No. WUSM does not send out invitations; all applicants are able to complete our supplemental application.
Due to the transition to the Gateway Curriculum, Washington University School of Medicine is no longer accepting advanced standing (transfer) applications from students at other medical schools. See this page for more background, the full policy and its rationale.
Each of our applicants is very different and brings something different to the class, so there is not one thing that we are looking for. We look at your entire application very carefully, including your coursework, MCAT, research experiences, volunteer experiences, shadowing or other medical experiences, your personal statement and letters of recommendation. We like to see WHY you are choosing a career in medicine, and also why you are choosing WashU.
We would recommend looking at AAMC’s Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students. That is our benchmark for personal characteristics we are looking for.
We look for candidates who would be able to “push the envelope”. We know that WUSM has a lot to offer. We want someone who can take what WUSM has and not only make the most of it, but bring something more to the table. Humility and being a team player are key attributes. We look for applicants who are collaborative, open to feedback and life-long learning and who have demonstrated grit and perseverance.
The MCAT is just one small part of your application that the Admissions Committee considers, along with your GPA , your experiences (research; volunteer; leadership) and your personal attributes (work ethic, determination, desire to help others and communication skills).
The short answer is that it does not play a key role. We examine this information for context within our holistic review process. For example, if an applicant has attended college at WashU, they will have the advantage of knowing the city and institution, and have developed established relationships with the faculty. We are looking to bring in students from a wide variety of undergraduate institutions. In a recent cycle, we accepted students from 111 different colleges.
We do review applicants in the context of our institutional mission and vision. Moreover, we are interested in educating tomorrow’s leaders in biomedicine. Many of our graduates are interested in academic or leadership roles. We seek excellent communicators, people who are energized by other people and people with multiple longitudinal life experiences. Candidates with a passion for community health and a multicultural perspective do very well in our Gateway Curriculum.
There is no single “best” type of clinical experience. We are mainly looking to see that you have had some exposure to the medical profession in a clinical setting and been able to observe physician/patient interactions. You should have some idea of what you are getting into with a career in medicine, and should be able to reflect on what you have learned from your experiences.
Research is not a requirement for applicants, but since we are a research-focused institution, it would be a little unusual for someone with no research experience or exposure to apply. Note that it doesn’t have to be a basic science/bench research experience. There are many types of research. The Admissions Committee looks at your overall research experience and, more importantly, your ability to critically think and analyze. We understand that many applicants come from schools without robust research programs. An applicant does not need to have publications.
We see all types of undergraduate degrees and majors in our applicant pool; none is specifically preferred by our Admissions Committee.
Our process does not place any specific weight on a master’s degree. If you pursue one, ideally it should align with your interests and career goals rather than being aimed specifically at boosting your GPA.
We are most interested in your undergraduate GPA, but also look at any other grades that are available. Grading in graduate school tends to be nonstandardized. Often, the grading is not rigorous, as the emphasis in graduate school may be on research activities, rather than classroom work. Some special master’s programs are specifically designed to boost GPA and it is difficult to take the grades at face value. We try to take a holistic view of the student’s overall academic performance. An upward trajectory is good. We understand that there are factors that can lead to decrements in performance. It is rare for us to see an unblemished 4.00 GPA.
Superior performance in graduate school can demonstrate the ability to master complex scientific concepts and rigorous material. This may demonstrate competency, especially when previous undergraduate performance was suboptimal.
In general, postbacc grades become part of the undergraduate GPA. These calculations are made by AMCAS.
We encourage and welcome applications from non-traditional students. When we receive files from career changers, we want to be sure they understand the clinical environment and career path, so patient-facing activities are important. Most important for any applicant, but especially non-traditional applicants, is to build a suitably wide school list (as you organize where you will apply). For specific scenarios, it would be better to seek advice from a premedical advisor.
We are a private institution. We have no in-state preference of any kind. The vast majority of our students are not from Missouri. The top states of legal residence contributing students to the Entering Class of 2022, for example, were California, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Minnesota, New York, and Utah, but this can vary widely from year to year.
We view reapplicants positively. However, we want to see how you have strengthened your application or learn about what you did/plan to do (e.g., any new activities, leadership, publications) during your gap time and how that related to medicine. It may be worth having an advisor take a look at your new application, including the personal statement.
