How to Get Into North Carolina Medical Schools

October 6, 2023


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 9/7/22

Considering if North Carolina is the best place for you to attend medical school? Keep reading to learn how to get into medical schools in North Carolina. 


North Carolina medical schools offer not only excellent educational experiences but also a chance to enjoy the scenic landscapes and vibrant cities of the state itself. There are just a few institutions in North Carolina, but they are, nonetheless, fantastic schools. 

In fact, they are some of the best in the nation, and with such a select list, it might be easier to decide on one if your goal is to go to school in this state. This guide will give you some vital information about these schools and some important statistics to help you decide.

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List of All Medical Schools in North Carolina

Here’s a list of all medical schools in North Carolina.

Duke University School of Medicine

According to the US News and World Report, Duke is consistently ranked among the top 10 to 20 medical schools in the United States. A storied institution, it has a highly competitive admissions process and excellent educational opportunities. It has many notable people associated with it, including Nobel prize winner Paul Modrich. It also collaborates with the National University of Singapore for international opportunities.

Core Values

According to their website, Duke University School of Medicine’s Core Values are: 

  • “Excellence in education, research and patient care
  • Respect for and inclusion of people from all backgrounds
  • Commitment to service, solving real-world problems
  • Sense of urgency in transforming discoveries into improved human health
  • Professionalism and integrity demonstrated in all aspects of performance and effort.”

Admissions Requirements

Your education is expected to include at least the following:

  • Biochemistry may be either a single course in Biochemistry or coursework including principles of Biochemistry in courses in Cell and/or Molecular Biology and/or Genetics.
  • Cellular Biology may be a single course in Cell and/or Molecular Biology and/or Genetics.
  • Statistics/Biostatistics courses providing an understanding of the application of statistical methods in analyzing data.
  • Physics courses covering the correlation of basic physics to human physiology and anatomy (such as physics and/or biophysics). Labs are optional.
  • Sociology courses that provide an introduction to the principles of social organization; emphasis on the social determinants of healthcare expected.
  • Psychology courses that cover the basic principles of psychology; emphasis on the biological basis of behavior recommended.
  • Expository Writing involving writing across the humanities, including but not limited to formal courses in English. These may be through coursework in other disciplines, including but not limited to Philosophy, History, Public Policy, Political Science, Religion, etc. may be through an Honors Thesis or a major research paper.

Note: Duke is a highly competitive medical school. To prepare, you should be sure to understand which extracurriculars can help make your application stand out and what is considered a good MCAT score for admission. Plus, you must have outstanding coursework, volunteering experience, and a strong commitment to the medical profession in order to be considered as a viable candidate.

Tuition Median GPA Median MCAT Interviewed
$72,757 3.92 520 568

Source: Duke University

University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Another highly-ranked school, this institution was founded in 1879 and is known for its non-traditional approach to medical education. The actor Ken Jeong is a notable alumni, and this school has pioneered research into many forms of treatment such as cancer care techniques and brain functioning. It receives ample funding from federal sources for that research, too.

Mission Statement

The University of Carolina School of medicine’s mission is “to improve the health, function, and wellbeing of people across North Carolina and beyond through excellence in patient care, education, research, and innovation.”

Admissions Requirements

All prerequisite coursework must be completed at an accredited institution in the U.S. or Canada. The course should include at least:

  • 30 credit hours of natural science coursework. 
  • Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate coursework cannot substitute for prerequisites. College-level coursework only for all prerequisites. 
  • Seated (in-class) prerequisite coursework required to gain interpersonal skills needed to succeed in the curriculum and in medical practice. Online courses can only be considered if your institution is unable to offer a seated class.
  • Substitutions are not allowed for coursework in these categories. For example, Biochemistry cannot substitute the Biology Sciences because Biochemistry is one of the required courses for the Chemistry requirements. 

Natural Sciences

  • Mathematics – One Statistics course required. Statistics or Biostatistics are acceptable.
  • Chemistry –  Three chemistry courses required, including one biochemistry course. Two chemistry courses must include labs. Organic chemistry is acceptable for one course.
  • Biological Sciences –  Three biology courses required. Two must be advanced biology courses, and one of the advanced courses must include a lab. Acceptable advanced biology courses include: Microbiology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Physiology, and Genetics. 


