Part 1: Introduction
The College of Medicine at the University of Houston is brand new to the medical scene. Its doors first opened in July 2020 after receiving LCME-Preliminary Accreditation in February 2020. The College will be fully accredited among medical schools in Texas in January 2024.
UH College of Medicine has made primary care its focus because of the shortage of primary care physicians who are practicing medicine in Texas. In fact, it’s the reason that the University of Houston decided to open the College of Medicine program.
Because the College of Medicine is brand new, they only offer one program: Doctor of Medicine (MD). While this is by no means bad, it does mean that you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want to earn a dual degree, like an MD/MPH or MD/MBA, or if you don’t want to practice primary care. But for students who want their MD to become a primary care physician, UH College of Medicine is the perfect place to earn your degree. Your education will be comparable to other medical schools in Texas.
In today’s definitive guide in our medical school series, we’re going to look in-depth at the MD program that UH College of Medicine offers. It’s all part of our med school admissions consulting. We want you to be as prepared as possible when applying to the school of your dreams, as well as all other schools to which you apply. We’ll look at the school’s admissions requirements, how to apply and how to prepare for your interview. At this time, the College of Medicine is not requiring secondary essays, so we’ll be skipping that part.
Part 2: Doctor of Medicine Degree at UH College of Medicine
The Doctor of Medicine degree at UH College of Medicine is broken down into three sections: Pre-Clerkship, Core Clerkship and Advanced Clerkship. We’re going to break down each phase of the curriculum.
Students spend 18 months in this first phase of the program. The following courses are taught.
- Clinical Anatomy and Human Development (9 weeks)
- Scientific Foundations of Medicine (9 weeks)
- Integrated Organ-System Courses (9 courses: 3-6 weeks per course)
- Integumentary System
- Hematologic and Lymphatic Systems
- Nervous System
- Musculoskeletal System
- Gastrointestinal System and Nutrition
- Cardiovascular and Respiratory Systems
- Renal and Urinary Systems
- Reproductive and Endocrine Systems
- Behavioral Medicine
Physicians, Patients and Populations
Students participate for four hours every week. Topics include:
- Professional Behavior
- Ethics for Medicine
- Social Determinants
- Health Disparities
- Medicine based in evidence
- Clinical Reasoning and Decision Making
- Population Health
- Health Informatics
- Quality Improvement
- Safety of Patients
- Scientific Methodology
- Health Systems and Policy
Longitudinal Primary Care
- Continuity Clinic
This clinic places students in ambulatory care settings where they learn critical communication skills and patient management. They learn the essential functions of primary care teamwork.
- Household-centered Care
This clinic focuses on families who face “complex health issues.” Students will visit a total of 10 families. Each family will have unique struggles that they face on a daily basis. This experience will give students experience with complex health issues and give them a broader understanding of what life at home is like when these patients come to a clinical setting for treatment.
Clinical Focus Settings
Throughout a student’s time in the pre-clerkship curriculum, they will spend six weeks in each of the following classes.
- Clinical Focus Session #1: Our Community, Our Mission
Students learn about the historic Third Ward community of Houston. They are educated on the social determinants of health that residents face.
- Clinical Focus Session #2: Closing the Quality Gap
UH College of Medicine believes that everyone deserves the same quality of healthcare, no matter where you live. Sadly, this level of healthcare is not always available. As part of its work to close this gap, the college teaches students to look at the overall population of their community’s health, health equity and disparities, and ways to make overall improvements. Students will take on projects that combine biomedical and clinical health systems with behavioral sciences.
- Clinical Focus Session #3: Coping with Pain
While pain is often an unfortunate part of life, some pains can be helped. Students will learn the biomedical science behind pain and the different treatments that are available.
- Clinical Focus Session #4: Transcending Borders
Global health care is the primary focus with emphases in neglected tropical diseases, stigmatization, social determinants of health across the globe, and healthcare for refugees and immigrants.
- Clinical Focus Session #5: Living and Dying with Dignity
Birth is a joyous occasion while death is grieved. UH College of Medicine understands that, so this fifth session focuses on end of life and palliative care. The college can’t take anyone’s grief away, but its goal is to make it easier to bear. Students learn how to identify what a patient needs both emotionally and spiritually.
- Clinical Focus Session #6: From Substance Abuse to Thriving Life
Addiction is real, but so is recovery. This session is all about going from A to Z in the recovery process. Proper interventions can take a patient from substance addiction to a thriving life.
