The University of South Alabama College of Medicine (USACOM), also known as the Frederick P. Whiddon College of Medicine, was established in 1973. It offers two degree programs: an MD program and a PhD program. The residency and fellowship programs are offered by the medical school and its affiliated hospitals and are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). It is not one of the easiest medical schools to get into, so you should review medical school GPA requirements to find out if you’re eligible to apply.
With that said, this article will offer all the information you need to know about the University of South Alabama College of Medicine.
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“As a diverse community focused on the science and practice of medicine for Alabama, the Central Gulf Coast, and beyond: We educate, We discover, We serve.”
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine aims to produce well-rounded physicians who can care for the people of Alabama and beyond. When applying to this medical school, make sure to highlight your honesty, compassion, integrity, fidelity, and dependability in your application.
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- Average GPA accepted: 3.83
- Average MCAT accepted: 501
- Matriculants with a graduate degree: 7%
- Students entering from Postbaccalaureate programs: 10
- Student with Science/Math majors: 84%
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine accepts out-of-state as well as international applicants. Out-of-state candidates must have a minimum MCAT score at or above the 70th percentile and a 3.80 overall GPA. Preference is given to those who have strong ties with Alabama. In terms of international applicants, USACOM only accepts permanent residents. International students need to have completed at least 90 semester hours and all prerequisites at a US regionally accredited institution.
MCAT and GPA
USACOM matriculants have an average MCAT score of 501 and an average GPA of 3.83. There are two degree programs offered by the medical school, and their GPA and MCAT requirements are as follows:
Tips to Improve Your GPA
If you are wondering how to get into medical school with a low GPA, it might not be too late for you. If you still have time to work on your GPA, follow these tips to assist you in maintaining a high GPA and thus increasing your chances of getting accepted into a medical school of your choice:
- Time management: there are a few steps you can take to manage your time efficiently. Make an agenda or a task list to help you monitor your time and keep you on track. Having goals ready at the start of the week is also a great way of improving your performance in school.
- Difficulty with course material: speak with your professors and TAs if you are facing issues understanding certain courses. Ask them for help and advice and implement it in your practice. If need be, hire a tutor for one-on-one mentorship.
- Take the right classes: you may not be required to take all science courses, so be strategic about the classes you take. You can add a few easier non-science courses, as performing well in them will improve your overall GPA.
- Improve study habits: the best way to improve your study habits is to identify distractions and remove them. At school, joining a study group or attending workshops can also help you inculcate good study habits. Understanding how to study in medical school can help you improve your academic performance.
- Find motivation: a lot of students struggle to find the motivation to study. If you feel that way, review the program you are taking and the classes. Try to take the subjects you are genuinely interested in. Don’t forget that you have achieved quite a lot getting to this point in your life, so it’s a good idea to occasionally remind yourself of that.
You can even look at some of the medical schools that accept low GPA or alternatively, take a gap year before medical school to improve your grades by taking additional courses.
Tips to Improve Your MCAT Score
- Start preparing on time: the most important thing when planning your preparation is to start on time. Make sure to have a structured MCAT study schedule around the mid-point of your second year of undergraduate school. Ideally, you should have at least 3 to 6 months of MCAT prep.
- Initial assessment: an MCAT diagnostic test will give you crucial metrics to work from to get on the right track with your preparation.
- Structure your study plan: your study plan should include 70% content review and 30% MCAT practice exams and quizzes in the first half and the other way around for the second half.
- Gather study materials: along with having necessary study materials readily available, you can also read other challenging books that are outside of your core curriculum.
- Familiarize yourself with the format: taking practice exams will help you familiarize yourself with the MCAT format.
