MD Program Selection Criteria

The Admissions Committee conducts holistic application reviews that give equitable and balanced consideration to applicants' academic and nonacademic attributes. These reviews are broad-based and address factors the committee considers essential for achieving the various missions of our school. These factors are used by the committee in each step of evaluating an applicant and provide the framework for the content of the admission interviews.

In addition to our preparedness worksheet, we invite you to check out the AAMC's Anatomy of an Applicant. This guide includes competency resources as well as a self-assessment for medical school applicants, prepared by the AAMC.

Download the Preparedness Worksheet

Secondary Application

To receive an invitation to complete the secondary application, applicants must meet all minimum requirements under the MCAT Score, Grade Point Average, Citizenship, and Credit Hours sections.

Academic Requirements

Applicants should meet the following minimum requirements to be considered for a secondary application.

MCAT Score

Applicants with a 495 total MCAT score are typically eligible to receive an invitation to complete our secondary application. Alabama residents with above average academic performance (our average GPA for entering students is typically in the 3.7-3.8 range) with a 493 or 494 total score on the MCAT may be invited to submit a secondary. The Early Decision and EMSAP programs have different MCAT criteria.

  • Scores from the September 2022 MCAT dates are the latest that will be considered.
  • A 2020 MCAT score is the earliest score considered for the 2023 entering class.

See the MCAT website for more information.

We will use the most recent MCAT total score for consideration to receive a secondary application. The committee will consider the applicants’ scores from all MCAT tests when evaluating applicants for admission.

Grade Point Average

Alabama residents must have a 3.0 science (BCPM) GPA at the undergraduate level or a 3.0 science (BCPM) GPA after 20 or more BCPM credits at the post-baccalaureate or graduate level to receive the secondary application invitation. Since pass/fail grades are not included in the GPA, they do not count toward the 20 credit requirement at the post-baccalaureate and graduate level to receive the secondary application.

Out-of-state applicants must have a 3.3 science (BCPM) GPA at the undergraduate level or a 3.3 science (BCPM) GPA after 20 or more BCPM credits at the post baccalaureate or graduate level to receive an invitation to complete the secondary application. Since pass/fail grades are not included in the GPA, they do not count toward the 20 credit requirement at the post-baccalaureate and graduate level to receive the secondary application.

All applicants must demonstrate solid knowledge of relevant sciences and the ability to manage a rigorous academic curriculum. You must also have received a "C" or better in all required courses.  The GPA minimum requirement does not apply to MSTP program applicants to receive a secondary application.

Credit Hours

Applicants should report at least 90 hours of undergraduate course credit from an accredited U.S. college or university on the AMCAS application. Applicants educated at a college or university not regionally accredited in the U.S. should complete a minimum of 24 credits in biomedical sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, and/or math) at a U.S. accredited institution and submit a course-by-course evaluation from a NACES.org evaluation service for education completed outside the U.S.

All requirements to complete current degree programs must be completed by July 1 before matriculation. All college majors are considered equally; however, you should consider how your major prepares you for the rigorous science coursework of medical school and how your major will be useful if not accepted to medical school.

Pass/Fail Grading

While we prefer letter grades to better show preparation for medical school, we understand that the pandemic impacted instruction in 2020 and 2021.  We will accept pass or satisfactory grades during semesters when courses were moved from in-person to virtual due to the pandemic. 

Required Undergraduate Courses

For required courses, we expect to see the majority of these classes completed prior to submission of the AMCAS; however, we understand that many applicants may have one or two of these courses scheduled during their senior year after the AMCAS application has been submitted. Students offered acceptance are required to submit proof of successful completion of required coursework.

  • Online and community college courses are accepted unless otherwise noted.
  • Students must receive a "C" or better in required courses.

General Biology (with lab)
8 semester hours

  • Applicants awarded AP or CLEP credit for biology are expected to complete 8 hours of additional advanced biology coursework.
  • Laboratory courses should be completed in-person; however, online labs will be accepted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Biochemistry
3 semester hours

  • Any sequence of chemistry courses that includes Biochemistry will satisfy the chemistry requirement.

General Physics (with lab)
8 semester hours

  • We accept AP or CLEP credit for physics.

Biostatistics/Statistics or College Mathematics
3 semester hours of biostatistics or 6 semester hours of college math

  • A 3 hour college course in biostatistics or statistics is expected.
  • Applicants with 6 hours of college level math coursework other than biostatistics/statistics will also meet the requirements.
  • Applicants awarded AP or CLEP credit for statistics or college mathematics are expected to complete a college level biostatistics course to meet the requirement.

English
6 semester hours

  • Complete at least 6 semester hours of college level English, writing composition, or writing intensive coursework.
  • AP and CLEP credit in English are accepted.

Behavioral and Social Sciences
3 semester hours

  • Any behavioral or social science coursework that addresses the biological, psychological, and/or sociocultural factors that influence perceptions, behaviors, interactions and well-being will be accepted.
  • AP and CLEP credit in Social Sciences are accepted.