Advancement to Phase 2
Students will take the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Comprehensive Basic Science Examination and the Transitions to Clerkship course.
Core Clerkship Phase
The core clerkship phase lasts for 11 months and consists of the following:
Four immersion rotations, with each rotation lasting 4 weeks:
- Internal Medicine
Longitudinal Ambulatory Experience, which lasts for a total of 24 weeks:
- Internal Medicine
- Family Medicine
Additional weekly educational sessions, 4 hours each week
Sessions will teach students to look at case-based conferences to “reaffirm the fundamental principles of evaluation and management of common clinical problems, patient simulations and core biomedical content.”
Longitudinal Primary Care
A primary care clinic is simulated to expose students to experiences they will encounter. Interacting with patients, diagnosis and treatment.
Advancement to Phase 3
USMLE Step 1 Examination (must be passed to proceed to Advanced Clerkship Courses)
Advanced Clerkship Courses
The final section of the MD program is 15 months long. It consists of the following:
Required Advanced Rotations
- ICU (4 weeks)
- Newborn ICU
Sub-internship (4 weeks)
- Family Medicine
- Emergency Medicine (4 weeks)
- Rural Health (4 weeks)
Electives will be decided on between a student and their advisor. They can choose between the following fields:
- Primary Care
- Community Health
- Population Health
- Global Health
- Health Informatics
- Health Care Administration
- Quality Improvement
- Patient Safety
- Health Policy
- Biomedical Ethics
- Longitudinal Primary Care
Students will focus on interacting with, diagnosing and treating patients in clinical settings.
Advancement to Graduation
- USMLE Step 2 CK/CS examinations
- Transition to Residency (T2R) course
The complete, four-year curriculum can be found here.
Graduate Medical Education
The University of Houston College of Medicine knows how important residency is for students. It serves as the bridge between your advanced clerkship courses and your fellowship. It places you in a clinical setting where you get to put all your knowledge and hard work to use. The University of Houston College of Medicine has partnered with HCA Houston Healthcare to provide family medicine, internal medicine, OB/GYN, and surgical residency programs.
For more information, go here.
Cost of Attendance
Here’s how much it will cost you to attend the University of Houston College of Medicine for the 2021-2022 school year.
- Tuition and fees for Texas residents: $24,264
- Tuition and fees for non-Texas residents: $37,362
- Loan fees: $250
- Books/Supplies: $3,500
- Room and Board: $14,200
- Transportation: $2,900
- Miscellaneous: $3,000
The University of Houston College of Medicine offers financial aid and scholarships to students who qualify. The university offers scholarships and encourages students to apply to scholarships via the National Medical Fellowships Program.
The University of Houston College of Medicine also works with FAFSA to provide loans for students who still need additional help.
Part 3: Sending in Your Application
Applications for Fall 2021 are currently open.
Requirements for Applicants
- Only U.S. citizens or permanent residents will be considered for an interview.
- You must complete 90 undergraduate hours at a U.S. or Canadian accredited university.
- You must complete all required pre-requisite courses at a U.S. or Canadian accredited university. Credits from a foreign university that are transferred to a U.S. or Canadian university do not count.
- AP courses are accepted if the official transcript shows the course and the number of units granted per course.
- MCAT scores must be from within the past five years.
- UH College of Medicine doesn’t list a required GPA, but it does specify that preference will be given to students with the highest GPA.
Prerequisite Coursework for Admissions
- General Biology (8 credit hours, 2 hours must be lab)
- Advanced Biology (3 credit hours)
- General (Inorganic) Chemistry (8 credit hours, 2 hours must be lab)
- Organic Chemistry (8 credit hours, 2 hours must be lab)
- Biochemistry (3 credit hours)
- Physics, for science majors (8 credit hours, 2 hours must be lab)
- Statistics, taught in math/statistics/psychology departments (3 credit hours)
- English Composition (6 credit hours)
- Foreign language
- Other biology courses: molecular, genetics, human physiology, immunology
Prospective students will submit their applications via the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS). The deadlines listed on TMDSAS.com are the deadlines that the University of Houston College of Medicine follows.
The following are required:
- Official transcripts of all college coursework (High school transcripts are not necessary.)
