Medical Schools In Alabama: What You Need To Know

December 8, 2022
Contents

”Akhil

Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 9/7/22

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.

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Attending Medical School in Alabama

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. 

List of All Medical Schools in Alabama 

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. 

University of South Alabama College of Medicine (USA COM)

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.

Mission Statement 

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.” 

Tuition and Fees

First-year In-state students at USA COM pay $32,830 in tuition annually, while out-of-state students pay $64,764.

Admissions Requirements 

USA COM’s admissions requirements include: 

  • AMCAS application 
  • $75 application fee or a fee waiver 
  • Letters of recommendation 
  • Undergraduate coursework requirements 
  • MCAT scores 
  • Official Transcripts 
  • Secondary application 
  • Admissions interview 
Tests, GPA, and Coursework Requirements 

Incoming students must complete the following coursework requirements to be considered for admission at USA COM: 

  • General chemistry with lab (two semesters)
  • General biology with lab (two semesters)
  • Mathematics (calculus is recommended) (two semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab (two semesters)
  • General Physics with lab (two semesters)
  • Humanities (two semesters)
  • English composition or literature (two semesters)

The school also recommends applicants take courses in: 

  • Biochemistry 
  • Psychology
  • Computer Science
  • Genetics
  • Calculus 

USA COM primarily focuses on educating current residents from the state of Alabama, although out-of-state students are welcome to apply. 

Letters of Recommendation 

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. 

Interview 

USA COM’s interviewers look for several qualities during your interview, including your: 

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Compassion and empathy for others 
  • Values 
  • Intellectual curiosity 
  • Desire and commitment to a career of service aiding a multicultural society 

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: 

Table outlining how the interview at USA COM is structured
Source: USA COM

University of Alabama (UAB) Heersink School of Medicine 

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. 

Picture of a University of Alabama (UAB) Heersink School of Medicine building
Source: UAB Heersink

Mission Statement 

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.” 

Tuition and Fees

In-state students pay approximately $34,662 in annual tuition, while out-of-state tuition is around $66,178. 

Admissions Requirements 

UAB Heersink’s admissions requirements and selection criteria include: 

  • AMCAS application 
  • $100 application fee or a fee waiver 
  • Letters of recommendation 
  • Undergraduate coursework and credit hours requirements 
  • GPA requirements 
  • MCAT scores 
  • AAMC Situational Judgment Test (optional) 
  • Official Transcripts 
  • Secondary application 
  • Admissions interview 
Test, GPA, Coursework, and Credit Hours Requirements 

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: 

  • General Biology with lab (eight semester hours) 
  • Biochemistry (three semester hours) 
  • General physics with lab (eight semester hours) 
  • Biostatistics/statistics or mathematics (three semester hours for biostatistics or six for math) 
  • English (six semester hours) 
  • Behavioral and social sciences (three semester hours) 

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. 

Letters of Recommendation 

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. 

Secondary Application 

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!

Interview 

Heersink invites some applicants to complete a series of virtual interviews. You’ll complete a nine-station MMI and one traditional interview. 

Class Profile 

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. 

Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM)

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. 

Picture of Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine Campus
Source: AACOM ChooseDO

Mission Statement 

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.” 

Tuition and Fees

All ACOM students pay an annual tuition rate of $57,658. 

Admissions Requirements 

ACOM’s admissions requirements include: 

  • AACOMAS application 
  • Letters of recommendation 
  • Coursework requirements 
  • GPA requirements 
  • MCAT scores 
  • Official Transcripts 
  • Secondary application & supplemental $50 application fee or a fee waiver 
  • CASPer test scores 
  • Admissions interview 
Coursework Requirements 

Applicants must complete the following coursework before enrolling at ACOM: 

  • Biology with lab (eight semester hours) 
  • Inorganic Chemistry with labs (eight semester hours) 
  • Organic Chemistry with labs (eight semester hours) 
  • Physics with labs (eight semester hours) 
  • English Composition and/or Literature (six semester hours) 
Letters of Recommendation 

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. 

Secondary Application and CASPer scores 

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.

Interview 

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. 

Class Profile 

ACOM’s accepted 208 students achieved competitive GPAs and MCAT scores of 3.47 and 505, respectively. The acceptance rate is 4.25%

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) - Auburn Campus

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.” 

Picture of VCOM's entrance
Source: VCOM

The school is spread across four locations

  • Carolinas Campus (Spartanburg, SC)
  • Auburn Campus (Auburn, AL)
  • Louisiana Campus (Monroe, LA)
  • Virginia Campus (Blacksburg, VA)

Mission Statement 

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.”

Tuition and Fees

The annual tuition fee for VCOM’s DO program is $49,800. 

Admissions Requirements 

VCOM’s admissions requirements include: 

  • AACOMAS application 
  • Letters of recommendation 
  • Undergraduate coursework requirements 
  • GPA requirement
  • MCAT scores 
  • Official Transcripts 
  • Secondary application & $50 processing fee or a fee waiver 
  • Interview 
Test, GPA, and Coursework Requirements 

Students applying to the DO program must achieve at least a “C,” although a “B” is preferable, in the following undergraduate classes: 

  • Biological Sciences: 4 credit hours
  • Physics: 6 credit hours
  • General and Inorganic Chemistry: 6 credit hours
  • Organic Chemistry: 6 credit hours
  • English and Composition: 6 credit hours

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: 

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry 
  • Immunology 
  • Microbiology 
  • Virology 
  • Genetics  

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. 

Letters of Recommendation 

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. 

Interview 

If you’re invited for an interview, you’ll complete three traditional in-person interviews with VCOM faculty or administration members. 

Class Profile 

The average GPA and MCAT scores of VCOM’s admitted students are 3.67 and 502, respectively.

Tips for Getting Accepted into Medical Schools in Alabama

We’ve provided several tips below to help you ace your application and get into medical colleges in Alabama. 

Adapt Your Application to the Schools You’re Applying to

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.

Maintain a Competitive GPA 

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. 

FAQs

We’ve outlined several tips below to help you understand more about Alabama’s medical schools and how you can get into one.  

1. Does every medical school in Alabama require the CASPer? 

No, ACOM is the only Alabama medical school that requires applicants to complete the CASPer.  

2. Does every medical school in Alabama require the MCAT? 

Yes, every medical school in Alabama requires applicants to submit MCAT scores. 

3. Which med school in Alabama has the lowest tuition fees? 

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: 

Table outlining the tuition fees for each medical school in Alabama

4. What are the average GPAs of admitted students at Alabama’s medical schools? 

The average GPAs of admitted students at medical schools in Alabama are: 

Table outlining the average GPA of admitted students at medical schools in Alabama

5. Does every medical school in Alabama require the SJT? 

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. 

6. Do medical schools in Alabama have low acceptance rates? 

Yes, as outlined above, the medical schools in Alabama are selective and have low acceptance rates. 

7. What School Has the Best Medical Program in Alabama? 

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.

Final Thoughts

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! 

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