Coursework and Undergrad
Applicants trying to get into the USACOM MD program need 90 semester hours from a US regionally accredited college or university. A Baccalaureate degree is preferred. Applicants will need to have completed the following coursework requirements:
- General Chemistry with Lab: 8 semester hours
- General Biology with Lab: 8 semester hours
- Mathematics: 6 semester hours
- Organic Chemistry with Lab: 8 semester hours
- General Physics with Lab: 8 semester hours
- Humanities: 3 semester hours
- Behavioral and Social Sciences: 3 semester hours
- English Composition or Literature: 6 semester hours
Candidates applying to the PhD program at USACOM need a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. For international applicants, the bachelor’s degree must have a US equivalent to be considered. Additionally, students will need to have completed two semesters or three quarters in the following subjects:
USACOM also offers several residency programs that require applicants to be graduates of medical schools in the US and Canada accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Candidates also need to complete the prerequisite training for the specialty they want to pursue.
Prerequisites and Recommended Courses
Biochemistry, Statistics, and Immunology are recommended by the University of South Alabama College of Medicine but are not mandatory to have before matriculation. Biochemistry can be substituted for the second semester of Organic Chemistry.
AMCAS Work and Activities, Experiences, and other activities sections
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine uses the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application system. The AMCAS application includes the following components:
After receiving the AMCAS application, USACOM solicits a secondary application as well, which is reviewed by the admissions committee and has a $75 non-refundable application fee.
The AMCAS Work and Activities section of the application involves adding up to fifteen experiences and extracurricular activities with summaries of each experience within 700 characters. Of these experiences, three need to be identified as the most meaningful. Applicants can also separately list experiences that they are yet to complete, along with the hours that they expect to spend on them. The entries that have been tagged as “most meaningful” are provided an additional 1,325 characters (including spaces).
The following is an example of a most meaningful experience:
Type: Physician Shadowing/Clinical Observation
Name: Clinical Shadowing St. Michael’s Hospital
Hours: 20 hours
Most Meaningful: Yes
During my time at St. Michael’s Hospital, I had the opportunity to shadow one of the physicians named Dr. Frederick Gustavson. Over a period of one week, I spent several hours a day observing him work in the hospital, treat his patients, manage his staff, evaluate various test results from his patients, and more. It was a great example of how to interact with patients and staff in a hospital setting, one that I believe will stick with me throughout my professional career.
I found out that I was selected for the opportunity to shadow Dr. Gustavson while I was with my family on vacation, and funnily enough, that was the moment that stands out to me the most from the entire vacation. I had heard about Dr. Gustavson from a close friend of mine who had the opportunity to shadow him a few years ago. So, I had high hopes and was quite excited for my first day. Upon reaching the hospital and meeting Dr. Gustavson, I immediately understood what my friend was talking about. Observing him in his daily routine as he spoke to his patients about their illnesses and conditions, as he carried out the rounds, it was nothing short of inspiring. His friendly nature was reflected in the smile that each one of his patients had when they met him. While I had regular conversations with him throughout my stint at the hospital, at the end, Dr. Gustavson sat down with me, and we spoke at length about my aspirations as a medical professional. I informed him that I want to pursue an MD program and USACOM is one of the medical schools he recommended. The time I spent with him at St. Michael’s Hospital was certainly the most meaningful experience for me.
What Does the University of South Alabama College of Medicine Expect from Students?
USACOM requires the following commitments from its students:
- They acquire the knowledge, skills, behavior, and attitude required to fulfill all educational objectives established by the faculty.
- They appropriately balance their commitments as trainees and their personal life to continue training in the most productive and responsible way possible.
- They cherish the professional virtues of honesty, compassion, integrity, fidelity, and dependability.
- They pledge to respect all faculty members and all other trainees as individuals, without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identify, pregnancy, religion, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status.
- As physicians and scientists in training, they should embrace the highest standards of intended professions and pledge to conduct themselves accordingly in all their interactions.
- As they fulfill their own obligations as professionals, they promise to assist fellow trainees in meeting their professional obligations as well.
Want to learn how applicants avoid getting rejected by medical schools? Watch this video:
Personal Statement/Application Essays
As part of the AMCAS application, candidates are required to submit a Personal Comments essay of a maximum of 5,300 characters. While writing your personal statement/personal comments essay, it is recommended to answer the medical school personal statement and interview question “why do you want to become a doctor?”. You should also discuss what motivates you to learn about medicine that you have not discussed in other sections of the application, and anything else you want the medical school to know about you.
