How To Get Accepted Into Ivy League Medical Schools

April 25, 2024


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/25/24

Wondering how you can make your dream of attending an Ivy League med school a reality? Read on to learn about admissions requirements, acceptance rates, tips to get in, and more! 

How to get into ivy league med schools

The Ivies are some of the country’s most prestigious medical schools. Acceptance rates are low, meaning your application must stand out. Read on to learn everything you need to know about Ivy League medical schools, including what you need to do to get accepted. 

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What are Ivy League Medical Schools?

The Ivy League is a group of privately-owned universities in the Northeast region. These distinguished universities are known for their excellent academic and research programs. 

Infographic outlining the ivy league medical schools

Princeton University is the only Ivy League that doesn’t have a medical school. The Ivy League medical schools are:

  • Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
  • Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Geisel School of Medicine (Dartmouth College)
  • Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Weill Cornell Medicine (Cornell University)
  • Yale School of Medicine

Ivy League Medical Schools Requirements & Admissions Stats

While you can find more information about each school below, here’s an overview of each school’s admissions statistics:

School Name Ranking Acceptance Rate Average GPA Average MCAT Score
Harvard Medical School #1 2.1% 3.91 520
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania #3 2.3% 3.60-4.00 511-527
Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons #4 2.0% 2.98-4.00 508-528
Weill Cornell Medicine #10 1.3% 3.84 516
Yale School of Medicine #10 1.6% 3.87 519
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University #35 1.7% 3.38 516
Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth #48 1.0% 3.77 516

Please note that acceptance rate data is calculated based on the number of matriculated applicants, and rates may be slightly higher than these. This list includes all Ivy League medical schools ranked by U.S. News and World Report

Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School (HMS) is the country’s best Ivy League school for medicine; it’s no surprise that Harvard is a dream school for many students, including those wanting to pursue medical school.

Harvard’s mission statement is “to nurture a diverse, inclusive community dedicated to alleviating suffering and improving health and well-being for all through excellence in teaching and learning, discovery and scholarship, and service and leadership.” 

HMS lists the following academic requirements for admission: 

Course Title Number of Semesters/Years
Biology One year (with lab)
Chemistry/Biochemistry Two years (with lab)
Physics One year (lab recommended)
Math One year (statistics and calculus encouraged)
Writing One year

Applicants are “encouraged to complete coursework in Behavioural Sciences.” This can be in the form of psychology, sociology, or related courses. 

HMS’ acceptance rate is 2.1% – matriculants report an average GPA of 3.91 and an average MCAT score of 520.

Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Perelman School of Medicine is the nation’s third-best medical school for research and is the #1 school for pediatrics. 

The school’s mission “is to advance knowledge and improve health through research, patient care, and the education of trainees in an inclusive culture that embraces diversity, fosters innovation, stimulates critical thinking, supports lifelong learning, and sustains our legacy of excellence.”

Perelman doesn’t list course requirements but seeks students with competencies in the following areas: 

  • English language fluency and communication skills
  • Biology 
  • Chemistry 
  • Physics 
  • Mathematics 
  • Behavioral disciplines

Perelman’s acceptance rate is 2.3%; the average GPA and MCAT score of matriculants are 3.60-4.00 and 511-527. These are the highest of all Ivy League med schools! 

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons is the fourth-best U.S. medical school for research. 

Columbia’s mission is “to prepare future graduates to be leaders and role models in patient care, medical research, education, and health-care policy.”

To apply to Columbia’s med school, you must meet the following requirements

  • English (any one-year English or writing-intensive course)
  • Biology (any one-year course that also provided lab experience)
  • Physics (any one-year course with a lab component)
  • Chemistry (two one-year courses, one of which must be in organic chemistry, and both must have had lab components) 

In addition, Columbia recommends having biostatistics, statistics, and biochemistry courses on your transcript. Columbia expects applicants to achieve A or B grades in the required courses, but they “recognize such grades are not possible under all circumstances.” Anything below a C- is deemed unacceptable.

The Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons acceptance rate is 2.0%. Accepted students entered with an average MCAT score of 508-528 and a 2.98-4.00 undergraduate GPA.

Weill Cornell Medicine

Weill Cornell Medicine is tied with Yale for the country’s tenth-best medical school. 

The school’s mission is to demonstrate “excellence in research, teaching, patient care, and the advancement of the art and science of medicine through the maintenance of scientific and clinical scholarship.” 

Weill Cornell expects you to have met the following academic requirements when you submit your application:

Course/Discipline Number of Semesters
Basic Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) 2 semesters
Organic Chemistry (or other advanced related coursework) 2 semesters recommended
Writing-Intensive Courses 2 semesters

Weill Cornell also requires laboratory coursework (or lab work experience) and recommends applicants to “study a broad range of disciplines,” such as “statistics, ethics, psychology, anthropology, sociology and management skills.” 

The average Cornell matriculant achieved a 3.84 undergraduate GPA and scored 516 on the MCAT. Cornell Weill’s acceptance rate is lower than some other Ivies due to a higher volume of applicants, at 1.3%. 

Yale School of Medicine

Yale School of Medicine excels in medical research, as reflected by the school’s #10 spot on U.S. News’ ranking list. 

Yale School of Medicine’s mission states:

“Yale School of Medicine educates and nurtures creative leaders in medicine and science, promoting curiosity and critical inquiry in an inclusive environment enriched by diversity. We advance discovery and innovation fostered by partnerships across the university, our local community, and the world. We care for patients with compassion, and commit to improving the health of all people.” 

