As the only allopathic medical school in the state, the University of Mississippi School of Medicine (SOM) plays an outsized role in the lives of Mississippi residents. The University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) contains the state’s only allopathic medical school (the William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine is the osteopathic medical school), but also the only children’s hospital, critical care center, and women and children’s hospital, while also housing six different health sciences schools ranging from dentistry to nursing. The SOM has relaxed its admissions requirements and gives applicants options for how to demonstrate their readiness for medical school. This article will detail the school’s new admission requirements, how to apply, and what you have to do to make your medical school application stand out.
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“The University of Mississippi School of Medicine is committed to training skilled and compassionate physicians to provide high-quality and equitable health care particularly to the state’s residents, including diverse and underserved populations. The school prepares learners to provide excellent care through programs of innovative education, state-of-the-art research and comprehensive clinical practice.”
Training is central to the SOM’s mission as the state faces an impending doctor shortage, which is why the school only admits Mississippi residents, so health care professionals come from the communities they serve. But the school is also changing its ways regarding admissions requirements, and has followed the lead of other medical schools in the US who are experimenting with new curriculums and other approaches to medical school requirements.
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Overall Acceptance Rate: 38%
In-State Acceptance Rate: 39%
Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 33%
Average MCAT of Incoming Students: 504
Average GPA of Incoming Students: 3.7
Preference for master’s or PhD: No
Experience of Accepted Medical School Applicants
While the school has revamped its admission requirements to allow for a wider and more diverse candidate pool, these changes were to encourage Mississippi residents to apply to the near-exclusion of all others. The school admitted only one out-of-state applicant in the past application cycle, meaning it regularly does not accept out-of-state applications and is not, in any way, an out-of-state friendly medical school. Canadian and international students will also find it hard to get in to the UM-SOM. The school requires all coursework and degrees to be from US schools only, so a Canadian degree will not be recognized. But the school also requires all applicants to be either US citizens or have permanent residency, which means it is also not a Canadian-friendly US medical school.
MCAT and GPA
Minimum MCAT to Be Considered: 496
Minimum GPA to Be Considered: 3.0
The UM-SOM is not one of those medical schools that don’t require MCAT as it requires all applicants to submit MCAT scores. However, neither the 496 MCAT score or the 3.0 GPA are cut-offs. Applicants with that score or higher have their applications automatically reviewed and considered for an interview.
Applicants with a score lower than 496 or a 3.0 GPA are still encouraged to apply, as the school will look at your extracurriculars for medical school and other important experiences from your AMCAS Work and Activities section, but also post-bac programs and graduate courses, to determine whether you fit the profile of a UM-SOM medical student.
However, applicants with high MCAT scores or GPA should not rest on their stats, as the school will deny admittance to applicants with few to no relevant life experiences or any demonstration of their personal attributes. While applicants with low stats, may be admitted if they have a wealth of relevant life experiences that have shown they possess the ideal qualities of a medical student the UM-SOM is looking for.
The UM-SOM also has a minimum medical school GPA requirement but also takes the same approach; students who have a GPA lower than the required number will have their applications reviewed carefully to see if they have any other important qualities that align with the medical school’s mission and values.
Coursework and Undergrad
The UM-SOM prefers that applicants have a full bachelor’s degree when applying or when they matriculate but they will also accept 90 credits of a full bachelor’s degree as an accommodation to non-traditional medical school applicants. Another accommodation to non-traditional applicants is that 65 of those 90 credits can have been taken at a community college, although online courses are not accepted.
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Prerequisites and Recommended Courses
The medical school prerequisites for the UM-SOM are unconventional, to say the least, but other schools, such as the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, are also piloting this new approach to medical school admissions. But the UM-SOM has gone even farther than MSU, as it has removed the conventional prerequisite model in favor of three novel approaches, which include:
Method 1 - End-point Courses
Using this method, applicants can choose their pathway to specific “end-point” courses, which in this case involves the following courses:
- One semester of biochemistry
- One semester of physics
- Two semesters of any life sciences course (i.e., cellular biology, gross anatomy, neurology)
To be clear, the above courses are required, but students can choose their pathway to completing these required courses, while also taking recommended courses for this method, which include:
This method allows for more non-traditional applicants to apply since they do not follow the typical high school-college-medical school pathway that traditional students do. The pathway can include completing regular upper-level coursework, advanced placement courses or online courses (the required courses cannot be taken online). But the pathway is also designed with help from an applicant’s undergraduate school.