MD-PhD program applicants are required to complete two additional essays: the MD-PhD Essay and Significant Research Experience Essay.
It is recommended to type directly into the AMCAS application, rather than copying and pasting from other software. Make sure to proofread your essays!
USACOM sends a secondary application to all applicants, which allows the admissions committee to get to know more about the student. It has a $75 USD non-refundable application fee. The secondary application is sent by the college directly to the student and asks for a brief essay explaining their ties to the State of Alabama.
There is also an optional essay that has a 500-word maximum limit with the following prompt:
"The learning community at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine benefits from the inclusion of students with broad life experiences, as well as students from diverse backgrounds. The Admissions Committee encourages you to share life experiences that you may have had and/or important factors in your background that illustrate your readiness for practicing medicine in a multicultural society."
USACOM prefers that applicants submit a composite evaluation or letter packet prepared by the premedical committee of their undergraduate college. Otherwise, applicants must submit at least three letters of recommendation. At least two letters must be from faculty who have taught you, including one from a science faculty member. One of the letters must be from someone who has known and observed the applicant on a personal basis. The medical school values honesty, compassion, integrity, fidelity, and dependability, so make sure your letters of recommendation highlight those qualities. If you are wondering whether you can “add letters of recommendation after submitting AMCAS application,” the answer is yes. In fact, recommendation letters are among the only three sections in the AMCAS application that can be modified after submission.
Interviews for the programs offered at USA College of Medicine are conducted online via Zoom. After a student logs in for their interview, they will be welcomed by the Director of Admissions. The first and second interviews will then follow. Next, there is a Q&A session with current medical students, followed by a Q&A with the admissions office. A feedback survey is provided by the end.
A medical school interview prep course can help you ace your interview, along with familiarizing yourself with some sample med school interview questions. These will help you learn how to stand out in a medical school interview to increase your chances of getting selected.
Sample Interview Question and Answer
Question: Why did you choose our MD program?
Answer: Growing up in a small town in Ohio, I was surrounded by a sense of community and family. I used to spend a lot of time outside, playing with the neighbor’s kids. Because it was such a small community, everyone’s way of thinking was quite similar. When I was 19, my family moved to New York, right to the middle of the most crowded metropolitan city in the USA. The first thing I noticed was the differences in the way people think. This observation sort of piqued my interest and influenced me to pursue Psychiatry.
In my quest to become a psychiatrist, I landed on the MD program at USACOM, which will be the perfect first step toward a residency in Psychiatry. Your prestigious program offers a robust curriculum that takes a non-traditional approach, switching out discipline-based basic science courses for a two-year sequence of modules devoted to different organ systems. I believe this is a fantastic change that should be incorporated into the curriculum at other medical schools as well.
Years three and four of the curriculum are meant to train students for their residency, which is exactly what I need. I will get to build on the clinical experiences from the first two years, based on a deeper understanding of the practice.
Furthermore, I know that 11 USACOM medical students and physicians recently had the opportunity to visit Juan Dolio, in the Dominican Republic, to learn how to provide medical care with limited resources. I was inspired by this opportunity given to students at USACOM and hope to one day take advantage of it. I am keen to help underserved communities while expanding my knowledge of the field.
Acceptance and Waitlist Information
Acceptance notices are sent by November 1 at the earliest and July 29 of the next year at the latest. Applicants have two weeks to respond to the offer. Typically, there are 40 students on the waitlist each cycle, and 30 are given offers.
The AMCAS application to apply to USACOM opens in May. Applicants have until November 15 to submit their transcripts, and the deadline for the secondary application is December 1. By May 1, applicants must indicate whether they “Plan to Enroll” or “Commit to Enroll,” and by July 10, they should select the “Commit to Enroll” option for the program of their choice and withdraw from all other programs.
Tuition and Debt
Studying at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine will cost a total of $61,204 USD for in-state students and $93,138 for out-of-state students. Out of the total cost, in-state applicants will be paying $32,830 in tuition and fees, while out-of-state students will be paying $64,764.
