Admissions- Frequently Asked Questions

General

Do you accept transfer students?

The USU School of Medicine does not accept transfer students. All students must take the full four year curriculum.

Is there a fee for secondary applications?

There are no fees for secondary applications.

What are the academic requirements for admission into the USU School of Medicine?

The USU School of Medicine accepts students with a variety of interests and talents. Our student body represents a diverse educational background. However, in order to be accepted in the SoM program, students must achieve the following:

  1. Attain a baccalaureate degree as of June 15 of the year of planned matriculation from an accredited academic institution in the United States, Canada or Puerto Rico.
  2. Completed at least on academic year of general or inorganic chemistry including laboratory; one academic year of general or inorganic chemistry including laboratory; one academic year of organic chemistry including laboratory; one semester of calculus (precalculus or computer science courses are not accepted); one academic year of general physics including laboratory (courses in anatomy are not acceptable); one academic year of biology including laboratory (botany courses are not acceptable); one academic year of college English (introductory courses in composition or literature are acceptable).

An academic year of coursework consists of studies extending over a two-semester or three-quarter period and carries total credits of between eight and 12 quarter hours.

What are the average MCATs and GPAs you accept?

The average MCAT for students accepted into the SoM is 30. The average GPA is 3.5.

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Will I be interviewed as part of the admission process?

All students will be interviewed before they are accepted into the USU School of Medicine. Candidates selected for an interview are notified via e-mail and appointments are scheduled through the SoM Admission's Office. Two SoM representatives interview applicants, evaluating motivation and potential as a future military physician.

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Do you accept students without any prior service experience?

Approximately 50 percent of all accepted students have no prior military service. However, after being accepted into the medical program, all students must commission into the Army, Navy, Air Force or Public Health Service prior to matriculation. Before the first year begins, all future students are sent to their respective officer training facilities where they are taught how to become military leaders.

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I'm already in the military, what about me?

Military applicants compete with civilian applicants on the same level. However, there are two considerations which set them apart. First, if you are on active duty in one of the military academies or the ROTC, you must obtain a Letter of Approval (LOA) to apply from your branch of service. The LOA must clearly state the approval is granted. The letter should not say."recommends approval." It should say ."has approval.."

Secondly, active duty and other military obligates are restricted when selecting a branch of service. Active duty applicants must comply with their LOA instructions.

Having prior or current military experience may indicate to the selecting committee that an applicant has made a commitment to a military career. However, it does not compensate for poor scholarship or inadequate academic performance.

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What fees do students incur while attending the University?

All USU School of Medicine students enjoy a tuition-free education. Furthermore, they draw the full salary and benefits of a junior ranking officer while attending the four-year program.

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What is the service commitment?

Students commit to serving at least seven years in the uniformed services after graduation.

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What is the academic program like at the USU School of Medicine?

The academic program blends a traditional health sciences curriculum with specialized education. The program includes courses in basic medical science and military-unique training. Students attend school year round and receive an additional 500 hours of preparation compared to their civilian counterparts. Topics such as trauma and emergency medicine, infectious disease and parasitology, the humanities and behavioral science, and the principles of leadership and teamwork is the focus of the enhanced curriculum.

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Where do students complete their clinical training?

Students complete their clinical training at Military Treatment Facilities across the United States.

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How do USU School of Medicine students fare in the Match?

The USU School of Medicine students learn what specialties they will pursue and the location at which they will practice medicine during their final year of school. The matches are based on service needs and student preference. Typically, more than 90 percent of USU students receive their first choice in specialty and location.

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Where do students live while attending the Uniformed Services University?

The Uniformed Services University is located on the grounds of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. There is no base housing provided to students. However, they are given the monthly basic allowance for housing (BAH) to find accommodations in the area. There are several local options, many providing mass transit access.

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What career opportunities are available for USU students after graduation?

The majority of the USU School of Medicine graduates build an impressive career devoted to military medicine. They serve in vital capacities of biomedicine and many hold key leadership positions critical to the successful operation of the military and public health systems. The roles of USU School of Medicine graduates are diverse and far reaching, including heading terrorism and emergency response teams, serving in the White House Presidential medical detail, commanding major Military Treatment Facilities, and conducting vital research across all disciplines of medicine.

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Do students wear uniforms to class?

Students are required to wear the appropriate uniform of the day handed down by the University brigade.

What is the campus like at the Uniformed Services University?

The University is located in a park-like setting on the grounds of the National Naval Medical Center. This central location, just a few miles outside of Washington, D.C., gives students unparalleled opportunities to enjoy many exciting cultural opportunities. Award-winning restaurants, museums and monuments surround the campus and provide a welcome break from the rigors of medical school.

