The University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine (MU-SOM) has a mission to train Missouri residents to address the doctor shortages affecting 90% of the state. As it is a state-school, the MU-SOM admits a majority of Missouri residents into every new class, but it does encourage out-of-state applicants to apply. The few spots open for out-of-state makes admission into the MD program competitive. The school has minimum MCAT and medical school GPA requirements to screen all applicants for consideration. This article will review all the relevant admission requirements and give you various samples to help you craft your AMCAS Work and Activities section, and answers to common medical school interview questions.
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“To save and improve lives – through exemplary education, research and patient care.”
This succinct mission statement translates the urgency with which the MU-SOM is confronting the critical doctor shortage in Missouri and other parts of the country. The school is facing this crisis by implementing new specialized tracks in rural medicine and elderly care to address the fact that many Missourians live in remote areas where the fewest number of doctors go to practice.
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Overall Acceptance Rate: 4%
In-State Acceptance Rate: 17.3%
Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 0.7%
Average MCAT of Incoming Students: 509
Average GPA of Incoming Students: 3.81
Preference for master’s or PhD: No
Experience of Accepted Medical School Applicants
The MU-SOM is a state-funded school and has a legal obligation to accept Missouri residents over out-of-state applicants, which it does by admitting anywhere between 80-85% of Missouri residents into each class. The remaining spots are for out-of-state applicants who must meet specific out-of-state medical school requirements, such as having a minimum MCAT and GPA. International and Canadian applicants are not accepted, unless they have US citizenship or permanent residency. Canadian and international degrees are not recognized, so the MU-SOM is neither an out-of-state friendly medical school nor a Canadian-friendly US medical school.
MCAT and GPA
Minimum MCAT to Apply (in-state): 496
Minimum GPA to Apply (in-state): 3.0
The MU-SOM has a minimum cut-off for both in-state and out-of-state applicants, but the requirements for the latter are a bit different. In-state applicants who have the right MCAT score and GPA will be automatically considered by the Admissions Committee, but in-state applicants with a GPA below 3.0 in either science or math will need to have at least 15 credits in a post-bac program for medical school or graduate program to be considered.
The school also cautions students that meeting the minimum requirements is not a guarantee of acceptance or consideration and encourages all students with scores lower than the cut-offs to enroll in post-bac or graduate programs. Out-of-state applicants can apply with stats lower than the minimum, but cannot apply if both their MCAT and GPA are below the threshold. Out-of-state applicants with low MCAT scores, must have high GPA and vice-versa. The official table is below:
This is the MU-SOM's way of screening out-of-state applicants, given the almost 2000 out-of-state applications the school received last cycle. It also has one of the lowest medical school acceptance rates for out-of-state applicants, but, regardless, out-of-state applicants can apply if they have the right academic stats, extracurriculars for medical school and show they are committed to serving residents of the state.
Coursework and Undergrad
The MU-SOM will accept applicants with at least 90 completed credits of a four-year degree, although it prefers that applicants have a bachelor’s degree when they apply or before they enroll. The school does not have a preference for the major and it accepts various types of degree from non-traditional medical school applicants who are interested in becoming doctors. However, all relevant degrees and course work must have been completed at an American college or university.
Prerequisites and Recommended Courses
The MU-SOM has a standard list of medical school prerequisites that are mainly science-and-math based although the school does have a requirement for applicants to have at least one year of an upper-level English, writing or composition class. The course work must be completed at an US college or university and applicants must earn a minimum C- grade for all completed
- One year or six full credits of English or any writing-intensive course
- One semester or three credits of upper-level Math (algebra or higher)
- One year or six full credits of Biology (cell biology, animal physiology, molecular biology or histology)
- Two years or twelve full credits of Chemistry
- One year or six credit hours of general Physics
The school also recommends applicants take the following recommended courses to bolster their application:
AMCAS Work and Activities
Like nearly all the allopathic medical schools in the US – except for medical schools in Texas – the MU-SOM uses the AMCAS application service to accept and review all medical school applications. Applicants must create online accounts and complete the online application, which consists of various elements including two important sections, the above-mentioned AMCAS Work and Activities section along with the AMCAS Most Meaningful Experience section.
In these sections, applicants must detail relevant life experiences when they stood out in some way either through their volunteer work, research, publication of an essay, or how many clinical hours for medical school they have. These sections are an early way for applicants to transmit their suitability to the school’s mission and values, which, in the case of the MU-SOM, is connected to serving Missouri residents in remote and rural areas, although its primary mission is to save lives.
