How to Get into University of Pennsylvania Medical School

August 17

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The Perelman School of Medicine should be your top choice if you want to attend the country's first teaching hospital and the oldest medical school. The University of Pennsylvania Medical School is famous for its research and leadership in the medical field.

UPenn's alums have significantly advanced the medical field, helping to keep the university in the Ivy League. The Perelman School of Medicine is one of the best medical schools in the country. Hence, admission is competitive. While academics and test results are essential, your personal traits and supplementary application essays will make the difference if accepted to UPenn. 

Suppose you want to know how to get into the University of Pennsylvania Medical School (Perelman School of Medicine). In that case, this article is here to assist you. We have developed this comprehensive guide to guide you through the Perelman application process.

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Why the University of Pennsylvania Medical School?

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is the university's medical school. It is referred to as Penn Med informally. It is situated in the center of Philadelphia and was established in 1765

The first teaching hospital in the country was founded at Penn Medical, the nation's oldest medical school, in 1874. Penn Med has pioneered medical education and research, proudly upholding its tradition and heritage.

The Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Hospital are the primary teaching hospitals where medical students receive training. In addition, instruction is also provided at Chester County Hospital, Lancaster General Hospital, and the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.

Additionally, faculty members at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School need to have a solid intellectual basis in addition to professional ethics, a dedication to service, and a profound understanding of the significance of other backgrounds and viewpoints. Its student selection process incorporates the breadth and depth of students' lived experiences, records of scientific inquiry, critical thinking abilities, career motivations, interpersonal communication skills, cultural competence, and service orientation as part of our comprehensive applicant review.

Furthermore, University of Pennsylvania Medical School alums have created some of the most significant medical advancements of the past 100 years. The Perelman School of Medicine is a reach school for anyone because of its high criteria, low admission rates, and Ivy League status. 

Programs Offered in the University of Pennsylvania Medical School

The University of Pennsylvania Medical School offers various medical programs. Every program focuses on a different area of medicine. Therefore, you should ensure that your degree combination meets your objectives. With every Perelman program, certificates with specialized concentrations are also available. 

For your reference, here are the different programs offered by the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.

1. Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)

The first teaching hospital in the United States and the first medical school in the country are both at Perelman. The institution takes great pride in its academic achievement and scientific advancement history. The University of Pennsylvania Medical School is well known for its extremely tough admissions procedure because it is one of the Ivy League medical schools.

2. Doctor of Medicine Ph.D.

The MD-PhD program works closely with the M.D. admissions committee and the graduate groups to make shared judgments on admission. UPenn has an integrated admissions process. Admissions offers often circulate around March. 

The MD-PhD program is one of the most competitive in the nation. Admission offers include complete support, including tuition, health insurance, most fees, and a stipend.

3. M.D./Master of Bioethics

You will receive a thorough introduction to the complete range of subjects and challenges in contemporary bioethics through this integrated, interdisciplinary program. This curriculum has been created for mid-career and senior healthcare professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, nurses, social workers, etc.

Applicants already enrolled in graduate or professional degree programs at UPenn, like an M.D., are welcome to apply. 

Post-baccalaureate students with a keen interest in the subject who want to pursue graduate work in the humanities, social sciences, law, or other related fields are also invited to apply. 

Note, however, that this degree is not adequate preparation for employment.

4. M.D./Master of Business Administration (MBA)

If you want to combine your study of medicine with training in financial, managerial, and technical competence in the medical sphere, the MD/MBA program is for you. The Wharton School at UPenn's Health Care Management major is where most students who matriculate in the MD/MBA program enroll. However, you can consider studying other majors for this combined degree.

You are required to abide by all rules and regulations of the Perelman School of Medicine and the Wharton School upon enrollment into the MD/MBA program.

5. M.D./Master in Law, Health Law Track

The combined program is intended for Perelman medical and Ph.D. students, post-doctoral researchers, and Penn Health system residents interested in learning more about health law and legal theories in-depth. The MD/ML program's admissions procedure is competitive. The ML program accepts applications from Perelman medical students in their first, second, or third year.

6. M.D./Master of Public Health

For UPenn med students interested in studying medicine with a specific focus on community health or population, the M.D./Master of Public Health (MD/MPH) program has been created. You can apply to the MPH program as a Perelman medical student in your first, second, or third year.

However, public health scholarships are only given to rising fourth-year medical students. They are only considered in the third year of medical school. You can apply for the MPH program directly if you are a medical student at another institution. Still, the admissions, curriculum, and financial requirements will differ from those for Perelman's students.

7. M.D./Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology 

For Perelman medical students interested in academic employment in clinical research, the MD/MSCE degree program has been created. The program aims to prepare participants for fulfilling careers as independent academic clinical researchers. Both the M.D. and MSCE programs require separate applications.

8. M.D./Master of Science in Health Policy Research

Students are trained through this combined program by examining the structures, functions, and results of health services provided to individuals and populations and the effects and consequences of the policies guiding their delivery. Only those admitted to and enrolled in the Perelman School of Medicine may apply for the combined MD/MSHP degree.