Students also enjoy a full-complement of extracurricular activities including a variety of athletic programs and students clubs.

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M.D. Program Questions

Do you accept transfer students?

We do not accept transfer students. The unique military nature of our university requires that all students complete the entire four-year curriculum.

Is there a fee for your secondary application?

There is no fee for submitting secondary materials.

What is the military commitment for the M.D. program?

Students commit to serving at least seven years in the uniformed services after graduation, internship and residency are complete. (Students in the Public Health Service serve a ten-year obligation.)

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What courses fulfill the admissions requirements?

  • One full year of biology with one full-year of laboratory
  • The Admissions Committee will accept general biology, human anatomy, human physiology (or anatomy and physiology combined), microbiology, zoology, animal biology and cell biology.
  • The Committee will not accept botany, plant biology, environmental biology, pro-karyotic biology, environmental science, ecology and geology.
  • If you have taken a course which is not listed above, contact the Admissions Office via email for a personal response.
  • One full year of inorganic chemistry with one full year of laboratory
  • The Admissions Committee will accept general chemistry, biochemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and introductory chemistry.
  • One full year of organic chemistry with one full year of laboratory
  • The Admissions Committee will accept general organic chemistry, introductory organic chemistry, structures and reactions and chemical structural analysis.
  • The Committee will not accept biochemistry in place of organic chemistry. Please consult your school's course catalog to make sure that your particular course is organic.
  • One full year of physics with one full year of laboratory
  • The Admissions Committee will accept introductory physics, calculus-based physics, algebra-based physics and mechanics, fluids and engineering.
  • The Committee will not accept meteorology, astronomy, mechanics of the heavens, etc.
  • One full year of English
  • The Admissions Committee will accept writing and literature courses and foreign languages.
  • The Committee will not accept communications courses, public speaking or social science classes (i.e. psychology, sociology or political science).
  • One semester of calculus
  • The Admissions Committee will accept business calculus, survey of calculus and introductory calculus.
  • The Committee will not accept pre-calculus or statistics. If your school designates a course as "analysis," please be sure to note whether it is calculus.
  • **One year denotes two semesters or three quarters of study. It is advised that you note on your application whether a class includes a lab or not.

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What if I don't meet the admission requirements?

If an applicant is missing a course prerequisite and can complete it before June 15th of the year of matriculation, their file can be reactivated. Any offer of acceptance would be contingent upon completion of the coursework. If the person is a non-citizen but can become a citizen on or before November 1st of the year preceding matriculation, their file can be reactivated.

For those applicants with weak academic packages, USU recommends post-baccalaureate (or graduate) work to improve a below-average grade point average. Many undergraduate schools offer such programs, some specifically to prepare an applicant for medical school. The Admissions Committee recommends about 25-30 additional credit hours.

USU also recommends students retake the MCAT if they have low scores. The Admissions Committee does not average multiple test scores together and any improvement is looked upon as valid.

However, if an applicant does not meet the requirements of USU, another option for military medicine is the Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP) administered by the Air Force, Army and Navy. This program provides funding for medical school in exchange for service.

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What is the admission process?

The USU Admissions Committee works on a "rolling" admissions basis. This means that an applicant's file is advanced onto the next phase as soon as the previous phase is completed.

The process begins with an application to AMCAS. USU advises applicants to apply in June, prior to the year of matriculation. Within 7 days of submitting the AMCAS application, supplemental materials are emailed to the applicant.

As soon as the forms are returned and the letters of recommendation are received, the file is sent to the Committee to make a decision regarding an invitation to interview. This review usually takes three to four weeks.

All interviews are conducted at USU. Once the interview is completed, the file is sent to the Committee again to make a recommendation for acceptance. If recommended and concurred in by the Dean of the School of Medicine, the applicant is offered a conditional acceptance. This means that the person holds a place in the class but will not receive commissioning papers or official orders until the physical exam and security check are cleared and the acceptance form is returned. Once the physical and security checks are cleared, the applicant is offered an unconditional acceptance. Commissioning papers and orders are then processed.

The Committee receives many files and each one is carefully reviewed. Please be patient while awaiting a response.

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What makes an applicant competitive?

The Admissions Committee looks at the "whole" person. The five main factors that determine an applicants eligibility are undergraduate cumulative grade point average (science GPA is carefully weighed), MCAT scores, Letters of Recommendation (LORs), clinical experience, and AMCAS and USU statements.

You want a pre-medical committee letter of recommendation. What is it? What if I don't have one?

