How to Get into UCLA Medical School

August 17

Table of Contents

One of California's most sought-after medical schools is the UCLA Medical School, also known as the David Geffen School of Medicine. Its popularity among students is not simply due to the neighboring sunny beaches. It is also because it has one of the top medical school programs in the US.

It emphasizes innovation, academic quality, community service, and diversity while combining a holistic approach to medical education with a demanding curriculum. The David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA is one of the best medical schools in the nation and one of the most selective.

Here is your guide on getting into UCLA Medical School if you want to be one of the fortunate few to be accepted to DGSOM but are unsure where to begin.

Why UCLA Medical School?

The University of California at Los Angeles Medical School, known as the David Geffen School of Medicine, was the second medical school in the University of California system when it was established in 1951. Since then, UCLA Medical School has made a name for itself as one of the top medical universities in the world. 

Some of the most significant medical minds have taught at UCLA Medical School. Selma Calmes, a co-founder of the Anesthesia History Association, and Robert Peter Gale, a specialist in bone marrow transplants and leukemia treatment, are also faculty members. 

Several hospitals in the Los Angeles area, including West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and St. Mary's Medical Center, have partnerships with the school. 

The UCLA Medical Center is the most significant partnership, though. U.S. News and World Report ranks it the country's third-best hospital. The UCLA Medical Center includes 520 beds and cutting-edge equipment, and it is a level-I trauma hospital for kids and adults. 

UCLA Medical School has all the tools necessary for a future medical professional to become an authority in their industry. The school has a competitive student body, excellent teaching, and cutting-edge research.

Programs Offered at UCLA Medical School

There are several programs offered at the UCLA Medical School. Take note that requirements for each can vary.

Doctor of Medicine

The David Geffen School of Medicine's four-year M.D. program strongly emphasizes a patient-centered, holistic approach, practice-based learning and improvement, and a solid foundation in medical science. 

The first two years are devoted to laboratory study and classroom instruction of the fundamental theories of disease and medicine.

The core clinical clerkships in psychiatry/ neurology, internal medicine, OB/GYN, pediatrics, family medicine, surgery, and radiology are completed in the third year. As a component of the distinctive "colleges" at UCLA, the fourth year brings together students and instructors engaged in the same professional interests.

This allows you to learn more about a particular subject, look for mentors in related fields, and try to get the residencies they want. 

Although it is possible to defer the completion of this degree for one year to do approved specialized research, most students finish it in four years.

Doctorate of Medicine and Philosophy 

An MD and a Ph.D. are combined in the UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). When this program started in 1983, UCLA affiliated with Caltech to broaden its reach.

The first two years of this demanding eight-year curriculum are spent studying for the MD at the David Geffen School of Medicine. 

The following two years are spent looking for a Ph.D. after completing four years of graduate school in a biomedical or sociomedical discipline of their choice.

Two participants in this program complete their Ph.D. programs at Caltech each year. For those interested in studying the social sciences or humanities, they also offer a relatively new Social Sciences Track. One student a year is accepted into this track.

MD Masters of Public Health

An articulated degree program that combines a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with an MD is offered by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and the UCLA Medical School.

The UCLA School of Medicine MPH degree gives you a broad education in public health ideas with the option to specialize in a particular area of public health, preparing you to tackle public health problems.

The combined degree is a five-year program that incorporates one year and a half of MPH coursework in addition to the four years of medical school required to complete medical school. 

By the fall quarter of their third year in the MD program, interested candidates can apply for this program. Throughout the five years of this degree, you pay the tuition for the UCLA Medical School and other related expenses.

MD Masters of Business Administration

You can get an MD and a full-time MBA at the Anderson Graduate School of Management and David Geffen School of Medicine. 

To enroll in this combined track, you must first be admitted to the MBA program independently. You must apply if you are interested in their third year of medical school at UCLA. 

If enrolled in the concurrent MD/MBA program, you can finish both degrees in five years, even though the MBA is generally a two-year course. They will return to UCLA for their final year of medical school while finishing the remaining MBA requirements in the fifth and last year.

