About UCSF School of Medicine

The UCSF (University of California, San Francisco) college of Medicine is located on the Parnassus Heights campus in San Francisco, California, and it is also one of the most major receivers of research funding from the National Institutes of Health.  

The University has research relationships with various partners throughout the U.S., including Pfizer, and it is also affiliated with various medical institutions worldwide, including San Francisco VA Medical Center and Aga Kahn Health Services in Tanzania.  

Erected in the late 1800s, it is one of the oldest schools of medicine in the western part of the U.S., and it is also esteemed as one of the best colleges of medicine nationwide, thus making it one of the hardest medical schools to get into. 

In fact, the rate of acceptance for UCSF is only about 2%, and the requirements for entry alone make it nearly impossible for applicants to stand out among other applicants.  

However, more than 100 students are accepted to UCSF each year, and the following information on UCSF medical school requirements, as well as helpful tips on the best way to complete a UCSF medical school application, can help ensure that you are one of them. 

UCSF’s MD Programs

There are essentially three ways for students to earn their medical degree (MD) from the University of California, San Francisco’s school of medicine.  

Students can either apply for the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), which upon successful completion of the program, they will earn a MD/PhD, or they can earn their MD through the standard 4-year program. 

There is also a 5-year graduate program that requires students to complete their pre-clerkship course at UC Berkeley while also fulfilling the requirements for their MD.  

During this time, students will also be working towards their Master’s in Health and Medical Sciences at Berkeley’s School of Public Health before completing their final 2 1/2 years at UCSF to obtain their M.D.  

UCSF also has top-ranked professional schools for nursing, dentistry, and pharmacy, as well as a physical therapy program. 

UCSF’s Rate of Acceptance

The UCSF acceptance rate is one of the lowest of all medical colleges in the country. 

In fact, the MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program alone only accepts 12 students each year, and the MS/MD UC Berkeley/UCSF Joint Medical Program only permits 16 students per year, and they must clearly display a natural ability for public health, as well as a strong enthusiasm for research. 

Meanwhile, out of over thousands of applicants who apply to UCSF Medical School each year, only maybe a few hundred applicants will actually advance to the interview process, after which time, only about slightly more than one hundred applicants will be accepted.  

The Requirements for UCSF Medical School

What is a Good GPA? 

UCSF Medical School requirements are subject to change from year to year, but as of current, the minimal undergraduate GPA required is 2.94 and 2.8 GPA for sciences. 

However, for the year 2019, the overall average undergraduate GPA and GPA for sciences was 3.8.

What is a Good MCAT Score?

A good MCAT score for medical school is 510 out of 528 for all sections, which places you in the 80th percentile of MCAT scores, according to the Association of American Colleges

However, for the year 2019, UCSF’s entering students had an average MCAT score percentile ranking of 94.  

UCSF Secondary Essays

As with all medical schools, UCSF also requires a secondary application for admission, 
also called secondary essays and secondary application prompts; however, with two essays totaling an under 1,000-word limit, which makes it harder to stand out, the UCSF secondary application is considered the most difficult.  

Therefore, it requires dedicated work on the applicant’s behalf to earn a spot in the nation’s leading medical program, which the following tips can help you do. 

Tips for Successfully Completing the UCSF Secondary Application

  • After receiving your medical school application, usually within 10 weeks following, the UCSF will send out a secondary application. These applications are sent out on a first come, first serve basis, so it is advisable to submit your primary application as soon the system opens to ensure you are one of the first to receive your secondary application.  
  • Your primary application will contain most of the information the UCSF Admissions Committee is looking for; therefore, simply view the secondary application as a chance to include a useful passion you didn’t get to identify in your primary application.  
  • Before you begin, go over your list of activities, as well as your personal statements, and then consider other qualities you have that will help complete the application. And, since you only have less than 1,000 words to complete the essays, it is best to be straightforward, get right to the point, and then persuasively present your argument with conviction.  
  • Some qualities medical schools look for in their applicants include leadership skills, cultural competency, and collaboration.  
    Therefore, refer to these traits when strengthening your application. 
  • Top medical schools, such as UCSF, also expect you to demonstrate an interest in patient care, as well as also have an understanding of how healthcare fits into society, including how it intersects with inequality and can have a multiplier effect.  
  • You should also avoid reusing the same material already included in your primary application. Instead, view the secondary application as another opportunity for you to highlight how your unique desires and aspirations will best be suited for UCSF School of Medicine, as well as to present a new logic as to why you will make the best doctor over the other many applicants. 

