Changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic

We understand that navigating medical school admissions during these unprecedented and uncertain times can be very stressful. At UAB, we are committed to using a holistic review process. We will continue to give every completed application balanced consideration, keeping the impact of the pandemic in mind.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about our requirements during COVID.  We continue to monitor the situation and will adjust our policies and deadlines accordingly. Please check back regularly.

Pass/fail grading

My school is offering a pass/fail (or satisfactory/unsatisfactory) grading option due to COVID-19. Will UAB accept a pass or satisfactory grade in place of a letter/numeric grade for required prerequisite coursework?

We will accept pass or satisfactory grades during semesters impacted by COVID-19.  Although we will accept pass/fail, we prefer to see letter grades as they are better indicators of your preparation for medical school.  Below are factors to consider in your individual/unique decision:

  • If you have solid academic and testing performance, a semester (or two) with pass grades instead of letter/numeric grades is not going to impact our decision.
  • If you have struggled academically and have been working to improve grades, a pass grade will not show us an upward trend in grades. If you are doing well in your coursework, you should opt for a numerical/letter grade.
  • If you haven’t been able to show a positive trend yet, you may need to consider waiting to apply until you can demonstrate readiness. Talk with your academic advisor who can help you with your unique situation.

Online Coursework

My school moved our classes to an online format. Will UAB accept online prerequisite courses?

Yes, 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.


Is it possible to have MCAT waived?

All applicants are required to take the MCAT. We do not plan to waive the MCAT at this time. The AAMC MCAT administration is providing increased testing slots as a normal season so applicants should be able to schedule a test or re-test date.

The MCAT was shortened in 2020 during COVID to allow three test administrations per exam day. Will UAB treat the new, shortened version of the MCAT differently than the full-length version?

No. The shortened version has the same number of scored sections with the same score precision as the full-length exam. We will not be giving more weight to the full-length version than the shortened version.

Shadowing and community service

The pandemic is making it difficult to shadow or continue with my community service activities.  What should I do?

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 into these formats. Your pre-health advisor may have additional suggestions.

Your safety is of the utmost importance. We advise you to only take advantage of in-person opportunities that allow you to follow CDC guidelines for safety (including social distancing, appropriate PPE, and hand-washing).

Letters of Recommendation

My college usually provides a committee letter to professional schools but will only be providing a letter packet due to COVID-19. Will this negatively impact my application?

Absolutely not. We understand the challenges this pandemic is placing on pre-health advisors and committees. We will accept letter packets and individual letters of recommendation in lieu of a committee letter. Visit our Application Process page for more details.