Admissions

Admissions FAQ

Q. Does everyone get a secondary? How do I receive it?

A. We send secondary applications to all applicants who apply to us through AMCAS. We do not review the AMCAS application prior to sending the secondary. We strongly encourage you to review our entering class profile for a general overview of the applicants successful in our admissions process. Within 2 business days after you submit your primary application to AMCAS, you will receive an email from us with a link to our online secondary application portal.

Q. How can I check my application status?

A. You may check the status of your application here

Q. How can I send an update after I've submitted my application?

A. You can upload PDF updates at any time through the secondary application website (under Status > Update My Application). 

Q. I submitted my application but haven't heard anything yet. Am I on hold? 

A. We have a very small team of application reviewers who read every application we receive (approximately 5,000 applications per year). If you haven't heard back regarding an interview, it simply means we haven't yet reached a final decision on your application. We know this process involves a lot of waiting, but want to invest as much effort into reviewing your file as you did into preparing it.

Q. Do you have an Early Decision Program? What are the deadlines?

A. Applicants may not submit an Early Decision application without prior approval from the Office of Admissions. Interested applicants should send an email including their AMCAS application, resume, and MCAT score(s) to pritzkeradmissions@bsd.uchicago.edu to begin the Early Decision process. 

Early Decision AMCAS applications are due by August 1. Secondary applications are due by September 1. 

Q. Is Early Decision a good way to show my interest in Pritzker or increase my chances of admission?

A. Put simply: no. Early Decision compacts the application cycle into the summer and early autumn, and restricts the applicant to applying only to Pritzker.  If an applicant is accepted, the application cycle is complete — the applicant cannot apply to other medical schools. If the applicant is not accepted, they are then allowed to begin applying to other schools. However, entering the application cycle with other programs in late September or early October involves substantial risk and can put applicants at a disadvantage; for this reason, we rarely have Early Decision applicants or matriculants. This is why we require approval prior to applying Early Decision.

Q. If I am taking another MCAT, will you review my application now or wait for the new score?

A. We will await the MCAT re-take if that re-testing is completed by September of your application year. You can reach out by email to confirm that you would like your file placed on "MCAT Hold."

Q. If I haven’t submitted all the elements of my application by the deadline, what happens? 

A. We will review your application based on what we have already received, plus anything post-marked by 11:59 PM (CST), December 1 (or the following Monday if that date falls on a weekend). 

Q. What are your average MCAT and your average GPA?

A. The 2020 entering class had MCAT scores ranging from the 68th percentile to the 100th percentile.The average MCAT score was a 519. Cumulative GPAs ranged from 3.24 to 4.0, with an average of 3.87. AMCAS-calculated science/BCPM GPAs ranged from 3.22 to 4.0, with an average of 3.85.

Q. What is the oldest MCAT score you accept?

A. We will accept MCAT scores for three years prior to the time of application. 

Q. What are the prerequisite courses that I need to take?

A. Our competency-based admissions requirements emphasize not the number of courses taken, but the level of mastery that should be achieved. You can read about our entrance requirements here.

Q. Do I need to major in a science?

A. You may choose to major in any discipline you wish. We encourage you to select a major that you find interesting and academically challenging. 

Q. How do you look at courses taken abroad?

A. If you took courses abroad through a study abroad program, we will only look at your courses if they are carried over onto the transcript of a US or Canadian institution. We do not recommend taking your science prerequisite courses abroad.

Q. Do I need a bachelor’s degree?

A. Applicants must have completed 90 credit hours (using the AMCAS methodology) prior to matriculation from an accredited four-year degree-granting US or Canadian college or university. A baccalaureate degree is not required but is strongly preferred by the Admissions Committee.

Q. What if I have a bachelor’s degree from another country?

A. We view Canadian bachelor’s degrees as equivalent to US bachelor’s degrees, given the strong similarities in educational structure and rigor. If your degree is from an institution outside of the US or Canada, then we require you to complete a year of full-time coursework at a four-year institution in the US or Canada prior to applying. We strongly recommend that the coursework include several upper-level science courses, even if your bachelor’s degree was in a science discipline. If your degree was in a non-science discipline, we would strongly recommend taking all of the prerequisite science coursework at a four-year institution in the US or Canada prior to applying.

Q. Can I take my prerequisites at a community college?

A. Prerequisites taken at a community college can be used to demonstrate our required competencies. If you take prerequisite courses at a community college, we do recommend taking rigorous, upper-level science courses at the four-year institution as well.

Q. What extracurricular activities do you recommend?

A. Whatever you feel passionate about is what we want you to explore. We hope that one of those passions is medicine, and that you explore that passion through activities such as shadowing, volunteering at a nursing home or clinic, and/or working in a clinical project of some kind. We would also hope that you have a strong desire to be of service to others, and that you have exposure to those who are different than you in some way (this could be socioeconomic, cultural, or religious differences, to name a few). Beyond that, we encourage you to explore activities, organizations, experiences, or internships that are exciting for you and that help you to develop the characteristics detailed below.