The application process is not open to medical students from other universities.

9. M.D./Master of Science in Medical Ethics

The MD/MSME program is made to give medical students who want to become academic bioethicists rigorous methodological and conceptual training in bioethics. Strong candidates with exceptional academic records, a keen interest in the humanities in medicine and bioethics, and an evident passion for the subject are accepted into this program.

10. M.D./Master of Science in Translational Research

With the help of this combined program, Perelman medical students will receive in-depth training in the core abilities, practices, and ideas required to become competent translational investigators. Only those students who have been accepted and enrolled into the Perelman School of Medicine may apply to the combined MD/MSTR program.

The application process Is not open to medical students from other universities.

11. M.D./Juris Doctor

The MD/JD program is created for Perelman medical students who want to combine their studies of medicine and law. Both the law and medical schools of UPenn are well-regarded. You are required to abide by all rules and regulations of the Perelman Medical School and the Penn Law School upon enrollment into the MD/JD program.

Typically, students accepted into the MD/JD program finish both degrees in six years.

How to Get into the University of Pennsylvania Medical School

The University of Pennsylvania Medical School participates in the American Medical Colleges Application Service (AMCAS). Once AMCAS has verified your primary application, it will be sent to UPenn. When UPenn receives your AMCAS-validated application, you will automatically receive a link to their secondary application

The criteria and essential information on how to enroll in the University of Pennsylvania Medical School are included below for your reference:

University of Pennsylvania Medical School Acceptance Rate

The acceptance rate for the University of Pennsylvania Medical School is 2.13%. In a recent admissions cycle, only 157 students were accepted out of thousands of applicants. 

Although the acceptance rate at the University of Pennsylvania's medical school is low, one benefit of the joint admissions is a reduced faculty-to-student ratio.

University of Pennsylvania Medical School Coursework Requirements

The University of Pennsylvania Medical School emphasizes the need for applicants to have a wide range of scientific knowledge. The admissions committee looks through applicants' academic records and overall performance. 

All applicants must hold a B.S. or B.A. from an authorized United States or Canadian university before applying. 

Let us say you have a bachelor's degree from a foreign university. Then, before applying, you must finish a year of science education at a U.S. university. 

The following are some of the course requirements at UPenn's medical school:


Applicants must be proficient in writing, reading, and speaking the language. Candidates should be able to provide oral presentations and exhibit extraordinary communication abilities. 

Although knowing other languages is beneficial, the University of Pennsylvania Medical School advises using English as your first language.

The admissions committee does not anticipate you will be a biology specialist before applying. 

However, they require applicants to comprehend biological principles, such as fundamental cellular and molecular processes and biological ideas that all living things share.

Students should enroll in chemistry classes before applying. Understanding the molecular basis of life, acid-base balance, thermodynamics, and chemical equilibrium principles are all necessary chemistry skills.

Physics and Mathematics

Quantitative biology and the biomedical sciences are built on the principles of physics. As a result, you need to have a basic knowledge of physics. Algebra and statistics courses are required. Your application should display your aptitude in math and science.

Behavioral Sciences

Candidates in the behavioral sciences must show that they know society's influences on advancing, providing, and conducting research. Students should enroll in classes in anthropology, history, ethics, psychology, and other subjects.

University of Pennsylvania Medical School GPA Statistics

You must achieve outstanding grades if you want to attend the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. The GPA that admitted students have earned is 3.73 (2023).

However, Perelman Medical School considers your circumstances, so do not worry too much about your test scores. The minimum UPenn GPA requirement for your degree is 3.60.

University of Pennsylvania Medical School MCAT Statistics

Your academic work demonstrates that you read the required content. However, your knowledge will be tested in the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Medical schools use the MCAT to evaluate applicants' pertinent abilities and knowledge. MCAT average score at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School is 519. The MCAT must be taken within three years of applying to the Perelman School of Medicine.

University of Pennsylvania Medical School Tuition and Scholarships

Studying medicine is pricey. At the Perelman School of Medicine, the cost of tuition alone for a full-time student is USD 65,940. This sum does not include living costs, books, or supplies. If you had all the expenses, the cost would be USD 109,497

However, there are numerous financial help programs available for medical school. About 34 full-tuition scholarships are offered by the Perelman School of Medicine each year. These scholarships are open to all college students. 

Outstanding academic success and performance and a wide range of intellectual interests are required. Other requirements include: 
  • Display of leadership
  • Dedication to pursuits outside of academics
  • Specialized life events that improve a career in medicine

Outside of UPenn Medicine, student loans, grants, and scholarships are available to lower the costs.