Some undergraduate schools have a pre-medical committee that interviews students, compiles letters of recommendation, and writes cover letters to medical schools. The cover letter usually ranks an individual among the pool of applicants from their school. USU prefers applicants have a pre-medical letter if their school offers one. If students do not submit a letter from the committee, they must explain their reason for not providing one.

If an applicant's undergraduate school does not have a pre-medical committee, notify USUin a statement with the secondary application materials. The university will accept individual letters of recommendation.

Applicants should submit four letters of recommendation. Two letters of recommendation should be written by a science faculty member, one letter of recommendation should be written by a non-science professor, and one letter of recommendation must be written by a supervisor of clinical work. This last recommendation can be a part of the pre-medical committee letter or separate.

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How do I choose between the Air Force, Army Navy and Public Health Service? Is there any difference?

There is a difference among the services. Applicants are not required to make a decision regarding service until the day of the interview, but USU recommends applicants research each well in advance. Information about the Army, Air Force, Navy and Public Health Service can be found on their home Web sites.

At the interview, applicants are provided a form asking them to rank the services in order of preference and their commitment to each. Interviewees will be given briefings about the services and the admissions staff will be available for questions.

I'm already in the military, what about me?

Military applicants compete with civilian applicants on the same level. However, there are two considerations which set military applicants apart. First, if you are on active duty, in one of the military academies, or the ROTC, you must obtain a Letter of Approval (LOA) to apply from your branch of service. See Notice to Military Applicants for more information. Remember, the LOA must clearly state that approval is granted. The letter should not say "recommends approval." It must state "has approval."

For applicants in the reserves, a letter from your commanding officer (who has the authority to release you) will suffice for the LOA. Those in the IRR do not need the LOA.

Secondly, active duty and other military obligates are restricted when selecting a branch of service. They must comply with their LOA instructions. It is rare that a component will give permission to transfer into another component. If such permission is not granted, the applicant must enter the same component in which they currently serve.

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M.D./Ph.D. Program Questions

What are the application and admission procedures for the M.D./Ph.D. program?

Applicants interested in the M.D./Ph.D. program must first apply directly to the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine using the American Medical Colleges Application Service (AMCAS). Applicants must indicate their interest in the M.D./Ph.D. program on the AMCAS application. A completed USU Ph.D. Program Application must also be submitted with this material. GRE scores are not required.

If the applicant is not accepted into a Ph.D. program, they may still continue the medical school application process.

What is the curriculum like for the M.D./Ph.D. program?

The curriculum combines and integrates the requirements for both the M.D. and the Ph.D degrees. The M.D./Ph.D. program consists of three phases to be completed in seven to eight years. The first or graduate program phase will generally last three years. The M.D./Ph.D. student will complete this initial phase as a civilian, under the guidance of the graduate program director, thesis advisor, and M.D./Ph.D. Advisory Committee.

The student will complete all required courses for the Ph.D. degree during the first and second years. During this time, they will complete many of the courses required for the first two years of the medical school curriculum as well.

The qualifying examination for advancement to candidacy will be taken at the end of the second year and a doctoral thesis proposal will be submitted subsequently to the thesis advisory committee. The third year will be a research year.

The transition phase begins after the third year and will last two years. The student will complete all requirements to be commissioned in the United States military and will attend Officer Basic Training.

As a uniformed officer, the student will complete the remaining requirements of the first and second years of the medical school curriculum. The student will also continue to spend significant time on thesis research, finalize the thesis project, and prepare and defend his/her doctoral dissertation.

The final phase of the M.D./Ph.D. program is the clinical phase over the sixth and seventh years of the program. The student will begin full participation in the medical school curriculum and complete all required clinical rotations and clerkships.

After completing both program requirements, the student will be awarded both the M.D. and the Ph.D. degrees and commissioned as an active duty officer (O-3) at commencement.

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What financial support is available to M.D./Ph.D. students?

Students admitted into the M.D./Ph.D. program will receive a stipend from the graduate program for the first three years of study. In most cases, the M.D./Ph.D. student will be commissioned in the United States military as an O-1 at the end of the third year of the program. Commissioning will mark the beginning of the student's military service. At this time, the student will draw the full salary and benefits of a commissioned officer.

Who should I contact if I want more information on the M.D./Ph.D. program?

Representatives in the Office of Medical School Admissions and the Office of Graduate Education can answer questions about the M.D./Ph.D. program.

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Office of Medical School Admissions
1-800-772-1743
admissions@usuhs.edu

Office of Graduate Education
1-800-772-1747
graduateprogram@usuhs.edu