Medical Schools in Utah: What You Need to Know

April 25, 2024
8 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 4/25/24

Utah, the home of Salt Lake City and scenic views, is also a smart choice for medical schools. Keep reading to find out everything you need, from how to get into your best options!

Undoubtedly, the path to medicine can be overwhelming without the right approach. You can make the journey far easier with credible advice and tips. Utah has a few different options when it comes to medical school, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with each of them.

Whether you want to stay in Salt Lake or even travel to Provo, medical schools in Utah cater to different students, with strengths and weaknesses at each one. Some may be interested in rural medicine, while others have distinct specialties in mind. 

In any situation, informing yourself about these differences will help you take the right first step in your medical career.

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List of Medical Schools in Utah

The first thing students must consider when looking into the best medical schools in Utah is to figure out if they want to study allopathic or osteopathic medicine. 

The University of Utah School of Medicine can grant MDs, while Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM) and Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) give DOs.

RVUCOM is different from the other two. The school originally had a sole campus in Colorado and only recently established another one in Ivins, Utah. Despite being far more rural, the school has a fully operational medical program.

University of Utah School of Medicine (U of U)

University of Utah
Source: University of Utah School of Medicine

Ranking: #40 in Primary Care

Acceptance rate: 3.29%

GPA: 3.84

MCAT score: 514

The University of Utah School of Medicine is the only public medical school and MD- granting institution in the State. The school has been open since 1905 and provides one of the most comprehensive medical pathways.

An aspect of med schools in Utah that incoming students should consider is what specialty they’d like to pursue. While factors such as happiness and length of time may impact your choice, it’s important to consider what opportunities your school offers. 

U of U gives extensive data and information in its medical specialty match report. If you’ve been considering a specific path, say dermatology, psychiatry, or neurology, U of U can shed some light on what area previous students have gone into.

A long-term approach can give crucial insight into your unique situation when determining the best medical schools in Utah. How to choose a medical specialty is a very personal decision, and knowing what aspects of medicine appeal to you can help make planning your future much simpler. 

Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM)

Noorda College
Source: MHTN Architects  

GPA: 3.0 

MCAT score: 500 

Noorda–COM, based in Provo, offers a comprehensive osteopathic medical program. Some things to keep in mind when applying here are that your last 60 credits are given special attention when it comes to your GPA, and your MCAT must be from the last three years.

Remember that Noorda-COM is not yet fully accredited but has been given pre-accreditation status from the Commission of Osteopathic College Accreditation. What’s more, the school only began admitting students in 2021

Something to be mindful of is that the school favors pre-recorded lectures instead of a traditional teaching style. Students that show compassion in some way when applying are also given an edge over other candidates.

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM)

Rocky Vista University
Source: Rocky Vista University

Ranking: #15 in Most Graduates Practicing in Primary Care Fields 

Acceptance rate: 7.9% 

GPA: 3.6 

MCAT score: 506 

Another choice for osteopathic schools, RVUCOM can pave your way into healthcare. The campus is located in the small town of Ivins, while the first campus originally opened in Parker, Colorado. 

RVUCOM can provide an application-based education for medical schools in Utah. Students are involved in clinical settings in their first semester, giving real and practical experiences to build on. If primary care is what you’re interested in, then make note that this is what the school emphasizes.

Tips for Getting Into Utah Medical Schools

The solid foundation for a good application will always be a high GPA, MCAT score, and relevant volunteer experience. Some students find it challenging to get the MCAT scores they know they’re capable of, and that’s why we’re here to help.

Get a High Undergraduate GPA

Your GPA acts as a quick way for medical schools to know how effective your study habits are. Medical school is typically rigorous with lots of materials to learn and master, so having a high undergraduate GPA let's schools know you’ll be able to handle the curriculum.

Do Well on the MCAT

The MCAT will test your foundational knowledge of life sciences that pertain to medicine. Doing well on the MCAT communicates to medical schools that you have the prerequisite knowledge to succeed in their courses. Along with your undergraduate GPA, the MCAT is the other quantitative metric that can make your application as competitive as possible.

Cater Your Application to Each School

Another key takeaway is to show your commitment to the unique aspects of each school. Maybe you prefer learning alone; the school has an underserved medical track or military partnerships. In each case, having volunteer or healthcare-related experience in that area can help communicate your priorities to the admissions committee.

FAQs: Utah Medical Schools

If you still have questions or concerns, please check out our frequently asked questions on the best medical schools in Utah.

1. How Many Medical Schools Are There in Utah?

There are three med schools in Utah. The University of Utah School of Medicine, Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

U of U teaches allopathic medicine and grants MDs, while Noorda-COM and RVUCOM, as the names suggest, teach osteopathic medicine and grant DOs.

Remember that RVUCOM has a dedicated rural medicine program, meaning you may be more involved in disenfranchised communities than at other schools. The school is far less densely populated in Ivins than in Salt Lake City and Provo. 

Furthermore, both osteopathic schools are private, while U of U remains a public research institution that predates the others by over 100 years.

2. What Is the Best Medical School in Utah?

The best medical schools in Utah are the ones that align with your goals and ambitions. The first and most obvious distinction is whether you want to study osteopathic medicine or allopathic. The only option to get an MD in Utah is through the U of U School of Medicine.

Also note, Noorda-COM has a very different educational approach. Many students may find they don’t learn well independently and benefit from traditional lecture-style classes. On the other hand, some students may find this self-paced learning helps them understand materials deeper and offers more flexibility.

Location can also be a factor to consider for prospective medical students. U of U, located in Salt Lake City, can interest those who want more city life during their studies. Some students may already be familiar with the campus from their undergraduate education.

3. What MCAT Score Do I Need for the University of Utah?

The average MCAT for incoming U of U med school students is 514.  It also helps to read how schools determine how MCAT scores are factored in and weighed.  

While getting a higher score keeps your options open, don’t forget most schools evaluate your application holistically. Supplemental metrics, such as volunteer experience, can help show you as more well-rounded.

Final Thoughts

The tools and skills students learn in medical school serve as foundational knowledge that enables them to excel in their careers. Medical schools in Utah can build up your knowledge so you can start diagnosing and treating individuals with various symptoms and problems.

No matter your interests, whether working in an emergency setting or a relaxed rural clinic, knowing where opportunities lie lets you move forward in your professional life. If it’s medicine that you want to pursue, then there are bountiful opportunities at U of U, Noorda-COM, and RVUCOM, and the decision for your future is yours to make.

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