Regarding AP and CLEP credit: For AP or CLEP credit to meet a minimum requirement, college hour or unit credit for a course must appear on your transcript.

Regarding Online Coursework:  We accept online coursework for all prerequisite lecture-based courses. While we normally expect students to take their labs in person, we will make an exception for labs that were transitioned to an online format due to COVID-19. 

Citizenship and State Residency

Citizenship

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are considered for admission.

State Residency

While we admit applicants from all over the United States, we have a strong preference for legal residents of Alabama. Resident tuition status is determined by the university, with regard to Alabama law, and the policies of the Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama System. For more information on residency, please visit the UAB Resources page for In-State Residency.

AAMC PREviewTM professional readiness exam

About the PREview (formerly known as the AAMC Situational Judgment Test)

To further enhance our holistic review process during the 2023 application cycle, we are highly recommending applicants to complete the Association of American Medical Colleges Professional Readiness Exam (AAMC PREviewTM), to assess the pre-professional competencies that our admissions committee believes are essential for success at our medical school and will be increasingly important in meeting the needs of patients and improving the health of all people.

The AAMC PREview exam is an opportunity for applicants to showcase personal and professional characteristics—beyond classroom learning—that will make them a great fit for the UAB Heersink School of Medicine.  Since applicants are not required to take the AAMC PREview exam, your application will be considered complete if you do not have an AAMC PREview score. While the admissions committee may see that you did not take the AAMC PREview exam, they will be instructed to disregard missing AAMC PREview scores.

PREviewTM and Admissions Decisions

In the 2023 application cycle, UAB Heersink School of Medicine will not use AAMC PREview scores to eliminate applicants from further consideration. The scores will only be used in a holistic review process to evaluate how an applicant might contribute to the learning environment and profession of medicine.

For applicants who have been invited to complete a secondary application, we still highly encourage to take the AAMC PREview exam if you have not already done so. Doing so will give you an opportunity to display your knowledge of effective and ineffective behaviors across eight core competencies for entering medical students, which include Service Orientation, Social Skills, Cultural Competence, Teamwork, Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others, Reliability and Dependability, Resilience and Adaptability, and Capacity for Improvement.

Timeline

The AAMC PREview exam will be available June – September 2022. For the 2023 application cycle, the AAMC PREview exam will be administered online using remote proctoring. There will be a $100 fee for examinees to take the AAMC PREview exam and release their AAMC PREview scores to all schools they apply to. Students who qualify for the Fee Assistance Program will receive a full fee waiver (no cost). Free preparation materials, including a full-length practice exam, are available through the AAMC.

Information about the AAMC PREview exam, including preparation materials, test registration, requests for accommodations, and important dates and deadlines is available here.

We encourage 2023 applicants to register for the PREview as soon as possible. We will invite applicants to complete a secondary application and screen applications without receipt of the PREview score; however, we encourage you to have at least registered for the PREview prior to considering you for an invitation to interview.

Personal Attributes and Experiences

Desirable personal attributes

Honesty, integrity, emotional maturity, empathy/compassion, industry/motivation, personal warmth and resilience, as well as a sense of purpose and a healthy sense of humor.

Communication skills & personal interview

  • Overall ability to communicate effectively and specific ability to convey a realistic and meaningful account of one’s interest in medicine
  • Understand the importance of skillful listening
  • Ability to engage in effective conversation

Service and volunteer activities 

Evidence of a demonstrated concern for others through a pattern of ongoing, face-to-face, hands-on service.

Medically related experience and shadowing

Medical exposure is an essential part of being considered competitive for admission. Through experiences in a medical setting, you will begin to:

  • Develop an understanding of what happens when doctors and patients interact
  • Develop insight into the patient’s experience in the patient‐physician relationship
  • Better understand what becoming a physician would mean to you

Research experience

Opportunity to develop fundamentals of scientific inquiry important for evidence-based medicine.

Extracurricular activities and campus involvement/Work experience 

  • How have you invested your time in extracurricular activities and work experience?

Teamwork & Leadership roles

  • Experience collaborating with others toward a common goal. Ability to hold self and others accountable.

Contribution to a diverse and creative class

A diverse mix of students in each class is essential to providing educational opportunities for understanding the depth and breadth of human experiences and values.

Potential to meet unmet medical service needs

Demonstrated interest and experience working with underserved populations.

Regarding in-person activities during COVID-19: We understand that the pandemic has made it difficult to engage in many in-person activities. Your experiences might look different from what you were planning before the pandemic. We would like to see a continued commitment to service as well as exploration of medicine. Telehealth or virtual opportunities are becoming more and more available. We encourage you to reach out to contacts you secured for pre-COVID-19 activities and see what opportunities might be available in these formats. Your pre-health advisor may have additional suggestions.

Technical Standards

Please see the UAB Heersink School of Medicine's Technical Standards Policy for more information on the abilities and skills required for MD degree candidates.

The UAB Heersink School of Medicine welcomes and embraces diversity, including people with disabilities. As such, the school of medicine will provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with a disability. Please contact the UAB Office of Disability Support Services for more information or to make an accommodation request.