Sample AMCAS Work and Activities Entry
Type: Community Service Medical
Name: Missouri Farm Bureau
Hours: 25 hours/per week
Most Meaningful: No
As a resident of Bates County, Missouri, I recognized the lack of mental health resources for farmers in my community. I organized a partnership with the Missouri Farm Bureau and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to improve access to the suicide hotline for farmers. Our efforts were recognized by the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Through this experience, I saw firsthand the impact of the stigma surrounding mental health in rural areas. As a future physician, I am committed to addressing mental health issues in underserved communities like rural Missouri.
The medical school personal statement is another way for applicants to show the Admissions Committee they possess the qualities and experiences that the school is looking for in its future medical students. The AMCAS personal statement, known as the Personal Comments essay gives students a chance to express themselves through an articulate, professional and compelling essay that should detail things such as their motivation for wanting to become a doctor and what steps they have taken to achieve that goal.
Wondering how long the journey of a medical student is?
Being sent a secondary application is typically the next step after submitting a primary AMCAS application. Every school has a different criterion for what determines whether an applicant receives a second application, but the MU-SOM screens applicants based on their residency (in-state or out-of-state) and whether their academic stats meet the school’s stated threshold. Out-of-state applicants who meet the requirements will be sent an Out-of-State Form, which is only for out-of-state applicants.
On this form, out-of-state applicants must write about their ties to Missouri and why they want to attend the medical school. The strength of their ties to Missouri and the school’s mission is what the school is looking for, and out-of-state applicants may not be sent a secondary application if the school determines there are no significant ties to the state. Accepted in-state and out-of-state applicants will be sent instructions via email on how to complete the secondary application, as well as the medical school secondary essay prompts so they can write their medical school secondary essays.
MU-SOM Secondary Essay Prompts
1. Please let us know information regarding how you heard about our school, and any factors (programs, people, mission, geography etc.) that led you to apply. (1200 characters)
2. Please discuss (e.g. using specific personal traits, education, life experiences, etc.) (2000 characters)
1) how you will add to the overall diversity of the medical school and the practice of medicine
2) how you will contribute to an inclusive learning environment at the medical school and the practice of medicine.
3. Has COVID-19 significantly impacted your medical school application? (Optional, 2000 characters)
Sample Secondary Essay for Prompt #1
Growing up in rural Franklin County, Missouri, I struggled with undiagnosed ADHD, which made traditional classroom learning difficult for me. Unfortunately, due to a lack of primary care doctors in the area, I wasn't diagnosed until college, where I received proper treatment and excelled academically. The patient-based teaching method at the University of Missouri School of Medicine would be a perfect fit for my learning style, and I am motivated to attend this school because of its commitment to providing quality healthcare to underserved areas like my home county. As a future physician, I want to address the shortage of primary care doctors in rural areas like mine and help patients with ADHD receive proper diagnosis and treatment. Attending the University of Missouri School of Medicine would be a step towards achieving these goals.
The MU-SOM asks all applicants to submit a minimum of three and a maximum of six medical school recommendation letters. The three-letter minimum can be satisfied in a variety of ways. Traditional applicants coming from an undergraduate school are encouraged to submit one pre-medical advisory committee letter to fulfill the three-letter requirement.
But, if not, applicants must submit at least one letter from a science professor who has given the applicant a grade. Non-traditional applicants can submit letters from relevant volunteer, clinical supervisors or employment references. Letters from friends, family are not acceptable. Neither are letters from teaching assistants to satisfy the faculty letter requirement.
Percentage of Applicants Interviewed who were Admitted (in-state):
Percentage of Applicants Interviewed who were Admitted (out-of-state):
The MU-SOM is not a medical school that uses MMI. Instead, the school uses a traditional one-on-one format for its medical school interviews, which will be held virtually for the foreseeable future. The school holds interviews between October and March and invitations are usually sent out starting at the end of September.
Every applicant will undergo two, one-on-one interviews with members of the Admissions Committee. The school uses a rolling admission policy for sending out all status updates (secondary application, interviews, final decisions), so applicants who submit their secondary applications well before the official deadline are notified first if they have qualified for an interview.
Sample MU-SOM Interview Questions
- “How do you handle stress?”
- “Tell me about yourself”
- “Which class that you have taken so far has been the most difficult or challenging? Why was it so? How did you handle it?”
- “Tell me about a rule that you didn't agree with, but had to follow anyway”
Sample Answer for Question 1
Personally, I like jogging along the MKT trail to reduce stress. But I like to do a combination of things to reduce stress. Socializing with friends and family is an important part of how I unwind. Playing hide-and-seek or going on nature walks with my cousins, nieces and nephews is always fun and it always takes me away from the challenges and stress of studying. I also love to cook, and learning a new recipe is a very low-stakes way for me to challenge and reward myself with something that is purely for pleasure.