University of Pennsylvania Medical School Application Timeline

You must know your medical school application deadline before applying to UPenn's medical school. Please be mindful of the following deadlines and dates:

  • May: AMCAS application starts 
  • July - November: Verified AMCAS applications are sent to Perelman for review
  • Early November: Due date for submitting AMCAS applications
  • Early December: Due date for submitting required application requirements, letters of recommendation, MCAT scores, etc.
  • August - January: Applications are reviewed by the admissions committee
  • September - January: Interview invitations are sent out
  • March: Admission decisions are released
  • Late April: Due date of accepting the offer at Perelman School of Medicine

Your application will either be delayed in consideration or rejected entirely if it is incomplete. It would help if you remembered the application deadlines and dates.


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

University of Pennsylvania Medical School Extracurricular Activities

The extracurricular activities you decide to participate in while in medical school reflect your personality and skills. It would be best if you looked into the pursuits and experiences of their previous matriculants before submitting an application to any medical school.

This will give you ideas about the kinds of experiences to put in your AMCAS Work and Activities section and the experiences you should pursue if your profile is still lacking. 

Try exploring research employment on campus or at other schools in your area if you want to follow this. Do not forget to provide a quality research assistant cover letter and your resume or job application when applying for research opportunities. 

Another essential prerequisite in American medical schools is shadowing. You must have some excellent shadowing experience to be a competitive applicant to any U.S. medical school, even though it is stated as a recommendation. So be careful to understand how to ask to shadow a doctor and how many shadowing hours are needed for medical school while trying to strengthen your application.

Moreover, when applying to Perelman, you should also ensure you have a strong background in clinical practice. Remember that gaining these experiences shows the admissions committee that you have made the necessary efforts to develop the skills needed for working in the medical field.

And most importantly, if you decide to pursue clinical and shadowing experiences, focus more on quality than quantity. Your number of occasions will not matter as much as the time and effort you put into them.

University of Pennsylvania Medical School Essays

While the AMCAS personal statement is a crucial component of your primary application, the supplemental essay prompts for medical school typically ask you to explain why you want to attend the school you are applying to. Schools can tell if you are interested in their institution and program by reading your secondary essays.

Since you have less time and a more minor character limit to demonstrate your interest in attending medical school and highlighting your candidacy, some students find writing secondary essays more difficult. Secondaries are your chance to make an impression on the admissions committee and persuade them to schedule an interview with you. 

Remember that you will compete with hundreds of other students at the Perelman School of Medicine because every verified applicant is invited to complete the secondary essays. Regarding secondaries, you must remember a crucial principle: always respond to the prompt.

You must ensure that the response you write addresses the query the school has posed. It would be best to use precise, succinct language when responding to supplementary prompts because there will be little room for expression. The character restriction is typically stated by colleges, so pay attention.

University of Pennsylvania Medical School Interviews

An invitation to meet with teachers and students serves as the formal introduction to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School interview process. Between September and January, Perelman interviews take place. Your traditional, one-on-one interviews will be scheduled by the Office of Admissions at a time and date of their choosing. 

Interviewers will inquire about your application to medical school and your background. Since there is a time limit for each question in live interviews, you should be concise and precise. The committee will evaluate your application in detail before making any final offers of admission to Perelman.

University of Pennsylvania Medical School Recommendation Letter

Pay close attention to the letters of recommendation you receive from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. AMCAS will accept up to 10 reference letters, with a minimum of 3. While you are free to submit a single letter, committee letters or letter bundles are given preference. Your options for submitting letters of recommendation are as follows:

Composite or Committee Letter

A single letter or letter packet from the career services or pre-health offices, with or without additional letters attached

Three Faculty Letters 

At least one of the letters must be from a science professor with whom you have taken classes.

Every letter must be written on business letterhead with the author's signature. The AMCAS Letter Writer Application allows you to submit ten letters of reference. However, you can always add more notes or change your personal information.

You can manually submit any updates to the application using the online status page. Reference letters must be raised again by candidates who have previously applied to the Perelman School of Medicine.

Summary Table: How to Get into the University of Pennsylvania Medical School

University of Pennsylvania Medical School

Application System


Acceptance Rate


Average GPA


Average MCAT Score



USD 65,940

Total Cost of Attendance

USD 109,497

Availability of Funding and Scholarships


Additional FAQs – How to Get into the University of Pennsylvania Medical School

Is There an Early Decision Program at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School?

Yes. A limited Early Decision Program is offered by Perelman. Competitive applicants who meet approved students' average GPA and MCAT scores are abundant for this program. The typical GPA is 3.73, and the typical MCAT score is 519.

Does the University of Pennsylvania Medical School Accept Students from Other Countries?

Yes. International students are really accepted at Perelman. Nevertheless, the number of overseas students accepted by the institution each cycle is not disclosed.

Are the Requirements for International Students at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School Different?

No, Perelman has uniform admission requirements for all applicants. There are a few things to think about, though. Suppose you have a degree from a foreign institution. In that case, you must enroll in a year of science classes at a college or university in the United States before applying.

There must be biology, chemistry, and physics courses in this curriculum.

However, note that international students cannot apply for financial aid from the federal government.

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