Need to know

University of Michigan Medical School student in lecture hall

Our position is that there is more than one path to medical school. All applicants to the University of Michigan Medical School are expected to demonstrate a strong foundation of knowledge across core scientific subjects, as well as the inter/intrapersonal skills needed by physicians to thrive in an ever-changing healthcare landscape. 

Please review a few frequently asked questions, and then let us know if we can answer any remaining ones by phone or email, or during one of our #GoBlueMed Tweet Chats.

Admissions Requirements

Each University of Michigan Medical School applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States*,
  • Have completed at least a four-year high school education or equivalent,
  • Have completed at least 90 hours of college course work, of which 60 must be from an accredited U.S. or Canadian based institution, and
  • Have taken the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

*UMMS is willing to consider Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants.
Background: To date, more than 640,000 individuals have applied for DACA status, which confers lawful U.S. presence, a social security number and work authorization, allowing for participation in medical residency training. Though still a small percentage of total applicants, the AAMC recorded an 8-fold increase in 2014 medical school applicants that identified a DACA status. 

Attributes of the Successful Candidate

The University of Michigan Medical School holistically evaluates candidates for admission across a range of attributes necessary for successful development into a compassionate, skilled physician serving the needs of a diverse and changing population. These attributes include:

  • Academic Excellence
  • Altruism
  • Written and Verbal Communication
  • Desire to Learn
  • Integrity and Ethics
  • Leadership
  • Reliability and Dependability
  • Resilience and Adaptability
  • Social/Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork

The above attributes will be used to evaluate our students not only at the time of application but throughout their medical school careers. 

Prerequisites and Core Competencies

The University of Michigan Medical School will look positively upon individuals who have discovered personal areas of academic interest through their curricular and extracurricular activities and have worked to independently develop, refine and distinguish their experiences to improve and advance healthcare.

Since the many fields of medicine offer opportunities for those talented in both humanities and the sciences, students should allow personal interests and their passion to dictate their choice of an undergraduate major. We prefer you think of our prerequisites as competencies to develop and not as specific course requirements. 

The purpose of our listed prerequisites is to identify individuals that can exhibit our core competencies. These involve demonstrated academic strength and rigor in the following areas:

  • Biomedical and Social Sciences (including skills in Written and Verbal Communication)
  • Statistical Analysis and Epidemiology
  • Hypothesis Development and Investigation
  • Analytical Thought and Problem-Solving Skills

Keep in mind that your choices to fulfill our prerequisites should demonstrate pursuit of these core competencies. More information about each competency can be found in the following four sections.  

The AAMC Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students also offers additional information.

→ Biomedical and Social Sciences

Intellectual engagement in the humanities (which may include coursework or research, for example) that emphasizes the written and verbal communication of ideas and concepts with an understanding of their historical and societal background and relevance. Understanding of ethical and analytical decision-making can be helpful. Courses offering a social science or philosophical context (such as philosophy, history, anthropology or psychology) can provide future doctors with insights that are crucial to the discharge of their professional responsibilities.

Intellectual engagement in the field of biology (which will include coursework and laboratory experience) that encompasses the core concepts of cell and developmental biology, molecular biology and genetics. These core concepts include:

  • Nucleic acid/nucleosome structure and function including epigenetics (histone modification and DNA methylation)
  • Cell structure, cell cycle, meiosis, and mitosis
  • Genetic mutations, repair and recombination
  • Regulation of gene expression in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells (transcription factors & mechanisms)
  • RNA processing
  • Protein translation
  • DNA and RNA viruses - properties and generation, and use of viral vectors
  • Foundations of signal transduction

Intellectual engagement in the field of chemistry (which will include coursework and laboratory experience) that encompasses core concepts of biochemistry and biologically applicable elements of inorganic and organic chemistry. These core concepts include:

  • Acid/base chemistry
  • Thermodynamics and chemical equilibrium
  • Protein structure and function
  • Enzymes: mechanisms, kinetics, inhibition, binding constants
  • Bioenergetics and oxidative metabolism
  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Membranes and transport

Clear evidence of the ability to demonstrate knowledge of basic physical principles and their applications to the study and understanding of living systems is required.  These core concepts include:

  • Newtonian mechanics
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Basic thermodynamics
  • Basic concepts of electrical circuits and electrostatics
  • Diffusion and transport of mass and energy

The University of Michigan will not require dedicated coursework in physics. 