Method 2 - Course-Competency Maps
All three methods involve “maps” aka pathways that students are free to conceive with guidance from their undergraduate schools and other pre-med advisors. But this specific method involves only a select number of undergraduate schools in Mississippi that have agreed to participate in this program, and have created “maps” that students can follow to acquire the required competencies to succeed in medical school. Each school has its own map, or required courses for students to follow:
Method 3 – Novel School Curricula
This option amounts to undergraduate schools developing a pre-med school curriculum for students to gain the competencies and necessary skills and training to enter medical school. This method is technically unavailable as the only two schools who are developing these novel curricula are Millsaps College, University of Mississippi, which are still creating these new curricula.
AMCAS Work and Activities
The AMCAS Work and Activities section is a required part of the entire AMCAS application, but it is doubly important for students who want to apply to the UM-SOM. The reason being that the school has a special Admissions File Review Committee (AFRC) dedicated to reading all 15 of your Work and Activities submissions, grading them and then submitting your scores to the Admissions Committee who reviews them every time they must make a decision about your application.
As the school has a more open admissions policy, it reviews Work and Activities with more scrutiny than other schools so it can find applicants who embody the personal attributes central to the school’s mission, which include:
- Written communication skills
- Interacting with people
- Motivation for medicine
But the W and A section is also important because it allows non-science majors a way for how to get into medical school without a science background. The school reworked its admission requirements and medical school curriculum specifically to attract more non-science majors, and uses the W and A to vet them for their suitability to the MD program. But one simple way to have enough experiences to mention in the application is by fulfilling the shadowing hours for medical school UM-SOM requires, as all applicants are expected to complete at least 35 hours of shadowing a physician in the US.
Sample AMCAS Work and Activities Entry
During my undergraduate studies, I showed initiative by founding a community service club named "Helping Hands" at Millsaps College. As the founder and president of the club, I organized various events, such as food drives, volunteering at the local shelters, and fundraising for disaster relief efforts. Additionally, I collaborated with other student organizations, such as the Environmental Club, to initiate a recycling program on campus. Through my leadership and initiative, the Helping Hands club grew to over 50 active members and was recognized by the University for its significant contributions to the community.
The medical school personal statement is another important venue for applicants to showcase their suitability for medical school, as they must possess strong written and communication skills to write an effective, and memorable statement. The Personal Comments essay, as the AMCAS personal statement is known, has a 5300-character limit and applicants are encouraged to use the space to answer questions such as, “why do you want to be a doctor?” and explain more about their motivation for becoming a doctor.
Medical school secondary essays are only one part of the secondary application to UM-SOM, as this is where applicants indicate which of the three prerequisite models applies to them. Applicants must indicate the model and list the courses they took to complete the requirements. The school sends secondary applications to those who have sent a complete and verified AMCAS application and notifies eligible applicants via email. They are sent a link and login information for the school’s own application portal, where they will find the necessary materials and medical school secondary essay prompts to complete the secondary application.
UM-SOM Secondary Essay Prompts
- Please discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic affected your academic preparation for medical school or extracurricular opportunities. Please also discuss any other impact of the pandemic that you would like the admissions committee to know. (2500 characters)
- Please outline your motivation for pursuing the medical degree. (3000 characters)
Sample Secondary Essay for Prompt #2
As a native of Mississippi, I have seen firsthand the immense health disparities that exist in our state. Many individuals lack access to basic healthcare services, leading to preventable illnesses and diseases. This has inspired me to pursue a career in medicine, as I want to be part of the solution to this problem.
One specific incident that fueled my passion for medicine was when my grandfather was diagnosed with diabetes. His condition could have been managed with proper healthcare, but due to financial constraints, he was unable to receive the care he needed. This ultimately led to him losing his leg. Witnessing his struggle and seeing how his condition could have been prevented with access to quality healthcare motivated me to work towards becoming a doctor.
Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to volunteer at a local clinic, where I have seen the impact that doctors can have on their patients. I was struck by the compassion and dedication that the doctors showed towards their patients. This experience has further solidified my desire to become a doctor.
As an undergraduate, I have taken numerous science courses and have maintained a high GPA. I have also been involved in research projects, where I have gained a deeper understanding of the scientific process and its importance in advancing medicine. These experiences have prepared me for the rigor of medical school.
