicants will be screened by the Admissions Committee to determine whether they fit the profile of someone who would benefit from a year of preparatory courses in foundational subjects such as biology, biochemistry, physics and physiology. Students are interviewed to determine their interest, and if they agree, they will take the year-long course and re-apply to the MD program the following year. There is no guarantee of admission if students complete the HSPP.
4. Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH)
This track takes students out of the main TC SOM campus and teaching hospitals in Boston and places them in the Baystate Medical Center to complete their clinical rotations in underserved areas of Michigan. The focus of the program is serving the underserved so students also participate in community-based activities that help them integrate into the surrounding community to meet and learn more about the people they will treat.
The track accepts 25 students every year and applicants interested in PURCH must indicate their interest on their second application. However, the school also allows students to sign-up for the program after they have submitted their secondary but have decided they want to pursue PURCH.
Applicants apply to the MD and PURCH tracks separately, and must also undergo two interviews. Students accepted into PURCH are introduced to clinical experiences earlier than regular students, even though they follow the same Vista curriculum as regular students, as they participate in Early Clinical Learning (ECL) at local community clinics in Springfield, Massachusetts.
This seven-year, dual-degree program is offered in collaboration with the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and offers interested students a pathway to becoming physician/scientists through an integrated curriculum that inserts research seminars and thesis advising into every year of the four-year MD program.
Applicants have the choice of choosing between two research fields - Clinical and Population Health Research Program or Basic & Biomedical Sciences – and eight different sub-specialties within the Basic & Biomedical Sciences cohort spanning typical research fields such as neuroscience, translational science, immunology & microbiology.
Students apply to the MD/PhD program separately, and indicate their interest on their primary application. Applicants also interview separately and must meet the requirements for both programs to be considered. If accepted, students begin lab rotations to fulfill the PhD credit requirements before medical school, but then re-enter the graduate program in their third-year of medical school.
This dual-degree program lasts for the duration of medical school, but can be extended to five years if a student chooses that timeline. This program is offered in collaboration with the UMass Lowell Manning School of Business and is open to anyone from any of the health sciences colleges at UMass so nursing, biomedical sciences and medical students can all apply.
The program takes medical students through the inner workings of the business administration side of health care. All applicants must indicate on their secondary application their interest in the dual-degree program and they must also take the GMAT exam to be considered. Since the application process is different, applicants must also interview twice, once with the medical school and second with the graduate school.
The University of Massachusetts has several satellite campuses throughout the state, but the TC SOM is located at the Worcester campus that sits in between UMass’s most remote campus in Springfield, and the various teaching sites and hospitals in Boston. The school uses a unique system to group students, similar to but also very different from traditional Greek societies.
All incoming students are grouped into one of seven Learning Communities. Once a part of this Learning Community, students will remain members for the duration of medical school. This is relevant because each community has a specific house where members can study, relax and even live together if they are able to secure on-campus, which is not always available.
These Learning Communities are also de-facto support groups as students both learn and support each other during their studies. The Worcester campus is also full of the standard facilities that all college campuses have, such as fitness and recreational facilities, student housing, while also providing students with state-of-the-art teaching facilities such as simulation labs and patient examination rooms.
- UMass Memorial Medical Center
- Baystate Health
- Berkshire Medical Center
- Cape Cod Healthcare
- Milford Regional Medical Center
- St. Vincent Hospital
- Acton Medical Group
- Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
- Cape Cod Hospital
- City of Springfield HHS
- Community Health Center of Cape Cod
- Community Health Connections
- Community Healthlink
- Dr. J. Corrigan Mental Health Center
- Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
- Falmouth Hospital
- Family Health Center of Worcester
- Gavin Foundation
- Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
- Greater New Bedford Community Health Center
- Harbor Health Services
- HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital
- Heywood Hospital
The TC SOM is a participant in a joint, non-profit biomedical science venture called Mass Biologics, which is FDA-approved to produce monoclonal antibody vaccines. The center is currently investigating developing vaccines for many well-known diseases from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) to rabies and hepatitis C. But the TC SOM has over 20 different research centers and facilities investigating everything from cancer, allergies, translational science, gene therapy and bioinformatics.
- Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute
- Cancer Center
- Center for AIDS Research
- Center for Clinical and Translational Science
- Center for Collaborative Research in Fragile X
- Center for Comparative NeuroImaging
- Center for Integrated Primary Care
- Center for Microbiome Research
- Center for Outcomes Research
- Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training
- Clinical Faculty Development Center
- Diabetes Center of Excellence
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center
- Horae Gene Therapy Center
- iCELS (interprofessional Center for Experiential Learning and Simulation)
- Institute for Drug Resistance
- Institute for Function and Outcomes Research in Orthopedic Comparative Effectiveness
- Li Weibo Institute for Rare Diseases Research
- NeuroNexus Institute
- Program in Bioinformatics & Integrative Biology
- Program in Innate Immunity
- Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center
- Translational Institute for Molecular Therapeutics
- Wellstone Center for FSHD
Craig D. Mello, Professor of Molecular Medicine, Nobel Prize laureate
Roger Anderson, PhD, Senior Scientist, Process Development
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Lisa Cavacini, PhD, Sr. Director, Product Discovery
Professor, Department of Medicine
Mark Klempner, MD, Executive Vice Chancellor, MassBiologics
Professor, Department of Medicine
Yang Wang, MD, PhD, Deputy Director, Product Discovery
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
Victor Ambros, BS, PhD, Professor of Natural Sciences
Job Dekker, BS, PhD, Professor in the Department of Systems Biology
Katherine A. Fitzgerald, BsC, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Director of Program in Innate Immunity
Phillip D. Zamore, PhD, Gretchen Stone Cook Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
T.H. Chan School of Medicine
55 Lake Ave., North
Worcester, MA 01655-0002 USA
1. What is the mission of the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine?
The mission of the T.H. Chan School of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts is based in advancing medical and scientific knowledge to better the lives of everyone. The school is an excellent option for someone interested in medical science and research, as it has a proud tradition of being at the forefront of medical science breakthroughs and discoveries.
2. Do I need to take the MCAT and submit my scores?
Yes, all applicants to the TC-SOM must take and submit their most recent MCAT scores. The scores cannot be older than three years, but there is no minimum MCAT required.
3. What is the minimum GPA requirement?
The school does not have an official minimum GPA to apply, but candidates should generally aim to have a GPA of at least 3.0 or higher.
4. What kind of degree do I need to get into the TC-SOM?
You must have a full bachelor’s degree from a licensed American or Canadian college or university.
5. Are there prerequisite courses I have to take?
The school has standard prerequisites that students need to complete to apply and they cover competencies in the sciences such as biology, physics, statistics, chemistry, biochemistry and English.
6. How can I apply to TC-SOM?
TC-SOM participates in the AMCAS application service, so all primary applications are submitted online. All applicants who submit a complete AMCAS application must also
7. How much does one year at TC-SOM cost?
TC-SOM charges based on residency status so in-state students pay less tuition than out-of-state students. One full year of medical school for a Massachusetts resident is $70,647. One full year of medical school for non-Maryland residents is $97,360.
8. Is it hard to get into TC-SOM?
TC-SOM is a state school so it is harder for non-residents to get in than Massachusetts residents, but out-of-state applicants are regularly admitted so it is not impossible to get in, and if you do, there are a lot of features of the program. The school has several dual-degree programs, a new curriculum, and several teaching hospitals around the state, not to mention Nobel-prize winning faculty. TC-SOM is also one part of the extensive research network that was built around the school to propel medical and scientific research, after the Nobel Prize win, so it is a school worth applying to if you have an interest in medical sciences as a researcher.