  • Three courses required; coursework in the following is acceptable: English, Philosophy, Ethics, Ethnic and Gender Studies, or foreign language study.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • Three courses required. Social and Behavioral Science coursework in the following is acceptable: Behavioral Psychology, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, and Anthropology.

MCAT Scores 

MCAT scores must be from at least 2020. At a minimum, this school requires:

  • In-state applicants: A minimum science (BCPM) and cumulative GPAs of 3.2, and a minimum total MCAT score of 500.
  • Out-of-state applicants: A minimum science GPA (BCPM) of 3.49, minimum cumulative GPA of 3.59, and a minimum total MCAT score of 514.
Tuition Average GPA Average MCAT Interviewed
$34,706 IS
$62,666 OOS
3.79 (science)
3.66 (non-science)
512 600

With extra room and boarding expenses, residents of North Carolina can expect a financial commitment of approximately $71,552, while non-residents can expect to pay around $99,512 to attend UNC

Wake Forest School of Medicine

Established in 1902, this medical school is associated with the larger Wake Forest University. It boasts a vibrant campus life and a clinic that serves low-income residents in Winston-Salem that’s staffed by students. Research features prominently among the strengths of this school, and it receives funding from federal sources on a regular basis to further these efforts. A noteworthy alumnus from this institution is Thomas Marshburn, a NASA astronaut.

Mission Statement

Wake Forests’ mission is to “improve the health of our region, state and nation by:

  • Generating and translating knowledge to prevent, diagnose and treat disease.
  • Training leaders in healthcare and biomedical science.
  • Serving as the premier health system in our region, with specific centers of excellence recognized as national and international care destinations.”

Admissions Requirements

At least 90 hours of college coursework is required to apply, and advanced placement (AP), P/F courses, and other credits are acceptable. A minimum science/BCPM GPA of 3.2 is required to be reviewed by admissions. 

Applicants who do not meet the undergraduate science/BCPM GPA of 3.2 and have completed at least 15 hours of either post-baccalaureate or graduate science coursework with a 3.2 average at the time of AMCAS verification will be reviewed by the Dean of Admissions upon completion of their application.

Strongly recommended courses include:

  • Biology: Introductory biology, molecular/cell biology, genetics, anatomy, physiology, neuroscience 
  • Chemistry: Biochemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry 
  • Physics: Introductory physics 
  • Mathematics: Algebra, statistics 
  • Psychology: Introductory psychology, behavioral psychology, abnormal psychology 
  • Sociology: Introductory sociology, coursework with a special emphasis on health disparities 
  • Humanities: A foreign language (especially Spanish), philosophy (especially medical ethics), literature

The minimum MCAT required to be reviewed by admissions is a 502. It is strongly encouraged that applicants do not take the MCAT more than twice.

Tuition Average GPA Average MCAT Interviewed
$63,674 3.8 512 500

Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

Founded in 1972, this school is known for graduating students that stay in-state for their careers and work in under-served areas. The Brody School of Medicine also operates a community clinic run by its medical students. It is known for its cardiovascular disease center and is a pioneer in robotic surgery, as well as for its unique telehealth network, which reaches populations that are poorly accommodated by traditional care methods.

Mission Statement

The Brody School of Medicine’s mission statement reads:

“The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University is committed to delivering on the three-fold mission it was founded on: to increase the supply of primary care physicians serving the state, to improve the health status of eastern North Carolina’s residents and to enhance access of minority and disadvantaged students to a medical education.”

Admissions Requirements

  • At least 3 years of work in undergraduate classes
  • And at least: One year of General Biology or Zoology with labs (Botany alone is not enough) 
  • One year of General Chemistry with labs (must include both qualitative and quantitative analysis) 
  • One year of Organic Chemistry with labs
  • One year of Physics with labs
  • One year of English (or other writing-intensive courses) 
  • One semester of Social Sciences/Humanities 
  • One semester of Biochemistry, and 
  • One semester of Statistics/Biostatistics 
  • Highly recommended: a course in genetics and an additional year of English
Tuition Median GPA Median MCAT Interviewed
$25,100 3.67 508 394

Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Founded in 2011, this private, non-profit, Baptist medical school is the newest in North Carolina, and it has a primarily rural campus setting that features many state-of-the-art facilities. It holds the status of the only osteopathic medical school in North Carolina. 