Acceptance and Waitlist Information
The MU-SOM takes a few months to fully review all completed applications after the interview stage. Interviews wrap up by the end of March and the school uses a holistic approach to review all medical school applications to determine who they admit, deny or waitlist. Every class accepts a total of 128 applicants per cycle and the MU-SOM medical school waitlist typically receives the same number of waitlisted applicants.
Applicants on the waitlist are notified of their position on the waitlist and they are automatically admitted if an accepted student declines their offer. The waitlist remains active until the first day of class and waitlisted students can be admitted at any time during their notification and the first day of class.
Primary AMCAS Application Deadline: October 15
Secondary Application Deadline: November 15
As the school uses a rolling admission policy in every aspect of the application process, all applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. The AMCAS application window often opens in the spring or summer so applicants can always prepare their applications for submission when the window opens, rather than wait until the last moment.
Tuition and Debt
In-State Tuition: $42,458
Out-of-State Tuition: $40,490
Average Yearly Cost-of-Living Expenses: $23,367
Average Debt of Graduating Students: $192,364
Aside from the typical funding sources offered to students, such as federal and private loans, the MU-SOM offers students several methods for how to pay for medical school. Among these methods are medical school scholarships, which are offered both internally by the school and its Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee and externally by outside donors, student associations and private benefactors.
To be eligible for internal scholarships, students must complete a free FAFSA application and submit it by April 1 for new students. Current students are also eligible for financial aid scholarships, but must apply every year to be considered. The Scholarship and Financial Aid Committee decides who is eligible to receive aid or a scholarship and notifies each successful applicant. There is no other application process for students to be awarded a scholarship, aside from submitting the completed FAFSA form every year.
- Albert D. Cross, M.D. Endowment Fund – awarded to students who wish to practice family medicine in any rural area.
- Barbara H. Baker Domann Medical Student Scholarship – preference for students from Southwest Missouri, and demonstrate financial need.
- Brim Family Medical Scholarship Endowment – preference for Missouri residents who graduated high school in either from St. Francois and Iron Counties, Missouri.
- Doud Scholarship – a full or partial medical school tuition waiver is possible for any current MU-SOM medical student with Irish descendance.
- Charles H. and Lucille M. Bennett Medical Scholarship Endowment – a financial reward for any current medical student who demonstrates financial need, has excelled academically and remains in good academic standing.
Residency Match Rates
The most recent graduating class celebrated a 97% match rate with students joining programs all over the country including at prestigious schools and hospitals such as Duke University School of Medicine, Emory Medical School and Yale Medical School. Close to half (44%) of all graduates chose to remain in Missouri, while 31% chose to stay at the UM-SOM to complete their medical training. A small majority (36%) chose to enter primary care fields, and up to 24 students chose to enter an internal medicine residency, which was followed by other popular specialties such as pediatrics, surgery, anesthesiology, and a family medicine residency.
UM-SOM Residency Match Rate:
Review of Available Programs
1. Four-Year MD Program
The main feature of the MD program at the MU-SOM is its patient-based learning (PBL) modality that places patients at the center of all learning. This feature means that lecture-based learning and teacher-led courses are replaced in favor of students exposed to early clinical experiences within the first week in their Introduction to Patient Care (IPC) courses to inculcate a participatory mindset.
But lectures and classroom learning are still featured in the curriculum, and students have an equal amount of class-learning as they do experience with patient models. The curriculum integrates several different concepts into the same course so students learn basic medical science, doctoring techniques and skills, and medical standards and professional ethics at the same time. Students are also paired with medical preceptors and faculty to help them during their Ambulatory Clinical Experience classes, as they learn directly from expert faculty or practicing physicians.
The emphasis on patient-based learning continues in the second year, where students must also complete COMPASS (Contemplating Medicine, Patients, Self and Society), which are faculty-led seminars that examine a physician's roles and responsibilities to their patients and society at large. Students continue to progress through different parts of the body and also complete Advanced Physical Diagnosis requirements, which aim to help improve their diagnostic skills and abilities.
After taking a preparatory course to learn how to prepare for clinical rotations at the end of the second year, students begin their third year performing seven core clerkships throughout the state, but they can also opt to perform rotations at various sites, including those who decide to enroll in the Rural Scholars Program. The seven core clerkships include:
- Family medicine
- Internal medicine
Students are also expected to participate in several medical school electives, as they must complete a total of eighteen weeks of general electives, including four four-week electives that can be taken in the final year of medical school. The final year also features students completing elective courses, while also taking Advanced Biomedical Science Courses to refresh their scientific and medical training.