Completing the Secondary Application Question 1

Start your essay with a thesis statement that presents the overall declaration of the issues you regard as a future physician. In other words, the thesis should provide evidence in support of your passion. 

This evidence or your commitment or passion will be demonstrated through the activities you write about.  

Presenting Your Evidence 

When highlighting your past activities in support of your claim, construct the information as an argument that shows how each of your steps consecutively led you to where you are today, rather than simply listing a history of your activities.  

Use at least 3 to 5 activities to support your claim.  


This section should be used to explain why USCF is your medical school of choice, specifically as it relates to your thesis.

Before you begin, research UCSF, as well as the surrounding areas, to learn what opportunities are available that relate to your past activities. You can then demonstrate how your passion for these activities will allow you to contribute to UCSF. 

Conclude this section by reminding the admissions committee about your passion and how you’ll carry it forward into your medical studies, as well as when you become a physician.  

Completing the Secondary Application Question 2 

In this section, UCSF will want to know how you’ve been spending your time since graduation, leading up to applying for medical school. In other words, they’ll want to know what actions you’ve taken since graduation to better prepare yourself for a career as a physician. 

Therefore, begin by explaining what you care about in the medical field and then include all the steps you’ve taken post-graduation to help prepare you for medical school to support your argument. 

Again, avoid simply providing a list of your endeavors and instead structure your experiences in a way that tells a story or constructs an argument about what you have been doing and why, which will help make it more compelling. 

Forming Your Thesis

Some details to discuss in your thesis include what goals you had after graduation, such as learning more about a specific field of medicine or gaining more hands-on experience in the field, and so on. However, be sure to only list the goals that directly relate to your reason for applying to medical school. 

Providing Evidence

To support your claims, include specific evidence or clear examples of the jobs you’ve held that demonstrate the steps you took to reach your goals.

To show your level of commitment include the number of days you worked per week, as well as the number of hours you dedicated to your work each day. You should also describe the day to day activities you performed at work, as well as your roles and what you accomplished in those roles.

Again, structure your argument in a way that tells a story of how you worked towards your goals to help stimulate interest. Overall, your thesis should clearly show the admissions committee the process that led you to believe that medical school was the choice for you, as well as the method by which you chose medicine. 

Conclude part 2 of your essay by reiterating the impact that your post-graduation experiences have had on you and how you will carry what you have learned to medical school and into the world.  

Preparing for the UCSF School of Medicine Interview 

If the admissions committee deems that your application displays above-average potential, regarding your future as a UCSF trained physician, you will then be invited to the USCF campus to interview with select faculty members. 

UCFS’s interview process typically consists of two 40-minute sessions and, in many cases, it is also a blind interview, meaning the faculty members will have no prior knowledge of the details of your application, including your career objectives, personal activities related to your passion for the medical field, or your personal background, etc., which will provide you with a fresh start during the final stage of the admissions process. 

Therefore, use the interview process to highlight points of your journey that got you to where you are now, and whatever you do, don’t memorize the details of your application, as your conversation can come off fake or practiced, which can put off the admissions board. 

How Our Healthcare Internship and Admissions Consulting Can Help Increase Your Chance of Getting Into UCSF School of Medicine

Top-notch medical schools, such as UCSF, value applicants that display a strong commitment to the medical field, which our health internship can help you do. 

As a participant in our healthcare internship, you will develop a background in some of the most impressive skills and topics in healthcare education that are sure to help you stand out over thousands of other UCSF applicants.

Furthermore, select members of our staff, as well as a few past students themselves, have advanced through various stages of UCFS’s admissions process; therefore, we are also well equipped to provide the expert consulting you need to increase your chance of getting into UCSF.  

Hence, whether you need more understanding concerning the UCSF acceptance rate, UCSF medical school requirements, or you just want to ace your UCSF secondary application for UCSF School of Medicine, we are here to help, so feel free to contact a member of our team once you are ready to embark on your career in medicine with the University of California, San Fransisco.