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Top-down view of high rises in Chicago, Illinois, where Feinberg School of Medicine is located. (Photo by Northwestern Medicine)
Photo by Northwestern Medicine

How To Get Into Feinberg School Of Medicine

November 9, 2022
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What You Need to Know Before Applying to the Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern Medical School RequirementsNorthwestern Medical School Acceptance RateExtracurricular Activities (And How They Help You Get Ahead)Recommendation Letters & Essays: What Stands Out?Secondary ApplicationNorthwestern Medical School Tuition & ScholarshipsThe Next Steps: Interviews & Getting AdmittedFeinberg School of Medicine FAQs 

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Rohan Jotwani

Former Chief Resident in Anesthesiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, & Admissions Officer, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/30/22

Interested in becoming a doctor? Wondering how to get into Northwestern medical school? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a tell-all guide on how to get into Feinberg.

What you need to know about Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine is one of the country’s top research schools. This guide will explore what you need to know about how to get into the Feinberg School of Medicine. 

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What You Need to Know Before Applying to the Feinberg School of Medicine

Before learning how to get into Northwestern medical school, you should know its offerings. Below, we’ll provide information about the school and break down each program. 

About the Feinberg School of Medicine

Located in Chicago, Northwestern medical school offers students culture and a rigorous curriculum. Its mission is to educate the next generation of physicians and scientists. Feinberg received a $75 million donation from the Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation and took the name in 2002. 

Programs 

Northwestern prides itself on the uniqueness of its MD program. There are several different Feinberg School of Medicine programs to choose from. 

Early Decision Program (EDP)

The Feinberg School of Medicine’s Early Decision Program (EDP) has a selective admissions process. It prioritizes applicants with impressive academics, medically-related experiences, and strong research interests. EDP applicants should review the class profile

MD Admissions (MD)

The curriculum for the MD program focuses on the unification of four significant elements:

The MD is a four-year program. 

Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)

The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) focuses on prospective students who pursue their MD and Ph.D. degrees through med and graduate school. 

Students can apply to the MSTP after getting accepted to the med school. MSTP is an eight-year program perfect for students interested in a career in biomedical investigation and medicine.  

Combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health (MD/MPH)

The combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health (MD/MPH) program allows students to take evening classes for a Master of Public Health degree during their MD studies. 

Admitted students can apply to the MD/MPH program. This four-year program provides opportunities for graduate students seeking a career in public health, clinical care, or health research.

Combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Health Services & Outcomes Research (MD/MS HSOR)

The combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Health Services & Outcomes Research (MD/MS HSOR) program is specialized. Students can complete it in a gap year between the third and fourth years of medical school. 

This unique program is for those looking to develop and enhance health policies and outcomes through research. Full-time, part-time, and hybrid formats are available. Applicants should submit their applications while in their third year of medical school.

Combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Healthcare Quality & Patient Safety (MD/MS HQPS)

The combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Science in Healthcare Quality & Patient Safety (MD/MS HQPS) program is a small, specific program. Students can take it part-time and finish in the first two years of medical school. This program is for students dedicated to making changes to the healthcare system.

Combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Business Administration (MD/MBA)

The program for a combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Business Administration (MD/MBA) allows students to combine their medical training with an MB. It gives students the ability to balance business theory and medicine. This program can take one or two years to complete. 

Applicants should apply during their third year of medical school. 

Combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Arts in Medical Humanities and Bioethics (MD/MA)

The combined Doctor of Medicine and Master of Arts in Medical Humanities and Bioethics (MD/MA) allows students to earn a Master of Arts degree in Medical Humanities and Bioethics. It’s ideal for students interested in bioethical issues and how to fix them.

Northwestern University Pre Medicine Linkage Program (NUPLP)

The Northwestern University Premedicine Linkage Program (NUPLP) exists for Northwestern University graduate pre-medicine students. Its goal is to help high-achieving students accelerate enrollment in medical school. 

If accepted, students can enroll in the Feinberg School of Medicine’s MD program immediately after completing the post-baccalaureate pre-medicine program. Students can complete this program in 12, 15, or 21 months.

Northwestern Undergraduate Premedical Scholars Program (NUPSP)

The Northwestern Undergraduate Premedical Scholars Program (NUPSP) caters to Northwestern University undergraduate students dedicated to pursuing a career as a physician. It is an early acceptance program into Feinberg for highly successful students. Accepted students receive notice during their third undergraduate year.

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Northwestern Medical School Requirements

We’ll discuss Northwestern medical school requirements and evaluate class profile data to give you a better shot at acceptance.

Course Requirements

Applicants must complete 90 hours of undergraduate or graduate coursework from an accredited U.S. or Canadian university. The Feinberg School of Medicine doesn’t require any specific major to apply. 

