Frequently Asked Questions
Due to the change in our curriculum, we are not accepting transfer applications.
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine recognizes that the undergraduate academic experience of applicants varies greatly. Therefore, we have made the decision to move away from “requirements” to “recommendations.” The expansive and ever-changing landscape of medicine and its practice necessitates that an applicant have demonstrated competencies in the natural and life sciences, social sciences, and mathematics. These competencies can be met through traditional and/or newly-established interdisciplinary courses of study in an accredited institution of higher learning. The use of AP or other credit is acceptable, but it is strongly encouraged to build stronger competencies through courses taken in college. Although there is no timeframe in which students must meet the above competencies, it is recommended that students have recent exposures to most or all of these areas. Competitive applicants should demonstrate in-depth competency in each of the following areas of study, based on the AAMC-HHMI Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians and AAMC- Behavioral and Social Science Foundations for Future Physicians. Mastery of competencies is reflected by a strong performance in the classroom and on the MCAT, as well as in letters of evaluation.
- Biology: Applicants should demonstrate competence in the understanding of molecular and cellular biology, genetics, and how they regulate organ and organismic structure and function. Fields of study analyzing diverse human properties are view in a strong, positive light.
- Chemistry/Biochemistry: Applicants should demonstrate competence in the basic principles of chemistry as it pertains to living systems. Studies in biochemistry are an exemplary way to prepare students for training in medicine science.
- Mathematics/Statistics and Physics: Applicants should demonstrate competence in the basic principles of physics and mathematics underlying living systems. Applicants should demonstrate basic competence in statistics or biostatistics, which is important to understand the quantitative aspects of medicine and biomedical research.
- Social Sciences and Communication: It is imperative that the applicant demonstrate competence in the humanistic understanding of patients as human beings and as part of a familial and social structure. In this regard, studies in psychology and sociology are viewed favorably. It is required that the applicant speaks, writes, and reads English fluently.
A semester hour is the credit value of 16 weeks of work consisting of one hour of lecture or recitation or at least 2 hours of laboratory.
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Yes, the use of AP or other credit is acceptable, but it is strongly encouraged to build stronger competencies through courses taken in college.
A letter of evaluation or letter packet should be sent from your Premedical Committee. If your university does not have this committee, send 3 to 5 letters of evaluation:
Vanderbilt University supports the movement for letters to cover the AAMC Guidelines (https://www.aamc.org/download/349990/data/lettersguidelinesbrochure.pdf) and encourages applicants to solicit letters from evaluators who can address competencies. If you have advanced degrees or at least one year of postgraduate full-time employment, it is advisable to ask your supervisor at work or a member of the graduate faculty to send a letter of recommendation.
Yes, we accept letter packets and committee letters.
While there certainly are no rules against sending more than 3 letters, we recommend that you limit the number of letters sent to those that are requested. We do not recommend over 5 letters. If your school attaches letters of evaluation to their committee or pre-med advisor letter, we view that as one letter.
Because the number of applicants is far greater (more than 5700 applications were received for the 2018 First Year Class) than the number of positions offered, admission is highly selective. The School does not require a minimum GPA or minimum MCAT score, but strong competition tends to eliminate applicants with low GPA’s and/or MCAT scores. The GPA range for the 2018 entering class was 3.22-4.0 and the MCAT range was 71st-100th percentile.
VUSM super-scores an applicant’s MCAT scores.
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is given multiple times each year. Candidates should take the test in the spring prior to the time an application is submitted, if possible. Results of the September examination are acceptable, but may delay review of your application until scores are received.
MCAT scores are good for a period of three years. For the 2020-2021 Admissions Cycle, we will accept MCAT scores with test dates from January 2017 to the Present.
Typically, early June is the earliest date for submission of an application to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).
The earliest date to be invited to complete the secondary application is mid-July. The earliest date to be invited to interview is early August. Interviews are held from September to February.
Mid-October is the earliest date that an applicant will be notified of an acceptance into the class. VUSM reviews applications on a rolling process. Applicants will be notified of our admissions decisions on two dates: mid-December and mid-March.
Vanderbilt encourages applicants to submit their application materials quickly, without sacrificing quality for speed.
Find more information on the Admission Process.
View the Admission Timeline.
We use the verified AMCAS in reviewing application. An official college transcript with bachelor’s degree posted when earned, must be received before you can enroll in the first year class. Applicants must have attended a regionally accredited institution of postsecondary education.
Student applicants who have completed college or university coursework at an institution in a country other than the United States must obtain a complete course-by-course evaluation of the native transcripts, degrees, and other relevant documents. If you have taken your coursework at an international institution where English is not the language of instruction, your application may benefit from taking additional science courses at an English-speaking institution.
VUSM will consider International Students for admission. Institutions attended by International Students must be fully accredited. In many cases, students who have attended universities exclusively outside the United States where English was not the language of instruction have chosen to supplement their studies with at least one year of course work at an accredited university in the United States.
Student applicants who have completed college or university coursework at an institution in a country other than the United States must obtain a complete course-by-course evaluation of the native transcripts, degrees, and other relevant documents. In all instances, the evaluating agency will require original, official documentation. Please note, the evaluating agency must send both the course-by-course report and copies of the native documents. If the agency does not provide copies of the documentation used to do the course-by-course evaluation, the student must submit their official documentation to Vanderbilt.
If you need a student visa (F-1 or J-1), you must be able to document that you have the financial resources to pay for (at a minimum) one year’s expenses each year.
If you need financial aid, you may apply for institutional need-based funding to determine eligibility. To be eligible for Federal loans, you need a permanent resident visa or an immigrant visa if you are not a U.S. citizen. Private funding sources may be available. International students can generally obtain a private alternative loan if a U.S. citizen or permanent resident is willing to co-sign the loan.