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Admission Requirements

State Residency Requirements

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine will give priority for admission to applicants from the State of Tennessee. Applicants from any state may apply and be considered for admission, but priority will continue to be given to Tennessee residents. A small number [currently 10% of each class] of out of state applicants may be admitted. When out of state applicants are admitted, preference will be given to the children of University of Tennessee alumni. Applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application.

Should you have questions, with regard to residency issues, please contact the Admissions Compliance Officer at


Response to COVID-19 - Information for 2022 Admissions Cycle

In this time of uncertainty, we realize that many of you may need to reschedule your MCAT exams, adjust your course plan, and/or cancel clinical experiences. Some of you or your loved ones will be personally affected by this global pandemic. Our Admissions Committee assures you that these unforeseen circumstances will be understood in the context of the current situation. We will accept pass/fail courses, as well as, online courses, toward our course requirements. We will accept all MCAT scores for the 2022 application cycle from all possible test dates through September 2021.

Course Prerequisites

The following are the admissions requirements required for consideration of admission to the College of Medicine and should be taken at an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada.

Chemistry [16]

A minimum of sixteen semester hours of chemistry is required. Eight semester hours must be in organic chemistry and another eight semester hours must be in inorganic chemistry, which may include analytical chemistry. Each of these courses must be a complete, standard, college-level course utilizing full laboratory facilities.

Physics [8]

Acceptable courses in physics must include laboratory credits and must adequately cover mechanics, heat, light, sound, electricity, and magnetism. Survey types of courses will not satisfy this requirement.

Biology [8]

Eight semester hours in modern concepts of mammalian biology, including laboratory are required. Courses in botany do not meet this requirement. Applicants, particularly non-science majors, are strongly encouraged to pursue upper level coursework in the biological sciences beyond the minimum requirement. Such courses might include biochemistry, cell biology, comparative anatomy, embryology, general genetics, histology, immunology, mammalian physiology, microbiology or related courses.

English/Literature [6]

Facility in the use of both oral and written English is considered highly essential to the successful study of medicine. Introductory freshman English (six semester hours) will meet the admission requirement. Students who qualify for advanced placement credit in English will not be required to take additional English courses, although such students are encouraged to do so.

Electives [52]

In as much as the medical curriculum is devoted largely to the biological and physical sciences, a student should acquire a broad cultural background in the pre-medical preparation. The behavioral sciences, including psychology, sociology, etc., are considered valuable. Additional dimensions are derived from higher mathematics, computer sciences, languages, literature, philosophy, history, political science, economics, etymology and statistics.

Total Hours [90]

Ninety semester hours at an accredited American college or university.

Psychology, Sociology and Biochemistry

We are not making Psychology, Sociology and Biochemistry course requirements. These courses have always been strongly recommended in preparation for the medical curriculum. With the advent of the new MCAT, which tests on this content, we highly recommend that students complete these courses prior to sitting for the test.

Areas Considered in Admission Decisions

Undergraduate Academic Preparation and Achievement

It is the responsibility of the applicant to be aware of the admissions requirements and ensure that those requirements are met prior to enrollment. Because the College of Medicine recognizes the importance of a broadly based undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, no specific major is required for medical school admission. Prospective candidates are strongly encouraged to major in their area of greatest interest; and regardless of choice of major, are encouraged to pursue a course of study which achieves a balance between both science and non-science coursework. Further, because of the relevance of a broadly based education to success in medical school, the Committee is particularly impressed by students, whose education has provided a broad range of intellectual experience, including opportunities for analytical thinking and independent study. With rare exception, the completion of an undergraduate degree will be necessary in order to fulfill educational expectations. In addition to the pattern and content of courses taken, consideration is given to achievement in these courses.

A student who has been awarded advanced placement credit or other non-traditional credit in prescribed science courses by the undergraduate college will have those credits honored in fulfilling requirements for the College of Medicine, provided such placement has been followed by a more advanced course in the same discipline. [Example: A student granted credit for biology will be required to complete the (8) eight semester hour requirement by taking advanced courses in that discipline.]

The Committee on Admissions will consider grade averages attained in both prescribed and elective courses. A grade of "C" or better in each of the prescribed pre-medical courses is required. If a prospective student is uncertain of the acceptability for pre-medical credit of a proposed course of study, and if the pre-professional advisor cannot advise in the matter, the prospective student is invited to make inquiry to the Office of Admissions, College of Medicine, 910 Madison Avenue, Suite 1043 at The UT Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38163.

Medical College Admissions Test [MCAT]

The MCAT test must be taken no later than the latest offered test date in September. Registration for the MCAT is done on-line through the AAMC. All candidates are required to sit for the Medical College Admissions Test. Students following a regular program should take the MCAT in the spring of their junior year [April or May]. Scores are received within thirty days of administration. A student should complete all prescribed science courses prior to taking the test. Taking it "for practice" is not recommended since the resulting scores will become a permanent part of the applicant's record.

The College of Medicine will accept scores from MCAT’s taken no longer than five (5) years prior to the year of desired matriculation.  The College of Medicine Admissions Committee will consider and evaluate the old MCAT exam, as well as, the new MCAT exam. 

The four [4] section scores of the new MCAT are: [1] Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; [2] Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; [3] Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior and [4] Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.  The new MCAT is scored differently than the old MCAT.  The range of scores for individual sections is 118-132.  The range for the composite score is 472-528. 

Allowing comparisons to other test-takers, [based on examinees testing in a typical year] the new MCAT will also provide a percentile rank for both the total score and section scores.  The MCAT score report will also report a confidence band, which will reflect the accuracy of the section scores and the total score.  The Admissions Committee will review the percentile ranks of the individual sections.  Scores above the 50th percentile [in each section] will be considered more competitive. 

For detailed information regarding the Profile of Admissions, visit our Admissions profile page.

Selection Factors

The College of Medicine selects one class each year which enters in August. Under present authorization, each class is composed of a maximum of 170 new students. In addition, applicants must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States at the time of application to be eligible to apply to the College of Medicine. Since qualified Tennesseans are given priority over out-of-state applicants, nonresidents must possess superior qualifications to be seriously considered for admission. The maximum number of non-Tennesseans admitted will not exceed ten (10) percent of the entering class including non-resident children of alumni. The sources of information which are used in evaluating an applicant's file of credentials are:

  • undergraduate and/or graduate academic record
  • prerequisite courses
  • Medical College Admissions Test [MCAT]
  • pre-professional evaluations and other recommendations
  • applicant interviews

The total academic performance is critically evaluated with attention given to the: [1] source; [2] course load; [3] trends in performance and [4] general commitment of scholarship. With rare exceptions, the completion of an undergraduate degree will be necessary in order to fulfill our educational expectations. Recent entering classes have had a mean grade point average of 3.7 or higher in both the science and non-science areas. The average medical college admissions test [MCAT] score for classes recently admitted to the College of Medicine has been a total of 511 with sub scores of 125 or better in each area. