How to Get Into UCLA Medical School

May 26, 2023


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 5/25/22

Planning to become a doctor? Want to study in sunny Los Angeles? Read on to learn how to get into UCLA medical school! 

What you need to know about UCLA Medical School

As one of the top medical schools in the United States, the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA is also one of the most competitive. 

If you’re interested in becoming one of the lucky few to enter DGSOM but aren’t sure where to start, look no further. Below is the definitive guide for getting into DGSOM.

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UCLA Medical School Programs: What Do They Offer?

There are several different programs available at UCLA. Requirements for each can vary:

  • The standalone MD Program provides students with the skills to have prominent careers in clinical practice, teaching, research, and public service. 
  • The Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) specializes in educating and training individuals seeking a biomedical sciences career. You’ll begin with two years of medical school, do four years of Ph.D. graduate training, and finish with your final years of medical school. 
  • The UCLA Prime Program in Medical Education is a five-year dual degree program, during which you complete an MD and a Master’s degree. This program focuses on developing leaders in addressing medical policy, care, and research.
  • The UCLA/Charles R. Drew Medical Education Program centers on education in community engagement and training physician leaders who promote wellness in diverse and underserved communities.

All candidates must apply through the David Geffen School of Medicine. Once DGSOM accepts you, you’ll need to apply to the program you want, submit letters of recommendation, and go through an interview process. 

UCLA Medical School Admissions Requirements

So, let’s say you are interested in applying. How hard is it to get into UCLA med school? What would you need? No matter your questions, we have the answers.

Picture of UCLA Medical School Building
Source: The Daily Bruin

You will apply through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) portal. Before filling out the $95 application, you’ll need to ensure you meet all UCLA medical school requirements.

Here are the minimum qualifications and materials you’ll need for your AMCAS application:

  • Undergraduate record
  • Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Graduate record (where applicable)
  • Life experiences
  • Admission interviews

Failure to provide any of these materials will delay your application review or lead to rejection. Let’s take an in-depth look at each requirement, starting with your undergraduate record.

Undergraduate Record: Minimum Coursework

UCLA Medical School Required Coursework

Successful applicants must obtain a Bachelor’s degree from a U.S. or Canadian institution. AP credit is accepted as well. DGSOM doesn’t evaluate specific prerequisite coursework. 

The school of medicine does recommend applicants demonstrate key competencies in the following college-level coursework and abilities:

  • Biological Sciences and Physiology: Cellular and Molecular Biology and Genetics
  • Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physical Sciences: Inorganic and Organic chemistry, Biochemistry of intermediary metabolism, and associated laboratory activities.
  • Humanities: This might include literature or art, history, philosophy, religion, ethics, economics, social behavior, and psychology
  • Mathematics and Statistics: This might consist of biomathematics, computer science, matrix algebra
  • Writing and communication skills
  • Clinical experiences
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Health care delivery
  • Human diversity
  • Research experience‍‍

Try to weave these competencies into your application: DGSOM seeks these qualities in its students.

UCLA Med School GPA Requirements

There is no GPA cutoff to apply to DGSOM. The average GPA of accepted students is approximately 3.8

UCLA Med School MCAT Requirements

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is one of the best ways to show medical schools that you know your stuff. For your application to UCLA med school, the MCAT is mandatory. 

Although it does not specify a minimum score, the DGSOM admissions committee will not review applications without MCAT scores. The average MCAT score of UCLA medical school students was 514 in a recent cycle; however other data suggests the average score is around 516 - 517. 

Letters of Recommendation: What Others Think Matters Here

You must submit three to five recommendations, two of which must be from previous instructors. You can give the writers a short synopsis highlighting key moments when working or learning with them. This will remind the writer of key characteristics about you that translate into a more detailed letter.

Transcripts: Proof of Your Degree

DGSOM requires your transcripts. Before submitting your application, you must request your official transcripts to be forwarded directly through the AMCAS by each school you’ve attended. The admissions committee doesn’t accept unofficial transcripts.

Work Experiences: What Have They Taught You?

Your personal statement is the best place to discuss your experiences (besides your activities list). Details of research, volunteer work, clinical work, or publications bolster your application.

Discuss how your experiences have contributed to your desire to enter the medical field and what you can contribute to the program. You must display your communication skills. In short, sell yourself as best as possible.

UCLA Medical School Acceptance Rate

The UCLA medical school acceptance rate is 2.2%, making it one of the most challenging schools in the country to get into. The positive aspect of such low acceptance rates is a higher faculty-student ratio of 3.9:1.

UCLA Medical School Acceptance Statistics: How You Rank

While David Geffen School of Medicine receives many applications, the limited spots make it one of the most competitive schools you can enter.

  • The MD program allows approximately 118 new entrants.
  • MSTP accepts roughly 15 new entrants.
  • Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program accepts about 24 new entrants.
  • UCLA Prime allows approximately 18 new entrants.

UCLA medical school admission statistics can seem daunting, but you can set yourself apart with the right preparation. Remember to start early and keep important dates in mind. 

UCLA Medical School Application Timeline

The David Geffen School of Medicine uses a rolling admissions schedule. While application deadlines are mid-October, you should submit no later than October 1. Due to the substantial number of applicants, submitting your application on time is crucial.

You can see the admissions timeline below:

UCLA Med School Application Timeline

If you receive an offer of admission, you’ll have 15 days to respond to the offer. 

UCLA Medical School Secondary Application: The Essays

Once you’ve completed all aspects of the primary application, the DGSOM admissions committee will review it. After, the school may send secondary applications to candidates they want to see continue in the admissions process. 

These are the current secondary application prompts, although they can change annually: 

1. At the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, students are provided with curriculum and experiences enabling them to become an ‘Outstanding Physician, AND...,’ dedicating themselves to important societal missions. What missions do you want to embrace? What have you done toward your missions? (800 characters)
2. Respond to the following and indicate how these areas of experience have impacted your progress toward your future career goals in relation to becoming an ‘Outstanding Physician, AND…’.
Describe your most unique leadership, entrepreneurial, or creative activity. (800 characters)
Describe your most important volunteer work and why it was meaningful. (800 characters)
Describe your most scholarly project (thesis, research or field of study in basic or clinical science or in the humanities) and provide the total number of hours, dates and advisor. (800 characters)
3. Describe how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your pathway to medical school. Include any academic, personal, financial or professional barriers, as well as other relevant information. (800 characters)
4. Did you experience or are you anticipating time between graduating from college and matriculating into medical school? (Yes/No) If yes, describe the activities in which you participated or are planning to participate. Examples include additional schooling, employment, or caring for a loved one. (800 characters)
5. Do you identify as being part of a group that has been marginalized (examples include, but are not limited to, LGBTQIA, disabilities, federally recognized tribe) in terms of access to education or healthcare? (Yes/No) If you answered “Yes” to the above, answer the following prompt: Describe how this inequity has impacted you or your community and how educational disparity, health disparity and/or marginalization has impacted you and your community. (800 characters)

These questions allow the admissions committee to get to know you better. The goal is to understand your interests, experiences, achievements, and hardships that provide a clearer picture of who you are. 

UCLA Medical School Interview Process: Your Time to Shine

Once the admissions committee reviews your secondary application, you may be invited to an interview. The one-on-one virtual interview is your final requirement for UCLA medical school. UCLA interviews are held between August and January or until the class is full. 

You’ll want to stress your abilities, why you want to attend DGSOM, and how you’ll contribute to the incoming class. The admissions committee determines the final admission offers after a comprehensive review of the potential candidate’s application.

UCLA Medical School Tuition & Scholarships

In terms of tuition at UCLA med school, costs vary on living and other expenses. These fees are subject to change. For the recent admissions cycle, the estimated tuition costs for students living on-campus are $37,448 for California residents and $68,474 for non-residents. 

Off-campus students can expect to pay between $29,092 to $37,129 as a resident and $60,118 to $68,155 for non-residents.

These costs can seem daunting, but they shouldn’t discourage you. GFSOM offers multiple scholarships to cover a large sum (or all) of tuition fees. 

  • The David Geffen Medical Scholarship provides financial support for the four-year cost of attendance. The scholarship includes in-state tuition and fees plus an annual living stipend. Out-of-state tuition is covered only for the first year.
  • The LA Care Scholarship pays in-state tuition and fees plus an annual living stipend. Out-of-state tuition is covered only through the first year.
  • The Leaders of Tomorrow Scholars Program pays full tuition and fees and a one-time $5,000 research stipend.

There are also need-based scholarships available. The DGSOM Financial Aid Office emails information regarding financial aid to entering UCLA medical students. 

The cost of living matches the standard of living in Los Angeles. You can save some money by looking for a residency outside the campus. Usually, the housing costs around universities are slightly lower to bring in the student demographic. 

Furthermore, many external scholarships are available to medical students in the U.S. Do your research and apply because there’s money waiting for you! 

FAQs: Getting Into UCLA Med School

Still have questions about how to get into UCLA med school? We’ve got you covered.

1. How Hard Is It to Get Into UCLA Medical School?

DGSOM’s acceptance rate is 2.2%. With dedication and patience, you can maximize your chances of acceptance. 

2. How Many Letters of Recommendation for UCLA Med School Do I need? 

You’ll need to submit three to five letters of recommendation. Your letters should come from professors or professionals who know you well and can speak to your qualifications. 

3. What Are the UCLA Medical School Prerequisites?

The UCLA med school application requirements don’t include any specific prerequisite courses. However, you should have significant knowledge in the following areas:

  • Biological Sciences and Physiology
  • Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physical Sciences
  • Humanities
  • Math and Statistics

You should also have skills in writing and communication, clinical experiences, and research experience.  

4. What Score Do I Need on the MCAT for UCLA Medical School?

Although no specified minimum MCAT score is required for DGSOM, it’s a good idea to aim for a score around or above 516. This will give you a competitive advantage for many programs, including UCLA. 

5. What GPA is Required for UCLA Medical School? 

There are no GPA cutoffs at UCLA medical school, but a GPA of 3.8 or higher can help you become a more competitive applicant. 

6. Is UCLA a Good Medical School? 

UCLA is one of the nation's best medical schools. U.S. News ranks DGSOM as #13 in primary care and #19 in research. 

You Can Get Into UCLA Med School

While the process is quite competitive and time-sensitive, it’s possible to get admitted into the David Geffen School of Medicine. Now that you know how to get into UCLA medical school, the most important thing to remember is to ensure you submit all materials before the deadline.

There are excellent resources available to assist you when applying. With this guide and admissions consulting, becoming a student at DGSOM is within your reach!

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