Feinberg School of Medicine Coursework Requirements

However, it requires year-long biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics courses. Applicants should also have taken statistics, writing, and social science courses. 

GPA Requirements 

The median GPA for Northwestern medical school is 3.92, though no official requirement exists. While the median is quite high, achieving a similar GPA can help demonstrate your medical school readiness. 

MCAT Requirements

All applicants must take the MCAT. The MCAT is required to apply to the Feinberg School of Medicine. It has four sections: 

Each area is scored on a scale from 118 to 132. Totaled, the entire MCAT is scored on a scale from 472-to 528

You should take the MCAT no later than May of the year you plan to apply to the Feinberg School of Medicine. At Feinberg, the median MCAT score for admission is 520. There’s no official cutoff score. 

However, admission stats at Northwestern medical school aren’t everything. There is no “required” score that applicants must receive to be accepted, as the Feinberg School of Medicine commits to an integrated review of every application.

Admissions Process & Timeline

Meeting all Northwestern medical school requirements is crucial. However, the school evaluates each application holistically. Every application part is considered, such as:

The earliest time for applying to AMCAS is the end of May. By mid-July, applicants will begin to receive invitations to complete a secondary application. Admissions interviews take place between August and February. Applicants under serious consideration will receive an in-person interview.

The Feinberg School of Medicine’s AMCAS deadline is the beginning of November. The secondary application deadline falls in mid-November, as does the deadline for letters of recommendation. July is the Feinberg School of Medicine’s commit-to-enroll deadline. The application process is lengthy, so it’s crucial to keep these important dates in mind.

Northwestern Medical School Acceptance Rate

The Feinberg School of Medicine received 8,073 applications in the last admissions cycle. Of all applicants, 823 were invited to interview, and 150 students enrolled. As such, the Northwestern medical school acceptance rate is approximately 2%. The last entering class is made up of 54% women and 46% men. 

The acceptance rate at the Feinberg School of Medicine is low because it’s a top-rated program. You can give yourself the best possible chance at getting in by pursuing medical school admission consulting services

Extracurricular Activities (And How They Help You Get Ahead)

You’ll need robust extracurriculars to get into Feinberg. The extracurriculars section of any application can be daunting, especially for med school. What stands out? What is relevant? Is any of it relevant, if not medicine-related? The answer is yes. Non-medical-related extracurriculars can still be relevant to your application. 

Your extracurricular experience shows Feinberg who you are and what helped you grow. It gives the admissions committee more insight into who you are. It's also essential to gain clinical experience. Clinical experience shows that becoming a doctor is your goal and that you’ve tested your motivation.

Overall, it’s best to exhibit what has impacted you and helped you grow as a person, a leader, and a future doctor. This way, the Feinberg School of Medicine can get to know you and decide if you’re the right fit. 

Leadership Experiences: How to Develop (& Strengthen) Them

Leadership skills can be tough to tackle on a med school application. What makes a student stand out? What looks best on your application?

Dr. Mehdi Ghajar addresses these questions to define leadership and what it means for aspiring medical students. Leadership requires initiative, Ghajar says. 

“Regardless of the activity, focus on taking an idea and bringing it to fruition,” says Ghajar. “The skills you develop in this process will help you during your medical education and future career as a physician.” 

Ghajar offers four opportunistic ways to help premedical students develop and refine these skills:

  1. Start an organization: No matter the cause, it’s a fantastic way to showcase strong leadership skills and provides a great learning experience for those involved. 
  1. Lead a research project: This prepares you for and helps you develop valuable skills for a medical career, especially at a strong research-based institution like Feinberg. 
  1. Champion a cause you’re passionate about: Find an organization that supports or works with a cause that matters to you. Dedicate your time and do what you can to help and learn. 
  1. Give to the underserved: Developing a project to give back speaks about your character and offers growth in leadership. 

Regardless of your focus, Ghajar emphasizes remembering your ultimate mission and what you’re working toward. If you put in the work, you’ll achieve results. Not only will your application stand out, but it will help you be a better doctor. 

Research Experience at Feinberg

The Feinberg School of Medicine is a research-based institution, so it’s safe to say that research experience is highly valued. The Northwestern University Office for Research, the Feinberg Research Office, and a network of 60+ research core facilities support science, clinical, and translational research. 

Research experience is important to Feinberg since it prepares students for hands-on experience in med school. 

Feinberg strongly encourages research for all MD students. The Area of Scholarly Concentration (AOSC) program helps students through this process. It offers various research fields, multiple external funding opportunities, and an extensive list of mentors.

Recommendation Letters & Essays: What Stands Out?