Ultimately, I want to use my medical knowledge and skills to improve the health outcomes of individuals in my community. I believe that becoming a doctor will allow me to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others and help address the health disparities that exist in Mississippi.
Despite its accommodations for non-traditional applicants, the UM-SOM has strict policies regarding medical school letters of recommendation. All applicants must submit three letters from their previous undergraduate science faculty without exception. The school recommends the letter-writers talk about the applicant’s competencies in four areas: thinking and reasoning; sciences; interpersonal; intrapersonal. Students who are able to obtain a pre-medical advisory committee letter can submit one and fulfill the three-letter requirement. The school will accept additional letters from shadowed physicians and employers, but those will not fulfill the three-letters-from-faculty rule.
Percentage of Applicants Interviewed who were Admitted:
The UM-SOM also takes a novel approach to determining who to send interview invitations. Applicants with a GPA of 2.8 or a MCAT score of 493 will have their applications reviewed by the AFRC to see whether they have any other compelling qualities that merit an interview. Applicants with a GPA or MCAT lower than those scores will also have their applications reviewed, again, to see whether there are other aspects of their application that are acceptable to the Admissions Executive Committee (AEC).
If invited to an interview, which are being held in-person at the UMMC Clinical Skills Assessment Center on the UM-SOM campus this cycle, students will undergo an MMI session, as the UM-SOM is one medical school that uses MMI. The MMI portion is only one aspect of the entire interview day, as students will also receive a campus tour and have a chance to interact with members of the UM-SOM (faculty, students, administrators) over lunch.
Sample Interview Questions
- “What characteristics do you possess that will allow you to succeed at UMC?”
- “What are some of your strengths?”
- “You're trapped in a car during a blizzard. Stranded. What do you do?”
- “Would you rather be a catcher or the pitcher?”
Sample Interview Answer to Question #2
As someone who has volunteered at a local clinic and worked as a medical scribe for a few years, I believe my greatest strength is my ability to communicate effectively with patients and medical professionals. For example, during a shift as a scribe, I noticed that a patient was having difficulty breathing and immediately alerted the physician, leading to a prompt diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, I have actively sought out opportunities to improve my communication skills, such as taking a medical Spanish course and participating in a patient communication workshop. These experiences have shown me the importance of clear and empathetic communication in the healthcare field, and I believe my strengths in this area will allow me to be an effective and compassionate physician.
Acceptance and Waitlist Information
Final decisions on all applications are made by the Admissions Executive Committee, which performs a holistic review of all completed applications (primary, secondary and interview results). The AEC will focus primarily on whether an applicant is in tune with the school’s mission and values through their various pre-medical experiences, community involvement and demographic diversity (race, ethnicity, socio-economically disadvantaged, sexual orientation, gender identity).
The AEC takes approximately three to four weeks after interviews are completed to begin discussions of individual applications and sends out decisions for the MD and combined MD/PhD program starting on October 15. The decisions sent out are either accept, deny or notification that the applicant has been placed on a medical school waitlist.
Up to 30 applicants are placed on the waitlist every cycle with close to 20 applicants gaining admission from the waitlist every year. Students who are not admitted are invited to attend a post-application counseling session offered by the Office of Admissions, which will provide advice and guidance on how to improve their application if they choose to apply. The student can register for this counseling session after February 15.
Primary AMCAS Application Deadline: October 15
Secondary Application Deadline: November 1
The school has a rolling admissions policy so it advises all applicants to apply as early as possible if they want to be notified early. It even has a suggested timeline for applicants, especially those who wish to retake the MCAT to improve their score, since most MCAT study schedules suggest months of preparation to take the exam.
The school’s schedule recommends beginning in September to align with MCAT test dates, which occur the following summer. This schedule gives applicants two chances to take the test, if they want, in June and later on in the summer. UM-SOM also recommends students submit their AMCAS application as soon as possible, since the application window opens in the summer, near the end of June.
Tuition and Debt
In-State Tuition: $33,900
Average Yearly Cost-of-Living Expenses: $31,160
Average Debt of Graduating Students: $155,905
The UM-SOM provides financial assistance to all of its accepted students through either work/study programs and internal medical school scholarships. Students who wish to be considered for financial assistance from the UM-SOM must complete their financial aid forms when matriculating into the school. There are four specific scholarships that students can apply to but they have specific eligibility requirements that may not apply to all applicants.