Q. Do I have to do research to be a competitive applicant?

A. All of our students - both MD and MD/PhD - are required to complete scholarly projects during their time in medical school. Therefore, while formal, structured research experience is not a requirement, demonstrating your intellectual curiosity and interest in attending a research medical school is very important. This experience can come in the form of research (whether basic science, clinical, a literature review, or an economic study), but can also be demonstrated by activities like creating a new student organization, helping to write a chapter of a textbook, or creating a curriculum for a mentoring program. Our committee does not have a preference for a particular type of scholarly work.

Q. What are the skills or characteristics that you are looking for?

A. Personal characteristics and learning skills are as important as demonstrated excellence in academic performance. We look for evidence of commitment to acquiring an excellent knowledge base and to developing learning and problem-solving skills that will sustain life-long learning. Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to serve others and to society in general and exposure, to the extent possible, to diverse communities and groups. Finally, applicants should demonstrate well-informed and carefully explored reasons for seeking a career in medicine.

Q. What does a Pass/Fail grading system mean?

A. Pass/Fail grading at the Pritzker School of Medicine is a true pass/fail for years 1, 2, and 4. Third year — the clerkship year — is a “graded” year with the grades of Honors, High Pass, Pass, and Fail. All four years are uncurved and competency-based. You are evaluated on your mastery of the material, not your mastery compared to others in the class. There is no limit on the number of students who can receive an Honors grade on a particular clerkship. These qualities — pass/fail and uncurved grading — result in a highly collaborative learning environment.

Q. Do you have options for dual degrees?

A. Opportunities for dual degrees abound at the University of Chicago. We value interdisciplinary study and enable it whenever we can, and the immediate proximity of the medical school to the University campus makes pursuing such opportunities simple. Students typically apply during the third year of medical school for these programs. Read more about the various options here.

Q. Do you give out scholarships?

A. We have a generous scholarship program. All admitted students are considered for scholarship awards during the admissions process. Our scholarships offers are renewed each year for students and are only conditional on the student maintaining satisfactory academic progress.

Q. Do you accept out-of-state residents?

A. We are a private institution and do not have a preference for in-state or out-of-state students. Tuition is the same for both Illinois residents and non-residents. Over 80% of a typical entering class will hail from outside the state of Illinois.

Q. Do you give preference to Illinois residents?

A. As a private institution, we do not have a quota of Illinois residents in our class. 

Q. Can I apply if I am not a US citizen or permanent resident?

A. Pritzker accepts applications from international students and evaluates them according to the same criteria as domestic applicants. International students will also be considered for scholarship aid and institutional loans. However, these sources of funding generally do not cover the full cost of attendance, and international students should indicate their plans for funding medical school in their secondary applications.

Q. I completed my bachelor’s degree in another country. Will you accept those courses?

A. We ask that you complete at least a year of science coursework at a college or university in the US or Canada. If you completed your premed required courses outside of the US or Canada, then you should take at least a year of upper level science courses in a college or university in the US or Canada.

Q. How do you view a degree from Canada vs. the US?

A. We do not distinguish between degrees in the US or Canada.

Q. If I’m currently a student at a non-US medical school, can I transfer to Pritzker?

A. We do not accept transfer applications to the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Q. How do I access the Secondary Application to Pritzker? Is it on your website?

A. All applicants will receive a link via email to our secondary application within 2 business days of our receipt of your AMCAS submission. If you have not received your secondary application within two days of transmitting your AMCAS application to us, please contact the Office of Admissions by email

Q. If I have questions about the Pritzker application, who should I contact?

A. Please email your question to pritzkeradmissions@bsd.uchicago.edu

Q. Can you further explain what "judicial committee" means in the Judicial History section of the AMCAS? Should I report any traffic violations, too?

A. The easiest rule of thumb is that if you ever stood before a judge, jury, or needed to appear in a courtroom for any type of infraction, you should include this information in your application. Additionally, if you stood before a judicial review committee, honor code committee, or a judiciating dean for any on-campus infraction, you should report this as well. Regarding traffic violations, we ask that you include any ticket of greater severity than a parking violation. If you are in doubt, err on the side of inclusion.

Q. Where do I send my letters of recommendation?

A. Pritzker participates in the AMCAS Letter Service, so please send your letters through AMCAS. 

Q. Do my two science letters need to be from a science class or can they be from my research PI?

A. Our strong preference is for science letters to be from a professor, instructor, or teaching assistant in a science course (lecture or lab component). We would advise including your research letter in addition to these science letters. 

Q. I graduated many years ago. Can I send letters from my employer instead of from faculty?

A. We enjoy reading letters from employers because they often speak to your overall responsibility, ability to work effectively in teams, communication skills, and leadership. But what is often missing in a letter from an employer is the ability to speak specifically to your potential for success in a rigorous science curriculum. We would recommend sending 2 letters from faculty who have taught you in the sciences, and then, if you wish, sending an additional 1–3 letters from employers or others with whom you have worked.

Q. What is the minimum and maximum number of letters I can send?

A. We ask for a minimum of 3 letters. We do not set a maximum, but highly recommend focusing on quality over quantity.