Requirements

Need to Know

Our position is that there is more than one path to medical school.

Student studying textbook

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 health care landscape.

We admit individuals who not only have the potential to excel academically, but also possess personal attributes and competencies that align with our mission and values. 

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. You may also be curious to see our most recent Class Profile.

Admissions Requirements

Overview

Each University of Michigan Medical School applicant must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States. We also welcome applicants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status,
  • 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).

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:  The curriculum at the University of Michigan Medical School is academically rigorous and requires that the applicants demonstrate prior ability to perform well in a challenging academic setting. Candidates should apply creative/critical thinking to develop solutions and generate information; rapidly absorb and comprehend new information; organize available information into a meaningful description of a problem's complexities; and deliberate among viable options to reach a well-founded conclusion. The undergraduate grade point average and the Medical College Admissions Test scores are only a part of the measures that are used to assess the applicant's ability. Other factors which are used in the evaluation may include the quality of the undergraduate institution, the rigor of the course load, steadily improving grades and an evaluation of activities that can contribute to critical thinking and decision making.
  • Altruism:  The devotion to the needs of others can be assessed through review of the applicant’s activities such as participation in community service or volunteer activities, as well as responses to interview questions about the applicant’s goals and desires for a life of providing patient care.
  • Written and Verbal Communication:  Potential physicians should demonstrate to the Admissions Committee an ability to communicate effectively. The personal statement, letters of recommendation and the interviews provide opportunities to assess effective communication skills.
  • Desire to Learn:  Every effort will be made during the admissions process to assess the applicant’s passion for learning and dedication to the practice of medicine. Assessment of a desire to learn will include, but is not limited to, evidence of exploring a diverse group of academic interests. Assessment of dedication to medicine will include, but is not limited to, assessment of the application materials for documented interest in medicine, focused questioning in the interview and the applicant’s knowledge of current medical issues.
  • Integrity and Ethics:  Honesty, integrity and ethics are essential in both the medical education process and eventual practice of medicine. Applicants should be able to articulate an understanding of the importance of ethical behavior, honesty and professionalism in medicine. Dishonesty on the application form or in the interview as well as information provided in the letters of evaluation will be considered in assessing integrity.
  • Leadership:  Applicants will be assessed on their ability to question and challenge the status quo, communicate positive qualities of an effective leader, exhibit these qualities in action and effectively exert appropriate influence over others.
  • Reliability and Dependability:  Potential physicians should consistently fulfill obligations in a timely and satisfactory manner and take responsibility for personal actions and performance. Regardless of the situation, they will do everything possible to make sure that their performance is steady and strong, unstopped by obstacles, pressures, and demands that would justifiably derail others. They can be counted on to give their best effort under all circumstances. They keep their commitments and work with others to help them keep theirs. They demonstrate the ability to keep their word under all circumstances.
  • Resilience and Adaptability:  Applicants will be assessed for their demonstration of tolerance for stressful or changing situations, whether they adapt effectively, remain persistent—even under difficult situations and recover from setbacks.
  • Social/Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork:  We strive to find future physicians with the ability to work collaboratively, set a positive tone, are neither passive nor dominate the situation, resolve and diffuse conflict, listen to and incorporates others’ perspectives, accept shared responsibility—especially when the outcome is not ideal, and make decisions that reflect the best interest of all involved.
  • Competency:  We strive to enroll students capable of accumulating the scientific knowledge, the diagnostic acumen, the technical skills and the interpersonal skills required for the competent care of patients. Assessment of competency will include intellectual competency, technical competency, and communication competency. All applicants must sign the medical school technical standards form.

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

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 applications. If you do not receive one, please check your spam and then contact us.

We recommend keeping the following in mind when completing your Secondary Applications:

  1. Write essays about who you are, not what you think Admissions wants to hear.
  2. Communicate clearly about what you have found in your life to help you become the person you want to be.
  3. Know the school’s mission. Ours is: “The University of Michigan Medical School is transforming medical education, creating agents of change, and leading medicine into the future. We seek to foster a visionary culture to attract, encourage, and reward those who have grand ideas and wish to improve the world of medicine."
  4. Know the medical school’s vision for its graduates. Read ours.

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.

Prerequisites & Core Competencies

Overview

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 health care.

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. These descriptions include real-world examples from admitted Michigan medical students.

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

Biomedical & 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.

Here are some examples of how our admitted students fulfilled these competencies outside of the classroom:

  • Research experience at an institute and co-authored a paper with the findings
  • Postbaccalaureate program
  • Lab work in oncology
  • Self-taught and created biochemistry curriculum
  • Thesis work
  • Designed and performed experiments in stem cell laboratories
  • Founded a start-up that worked with a grassroots development organization
  • Poster sessions and journal clubs
  • Independent study and CLEP exams

Statistical Analysis & 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

Here are some examples of how our admitted students fulfilled these competencies outside of the classroom:

  • Collaborated on CDC-funded national project with frequent literature reviews
  • Developed measures to track practice-based improvement in immunization rates
  • Research assistant
  • Supplemental education during gap year
  • Studied global health care systems
  • Summer internship with physician-led medical research organization
  • Anthropological and social research projects
  • Performed basic chi-squared tests on large volumes of health data at a leading university

Hypothesis Development & 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.

Here are some examples of how our admitted students fulfilled these competencies outside of the classroom:

  • Internship at an institute biology lab to conduct small research project that resulted in an improved protocol
  • Submitted an abstract to a national foundation
  • Collaborated with PhD and postdoctoral students
  • Developed parameters for simulations as part of summer research project
  • Designed experiments to examine drug resistance
  • Conducted original research work for a capstone class
  • Research technician in an Alzheimer’s disease lab
  • Literary research project

Analytical Thought & 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.

Here are some examples of how our admitted students fulfilled these competencies outside of the classroom:

  • Internship with public health non-profit organization in another country
  • Developed an app
  • Wrote computer code to analyze research data
  • Research fellowship
  • Global health experience
  • Volunteered with Child Life
  • Staged trial runs with standards to perfect research techniques
  • Language instructor and program administrator

Technical Standards

Information for DACA & International Applicants

DACA Applicants

The University of Michigan Medical School Admissions team strives to provide a welcoming and inclusive experience to all of our applicants. We are committed to supporting students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. We encourage DACA students to apply to our M.D. program, beginning with a thorough review of all requirements outlined on this page.

Financial Aid

After admission to our program, DACA students are eligible to apply for institutional financial aid. The University of Michigan Medical School has institutional funding that is open to DACA students. These financial aid sources include:

  • Long-term University Loans
  • Need-based institutional grants and
  • Need-based or merit scholarships

Information collected on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine whether or not applicants qualify for institutional aid. DACA students are responsible for keeping their status current.

Please note that DACA students are not eligible for federal financial aid.

We are dedicated to working with DACA students on funding their medical education. For more information, please see our Financial Aid Office website or feel free to contact us directly at 734-763-4147 or by email at medfinid@umich.edu.

Learn about the cost of attending the University of Michigan Medical School.

External Funding Resources

MALDEF’s (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) Scholarship Resource Guide includes scholarships for undocumented students, as well as the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans. Rackham Graduate School also provides lists of funding opportunities for master’s and doctoral students from external sources and within the university.

Tuition

As with all students, to qualify for in-state tuition, DACA students must meet the requirements determined by the University of Michigan Registrar's Office. All students unable to meet these requirements will be assessed non-resident tuition.

Campus Resources

Student Legal Services. A full-service law office on campus that gives legal advice and counseling on a wide variety of legal subjects, including litigation as needed.

Office for Health Equity and Inclusion. Promotes a supportive and welcoming community for all learners on the medical school campus.

LANAMA. A University of Michigan Medical School student organization committed to increasing the enrollment and success of Latino/a and Native medical students through outreach and other service efforts.

First Generation Students. Resources, insight and inspiration for the thousands of first generation college students on the University of Michigan campus.

Background on DACA Status

In 2012, the federal government granted temporary relief from deportation for certain unauthorized immigrants who entered the United States as children, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 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.

In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Education has released a Resource Guide Supporting Undocumented Youth: A Guide for Success in Secondary and Postsecondary Settings. 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.

International Applicants

Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States. We also welcome applicants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

U-M Guidelines for Qualifying for In-State Tuition

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. Learn more.