M.D. Admissions Requirements
Below are the requirements an applicant must meet in order to be accepted at the VCU School of Medicine.
All applications should be made through the American Medical College Application Services (AMCAS). Applications must be submitted to AMCAS no later than 11:59 pm EST on December 1. Early Decision Program (EDP): Applications must be submitted to AMCAS no later than 11:59 pm EST on August 1. Acceptance offers must be sent by October 1. The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is required for admission. Applicants are required to take the MCAT within three years of their application.
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine participates in the American College Application Services (AMCAS). All application materials may be obtained through AMCAS.
VCU SOM seeks to admit students with the potential to become competent and caring physicians with a passion for learning and a commitment to serving others. VCU SOM weighs all these attributes in making decisions:
- Grade Point Average
- Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
- Community/Volunteer Service (preference non-clinical)
- Patient Exposure
We strongly encourage students to meet with their premedical advisor as they prepare to apply to medical school. Premedical advisors are familiar with the admissions requirements of most medical schools.
Grade Point Average (GPA)
The minimum acceptable GPA is 3.3. Applicants with a science, non-science, or overall GPA below 3.3 will not be considered. The average GPA is approximately 3.7 in science, non-science, and overall. All grades received for college credit are included in the AMCAS GPA calculation. If a course is repeated, both grades received for that course are calculated into the GPA.
Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
It is best to take the MCAT when you are most prepared. All applicants are required to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Submit your existing MCAT scores with your AMCAS application. Our committee has elected to apply the highest attempt. The minimum required on the new MCAT is 503. The average MCAT 508. Applicants can register for the MCAT by visiting www.aamc.org.
Changes to MCAT information in AMCAS
- If there is any change to your MCAT intent (changing your "Addl MCAT Intent Date" to a future date or removing it), you must recertify and resubmit your AMCAS application in order for this change to become an official update. Simply saving the change and exiting the application is not enough.
If you are taking the MCAT after you submit your AMCAS application, your application will possibly be held for further decision until your MCAT scores are received. To avoid any delay in reviewing your application once your scores are received, we suggest that you go ahead and pay your Supplemental Application Fee and submit your Supplemental Application.
- If you indicated on your AMCAS application that you were going to take an MCAT exam on a particular date but do not take it, notify our office by email so that we can go ahead and review your application.
- If you indicated that you were not going to retake the MCAT exam on your AMCAS application but changed your mind and will take the exam again, in or before September, you must notify our office by email so that we will hold your application for review for an interview decision until we receive those scores.
It is recommended and customary that a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution be completed prior to enrollment. Students must demonstrate that they have acquired a broad education that extends beyond the basic sciences to include the social sciences, history, arts, and languages. Broad academic training provides prospective physicians with the strong scientific skills necessary to continue study in medical science as well as a comprehensive understanding of social, historical and cultural forces that affect their professional lives and the lives of their patients.
- English or writing intensive courses: six credits of writing intensive courses. Other courses may be subtituted upon request, please contact the admissions office.
- College mathematics: six credits of college level math/statistics
- Biological science: eight semester hours, including laboratory. This may be satisfied by general biology, general zoology, or botany. No more than half may be botany.
- General or introductory chemistry: eight semester hours, including laboratory. A portion of this requirement may be met by courses in analytical chemistry or physical chemistry.
- Organic chemistry: eight semester hours, including laboratory. Biochemistry may be substituted for half of the organic chemistry semester hours requirement. The courses should be equivalent to and acceptable for continued studies in a chemistry major.
- General or introductory physics: eight semester hours, including laboratory experience.
- Upper level biological science courses. Such as biochemistry, cell biology, anatomy, embryology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, immunology or neuroscience.
- Psychology: Highly recommended
- Sociology: Highly recommended
Students are encouraged to pursue their own intellectual interests in college in order to obtain a broad education consistent with their major program. Courses in medically related science areas will not relieve the student of his/her responsibility for these subjects in the medical curriculum. Science GPA is highly regarded by the Admissions Committee.
We accept AP and CLEP credit to meet premedical course requirements, if documented on an official transcript. Please note that lab credit will still be required. Applicants may meet lab credit with the lab sections of advanced science courses or practical experience, such as documented relevant experience in a research lab.
Physicians serve people from a variety of economic and educational backgrounds as well as a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Become more culturally competent while offering your time and talents to others.
Community/Volunteer service is defined as involvement in a service activity without constraint or guarantee of reward or compensation. The medical profession is strongly oriented to service in the community. Applicants should demonstrate a commitment to the community by involving themselves in service and volunteer activities. Work performed in service learning courses and community service performed as part of employment does not satisfy this requirement.
Volunteer for service organizations and become an active participant. Consider the American Red Cross, your local Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity, community recreational facilities, faith-based organizations, homeless shelters, food banks, domestic assault centers, public schools, etc.
- Contact the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (or equivalent) at your college.
- Contact the community organizers of Special Olympics or Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
- Volunteer at a summer camp for disabled or chronically ill children.
- Consider Peace Corps or AmeriCorps service.
(Average is 200 hours within the last 4 years)
Medical / Clinical Experiences
Your goal to become a physician must be based upon experience. Long term, in-depth medical/clinical work and/or volunteer experiences will help you understand yourself and the medical profession while serving others. Seek out medical, clinical, and shadowing opportunities, whether paid and volunteer, within your community and your college or university.
Patient exposure is defined as direct interaction with patients and hands-on involvement in the care of conscious people in a health care-related environment, attending to their health maintenance, progression, or end of life needs. It is important that the applicant be comfortable working with and around people who are ill, sick, injured, or diseased.
Direct patient exposure can be gained in a variety of ways e.g. volunteering or working in hospitals, emergency rooms, clinics or nursing care facilities, hospice, or physical rehabilitation centers. Patient contact does not include indirect patient care such as housekeeping (cleaning, operating, or patient rooms) staffing the hospital information desk, or working in a pharmacy.
- Train and serve as a hospice volunteer (see the Yellow Pages).
- Contact volunteer coordinators at your local American Red Cross, hospitals, geriatric centers, or clinics.
- Secure a position providing home health care services.
- Work as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant (CNA), an EMT, or at a camp for disabled or chronically ill children.
- Secure a physician mentor. Contact your own physician or physicians who practice in the medical career areas that most interest you.
- Keep a journal detailing the insights you have gained from your medical/clinical experiences. This can assist you when writing personal statements and secondary essays.
Note: Physician shadowing and caring for friends and family members cannot be used to meet this requirement.