We welcome updates on experiences/awards/honors/publications, etc., after the initial submission. These can be uploaded in our applicant portal or mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Often, applicants will send us updates even after their interview day, and the Admissions Committee will review these. There is no specific deadline.
Approximately 30 are accepted per year, but this is not something that we track or target in any specific way.
International applicants are compared to all other applicants. Citizenship status is not taken into account for our admissions decisions.
Per our policy, applicants must have completed 90 credit hours in an approved U.S. or Canadian institution. We accept credits from a limited number of “American Colleges Overseas” as defined in the AMCAS Applicant Guide. Study-abroad credits that appear on a U.S. institution’s transcript are acceptable. We are able to consider students with an international undergraduate degree and a U.S. graduate degree if the latter includes 90 credit hours.
Decisions may be released at any time. All applicants will received a decision (acceptance, rejection, or an invitation to join the alternate list) by April 15, 2024. We plan to release the majority of our decisions on the following four dates: 12/26/23, 2/12/24, 3/4/24, and 3/25/24. There is no correlation between the date of your interview and the date when you can expect a decision.
Official notification will come via our admissions portal, mdapply.wustl.edu. Acceptances from the MD admissions process will have the subject line, “Acceptance to Washington University School of Medicine”. Other decisions will have the subject line, “Application to Washington University School of Medicine”. In many cases, accepted applicants will also receive a congratulatory personal phone call.
We use all of these formats. We know that students learn in many different ways. We try to choose the educational approach that will best serve students and the material. We have 7 “modules” as part of our pre-clinical Phase 2, and some module leads prefer more in-person v. zoom or vice versa. Each module includes lots of group learning in both large and small groups.
During Phase 1, all medical students take a series of modules on a pre-determined schedule that is similar for all. There is some flexibility in the EXPLORE curriculum. While students cannot accelerate the curriculum, there are some options to decelerate or take a leave of absence if indicated. Students would discuss these options with the Associate Dean of Student Affairs.
Grading System for the three phases of the Gateway Curriculum:
Phase 1—Credit/No Credit for individual courses; Competent/Not-Competent at end of phase for six competency domains.
Phase 2-–Competent/Not-Competent in patients care for each core clerkship; Competent/Competent with Distinction/Not-Competent at end of phase in foundational knowledge, interpersonal communication skills, and patient care domains; Competent/Not-Competent at end of phase in systems-based practice, professionalism, and practice-based learning and improvement
Phase 3–Credit/No Credit for individual courses; Competent/Competent with Distinction/Not-Competent at end of phase in systems-based practice and practice-based learning and improvement; Competent/Not-Competent for each at end of phase for foundational knowledge, patient care, interpersonal communication skills, and professionalism.
Because we are a competency-based program, students complete multiple assessments that provide information about their level of knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes in each of the program objectives (also known as competencies). These assessments include things like tests, essays, direct observation of clinical skills by faculty or others, standardized patients and simulations, and project work, to name just a few. Assessments are combined in a portfolio for evaluation by a committee of faculty who look at a student’s overall performance in each program objective. The portfolio is also provided for the student, to review it with a coach (medical students generally work with the same faculty coach throughout the 4 years of training). At each step along the way, the student receives feedback to better understand one’s strengths as well as one’s opportunities for growth and for advancement of skills. We believe this structure provides the developing doctor with lifelong and self-directed learning skills that are so critical to being an outstanding physician in this rapidly changing medical environment.
There are numerous clinical sites available to our students. Within the immediate medical center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital have a total capacity of about 1,893 beds. Both of these hospitals provide large amounts of care for the medically underserved in the St. Louis community. In 2022, the medical center hospitals logged 1,535,438 outpatient visits and 103,604 hospital discharges. Students also rotate through other hospitals in the community including Missouri Baptist Medical Center, the Veterans Administration Medical Center, and Progress West. Other clinical settings include the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) Care STL and Affinia, in addition to sites in rural Missouri with primary care preceptors. A substantial percentage of our students do rotations at other institutions, both inside and outside the United States.