1. The University of Mississippi Medical Center Child of Faculty/Staff Award
This internal scholarship is intended for the children of UMMC staff and faculty to be able to attend medical school, in recognition of the important work of the over 10,000 full and part-time employees of the UMMC. Applicants must apply for this scholarship even before apply to medical school, at least a year before, according to the requirements. The award will cover 50% of medical school tuition for every parent employed full-time who has worked at the UMMC longer than 12 months. Children of faculty are eligible for a full tuition waiver, if the faculty member has been with the UM-SOM since before 1977.
2. Orr-Russwurm Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is available to any student enrolled in one of the UMMC’s health sciences school (medical, dental, nursing) who is committed to pursuing full or part-time Christian missionary work after graduating from the UMMC. Interested applicants must fulfill all necessary requirements (the Office of Student Financial Services has more information) and complete a separate application form.
3. Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation Scholarship
This scholarship also has very specific requirements and is only available to female, Christian students who are from one of nine Southern states. The LPW Foundation does not accept individual applications for this scholarship. Instead, interested students must notify the Office of Student Financial Services to express interest and the school forwards the request to the Foundation, which then provides the application materials and requirements, one of which is demonstrating financial need.
Residency Match Rates
The UM-SOM and its most recent graduates celebrated a perfect 100% match rate, meaning every UM-SOM graduate matched into their desired residency as listed on their rank order list. The 100% match rate means the school has earned the right to classified as a medical school with the best match rates. Out of the 163 graduates of last year, 45% of them opted to stay in Mississippi, while 52% chose to practice in a primary care specialty such as a family medicine residency or an internal medicine residency.
UM-SOM Residency Match Rate:
Review of Available Programs
1. Four-Year MD Program
The curriculum at UM-SOM follows a traditional division between pre-clinical (Year 1 and 2) and clinical years (Year 3 and 4). The school uses both lectures and hands-on training to introduce students to basic medical science, which it does using a systems-based approach, but students learn first about the normal states of various bodily systems from Histology and Cell Biology to Gross Anatomy and Neurology.
The Core Concepts longitudinal courses are intended to give students an education on the roles and responsibilities of a doctor, while also training them on basic clinical skills as a way for how to prepare for clinical rotations in the third and fourth year. Students are taught both in large and small groups and they also have ample opportunity to learn in team-based environments, especially when they are assigned a specific project for their course.
Some of the courses students take in their first year include, Developmental Anatomy, Neurobiology, and Psychiatry. The second year of medical school is when students are introduced to diseases, illnesses, and abnormalities that affect every system in the body. But students are further educated on the art of doctoring through the Introduction to Clinical Medicine course that builds on the skills learned in the Core Concepts phase, as students gain more experience with live patients through standardized patient scenarios.
Upon reaching the third year, students will complete core rotations in many medical specialties including:
- Family medicine
- Internal medicine
- Obstetrics and gynecology
Students complete between two to eight weeks in these specialties where they apply their knowledge from first and second year, but also learn more about clinical practice, how to interact with patients, and how to work alongside other medical professionals in a real clinical environment. All this work is to show students how to choose a medical specialty, as during any of their core rotations they can choose to complete a sub-specialty.
The fourth year is where students gain some measure of independence as they are encouraged to take up to four electives, alongside the four remaining core clerkships they must complete:
- Internal medicine
- Ambulatory care
Required and elective clerkships last one month each. Students can take advantage of their independence by taking refresher science courses to shore up their knowledge, or perform a clinical rotation at an off-campus hospital or clinic.
The only dual-degree program offered by the UM-SOM is the MD/PhD, which should take about 7 years to complete, according to the school. The course progression sees accepted students complete their first three years of medical school, take a break to complete their graduate studies in three years, and then return to the medical school to finish their MD. The application process for the MD/PhD program requires students indicate their interest on their primary AMCAS application. The PhD is offered only in Population Science, which covers aspects of public health, social determinants of health and examination of the US health care system.
Campus and Faculty
The UM-SOM is only one of the seven schools that occupy the entire UMMC campus, which takes up 164-acres of land in the middle of Jackson, Mississippi, the state capital. The entire campus is localized within these 164 acres and comprises not only the professional schools, but the four medical centers the entire state relies and depends on, including the central University of Mississippi Medical Center, the Children’s Hospital of Mississippi, Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants, and the Critical Care Hospital.
