Read on below to find out more about Alabama medical schools, including how to increase your chances of acceptance.
Alabama is home to several allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. For example, US News & World Report placed the University of Alabama—Birmingham 32nd in its Best Medical Schools: Research rankings list.
So, how do you get into a medical school in Alabama? To help you get started, we’ve provided a brief overview of each school before diving into course requirements, class profiles, tuition fees, and admission statistics.
Alabama is a varied state with large mountain ranges and major urban and rural centers. Prospective medical students in Alabama can practice in diverse clinical settings and explore different healthcare experiences.
Out of Alabama’s 67 counties, 62 are considered to have a primary care shortage. As such, every med school in Alabama is committed to producing quality doctors to meet the state’s healthcare needs, especially its underserved populations.
While every program adopts a similar goal, the curriculum, structure, and location vary. So, let’s explore the unique qualities of Alabama medical schools.
Alabama is home to two allopathic and two osteopathic medical schools. Here, we’ll explore where they are and what you need to get into these medical programs.
Located in Mobile, Alabama, USA COM has provided students with an excellent medical education since 1973. The school’s small student-to-faculty ratio and above-national-average medical student satisfaction levels speak to its excellence.
USA COM’s mission statement reads: “As a diverse community focused on the science and practice of medicine for Alabama, the central Gulf Coast, and beyond: We educate, We discover, We serve.”
First-year In-state students at USA COM pay $32,830 in tuition annually, while out-of-state students pay $64,764.
USA COM’s admissions requirements include:
Incoming students must complete the following coursework requirements to be considered for admission at USA COM:
The school also recommends applicants take courses in:
USA COM primarily focuses on educating current residents from the state of Alabama, although out-of-state students are welcome to apply.
Every applicant is asked to submit a letter packet of composite evaluation by their college’s pre-medical committee. If they can’t obtain this, or no committee exists, you must submit five letters of recommendation.
Three of these letters must be from faculty who have taught you, with at least one from a science faculty member. The remaining two letters can come from “people who have known and observed you on a personal basis.”
You are encouraged to request a recommendation letter from your employer if you’re employed, especially by a company in health care.
USA COM’s interviewers look for several qualities during your interview, including your:
USA COM’s interviews are conducted virtually via Zoom and last approximately 40 minutes. Here’s an example of how your interview day may be structured:
The UAB Heersink School of Medicine is home to one of the country’s largest academic hospitals: University Hospital. The University of Alabama medical school has four campuses in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, and Montgomery. Students spend their first two years in Birmingham and two years at one of the other three campuses.
UAB Heersink is “dedicated to excellence in the education of physicians and scientists in all of the disciplines of medicine and biomedical investigation for careers in practice, teaching, and research. Central to this educational mission are the provision of outstanding medical care and services and the enhancement of new knowledge through clinical and basic biomedical research. We embrace the University of Alabama at Birmingham's commitment to creating an inclusive environment that values differing perspectives and experiences. This diversity is essential to fulfilling the enduring mission of our medical school.”
In-state students pay approximately $34,662 in annual tuition, while out-of-state tuition is around $66,178.
UAB Heersink’s admissions requirements and selection criteria include:
Applicants must report at least 90 hours of course credit from an accredited college or university in the United States. Applicants are required to achieve at least a “C” in the following courses:
UAB Heersink requires Alabama residents to achieve a 3.0 BCPM GPA to receive a secondary application invitation; out-of-state applicants must earn at least a 3.3 BCPM GPA.UAB typically invites all applicants with a score of 495 to complete a secondary application.
UAB Heersink also recommends you sit the AAMC Situational Judgment Test. The AAMC SJT exam is designed to go beyond your test scores and evaluate your personal and professional characteristics.
You can fulfill the school’s letters of recommendation requirements in three ways: committee letter, letter packet, or three individual letters.
If you submit three individual letters, you must obtain one from a faculty member and two from other faculty or individuals. Heersink recommends you ask at least one science faculty member to write a letter for you.
If UAB Heersink is impressed by your AMCAS application and you meet GPA/MCAT score requirements, you’ll receive a secondary application. This application contains several essay questions you must answer. Want to learn more about Alabama med school secondaries? Check out our Med School Secondary Essay Database!
Heersink invites some applicants to complete a series of virtual interviews. You’ll complete a nine-station MMI and one traditional interview.
UAB Heersink’s acceptance rate is 5%. As such, its 186-strong class is full of high-achieving students. The average GPA and MCAT scores of Heersink’s admitted students are 3.78 and 509, respectively.