Students can be assigned to a variety of locations for individual rotations but most clinical assignments are on our central campus. Per our transportation policy, we ask students to acknowledge that they may need to travel to locations outside of the central campus. We do not have any satellite or regional campuses.
Yes, medical students complete their pediatric rotations at SLCH.
We have patient exposure starting almost immediately through our clinical mentoring program, where 4th-year students are paired with 1st-year students to see patients and practice clinical skills in the hospital setting, observing students as they do a history and physical on an admitted patient, providing immediate feedback. Then, there are a multitude of ways this is accomplished through the formal curriculum, particularly by seeing different patient populations through dedicated hospital time during “Immersions” in Phase 1 and Rotations in Phase 2.
In Phase 1, students become exposed to clinical medicine through what the Gateway Curriculum terms “immersion experiences”—all of these occur before starting your core clerkships (in Phase 2). Immersions that are three separate 3-week blocks where first-year students essentially do a “mini rotation” in the hospital or one of WashU’s affiliated locations. They take place in (i) an outpatient (including urgent/emergent care) setting, (ii) an inpatient setting, and (iii) a Perioperative-Periprocedural-Procedural (including Labor & Delivery) setting. There are no other classes during these “Immersion” three-week blocks, which allows students to fully function as part of the team and get “immersed” in the clinical environment, early on. During Immersions, attention is given to clinical skills, the social and health systems sciences and professional identity formation. For example, for Immersions in the Department of Radiology, students spend time on a specific clinical service, such as the ultrasound service, where diagnostic scans and biopsies are performed. They get to work with technicians, residents and attending physicians.
Clinical application of medical science is built into the didactic curriculum as well. Students hear from patients throughout Phase 1, depending on the teaching module, which helps contextualize the effects of certain diseases and disorders on various populations.
There are also numerous opportunities through affinity and extracurricular groups to go out into the community and learn ways to support different populations as well.
We have a formal “Patients, Physicians, Systems and Society” component that includes health equity and justice as a thread. Advocacy/global health is also one of the formal tracks within our EXPLORE program. Our new curriculum provides international research opportunities as well as formal didactics in global and international health (see https://global.wustl.edu/studies/school-of-medicine and https://mdadmissions.wustl.edu/education/service-learning/international-health). WU’s Institute of Public Health has many international experiences for our students. This focus is increasing rapidly. As part of the University’s strategic plan, Here and Next, a new School of Public Health will soon be created. The MD/MPH here can be examined online as well.
Ethics is a formal thread in the Gateway Curriculum, built into Phase 1 and Phase 3. Moreover, one learns it in practice through role models. There is a high standard expected from faculty, which sets the right tone when students see medicine in practice.
WUSM students consistently have pass rates above the national average on USMLE Step 1 (graded pass/fail since 2022). Students can obtain help with USMLE from many sources. Sessions are provided on exam content, general study strategies, and tips and tricks for success. In addition to providing each student with a subscription to the UWorld question bank for Step 1 and 2, the school provides vouchers for practice exams. Any student who desires individualized help with the boards can obtain it from medical school faculty with experience mentoring students in preparing for boards.
The Office of Program Evaluation & Continuous Quality Improvement at Washington University School of Medicine is dedicated to overseeing the evaluation of the MD educational program. The faculty and educational administration keep an open-door policy, meaning that they are always willing to talk to students about their concerns. Day-to-day informal access to curricular element leaders provides a means for students to communicate with faculty about learning methods and course material. At the end of each module, clerkship, and elective, students complete evaluations regarding the curricular element, including relevance of the material, organization, quality of instructors/leaders, and educational methods. This information becomes part of a formal curriculum evaluation process reported through governing committees to consider changes for individual elements or the curriculum as a whole. Input from students is highly valued by the faculty and administration and frequently leads to substantive changes. Examples of changes that have resulted include the following:
- The preclinical curricular elements are Credit/No Credit.
- Curricular element leaders are responsible for providing written responses to formative feedback provided by students.
- The teaching of biostatistics was overhauled to emphasize clinical applications of biostatistics and the use of biostatistics in the critical appraisal of new information.
- Interactive/active learning strategies (e.g., audience response systems, case-based learning, team-based learning) have been added to the classroom setting.