The average graduate indebtedness is $144,346; 85% of students receive aid.
USACOM offers several medical school scholarships for incoming freshman, incoming transfer students, current students, and international students. In a recent year, the medical school awarded more than $27 million in scholarships through a variety of programs.
For in-state and out-of-state students, there are two options under the USA Freshman Admission Scholarship Programs:
USA Freshman Admission Scholarship: to be eligible, applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents, should be applying as a first-time freshman, and have at least a 3.0 High School GPA and an ACT super score of at least 21 (or SAT equivalent). Depending on the GPA and ACT score, students can have their entire tuition paid for.
USA Freshman Jaguar Achievement Scholarship: the eligibility criteria are the same as for the USA Freshman Admission Scholarship, but this scholarship considers students who apply through the test-optional admissions track. The scholarship award value ranges from $2,000 to $9,000 per year.
Freshman Academic Recognition Scholarship Programs include the South Alabama Merit Scholarship, South Alabama National Recognition Scholarship, USA Summit Scholarship, and USA Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship. Besides the USA Board of Trustees Endowed Scholarship, the merit scholarships award $2,000 to freshmen, and some of these can be renewed every year.
Under the Freshman Excellence Scholarship Programs, students can make use of the Red and Blue Scholarship ($1,500 renewable), South Trailblazers Scholarship ($1,500 renewable), and USA Freshman Boys State/Girls State Scholarship ($1,000 one-time).
Under the Freshman Promise Scholarship Programs, students from Mobile or Baldwin Counties in Alabama can apply for the Jaguar Dream Scholarship for financial aid with the program. Anyone can apply for the Jaguar Dream Residential Scholarship.
There are also Freshman Departmental Scholarship Programs, including the Abraham Mitchell Scholars Program in Business, Honors Book Scholarship, USA Honors College Whiddon Scholarship Program, and USA Freshman Leadership Scholarship Program.
Current students at USACOM can apply for the following scholarships, among others:
- 100 Black Men USA Scholars of Perseverance and Social Justice Scholarship
- 100 Black Men: Tyus Wilson Housing/Dining Scholarship
- Abraham Mitchell Spirit of Excellence Scholars
- Accelerated BSN Scholarship
- Accounting Department Endowed Scholarship
- Aden “Jack” Cooper Endowed Scholarship
Transfer students coming to USACOM can apply for the Community College Transfer Scholarship, USA Transfer Scholarship, Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship, and Jaguar Dream Transfer Scholarship. There are additional scholarship opportunities as well.
International students can look forward to the following scholarships:
- Global Freshman Scholars Award
- Global Transfer Scholars Award
- Dr. Richard and Angela Carter Global USA Endowed Scholarship
- Hinson International Student Endowed Scholarship
- International Students Endowed Scholarship
- Kubik-Hooker Scholarship
- Theodore and Brenda Pitsios Endowed Scholarship
- Additional University Scholarships
Some of these scholarships have the potential to award students $7,000, renewable for two years depending on the GPA and ACT score.
Residency Match Rates
In a recent year, USACOM had 72 residents, of which 35% went into primary care residencies. Out of these, 19% went into an internal medicine residency. The other popular specialties were the family medicine residency (6%) and the pediatric residency program (4%).
Graduates of USACOM can practice in the US. They can also practice in Canada, provided they obtain the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC), which is part of the Canadian Standard, according to the Medical Council of Canada. To get the full license to be able to practice as a physician, candidates will need a license from provincial and territorial Medical Regulatory Authorities.
Check out our residency match calculator to get an idea of where you stand.
Review of Available Programs
The programs offered at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine are as follows:
This four-year program has a curriculum built around the six core competencies for medical training delineated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). It replaces traditional discipline-based basic science courses with a two-year sequence of modules devoted to different organ systems. It aims to produce competent physicians and life-long learners.
Basic Medical Sciences PhD Graduate Program
The one-year interdisciplinary program includes two semesters in Fundamentals of Biomedical Science. At the end of the first year, students must find a BMS major professor to work with, as this determines the track affiliation of a student for the duration of their studies. After the core and advanced coursework is completed, evaluation of progress made in the dissertation research takes focus.