Affiliated Teaching Hospitals
- Mississippi Baptist Health Center
- G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Veterans Affairs Medical Center
- Jackson Medical Mall Thad Cochran Center
- Holmes County Hospital
- Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children,
- Mississippi Children’s Cancer Clinic
- Children’s Rehabilitation Center
- Winfred L. Wiser Hospital for Women and Infants
- Wallace Conerly Hospital for Critical Care
- University Hospital Medical Center
There are over 30 different research centers and institutes operating on the UMMC campus conducting research into every imaginable aspect of medicine and health ranging from cancer, HIV, obesity, blood diseases, pediatric research, gene therapies to addiction, medical education, population health, and health care disparities. The school received up to $30 million in research grants last quarter, but its overall research work is funded with close to $110 million from an array of different sponsors.
Other key research fields the UMMC participates in, include:
- Heart disease
- Neurocognitive disorders
- Perinatal diseases
- Human physiology
Dr. Jane Reckelhoff
Billy S. Guyton Distinguished Professor
Chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
Recently received a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for perinatal research.
Dr. April Carson
Professor of Medicine
Director and Principal Investigator of the Jackson Heart Study
Secured $3.7 million in funding for the Jackson Heart Study.
Dr. Loretta Jackson-Williams
Vice Dean for Medical Education
Professor of Emergency Medicine
Awarded $3.75 million in funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration for a research project examining new approaches to medical education.
Dr. James Brock
Associate Professor of Medicine
Obtained a $1.04 million grant for Mississippi HIV Care Connect and another award from Vanderbilt University to provide AIDS education and training to Mississippi residents.
Dr. Norma Ojeda
Chair of the Department of Advanced Biomedical Education
Awarded a $1 million grant to study how COVID-19 affects mothers and unborn infants for the Mississippi Perinatal COVID-19 Registry.
University of Mississippi School of Medicine
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
email: [email protected]
1. What is the mission of the University of Mississippi School of Medicine?
The main mission of the school is to take care of the health and welfare of the citizens of Mississippi. To fulfill this mission the school only admits Mississippi residents so doctors practicing in the state are more invested in caring for their patients.
2. Do I need to take the MCAT and submit my scores?
The UM-SOM requires all applicants to submit their most recent MCAT and recommends that applicants have a MCAT of at least 496 to have their applications reviewed and considered for admittance. Applicants with an MCAT lower than 496 can still apply, but must ensure they have the requisite experiences and attributes the school requires of all applicants.
3. What is the minimum GPA requirement?
The UM-SOM GPA requirement (3.0) is not a cut-off, as applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 can still apply, if there are other aspects of their application that are relevant to the school’s mission, such as working with underprivileged communities, volunteer work, research experience or any experience in a health-related field.
4. What kind of degree do I need to get into UM-SOM?
The school prefers that applicants have a full bachelor’s degree, but it will also accept students with at least 90 credits toward that degree. Students who have taken courses at community college can apply up to 65 credits toward the 90 credits required.
5. Are there prerequisite courses I have to take?
The UM-SOM has three unique models that applicants can participate in to show their academic competency to attend medical school. They can choose between: End-Point Courses; Course-Competency Maps; Novel School Curricula (currently unavailable). For more information on these prerequisite models see the “Prerequisites and Recommended Courses” section above.
6. How can I apply to UM-SOM?
UM-SOM participates in the AMCAS application service. All primary applications are submitted online. All applicants who have submitted a completed and verified AMCAS application are sent a secondary application. Only after the secondary application does the school screen applicants based on their application contents.
7. How much does one year at UM-SOM cost?
The UM-SOM is a state school that does not admit out-of-state so there is only one tuition rate for all students. The first full year of medical school for a Minnesota resident is $65,060.
8. Is it hard to get into UM-SOM?
For Mississippi residents, the UM-SOM is the only allopathic medical school in the state and it is one of the easiest medical schools to get into, as its medical school acceptance rate is in the double digits. Out-of-state students are not accepted into the school. There may be exceptional cases that the SOM may consider, when it comes to out-of-state applicants, but unless you have some personal reason or affiliation with the UM-SOM, you should consider other medical schools.
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Your friends at BeMo
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Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.
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