- All required essays
- Three letters of evaluation
- Work and activities
- MCAT Scores (from within 5 years)
We’ve written this comprehensive article explaining the differences between the primary and secondary application processes for medical school. It’s a great resource if you’re new to medical school applications.
The University of Houston College of Medicine will email applicants with the link to complete the secondary portion of their application. This is on an invitation basis, meaning that lack of an invitation is the school’s way of rejecting you for the incoming school year. However, you can still apply for a future term.
Secondary applications usually involve essays. But with UH College of Medicine being a brand new school, secondary application essays are not available at this time. Because of this, we’ll move on to the interview section of your application. But before we do, we recommend taking extra time to work on your personal statement in place of secondary essays.
Part 4: Interviewing at UH College of Medicine
After you’ve submitted your secondary application to TMDSAS, all the medical schools in Texas that you’ve selected will receive your application. UH College of Medication will review it and decide whether to interview you. Congratulations if you’ve received an invitation to interview! This is the final step (besides all the paperwork) to getting into medical school, so this is a big deal!
Typically, you’d pack a suitcase and fly out or drive to the university for your interview. The admissions committee enjoys meeting students in person, giving them a tour of the campus, and introducing them to financial aid and other departments that students are likely to need.
However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is taking place virtually. Instead of going to the university, you’ll want to set up a professional background for your interview. A plain wall with good lighting is always a good option. Make sure your outfit doesn’t clash with your background.
Speaking of outfits, we recommend wearing the same outfit you would wear to an in-person interview. This will increase your confidence during your interview. Please don’t minimize the importance of your interview if you’re disappointed to not go to the college in person.
All of the medical schools in Texas (and most others around the country) are conducting interviews virtually. Your interview is still very important and will have an impact on your future. Don’t let COVID-19 ruin that for you. Instead, look forward to the day when it will be safe for you to attend classes on campus and experience university life as an MD candidate.
The UH College of Medicine website doesn’t list what kind of interview they’ll conduct with you. However, traditional interviews and MMI interviews are the most common forms.
If you have a traditional interview, you can expect two separate ones. The first one will be with a member of the admissions committee and will last for about 30 minutes. The second interview could be with another member of the admissions committee, but it could also be with faculty from a different department or with a current MD candidate. This interview will also last for 30 minutes. For most traditional interviews, the interviewer will have access to your file. For this reason, you should prepare answers for just about any questions.
Multiple Mini Interviews (MMI)
MMI stands for Multiple Mini Interviews, and this type of interview is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of sitting down with one person for 30 minutes and being asked questions on the spot, the MMI breaks the interview process down into bite-sized chunks. Applicants are given a question and have two to three minutes to formulate an answer. They then have seven to 10 minutes to discuss their answer with the interviewer. This happens several times, with a different interviewer for each question. This interview process is good for a few different reasons.
- Having different interviewers helps decrease bias.
- Having time to formulate a question cuts down on panicking over what your answer will be.
- Having time to discuss your answer with the interviewer allows your personality to come out and allows you to have a discussion. Lots of discussions happen in medical school and beyond.
Whether UH College of Medicine conducts traditional or MMI interviews, we encourage you to prepare. Here at International Medical Aid, we offer med school admissions consulting, which includes interview prep. We’ll conduct a mock interview with you where we’ll ask you questions that you’re likely to be asked during your official interview with UH College of Medicine. Practice makes perfect, and practice helps with your nerves, too!
The University of Houston College of Medicine is a great choice for MD applicants who want their MD degree to practice primary care in the state of Texas. You’ll be helping to close a gap that is hurting the greater Houston area, making a positive impact on hundreds of thousands of Houston residents.
If you’re not sure which medical school program is right for you, International Medical Aid offers med school admissions consulting. We can help you narrow down your interests and figure out which programs to apply to.
While you’re reading our blog, check out the other medical schools that we’ve written guides for. We’ve covered colleges all over the place, from the West Indies to Pennsylvania.
- Baylor College of Medicine
- George Washington University School of Medicine
- Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
- St. George’s University School of Medicine
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (in Pennsylvania)
- Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
- Wake Forest University School of Medicine
- Western University of Health Sciences (in California)
- Drexel University College of Medicine
- Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago
- Georgetown University School of Medicine
- Yale School of Medicine
- Perelman School of Medicine
- UCLA Medical School
- NYU Medical School
- Washington University School of Medicine
- Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- Brown Medical School