This dual-degree program is aimed at students with an interest in pursuing both a medical degree and an advanced degree in one of several areas related to medical science. Students can indicate interest on their primary AMCAS application and interview separately for both programs, but they can also apply after enrolling in the medical school. If accepted, students complete their first two years of medical school, and then switch to the graduate school to complete the PhD requirements.
Students can choose from a specialization in:
- Pharmacology and Physiology
Accepted students are provided with mentoring, scholarship and financial aid throughout the entire length of the program. Students must choose a PhD supervisor by their third year of medical school and must successfully present and defend a thesis to earn their doctorate.
Campus and Faculty
The school recently opened another campus in Springfield to help increase its enrollment and help reach its goal of training up to 300 more medical students per year. The two-campus model means that students are divided between the two locations depending on which year they are in. All medical students begin their first two years at the main Columbia campus, which features the majority of the school’s training hospitals such as the University Hospital, Women’s Hospital, and Children's Hospital.
The Columbia campus is also where the newly opened Patient-Centered Care Learning Center is located along with various research centers and institutes. The Columbia campus is also where many of the university’s other professional health sciences school are located such as the School of Nursing and School of Health Professions. The Springfield campus also contains training sites through the school’s partnerships with CoxHealth and Mercy hospitals, as students can train at the University of Missouri Health Care.
Affiliated Teaching Hospitals
- University Hospital
- Women’s Hospital
- Children's Hospital
- Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
- Mercy Hospital
- CoxHealth System
The school has over 40 different research centers and institutes on its main and secondary campuses in Springfield. The MU-SOM research interests span the mission of all these various centers that research fields such as cancer, telehealth, health informatics, precision medicine, cognition, aging and sleep. The school also actively participates in research projects that involve everything from autoimmune disorders, the effect of physical inactivity on chronic illnesses, and how calcium can affect heart health.
- Kattesh Katti, PhD, Distinguished Curators Professor of Radiology, Physics and Biological Engineering in the MU School of Medicine and College of Engineering
- Amr Abdelaziz, MD, Fellowship Program Director, Body Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology, Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiology
- James Acton, MD, Division Director, Director, Children's Hospital Cystic Fibrosis Center, Medical Director, Pediatric Respiratory Care, Associate Professor of Clinical Child Health
- Patricia Alafaireet, PhD, MHA, Associate Professor, Director of Applied Health Informatics, Department Diversity Ambassador
- Lee-Ann H. Allen, PhD, Chair of Department of Molecular Microbiology & Immunology, George Trimble Endowed Chair for Excellence in Medicine, Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine
University of Missouri School of Medicine
MA 215 Medical Sciences Building
Patient-Centered Care Learning Center, LC201
Columbia, MO 65212
email: [email protected]
1. What is the mission of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine?
The mission of the MU-SOM is tied up with addressing the physician shortage affecting the state’s residents, especially rural residents. The school has a special focus on rural medicine and it has even opened a new campus to help train more students and faster than only the MD program at the Columbia campus.
2. Do I need to take the MCAT and submit my scores?
The school requires all applicants to submit their most recent MCAT score, but it has a minimum MCAT (496) to apply and all applicants must meet the threshold to have their application reviewed and considered.
3. What is the minimum GPA requirement?
The MU-SOM has a GPA requirement but it is different for in-state and out-of-state students. In-state students can apply with a minimum 3.0 GPA, but out-of-state students must have a 3.5 GPA to be considered. Additionally, out-of-state students must have pass both the MCAT and GPA threshold whereas in-state students can have low GPA or MCAT but not both.
4. What kind of degree do I need to get into MU-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. All degrees and course work must be completed at an US school.
5. Are there prerequisite courses I have to take?
Yes, the school has a set of medical school prerequisites that have a familiar combination of biology, chemistry, physics and math but students must also complete up to a full-year in English or writing-intensive class.
6. How can I apply to MU-SOM?
The MU-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, but out-of-state students have to complete an Out-of-State application form detailing their ties to the state and school.
7. How much does one year at MU-SOM cost?
The MU-SOM is a public, state institution so it has two different tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students. One full year of medical school for in-state students costs $65,825, while one full year for out-of-state students costs $106,315.
8. Is it hard to get into MU-SOM?
The MU-SOM is very hard to get into for out-of-state students, but not impossible. The school accepts up to 20 out-of-state students per cycle so it is extremely competitive for students vying for those spots. The school makes it even harder for out-of-state students as they must complete a separate form proving their ties to the state, which the Admissions Committee can use to refuse admittance if they ties are not strong enough. But if you want to learn in a patient-based environment and prefer other ways of learning outside the classroom, the MU-SOM may be a good choice.
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