Mission Statement

The school’s mission is “to educate and prepare community–based osteopathic physicians in a Christian environment to care for the rural and underserved populations in North Carolina, the Southeastern United States and the nation.”

Admissions Requirements

At least a letter grade of C (not C–) or higher in:

  • English: One Year. (Note: Other reading or writing-intensive courses instead of English are accepted.)
  • Biological sciences: 1 year with lab 
  • Physics: 1 year 
  • General/Inorganic Chemistry: 1 year with lab 
  • Organic Chemistry: 1 year with lab (Note: One semester of Biochemistry may replace one semester of Organic Chemistry.)
  • Six additional upper (300 level and above) hard science hours. (Note: courses in Biochemistry, Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology, and Anatomy & Physiology highly recommended.)

MCAT Scores

All applicants must have valid MCAT scores (no substitutions will be accepted in place of the MCAT). MCAT scores from tests administered up to three years before the date of matriculation are accepted, although the Dean may grant exceptions to this timeline in some instances. A minimum MCAT score of 500 is and 50% in each section is required. 

  • Competitive MCAT score usually begins at 50th percentile of your particular test date. 
  • MCAT score, along with grades, personal qualities, and the student interview are all considered in deciding acceptance. 
Tuition Average GPA MCAT Interviewed
$61,220 3.66 507 N/A

Tips for Getting Accepted into Medical Schools in North Carolina 

North Carolina contains some of the most lauded medical schools in the United States. Because the state only has five medical schools, competition is intense between both in-state and out-of-state applicants. In-state applicants are usually preferred, so if you aim to get into a school from out-of-state, make sure your portfolio is even more outstanding. Know the facts on Volunteering for Medical School: How to Do it Right and learn How to Secure Strong Medical School Letters of Recommendation before you apply.

Many of these schools focus on providing care to under-severed populations, and admissions officers consider this to be a highly valuable commitment. Make your passion for this goal clear by learning How to Write a Personal Statement for Medical School and refine your answer to the question of “Why Do You Want to be a Doctor?” Do your research on the programs offered to really get to know what each school stands for and considers essential. 

The words of the UNC School of Medicine sum up the overall idea well: “A Tar Heel Doctor is something special, and while we evaluate each of our applicants based on [our] selection criteria ... we are also looking for that indelible extra element that tells us that you connect with our mission. Smart is easy. Being a great doctor goes far beyond that.”


1. What admissions portal do North Carolina medical schools use?

Like most medical schools in the United States, North Carolina institutions use the AAMC’s American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

2. Do North Carolina medical schools have good international reputations?

Yes! They carry world-renowned reputations and produce notable doctors and scholars. In fact, North Carolina’s medical schools are ranked among the top medical schools in the entire United States regularly by the US News and World Report

3. Are North Carolina medical schools competitive?

They are often highly competitive. There are only five schools in the entire state, and these medical schools tend to prefer in-state applicants. So, be sure to have an outstanding application prepared if your goal is to get into these schools!

4. In what type of environments are North Carolina medical schools located?

Some are located in urban areas, and others serve rural populations. Research the towns and cities your preferred school is in – such as Durham, where Duke University is located – and determine if it lines up with your own plans and expectations. On the whole, North Carolina medical schools tend to serve low-income and historically excluded populations and focus on getting treatment to those that may otherwise not have access to adequate care.

5. What is the environment of North Carolina and its culture like for students?

North Carolina is known for its friendly populace and its signature delicious cuisine: barbecue. Charlotte is the largest city in the state, and there are many rural areas and natural places to explore. The state is famous for the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains, and its scenic coastline.

6. Is North Carolina a good state to practice in after graduation?

Yes, and medical schools in North Carolina often pride themselves on serving the state by placing their graduates in areas that require doctors. If you have a strong attachment to the state and its people, apply to medical schools in North Carolina.

Final Thoughts

Applying to North Carolina medical schools might be competitive, but it certainly is worth it as you’ll be attending notable institutions in a beautiful state. Be sure to present your best possible self to the schools you select within the state and make sure you completely understand their requirements and expectations.

If you are from out-of-state, remember that you will be competing with in-state applicants, which North Carolina institutions tend to prefer. But, fear not. If you work hard and submit an outstanding application, you can achieve your goal of attending your dream medical school in North Carolina.

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