Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) follows the holistic review process recommended by the AAMC, using balanced consideration of an applicant’s experiences, attributes and metrics to determine their potential contribution to both our entering medical student class and to the field of medicine.
The School has established a list of prerequisites for admission (see “Required course work” section below). Courses used to meet prerequisites must be taken through an accredited U.S. university or college and appear on a transcript. The Committee on Admissions will consider both the rigor of the applicant’s curriculum, their performance in each class, and grading practices at their institution. We do accept courses that have been taken pass/fail. We also accept courses taken at a community college, through a summer school or utilizing an online course of instruction. Prerequisites may be met in this manner. However, the majority of classes, especially science classes, should optimally be taken for a letter grade at an individual’s primary undergraduate institution.
The Committee on Admissions recognizes that COVID-19 has created a unique situation where an applicant my have taken one or more courses on a pass/fail or credit/no credit basis. These courses will be accepted and considered as usual in the context of the rest of the applicant’s portfolio. We continue to monitor the situation and recognize the need to be flexible in our evaluation of candidates.
Standards for admission are high. Applicants are expected to possess high character, aptitude, integrity and motivation suitable for a career in medicine. Other personal attributes considered include strong communication skills, extracurricular accomplishments and a balanced lifestyle, including hobbies and recreational interests.
A major goal of undergraduate college work should be the development of the intellectual talents of the individual. This often involves the in-depth pursuit of some area of knowledge, whether in the humanities, the social sciences or the natural sciences. At the same time, a diversity of background is encouraged in order to provide a necessary foundation for the development of cultural awareness, sensitivity and competence. A great variety of courses and life experiences may prepare students for the many roles they may play in their medical careers; specific course prerequisites may be found below.
Medical College Admissions Test
The MCAT must be completed before an application is considered. We accept MCAT results that are up to three years old at the time of application. Thus, when applying for the 2022 first-year class, MCAT test dates must be no older than 2018.
WUSM recognizes the unique challenges that COVID-19 has caused for many applicants in the 2022 application cycle. To assist with one aspect of the application process, the Committee on Admissions has extended the latest MCAT scores that will be considered, and will now accept scores from January 2018 through September 2021 test dates.
With this accommodation, the Committee on Admissions for WUSM acknowledges that delivery of test scores may be later than is typical for some applicants. We will strive to be flexible in this 2022 application cycle, and believe our December 7, 2021 deadline for MCAT scores, the secondary application and related materials allows adequate time for these adjustments.
Hours of undergraduate study
At least 90 semester hours must be completed in an approved college or university prior to matriculation.
Required prerequisite course work
A minimum of one year or equivalent advanced placement in:
- General or inorganic chemistry
- Organic chemistry*
* One semester of biochemistry may be substituted for one semester of organic chemistry. A course in biochemistry, though not required, is encouraged.
** Statistics may be substituted for one semester of calculus.
In selected instances, one or more of these prerequisites may be waived by the Committee on Admissions.
Majors and areas of study
No single major is preferred. Although many applicants will have majored in science, engineering or math, applications from those who have majored in the humanities, social sciences or the arts are equally welcome.
Applicants for admission to Washington University School of Medicine who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents should be aware of our School’s policy regarding the financial documentation we require for issuance of a Visa by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Visa Services. This policy applies to all applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., including DACA students. Quoting from the Policy for International Students in the Bulletin of Washington University School of Medicine:
The admission decision at Washington University School of Medicine is based on academic and personal merit and not on the ability of the student to pay the costs of education. However, individuals who are not citizens of the United States of America or who do not hold U.S. Permanent Resident Visa status are not eligible for federal financial aid due to regulations covering many programs used by the School to fund financial assistance. Therefore, in order for the School to complete the required documents which are necessary for issuance of a Visa, the student must document, by a date and in a manner designated by the School, that the necessary amount of funds, as established by the School, is available to pay the costs of education (tuition and living expenses) for the anticipated period of enrollment, normally four years. Documentation of the required amount of financial resources may be by a letter of credit or by deposit of funds in an escrow account with a bank designated by the School.
International and DACA students who are accepted for admission must provide the required financial documentation following acceptance by May 1st prior to matriculation.
Note that all accepted students, including international students and DACA students, are considered for merit scholarships.
Technical Standards Statement
Washington University welcomes diverse applicants, including those with physical, sensory, learning, psychological, and chronic disease-related disabilities. The School of Medicine is committed to advocating for its students with disabilities and to educating a medical workforce that mirrors the diversity of the national population. We aim to be leaders in accessibility and inclusion.
Individuals seeking to graduate from Washington University with a Doctor of Medicine degree are expected to gain broad competence in the skills that underlie the practice of medicine and surgery. With or without accommodations, they must have the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to meet the School of Medicine’s educational program objectives and meet the Technical Standards outlined in this document.
All graduates must be able to take a patient’s history, perform an examination, and synthesize the findings into an assessment and plan in a reliable and effective manner, with or without reasonable accommodations. Abilities needed to meet these standards include:
- Observation Skills, including gaining information from instructional activities, taking a history, and recognizing and evaluating physical findings
- Communication Skills, including effective verbal and non-verbal communication with patients, caregivers, the health care team, and the education community
- Motor Function, including navigating the clinical environment and performing a physical examination
- Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative, and Quantitative Abilities, including acquiring, synthesizing and applying foundational knowledge and clinical data
- Behavioral, Social and Professional Attributes, including functioning as a compassionate, respectful, effective, ethical member of the health care and education community; receiving and acting on feedback; possessing the emotional and mental health needed to provide patient care; and prioritizing patient care in the face of competing demands
Applicants to the MD program review and attest to their ability to meet these technical standards as part of their application to the School of Medicine, and students attest again on an annual basis.
We welcome students with disabilities to apply to our school, to disclose their disability, and to collaborate with us to develop accommodations so that they can thrive and do their best work. Individuals who anticipate needing accommodations are encouraged to contact the University’s Disability Resources office for a consultation. The office will engage in a confidential and interactive process with the student and other personnel as necessary to determine reasonable accommodations. As accommodations are not applied retroactively and may require time to be implemented, they should be requested in a timely manner. Decisions on admission, retention and graduation will not be affected by the need for accommodations.