The first three years will be devoted to completing medical training. The fourth year will be devoted to the coursework for the MBA. You pay the MBA degree tuition during the MBA year and the medical school tuition for the following years.

MD Master of Public Policy

The MD/MPP degree combines the MPP from UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs with the MD program from the David Geffen School of Medicine. 

You cannot enroll in the concurrent program unless you have been admitted to the MPH program separately (applications must be submitted by the autumn semester of their third year of medical school).

This degree includes three years of continuous medical school, one year of MPP studies, and a final year of MD and MPH coursework, much like the MD/MBA curriculum. 

Along with advanced research in a particular area of public policy, the MPH course offers a core curriculum centered on social policy and welfare. 

Throughout the five years of this degree, you pay the tuition for the UCLA Medical School and other related expenses.

PRIME - LA Program

This five-year concurrent graduate degree program is designed to develop future medical leaders focusing on delivering healthcare solutions, policies, and services for the most disadvantaged members of society. 

Students enrolling in any of UCLA's most recent concurrent MD/MBA, MD/MPP, or MD/MPH graduate medical programs are eligible for this program.

The research or specialized studies of the students should align with the goals of the UCLA Medical School PRIME - LA program. Most PRIME students are enrolled in the concurrent UCLA programs. 

Still, they can also register for degrees from authorized universities besides UCLA. While submitting your applications to UCLA for medical school, you should also apply to be a part of PRIME - LA.

Charles R. Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program

This program for community-based medical education aims to create leaders who will concentrate on promoting medicine in underserved regions and delivering healthcare to underprivileged communities.

Suppose you enroll in the Charles R. Drew program. In that case, you must submit a medical research thesis, a unique aspect of the curriculum. 

You must write a paper on healthcare disparities in your third and fourth years of medical school. In addition, you are assisted in finishing this thesis by the Medical Student Research Thesis Program (MSRTP).

MD Doctor of Dental Surgery

The UCLA Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Program is another name for the dual-degree program that UCLA offers in MD/DDS. It combines an MD from the David Geffen School of Medicine with a DDA from the School of Dentistry's Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery department.

This six-year curriculum consists of two years of medical school, three years of resident training in oral and maxillofacial surgery, and one year of residency training in general surgery at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

If you want opportunities to enter this industry, learn how to become a dentist.

How to Get into UCLA Medical School

The UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine encourages applications from citizens of the United States, Canada, and other countries. 

The minimum educational requirement for all students is a bachelor's degree with three years of study from an authorized US or Canadian university.

For your reference, here is everything you need to know about getting into UCLA Medical School.

UCLA Medical School Acceptance Rate

UCLA Medical School's low acceptance rate is consistent with its solid reputation. With a 1.22% acceptance rate, it is one of the most challenging schools in the nation to get into. 

Such low acceptance rates do, however, result in a higher faculty-to-student ratio of 3.6:1.

The numbers for UCLA Medical School admissions may seem intimidating, but with the correct preparation, you can stand out. Keep significant dates in mind, and remember to get started early.

UCLA Medical School Coursework Requirements

Successful candidates must hold a bachelor's degree from a Canadian or American university. Additionally, AP credit is accepted. DGSOM does not assess a particular preparatory course's quality.

The institution advises that applicants exhibit core competence in the following college-level skills and coursework:

  • Biology
  • Physiology
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics

The UCLA Medical School seeks these attributes in applicants, so try to incorporate them into your application.

UCLA Medical School GPA Statistics

It is worth noting that UCLA Medical School does not have a minimum GPA requirement. However, the average GPA of a recent admission cycle is 3.85.

You must ask your undergraduate institution to send a complete set of official academic transcripts to AMCAS before applying to UCLA. Although there are no set coursework requirements for UCLA, there are a few recommended subjects that you should include in your transcript.

The GPA "cut-off" at UCLA is likewise flexible. 

However, given the volume of applicants, you would need to at least have the average approved GPA to be considered for admission. The best course of action for most people is to properly plan their undergraduate years and maintain their GPA.

You can earn additional credit if you are having trouble keeping up with many challenging subjects (as medical school students sometimes do), change your course load to include more accessible classes, or issues you may have already studied. This will guarantee an easy 'A' for a couple subjects at the very least.

UCLA Medical School MCAT Statistics

A required and significant component of your medical school application is your MCAT score

The UCLA Medical School admissions committee will not examine applications without MCAT scores despite UCLA not requiring a minimum score. In a recent cycle, UCLA medical school students' average MCAT score was 517.

A higher GPA, exceptional academic record, outstanding medical school recommendation letters, and a memorable admissions interview could make up for a lower MCAT score, but why take the chance?

Although the MCAT is unquestionably not an easy test, you can succeed if you put in the necessary effort and preparation. Plan an efficient MCAT study regimen, enroll in additional prep courses or tutoring/coaching, as necessary, take lots of practice exams, and continue striving to raise your MCAT score.

Achieving a strong MCAT score could take a few months of consistent hard effort, but the payoff is well worth it!

UCLA Medical School Tuition and Scholarships

UCLA Medical School's tuition and fees for the 2023–2024 academic year are USD 43,843 for in-state students and USD 56,088 for out-of-state students. UCLA states that after other costs, including accommodation and board, books, and transportation, are considered, the first-year cost of attendance is USD 84,125 for in-state students and USD 96,370 for out-of-state students

Even though these costs are unquestionably high, UCLA Medical School does provide need- and merit-based financial aid, such as the David Geffen Medical Scholarships, which pay the whole cost of attendance for up to 20% of incoming first-year students each year. 

Additionally, medical students can apply for over 100 different UCLA Philanthropic Scholarships.

UCLA Medical School Application Timeline

Knowing the precise timeframe for applying to medical school and keeping strict track of the dates can ensure you never miss a deadline. 

Due to the high level of competition in the UCLA Medical School program and the use of rolling admissions, you must apply as early as possible and finish each application stage as soon as feasible.

Here is the application timeline for the UCLA Medical School. 

  • May 2, 2023: AMCAS application starts
  • May 30, 2023: AMCAS application must be submitted
  • July 2023 - November 2023: Applications are reviewed
  • August 2023 - March 2024: Interviews are conducted
  • October 2, 2023: AMCAS application due date
  • October 15, 2023: Offers of admission start to be made

Rolling admissions are used by UCLA Medical School. As always, plan to submit your entire AMCAS application as soon as possible for the best chances of admission.

Consider that before sending out their secondary application, UCLA does screen applicants. If you receive a secondary from UCLA, you have two weeks to finish it.

As previously mentioned, UCLA starts sending admissions offers as early as October 15 and keeps doing so until the first-year class is entire. However, if UCLA extends your admissions offer, you have 15 days to reply.


This application timeline may vary from year to year. To make sure, visit the UCLA Medical School Application Overview.

UCLA Medical School Extracurricular Activities

A strong application should highlight various extracurricular activities pertinent to medical school, such as clinical hours, research projects, volunteer work, journal publications, etc.

A solid medical school resumé that speaks to your suitability for medical practice beyond academics is desired by medical schools like UCLA, which emphasize holistic medicine and community involvement. They are looking for a commitment to service, a flare for leadership, and a passion for medicine.

Therefore, following your interest in this component of your medical school application is essential. 

Take on volunteer work that motivates you, see a doctor who practices in a field that intrigues you, or conduct exciting research so that it will not seem like work but rather a fun hobby.

Speaking of which, do not forget to mention your hobbies unrelated to medicine in your application. Admissions committees for medical schools are always impressed by well-rounded applicants who succeed in various areas.

UCLA Medical School Essays

Most applicants to UCLA are required to submit additional applications for medical school. After the first application screening, a small number of applications can be rejected. 

Still, the majority will go to the secondary application stage. You have 15 business days from when you receive the secondary application to submit it, which is the deadline for this stage.

Only after you submit this secondary application will we review your entire application.