Yales’s academic requirements are similar to its Ivy League counterparts: 

Course (Including Lab) Number of Semesters
General Biology or Zoology 2 semesters
General Chemistry 2 semesters
Organic Chemistry 1 semester
Biochemistry 1 semester (lab recommended, not required)
General Physics 2 semesters

Yale School of Medicine’s acceptance rate is 1.6%. The average matriculant achieved a GPA of 3.87 and an MCAT score of 519. 

Warren Alpert Medical School

The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University is located in Providence, Rhode Island, and is ranked as the country’s #35 medical school for research. 

Alpert’s mission is “to support and promote the health of individuals and communities through innovative medical education programs, research initiatives, and clinical excellence in service to society and to improve the health and wellness of all.” 

In their vision and values statements, they emphasize how important innovation, collaboration, and diversity are to their institution. 

To get into Alpert’s MD degree program, you must complete the following courses:

  • Quantitative Reasoning: One course in either algebra or statistics, with a preference for biostatistics. No minimum grade is listed.
  • Biology: Two courses with a minimum grade of B. Courses should include genetics and cell biology; lab experience is recommended. 
  • Chemistry: Two courses in general chemistry, one in organic chemistry, and one in biochemistry. No minimum grades are listed.
  • Physics: Two courses covering the following: heat, radiation, optics, mechanics, and electricity. No minimum grades are listed.
  • Writing: Any course requiring a significant amount of writing helps you develop strong communication skills. Alpert suggests courses in English, philosophy, or history.

Brown medical school’s acceptance rate is 1.7%. Matriculants achieved an average GPA of 3.38 and an MCAT score of 516. 

Geisel School of Medicine

Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine is located in Hanover, NH. Dartmouth is the #48 best medical school for research.

Geisel’s focus on primary care is evident in its mission statement: “to address the world’s health problems through research and discovery, the evaluation and improvement of systems of healthcare, and the education of the best future physicians and scientists.” 

Like other Ivy League medical schools, Geisel has academic requirements you must meet to be considered for admission:

  • Biology (a one-year course in general biology)
  • Physics (a one-year course in general physics)
  • Chemistry (two one-year courses in biochemistry and organic chemistry)
  • Math (one-half-year course in calculus or statistics)

Geisel also requires you to be proficient in English and demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills. Geisel also requires you to have gained a background in the humanities disciplines throughout your undergraduate studies.

Admitted Geisel students reported an average GPA of 3.77 and a 516 MCAT score. Geisel’s acceptance rate is 1.0% (partially due to a large volume of applicants and smaller class size.) 

Benefits of Attending an Ivy League Medical School

Ivy League medical schools are world-renowned, prestigious institutions. They’re instantly recognizable, and graduating from any can help you stand out to potential employers.

All Ivy League medical schools are affiliated with several reputable healthcare institutions. This provides many opportunities to work with and be taught by healthcare leaders while adding value to your medical school experience. 

For instance, Alpert is partnered with nine healthcare institutions, while Harvard is affiliated with over 15 healthcare providers. These partnerships present abundant opportunities to gain experience and apply your learning.

How to Get Into an Ivy League Med School

Attending an Ivy League medical school isn’t a must to start your medical school journey on the right foot, but there are many benefits to attending one of these schools. 

Here are some tips to help you get pursue medicine at Ivy League schools: 

  • Achieve a high cumulative and science GPA: Study hard and seek out resources to help you achieve the highest grades possible. This is especially important for your science courses, as your science GPA is considered separately from your overall GPA.
  • Dedicate enough time to preparing for the MCAT: Though your MCAT score isn’t the only stat considered, the average MCAT score of Ivy League med school matriculants is 517 or higher. 
  • Meet course requirements: Research med schools before you plan to apply so you know what classes to take to satisfy course requirements.
  • Attain stellar recommendation letters: Ensure your recommenders know you well and can speak about your experiences, skills, academic excellence, and passion for medicine. 

Following these tips can help boost your profile and give you a better shot at admission.


Still have questions about Ivy League medical schools? Read on for more information! 

1. Why Should I Go to an Ivy League Medical School Education?

There are benefits to pursuing your medical education at an Ivy League school. These institutions are prestigious, have world-class faculty, and are affiliated with some of the best healthcare facilities in the country. 

2. Which Ivy League School is Best for Medicine?

Currently, Harvard is the highest-ranked in research, but medical school rankings change consistently. The top Ivy League medical schools change depending on your ranking criteria, whether it’s research, primary care, specialties, etc. 

Consider which schools best align with your interests, experiences, and career aspirations to find your best fit. 

3. How Much Does It Cost to Attend an Ivy League Medical School? 

Tuition varies by medical school, but tuition alone at Ivy med schools can cost approximately $70,000 or more annually. Medical school is expensive no matter where you go, and there are many options for financing your medical school education.

4. What Do Ivy League Medical Schools Look for? 

Top medical schools generally seek students with a track record of academic excellence, diverse medical and non-medical extracurriculars, research experience, and patient care exposure. Ivy League schools also look for qualities such as leadership, communication, compassion, and other core competencies. 

5. What is the Average MCAT Score for Ivy League Schools? 

Ivy League med school matriculants achieved average MCAT scores ranging from 517 to 522. 

6. What GPA Do I Need to Get Into an Ivy League Med School? 

While the Ivies may not list GPA cutoffs, it’s best to aim for a GPA comparable to matriculants. AGPA between 3.77 and 3.93 is the average at the Ivies, depending on the school. However, your GPA is only one component of your application – if yours is lower, it can be offset with impressive MCAT scores (and vice versa). 

Final Thoughts

Ivy League medical schools are competitive, requiring you to stand out in every part of the application process. Though Ivy League med schools have similar admissions requirements, always check school websites to ensure you’ve met them. 

Getting into an Ivy League school may be difficult, but it’s certainly not impossible with a tailored application and strong profile!

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