An essential requirement for the Feinberg School of Medicine is letters of recommendation. You’ll also write a personal statement and later complete a secondary application. 

Infographic outlining what Feinberg School of Medicine takes into account

Recommendation Letters

Recommendation letters for the Feinberg School of Medicine should take the form of a committee letter or letter packet. Your university’s pre-medical or pre-health advisory committee compiles these. Individual letters are accepted if your university has neither of these committees. 

You must have three letters, and at least one from a science faculty member. It’s important to have letters of recommendation written by faculty to attest to your skills and passion for medicine. Reach out to a faculty member with whom you have a solid professional relationship.

You should ask potential letter writers for recommendations months in advance. This gives them ample time to write a glowing recommendation. Be sure to extend a friendly reminder to your recommenders one month before your application’s due date.

Essays

The AAMC offers relevant information on how to write about yourself in your personal essay. This is one of the many ways the Feinberg School of Medicine determines whether you’re a strong candidate. 

The personal essay is your opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Your personal essay should share the following: 

The personal essay allows you to showcase your personality and explain why you are passionate about medicine. Remember, your essay should include meaningful, relevant experiences and weave in your best characteristics!

Secondary Application

After you submit your primary application, AMCAS verifies it and transmits it to the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Admissions Office. After, students receive an invitation to submit a secondary application. This typically happens four to six weeks after submission.

The Feinberg School of Medicine urges applicants to remove spam filters on their emails so this invitation doesn’t get lost. The secondary application has a fee of $95, due with the application in mid-November.

Northwestern Medical School Tuition & Scholarships

Tuition at Northwestern medical school totals $67,880 annually. Additional fees cost approximately $1,500. Health insurance is available for approximately $5,000, but students can opt out of this plan. The direct costs total approximately $75,000

All students in Feinberg’s MD program are eligible for merit scholarships. You don’t need to apply for these. Students may also be eligible for need-based grant funding. Students can submit financial aid applications for these grants.

Northwestern’s med school also offers several outside scholarship opportunities. There are also many external scholarships available to students. 

The Next Steps: Interviews & Getting Admitted

You’ve submitted your application. What comes next? Read on to find out. 

Interviews 

The Feinberg Committee on Admissions distributes interview invitations via email from mid-August through January.

You’ll get an orientation session and a virtual campus tour if you make it to the next step. You’ll then have three individual interviews. Full-time faculty members conduct two, and the third is with a senior medical student. 

The AAMC offers a Video Interview Tool for Admissions (VITA) for all applicants. This is a one-way recorded interview implemented so med schools can more accurately assess students.

You’ll be asked many questions in these interviews, including questions about ethics in the medical field. Ensure you organize your thoughts and prepare for these questions. 

Getting Admitted: What Makes a Successful Candidate?

The Feinberg School of Medicine utilizes a competency-based education framework to guide them in deciding whether or not a candidate is a suitable fit for their institution. Selection factors include: 

Infographic outlining what makes a successful candidate at Feinberg Medical School

Students aren’t admitted to Northwestern’s med school for only their GPA, MCAT score, or knowledge of medicine. The admissions committee uses an integrative, holistic review of each candidate.

Feinberg School of Medicine FAQs 

Want to learn more about the Feinberg School of Medicine? These FAQs may provide the answers you’re looking for. 

1. Is It Hard to Get Into Northwestern Medical School? 

With an approximate 2% acceptance rate, getting into Feinberg is challenging but not impossible. Ensure you spend a lot of time perfecting your application for a better shot at acceptance. 

2. What GPA Do You Need to Get Into Northwestern Medical School? 

There are no GPA requirements or cutoffs to gain admission. However, the median GPA of admitted students is 3.92; it’s in your best interest to aim for a GPA equal to or higher than the median. 

3. How Do I Get Into Northwestern Medical School? 

While there’s no surefire way to gain acceptance, your best bet is to achieve a high GPA and MCAT score, participate in meaningful extracurriculars, write a compelling personal statement, and gain research experience. 

4. What MCAT Score Do I Need for Northwestern? 

Northwestern medical school doesn’t have MCAT score cutoffs, but the median MCAT score of admitted students is 520. Aiming for an MCAT score close to or above 520 can give you a better shot at admission. 

5. Is Feinberg a Good Medical School? 

Yes, the Feinberg School of Medicine is a prestigious medical school. U.S. News World and Report ranks Feinberg #17 in the best medical schools for research. 

Final Words (& Reminders)

The Feinberg School of Medicine seeks candidates who are dedicated, passionate, and ready to learn. They want to produce the best physicians and scientists possible. 

Put all your effort into your application so the Feinberg admissions committee gets to know you and why you want to be a future doctor. Now that you know how to get into the Feinberg School of Medicine, it’s time to apply! 

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