→ Statistical Analysis and Epidemiology

Intellectual engagement in the field of statistics that encompasses the following core concepts:

  • Descriptive statistics and inference
  • Probability, populations and samples
  • Statistical distributions
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Regressions and correlations
  • Analysis of variance
  • Types of observational and experimental studies

→ Hypothesis Development and Investigation

A distinct experience in intellectual inquiry and participation in the independent discovery of new knowledge is strongly recommended but not required. We are looking for the ability to understand hypothesis development and to apply problem-solving techniques.

We believe that research is not simply limited to bench research, but can also include inquiry in the fields of translational, clinical, laboratory and humanities research. It can be quantitative or qualitative, and not limited to the natural sciences.

→ Analytical Thought and Problem-Solving Skills

Analytical Thought and Problem-Solving Skills should be an integral and pervasive part of the majority of the curricular and extracurricular experiences. 

Options for 2016 Entering Class Only

For the 2016 Entering Class, eligibility for admission into the University of Michigan Medical School can be accomplished EITHER by completing the coursework guidelines listed below OR by meeting the new expectations described in the Core Competencies sections.

  • 1 year of Inorganic Chemistry with any laboratory experience
  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry with any laboratory experience
  • 1 semester (or quarter) of Biochemistry
  • 1 year of Biology with any laboratory experience
  • 1 year of Physics with any laboratory experience
  • 2 semesters (3 quarters) of intensive writing courses
  • 6 semesters (9 quarters) of additional non-science courses

*1 year is typically defined as 2 semesters or 3 quarters

In addition to appropriate science preparation, students should select from among the following courses during their undergraduate years:

  • Comparative Health Care System
  • Epidemiology
  • Gender and Health
  • Genetics and Cell Biology
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Research and Evaluation
  • Human Physiology
  • Introduction to the American Health Care System
  • Medical Anthropology
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Economics or Finance
  • Medical History
  • Medical Sociology
  • Psychology and Sociology of Aging
  • Statistics

The above list indicates minimum requirements, but it should not be inferred that admission is probable for any applicant who meets them.

Since many fields of medicine offer opportunities for those talented in both the humanities and the sciences, students should allow personal interests to dictate their choice of undergraduate major. In general, the study of a few subjects in depth is recommended. We also recommend courses in genetics and cell biology, as these topics contribute to preparation for the Medical School curriculum.

Letters of Recommendation

We require a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation (or a committee letter) with a maximum of 6 letters. Your recommenders can be any individuals who can objectively assess your personal qualities such as integrity and ethics; reliability and dependability; social, interpersonal and teamwork skills; resilience and adaptability; altruism; and a desire to learn. 

We have no specific requirements regarding how you select these individuals. However, if you choose to include someone from your academic experiences, we strongly recommend an experienced faculty member (Associate Professor or Professor) rather than a graduate student instructor (GSI).  ALL letters of recommendation must be submitted via the AMCAS Letter Service. During the application process, there will be a section asking for your Letter of Evaluation information. Please consult the AMCAS instructions for additional details and be sure to review the AAMC’s new Letters of Evaluation Guidelines. Do NOT send any letters directly to the University of Michigan Medical School.

To summarize:

  • We require a minimum of 3 letters of recommendation (or a committee letter) with a maximum of 6 letters.
  • Letters of recommendation may come from any individuals you believe can objectively assess your personal qualities.
  • ALL letters need to be submitted using the AMCAS letter service.
  • Do NOT send any letters directly to the University of Michigan Medical School.

Secondary Applications

All applicants will receive a Secondary Application upon receipt of their verified AMCAS application.

Technical Standards

State of Michigan Residency Classification for Tuition Assessment Purposes

The University of Michigan’s tuition structure is two-tiered, reflecting resident and non-resident rates.  Residency status is determined at the University level by U-M’s Office of the Registrar.

You can find the specific guidelines here.

International Applicants

Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. 

Advanced Standing & Transfers

Because of the integration of clinical content with basic sciences in our curriculum, there is no provision for advanced placement. The University of Michigan Medical School does not consider any transfer requests.