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 prerequisite course work“, below). Courses used to meet prerequisites must be taken through an accredited university or college (see “Hours of undergraduate study“, below) and appear on an official transcript. The Committee on Admissions will consider the rigor of the applicant’s curriculum, their performance in each class, and grading practices at each respective institution. We do accept courses that have been taken pass/fail or pass/no pass. We also accept courses taken at a community college, through a summer school or online, as long as the institution meets our accreditation requirements. 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 the global pandemic has created a unique situation where an applicant may have taken one or more courses on a pass/fail or pass/no pass 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.
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is required. The MCAT must be completed before an application is considered and we accept MCAT results that are up to three years old at the time of application. WUSM recognizes the unique challenges that the pandemic has caused for many applicants in the 2023 application cycle. The Committee on Admissions has extended the latest MCAT scores that will be considered, and will now accept scores from January 2019 through September 2022 test dates.
With this accommodation, the WUSM Committee on Admissions acknowledges that delivery of test scores may be later than is typical for some applicants. We will strive to be flexible in the 2023 application cycle, and believe our December 7, 2022 deadline for MCAT scores, the secondary application and related materials allows adequate time for these adjustments.
At least 90 semester hours must be completed in an approved college or university prior to matriculation. WUSM will only accept credits earned at (or appearing on a transcript from) an institution accredited by one of the seven regional Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) bodies in the United States, institutions recognized by Universities Canada, or an American College Overseas as defined in the AMCAS Applicant Guide.
A minimum of one year (two semesters) or equivalent advanced placement in:
- Biological science
- General or inorganic chemistry
- Organic chemistry *
Laboratories in the sciences are recommended but are not required.
Possible course substitutions:
*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.
Courses are expected to be completed by the June preceding one’s matriculation to medical school (e.g., by June 2024 for the Entering Class of 2024).
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.
Letters of Recommendation or Evaluation
In general, we require three letters of recommendation, which may be submitted individually or collected for submission by a prior or current educational institution (“letter packet”). Typically, letters should come from three instructors at a college or university who know the applicant well enough to write on their behalf, at least one of whom has taught them in the sciences. Letters may also come from research mentors, extracurricular or postgraduate mentors or supervisors. If you are pursuing or have an advanced degree or at least one year of postgraduate full-time employment, it is advisable to ask a member of your graduate faculty or your work supervisor to send a letter of evaluation.
Applicants are permitted to submit a letter prepared by a premedical advisor or committee, either in addition to to individual letters, or as a substitute for them if this is the typical practice at their school.
Letters must be received by December 7, 2022. Letters should be on letterhead, dated and signed.
Letters should provide an in-depth evaluation of the applicant’s accomplishments, skills, talents and character, rather than mere recapitulations of academic achievements or course grade(s). Washington University supports the movement for letters to cover AAMC’s Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students, and encourages applicants to solicit letters from individuals who can address these competencies. Relatedly, the AAMC produces an excellent resource titled Guidelines for Writing a Letter of Evaluation for a Medical School Applicant.
Letters may be submitted by email (via email@example.com), by secure Web server (such as InterFolio or VirtualEvals), by AMCAS Letter Service or by mail. If submitted by mail, they should be directed to:
Committee on Admissions
Washington University School of Medicine
660 South Euclid Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110-1093
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 applicants who are accepted for admission must provide the required financial documentation following acceptance by May 1 prior to matriculation.
Note that all accepted applicants, including international applicants and DACA applicants, are considered for merit scholarships.
Official Notifications–Disclosures and Policies
Washington University School of Medicine has a number of policies and notifications that prospective students should be aware of; these may be found within our Facts & Resources tab, under Disclosures & Policies.