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 U.S. accredited 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 entire semester of classes in Winter/Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and/or Winter/Spring 2021 may be graded pass/fail. These grades 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
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 2021 first-year class, MCAT test dates must be no older than 2017.
WUSM recognizes the unique challenges that COVID-19 has caused for many applicants in the 2021 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 2017 through September 2020 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 especially flexible in this 2021 application cycle, and believe our December 15, 2020 deadline for 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 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 that 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 that 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
Graduates of Washington University with a Doctor of Medicine degree are expected to have broad competence in the basic skills that underlie the general practice of medicine and surgery. All graduates must be able to take a history, examine a person, synthesize the findings into a diagnosis and plan of evaluation and treatment independently. Thus, medical students must possess the requisite sensory, motor, communicative and cognitive capabilities to accomplish these requirements in a reliable manner in order to be competent and safe medical practitioners.