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 2021 MCAT dates are the latest that will be considered.
  • A 2019 MCAT score is the earliest score considered for the 2022 entering class.

See the MCAT website for more information.

We will use the most recent MCAT total score for consideration of interview. 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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Citizenship and State Residency


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 Situational Judgment Test (SJT)

About the SJT

We are excited to announce that we have been selected to participate in the AAMC SJT beginning with the 2022 admissions cycle. The AAMC SJT exam is an opportunity for applicants to showcase personal and professional characteristics--beyond academic scores—that will make them a great candidate for the University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine.

Applicants to the 2022 cycle are asked to submit the free SJT. If you took the SJT test in the 2021 cycle, you do not need to retake it again this cycle. However, if you would like to retake it to improve your score, you are welcome to do so.

Program-Specific Considerations

Applicants who wish to be considered for Advanced Standing, Transfer, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), Rural, and the Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP) are highly encouraged to include the SJT with their application materials.

SJT and Admissions Decisions

In the 2022 application cycle, UAB Heersink School of Medicine will not use SJT 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. The Admissions Selection Committee will use SJT scores with all the other application and interview data in the final decision process. SJT scores will be used as a “plus factor” for applicants who scores above the 75th percentile. Lower scores will not be used in the decision process for the 2022 cycle. Rather, the data will be used to study the effectiveness of the SJT for future use.


The AAMC SJT exam will be available June – October 2021. For the AMCAS 2022 application cycle, the AAMC SJT exam is free and administered online using remote proctoring. Free preparation materials are available through the AAMC, and a full-length practice test is available.

We encourage 2022 applicants to register for the SJT as soon as possible. We will invite applicants to complete a secondary application and screen applications without receipt of the SJT score; however, we encourage you to have at least registered for the SJT 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.

Effective communication skills

  • 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 and interest in academic medicine

Develop an understanding of the principles of scientific investigation and apply those principles in a research setting.

Extracurricular activities and campus involvement

  • Gives opportunities to develop life skills and maturity
  • Evaluates academic ability and time management skills

Leadership roles and special talents or abilities

  • Gives opportunities to develop life skills and maturity
  • Evaluates academic ability and time management skills

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

Our school is committed to meeting health care needs of the state of Alabama, particularly those of underserved populations in the state. These needs include primary care medical needs of racial and ethnic minorities and rural populations.

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 UABSOM 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.