The 10 separate prompts that comprise the UCLA Medical School secondary essays are intended to elicit more information about the applicant's interests, passions, constraints, challenges, and accomplishments. The questions are diverse in length, with word counts ranging from 300 to 5,000 characters.

When responding, be careful not to repeat yourself, make an effort to be truthful with yourself about your most meaningful experiences, and write clearly and without any grammar mistakes.

UCLA Medical School Interviews

Inviting candidates to interviews for medical school usually begins on August 1 at UCLA Medical School. They conduct interviews in two stages.

  1. The AAMC Virtual Interview Tool for Admission (VITA) is used for the initial virtual interview. Your responses are recorded during a one-way online interview utilizing this program.

  2. A conventional, one-on-one interview with an open file is part of the second step. This indicates that the interviewer will have complete access to every data in the applicant's file.

Different interview techniques are used by some of David Geffen School of Medicine's other medical schools. 

For instance, although MSTP applicants must participate in standard interviews, PRIME - LA applicants must also conduct Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI).

Even if you have a stellar record in school and extracurricular activities, you still need to impress in your interview to receive an acceptance letter. 

Most interview candidates have stellar academic records, which is expected given the intense competition of elite medical school applications. You need to be articulate, courteous, well-prepared, informed, and able to think quickly to stand out in an interview.

Furthermore, spend much time getting comfortable with the interview format by running mock interviews and practicing with med school interview questions

You should also consider all the essential traits and experiences you want to emphasize about yourself and plan out responses for the more unpredictable situational and behavioral questions.

UCLA Medical School Recommendation Letter

UCLA Medical School applicants must submit 3 to 5 letters of recommendation, ideally from referees familiar with the applicant, such as academic advisors and research supervisors. They accept letters from individuals, packs, and committees, such as the committee letter from your pre-health advisory office.

Make sure to only ask for letters of recommendation from persons who can credibly, personally, and enthusiastically speak highly of you. As the letter is submitted straight through the AMCAS Letter Writer Application or Interfolio, remember that you will likely not get a chance to read it.

As a result, you must have faith that your referrers were sufficiently impressed to write a positive reference. 

To give your letter writer enough time to finish the assignment, it is crucial to request the letters far in advance (at least 8 weeks before they are due).

UCLA Medical School has no specific requirements for the qualifications of the individual submitting the letter for their medical school program (other than the fact that they should be someone you know well).

However, having at least 1 or 2 letters of recommendation from science professors who can attest to your academic excellence in the subjects you will probably study in medical school is advisable.

Summary Table: How to Get into UCLA Medical School

UCLA Medical School

Application System


Acceptance Rate


Average GPA


Average MCAT Score



USD 43,843 (in-state)
USD 56,088 (out-of-state)

Total Cost of Attendance

USD 84,125 (in-state)
USD 96,370 (out-of-state)

Availability of Funding and Scholarships


Additional FAQs – How to Get into UCLA Medical School

Does The AAMC PREview Test Have to Be Taken to Apply to DGSOM?

Yes, starting with the 2023 application season, the Traditional MD Program Track applicants must take the AAMC PREview exam

The other program tracks we offer won't need to take this test. On the AAMC PREview website, you can discover a complete list of exam FAQs and further details.

The PREview score submission deadline for the 2024 Cycle is November 15, 2023. Your results from the AAMC PREview exam are permanent. The whole review of your medical school application will depend on your score.

What Does the UCLA Admission Committee Require?

Successful applicants will have earned a graduate degree from a US or Canadian university or a bachelor's degree from a US or Canadian institution after completing at least three years of undergraduate study in those countries. You may use Advanced Placement credit if you would like.

How are Successful Candidates Selected?

Selected applicants are then called to interviews after both the application and secondary application have undergone a thorough holistic evaluation. 

After submitting and examining applications, admission offers are made in the Fall and Spring.

If I am Not Admitted, Can I Make an Appeal?

No. All application decisions are final. You cannot appeal due to the overwhelming number of highly competitive applications received.

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