Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina
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Studying medicine can prepare scholars for a wide range of careers, but most people choose to pursue their education before entering the workforce. Depending on the education and work history of graduates, graduates may become general practitioners, registered nurses, health educators, medical researchers, allied health managers, forensic science technicians and clinical laboratory technologists.
David Geffen School of Medicine
The David Geffen School of Medicine is one of the youngest elite medical schools in the United States, founded in 1951. It is the second medical school in the University of California system—the first was UCSF School of Medicine. The school’s reputation relative to its age is a testament to its strength as an institution.
There are 713 full-time students at the school, and about 120 enroll each year in the MD program (the school also houses a PhD program). With 2723 full-time faculty, David Geffen School of Medicine’s faculty-student ratio is 3.8:1.
Located in Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine is directly adjacent to the UCLA campus and is integrated with the university’s activities, so med students can take advantage of UCLA’s main campus life. Med students train at one of 21 affiliated hospitals in the L.A. area including Cedars-Sinai, UCLA Medical Center, and Kaiser hospitals.
A focus on community dominates many aspects of student life at the school. Upon matriculation, first-year students can opt into the Big Sib Lil Sib program, which creates small families of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-years who share similar interests and hobbies. The program creates a bond between all of the classes and acts as a built-in support system at the start of medical school. First-years who participate are matched with a 2nd-year student who then introduces them to their Big Sib Lil Sib family, and events are held quarterly for the families. Outside of the Big Sib Lil Sib program, the school enriches the med school experience through annual events including a 2nd Year Banquet, a 4th Year Banquet, and an annual talent show. The school also publishes an annual journal each spring, UCLA BEAT, that showcases literary and visual art created by students and faculty.
UCLA Medical School Programs
Since there are a number of different ways to get an MD through UCLA, let’s first go over what programs UCLA’s medical school offers.
First up is the standalone MD program, which takes four years to complete and admits approximately 118 students each year. More on this program in a bit.
UCLA also offers the Medical Science Training Program (MSTP), an MD-PhD joint program with CalTech, which typically takes students eight years to complete. MSTP graduates generally go on to work in socio-medical and biomedical fields. MSTP usually accepts 15 students per year.
UCLA Med School Acceptance Rate
Additionally, UCLA offers a five-year program called UCLA PRIME, which accepts around 18 students each year and is designed for those interested in leadership and advocacy roles pertaining to medical care for underserved communities. Students in UCLA PRIME earn an MD and a master’s degree in a complementary field, most commonly an MBA, MPH, or MPP.
Finally, the UCLA/Charles R. Drew Medical Education Program is a joint MD program which focuses on community engagement and physician leadership in diverse and disadvantaged populations. In this four-year program, students spend the first two years at UCLA and then finish up at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU). The UCLA/Charles R. Drew program usually admits 24 students per year.
What’s the difference between the regular UCLA MD and the UCLA/Charles R. Drew MD programs?
While both programs offer an MD, there is a key difference between them. As an officially designated minority-serving institution and Historically Black Graduate Institution, Charles Drew University (CDU) is “dedicated to social justice and health equity for underserved populations.” As such, the UCLA/Charles R. Drew joint program aims to graduate physicians who are dedicated to fulfilling this mission.
Applicants are chosen on the bases of both their academic merits and their commitments to service. Demonstrating a true commitment to working in disadvantaged communities is extremely important to being a good candidate for the UCLA/Charles R. Drew program, so keep that in mind when choosing which programs to apply to.
While all of UCLA’s MD programs are worth considering if their parameters are of interest to you, in the remainder of this post we’ll focus on how to get into the standalone MD program.
UCLA Medical School Admissions Statistics
While UCLA has not published average GPA or MCAT scores for its most recent incoming class, MSAR reports a median GPA and MCAT score of 3.85 and 517, respectively.
Additionally, its new GPA and MCAT cutoff scores are well known. According to Geffen’s new admissions standards, successful applicants will need a math and science GPA of at least 3.4 and an MCAT score of 512 or higher.
MSAR data gives us more insight into the range of UCLA students’ undergraduate GPAs and MCAT scores:
- Total GPA: 3.53 (10th %ile) to 3.99 (90th %ile)
- Science GPA: 3.43 (10th %ile) to 4.00 (90th %ile)
- MCAT: 510 (10th %ile) to 524 (90th %ile)
With over 13,000 incoming applications for only 180 spots across all MD programs, the UCLA Medical School acceptance rate is incredibly low. In 2018, only 2.1% of applicants received an offer of admission.
UCLA Medical School Requirements
Since pre med requirements can vary from school to school, let’s take a look at what UCLA Medical School expects from its applicants.
UCLA states that, on a broad level, the goals of your undergraduate education should be mastery of the following:
- Reading and writing in English
- Quantitative thinking (i.e. math and science)
- “Insight in human behavior, thought, and aspiration” (i.e. the social sciences and humanities)
What does this mean more specifically? Here’s the specific coursework that UCLA recommends in order to demonstrate the “competencies” that are central to their curriculum:
- Biology: cellular and molecular biology, genetics
- Chemistry/biochemistry: inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry of intermediary metabolism, and associated labs
- Humanities courses such as literature and/or art, history, philosophy, religion, ethics, economics, social behavior, and psychology
- Math and statistics courses such as biomathematics, computer science, and matrix algebra
UCLA also looks for:
- Good writing and interpersonal skills
- Clinical experience
- Some experience or familiarity with research
- Knowledge of the challenges of health care delivery (i.e. the political, ethical, legal, scientific, or public health sides of medicine)
- Awareness of the importance of diversity
To submit your application, please follow these steps:
STEP 1: Complete the AMCAS application
STEP 2: Submit your MCAT exam score
It is recommended that all candidates take the Medical College Admission Test in the spring, but it must be taken no later than September of the year preceding admission to the School of Medicine. If more than one MCAT was taken, all the test grades must be included when making application.
Your MCAT test score must be within 3 years to be valid. Oldest MCAT scores considered: June 2018 for Fall 2021 matriculation. For questions about registration and test administration contact: [email protected].
STEP 3: Submit your letters of recommendation
A total of 3 – 5 letters will be requested after initial review of your application. Please note that only those letters submitted through AMCAS will be accepted.
STEP 4: Submit your official transcripts of grades
Prior to submitting an application, you must request that a complete set of official transcripts be forwarded directly to AMCAS by the registrar of each school you have attended. Official transcripts are not required for work you have taken the previous term (e.g. if application is submitted in summer, previous spring official transcripts are not required). Your application will not be processed until all required official transcripts are received by AMCAS.