USACOM, along with its affiliated hospitals, provides training in 23 residency and fellowship programs:
Fellowship programs offered at USACOM include:
Detailed Academic Curriculum of the MD Program
The competency-based curriculum of the MD program at USACOM incorporates an integrated organ systems-based approach. The first two years have modules devoted to different organ systems, for example, the cardiovascular system, where students learn basic medical knowledge covering the structure, function, and pathology of the heart, along with the medical treatment of heart conditions. Students will acquire the professional and interpersonal communication skills needed to make accurate diagnoses. The first two years are mainly taught at the main campus of the University in the Medical Sciences Building, the adjacent Active Learning Center, and the newly opened Health Simulation Building.
Years three and four further strengthen the concepts from the first two years with training which enhances the understanding of the practice and clinical implementation. These two years are spent mostly in University of South Alabama Hospitals and Care Centers, and offices of community physicians.
The Primary Care Pathway enrolls up to 10 medical students per class and provides formalized training in primary care medicine at the community level. Students also get to participate in several student initiatives, such as the Preventive Medicine Team, discipline-oriented interest groups, and the USA Student-Run Free Clinic. The program also gives students the opportunity to volunteer in Mobile and the surrounding area, as community service is a required component.
There are research projects available in both basic and clinical science arenas, along with an option to choose overseas clinical electives.
Campus and Faculty
Whiddon College of Medicine University of South Alabama is located at 5795 USA Drive North, CSAB 170, Mobile, AL 36688.
Students can get administrative help from the following:
- John V. Marymont, M.D., M.B.A. – Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the College of Medicine
(251) 341-3030, CSAB 170
- Glenda Everett – Executive Assistant to the Dean
(251) 341-3030, CSAB 170
- Howard Shell – Operations Manager
(251) 460-7195 ext. 6-6046
- Marcina Lang – Manager, COM Support Services
(251) 460-6041, CSAB 170
Affiliated Teaching Hospitals
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine owns and operates two hospitals, University Hospital and Children’s & Women's Hospital, as well as the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute. It also has an affiliation with Alta Pointe.
Students have opportunities to participate in both basic science and clinical research. It includes a stipend, and students will have to present their research at the end of the summer. USACOM has amassed direct federal research grants and contracts totaling $6,717,093.
Official admissions office website: https://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/com/futurestudents/admissions.html
Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of Admissions, USA College of Medicine, 5795 USA Drive North, Room 339, Mobile, AL 36688
Phone number: (251) 460-7176
1. What application system does the University of South Alabama College of Medicine use?
USACOM uses the AMCAS application system for its MD program.
2. How many letters of recommendation does USACOM require for its MD program?
USACOM asks for at least three letters of recommendation. At least two must be from faculty who have taught the applicant, including one from a science faculty member. One of the letters must be from someone who has known and observed the applicant on a personal basis.
3. What are the requirements of the PhD program at USACOM?
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Two semesters or three quarters of undergraduate coursework are recommended in Physics, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology, English Composition, and Mathematics (including Calculus and Statistics). Along with a completed application, students need to submit a receipt of transcripts, personal statement (maximum of 2 pages), and three letters of recommendation (requested through the application system).
4. What matching system is used by the residency programs at USACOM?
Routine applications at USACOM are accepted through the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), and the matching is managed by the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).
5. For an out-of-state applicant, what would be the total cost of attendance?
Out-of-state applicants can expect to pay $93,138 as the total cost of attendance. Of this, $64,764 is the cost of tuition and fees.
6. What residency programs are offered by USACOM?
The University of South Alabama College of Medicine offers residencies in Emergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine / Pediatrics (Combined Program), Neurology, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Pathology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Radiology, and Surgery.
7. How many interviews will I have to sit for?
There are two interview rounds, along with two Q&A segments.
8. Is there a waitlist for the University of South Alabama College of Medicine?
There are 40 students on the waitlist in every cycle, and about 30 of them receive offers.
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