- Based on student requests, lectures are digitally recorded and available via the learning management system.
- Incorporated Narrative Assessment opportunities for all longitudinal team activities
FINANCIAL AID Questions
International students (non-U.S. citizens/green card holders) are not eligible to receive need-based financial aid, but there is a possibility of being awarded a merit-based scholarship. See https://mdadmissions.wustl.edu/how-to-apply/financial-aid/. Such funding could be a full or partial tuition scholarship. It may be possible to access loans in your home country. WUSM policy is that international students must escrow four years of tuition plus expenses.
We have many resources for financial aid, so don’t rule out WashU based only on its cost. More info can be found here.
We do have a lot of students choose careers in primary care fields. OBGYN is a popular field, and we always have a lot of students choose Pediatrics and Internal Medicine as well. We enthusiastically support our students who match in Family Medicine, but of note, there is no Department of Family Medicine or residency program in this specific field at WashU.
STUDENT LIFE-related Questions
The leadership of Washington University and the medical school is strongly committed to the recruitment, selection, education, retention and graduation of a diverse student body in a culture that supports diversity, inclusion, critical thinking and creativity. For example, the class that entered in 2022 came from 63 different undergraduate institutions, 31 different states and seven foreign countries. Fifty-two (52) percent of the class was female and approximately 42 percent were from groups underrepresented in medicine.
We take pride in the approachability of everyone here at every level. Everyone is kind and invested in the success of students and patients. Our class members are very intelligent and accomplished, yet easy to talk to and very fun. We have an excellent infrastructure for student research that has existed for decades and gets better every year. One of the best ways to see what is unique about WashU (and the students here) is to take a look at the WashU Dis-Orientation Guide; it’s a manual put together by current students every year for incoming students. St. Louis is affordable and our medical campus is in a great neighborhood and located adjacent to Forest Park, an urban park with activities and museums.
Our student population is diverse. We value regional/national diversity, socioeconomic diversity, diversity of interests, traditional/nontraditional students, veteran status—there is no one particular type of student here. Our students typically have very diverse interests and often have many interests outside of science/medicine. We have many student interest groups to support those interests, such as groups focused on art, music and theatre. From a student perspective, WashU really seems to be a place for students who are driven and curious. WashU is a “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” school that will empower you to pursue any clinical/research/community work that interests you, alongside ensuring that you have a rock-solid clinical education.
Many students have children while in medical school. Our Match Day footage shows just how many students have families! Student Health Services offers a dependent care benefit.
Medical students are organized into three academic societies. In addition, students are assigned faculty coaches beginning the first year—these are small groups of approximately eight people that continue throughout all four years of medical school. There are also innumerable student groups on campus for this purpose.
Many students get involved with the various students interest groups, which are always putting on great events. Outside of class and interest groups, there is so much to do! The Art Museum, History Museum, Science Center, and Zoo are all free and frequented by students. Students go out to restaurants, bars, breweries, hang out in the huge Forest Park, play pickleball, go salsa dancing, and so much more!
There is lots to point to—for example, see https://students.wustl.edu/trans-washu/ and the work of our Office of Diversity Programs. There is an OUTList/ALLYlist of mentors and allies who could tell you more about our supportive community and resources. See https://lgbtqmed.med.wustl.edu/lgbtq-at-washu/outlist/.
We asked a current student to weigh in on this one. “As a current student, I would say that my classmates are a very diverse group of students coming from many different backgrounds. I found that the admissions office did an excellent job of recruiting students to the university who are interested in collaborating with one another and succeeding together. For example, it has been commonplace for students to share notes and study materials before big exams or rotations. Moreover, there are organizations and support staff on campus whose job is to help ensure student success, whether that be with the adjustment of moving to a new city, financial planning, scientific writing, registering for classes, even finding new social networks to make friends. As a first-generation college student, this whole journey can seem overwhelming, and I consider myself lucky to have the support of the WashU staff. If you think of it, I can bet it’s here. Medical school is hard, but I think WashU does a great deal to help make the journey as navigable as possible for any student who steps on campus.”
Another thought in terms of thriving here is WashU’s emphasis on wellness. See the many facets of it here: https://md.wustl.edu/resources/wellness/.
STUDENT INVOLVEMENT-related Questions
Students are actively involved in decision-making related to their medical student education through the committee structure. Students are voting members on all committees that oversee and also ensure continuous quality improvement of medical student programs. Student members of these committees include both elected students (e.g., the medical education representatives), as well as students selected at large. These committees review and make decisions about issues ranging from policy to accreditation standards.
Medical students at Washington University are active in the medical center and in the community. The student government class officers meet with the deans regularly to be kept up to date on things that are going on within the School of Medicine. The student government plays an important role in curriculum development. Students are actively engaged in the community in the Health, Equity and Justice curriculum and student programs.
Examples of community engagement and student programs include the following:
- CHOICES (Choosing Healthy Options in our Community, Environment, and Schools) for Youth in Detention is an innovative outreach effort dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of incarcerated teens.
- In the Perinatal Project, students pair up with a single, expectant mother and provide support through her pregnancy, delivery and post-partum time. (Another program that begins in the first-year puts students to work as patients’ health advocates.)
- The Pediatric Life Savers teach CPR classes to the families of infants in the NICU of St. Louis Children’s Hospital so that these primary caretakers learn how to respond to certain medical emergencies prior to taking their infant home.
- There are various other student groups, including those focused on music, art, sports, religion, and literature. Student publications include the Dis-Orientation Guide and Hippocrene. For a complete list of student organizations, click here.
Our teaching partners, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, are important safety net hospitals in the city of St. Louis. Community engagement/service learning is integrated into the health equity and justice portions of the Gateway Curriculum. Some activities are organized for the students, but many they organize themselves via student groups with a mentoring, health outreach, wellness or teaching focus. For more on community involvement, check out https://sites.wustl.edu/diso2023-24/student-groups/advocacy/.
The WUSM Student Interprofessional Clinic is interdisciplinary, with MD, PT, OT, and social service navigation. The clinic operates on Fridays from 1 to 4pm and is located at 4444 Forest Park Ave.
WashU provides support for underrepresented populations in medicine both at the School of Medicine and the surrounding community. Through our active LMSA and SNMA chapters, students are heavily involved in partnership programs aiming to improve health access in the community. A few examples are Casa de Salud (a free health clinic that aims to provide health services to Spanish speaking and refugee and immigrant populations in St. Louis) and Schnucks Health Screenings (held at local grocery stores in areas that are in specific need of health services).
Additionally, there are programs offered by the School of Medicine that aim to improve access to and awareness of healthcare careers for those underrepresented in medicine. A few of these include Saturday Scholars and the Young Scientist Program, two programs hosted by students and administration that aim to provide local high schoolers opportunities to learn more about medicine and research through summer research opportunities and anatomy labs.
From a student perspective, we have our LGBTQmed group – https://lgbtqmed.med.wustl.edu/ . Among other things, they are involved with both our patient population and the larger St. Louis community. There are also several organizations within BJC (our partner health system). Additionally, Barnes-Jewish Hospital is the safety-net hospital in St. Louis when it comes to the underserved and underinsured, so you will have the opportunity to work with patients from all different backgrounds during medical school. Throughout your time as a student, there are lots of opportunities to be involved in the St. Louis community and have a real impact on patients. You can learn a little bit more about our facilities and whom we serve here – https://www.bjc.org/About-Us/Facts-Figures .
EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT-related Questions
WashU has many mentorship opportunities for students and trainees throughout their educational timeline. Entering students are given “big sibs”, which are M2 “older siblings” when they first get to WashU.
Many students gain faculty mentors/contacts/advisors through contacts made in the classroom and in the clinic. Other venues for forming these relationships are the student-led medical specialty interest groups and the student identity groups, like our Student National Medical Association and LGBTQmed.
Another venue for mentoring is our Gateway Coaching Program, which all students participate in (see https://md.wustl.edu/career-development/coaching/). Trained faculty coaches meet with students regularly in group and individual settings. Students in our Gateway Curriculum love their coaching group and the relationships they develop with their faculty coaches!
Support services are available for all medical students, with some student groups that focus on peer support and others that bring students together in a spirit of multiculturalism. For women, there is the Women in Science and Medicine Program, a social and professional organization that responds to the interests and needs of all women in the medical center.
The Asian-Pacific American Medical Students Association provides opportunities for students from all backgrounds to promote health advocacy and outreach to the Asian Pacific American populations of St. Louis. Most recently, a WUSM chapter of the Alliance of Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses in Medicine was formed in 2020 as part of the national organization. This group aims to create a community by and for students with disabilities and chronic illnesses and their allies.
The Office of Diversity Programs provides advising and support services, community partnerships for medical students and a network of residents and faculty from diverse groups. Students are supported by an active chapter of the Student National Medical Association, Latino Medical Student Association, and LGBTQMed, a student-run interest group dedicated to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) identity and health. Additionally, students have access to networking and mentoring opportunities with OUTmed, an organization for LGBTQ+-identified faculty, residents, fellows and staff at Washington University School of Medicine.
The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion provides leadership, expertise and advocacy on all diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within Washington University School of Medicine. They work in partnership and collaboration with all departments and groups to direct, lead and advance institutional efforts that create a welcoming, diverse and inclusive environment where everyone who learns, trains, conducts research, teaches, works and seeks care within our campus community is included, valued and respected.
More information about WUSM student groups may be found here.
Consider the resources available through WashU’s emphasis on wellness: https://md.wustl.edu/resources/wellness/ . We pride ourselves on supporting our students.
We have many resources at WUSM. Every week in Phase 1, students meet with a physician who serves as their “coach” and provides them with confidential support throughout our entire educational journey. Students review their competency portfolio with their coach, and the Competency Attainment Committee reviews progress periodically and will reach out with resources and support as needed. There are frequent TA sessions, free tutoring, help sessions led by faculty during the modules, and discussion boards for questions. All faculty are also very receptive to helping students via email or after class. This is in addition to support such as easy access to mental health resources and health care! Holistic wellness is important and definitely a focus of everyone at WUSM when it comes to students.
The Becker Medical Library, the McDonnell Medical Sciences Building, and Farrell Learning and Teaching Center (FLTC) house extensive computer facilities for our students, including pay-for-print network printers. In addition to desktop computers with full access, many students access the internet and online materials using their personal laptops and mobile devices via the wireless service provided at the medical school. Students are able to access all online course content and related materials stored at the medical school. These include course schedules, syllabi, interactive online sessions, topical videos, presentations, medical images and other course content.
Written transcripts of the lectures are not produced, but each class is video-recorded live. Following each lecture, a link to the class recording is placed on the course’s online database and is accessible by internet. In addition to the class recordings, the online databases also contain written lecture materials and associated PowerPoint files.
Washington University is world-renowned for its research faculty, facilities and opportunities. As a Washington University medical student, it is easy to gain research experience; there are abundant opportunities over the course of the Gateway Curriculum’s three phases. Students may complete research longitudinally over the duration of their time at Washington University, working with experienced and dedicated mentors. Students have time dedicated to learning foundations of scholarship and to work on projects in Phase 1 as part of the EXPLORE Immersion. Students may also take up to 16 weeks for research activities in Phase 2 or Phase 3. In addition, for students who desire longer research experiences, there are one-year research opportunities, and opportunities to pursue dual degrees including the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MD/MSCI), Master of Business Administration (MD/MBA), Master of Population Health Sciences (MD/MPHS), Master of Public Health (MD/MPH), and Master of Biomedical Informatics (MD/MS-BMI). For some of these programs, financial support is available. Students may also spend time at the NIH doing research. In recent years, more than 90 percent of medical students participated in research of some type during medical school.
It is not a requirement, though there are plenty of opportunities to get involved! Approximately 95% of students will get involved in scholarly work of some type. All students participate in the EXPLORE program, which teaches the tools to explore four different pathways (Research; Education; Innovation; or Advocacy/Global Health). It’s tied to career development and professional identity formation, as well. WashU is more focused on helping students pursue their interests than on insisting that they complete a traditional research project. Students who do have a research interest often find opportunities via the Office of Medical Student Research. See https://mdadmissions.wustl.edu/education/research for more information.
For general inquiries regarding MD admissions, contact us by email via email@example.com or by phone, (314) 362-6858.