Located in Dothan, Alabama, ACOM is focused on producing DOs passionate about addressing Alabama’s primary care medical needs. It enrolled its first class in 2013.
ACOM’s mission is to “provide quality, learner-centered osteopathic education, research, and service, while promoting graduate medical education, with emphasis on patient-centered, team-based primary care to serve the medically underserved areas of Alabama, the Tri-State area, and the nation.”
All ACOM students pay an annual tuition rate of $57,658.
ACOM’s admissions requirements include:
Applicants must complete the following coursework before enrolling at ACOM:
Prospective students must submit a recommendation letter from a DO, although an MD will do, and another pre-med advisor or committee letter. If you cannot provide an advisor or committee letter, you can submit two letters written by science faculty members instead.
If ACOM invites you to complete a secondary application, you must complete two short answer prompts and one essay question. You must also complete the online CASPer test.
The main goal of ACOM’s interview is to analyze a student’s interpersonal skills and motivation for the profession. It also allows you to learn more about ACOM and its faculty, program, and student life.
ACOM’s accepted 208 students achieved competitive GPAs and MCAT scores of 3.47 and 505, respectively. The acceptance rate is 4.25%.
One of two DO schools in Alabama, VCOM is committed to addressing the state’s shortage of primary care physicians “with a focus on addressing the physician shortage in southern Appalachia and the Delta regions.”
The school is spread across four locations:
Edward Via’s mission “is to prepare globally-minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health.”
The annual tuition fee for VCOM’s DO program is $49,800.
VCOM’s admissions requirements include:
Students applying to the DO program must achieve at least a “C,” although a “B” is preferable, in the following undergraduate classes:
VCOM also asks you to complete at least six “additional biomedical science credit hours at the 200 level or above.” You can fulfill this requirement by taking classes in:
Candidates must achieve at least a 3.4 cumulative and science GPA to be considered for admission. The average score achieved by admitted students is between 500 to 506; the school typically doesn’t consider scores under 494.
Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation: one from a physician and another from a science faculty or pre-medical committee member. It’s recommended you obtain a rec letter from a DO, but an MD will be accepted if you can’t.
If you’re invited for an interview, you’ll complete three traditional in-person interviews with VCOM faculty or administration members.
The average GPA and MCAT scores of VCOM’s admitted students are 3.67 and 502, respectively.
We’ve provided several tips below to help you ace your application and get into medical colleges in Alabama.
Research your preferred school’s selection criteria, mission statement, and values to uncover what they look for in an ideal applicant. For example, UAB Heersink values an applicant’s potential to meet the needs of “the state of Alabama, particularly those of underserved populations in the state.”
Your personal statement or secondary essays are the best places to align your application with a college’s vision. Use specific examples to show you’ve done your research.
Every medical school in Alabama evaluates your GPA to see if you can handle the challenging workload. Christina Grabowski, Associate Dean for Admissions and Enrollment at the UAB School of Medicine, says med schools are particularly interested in your science GPA.
“Whether you're a psychology major or a business major or a biology major,” she explains, “we are going to look at how you did in science coursework specifically.”
Med schools evaluate your science GPA because it provides the best indication of how you’ll handle the med school workload. Of course, getting into med school with a low GPA is possible. However, aim to achieve a 3.5 GPA or higher to ensure your application is competitive and increase your chances of getting accepted.
We’ve outlined several tips below to help you understand more about Alabama’s medical schools and how you can get into one.
No, ACOM is the only Alabama medical school that requires applicants to complete the CASPer.
Yes, every medical school in Alabama requires applicants to submit MCAT scores.
USA COM has the lowest tuition fees for in-state applicants, and VCOM has the lowest fees for out-of-state applicants. Here is a concise breakdown of the tuition fees for each medical school in Alabama:
The average GPAs of admitted students at medical schools in Alabama are:
No school in Alabama requires the SJT. However, UAB Heersink recommends its Rural, Early Medical School Acceptance Program Advanced Standing, Transfer, and Medical Scientist Training Program applicants sit the exam.
Yes, as outlined above, the medical schools in Alabama are selective and have low acceptance rates.
UAB Heersink is the best medical school in Alabama for research, although the best program for you is the one that best aligns with your needs and aspirations.
Each Alabama med school has a varied curriculum, structure, and setting. However, they’re bound by a similar mission; they seek to meet the healthcare needs of Alabama and its underserved populations.
If you apply to a medical school in Alabama, align your application with the school’s mission and values. This shows you’ve researched and selected the school because you’d be a great fit. Additionally, maintaining a high GPA makes you a more competitive candidate. Good luck with your application!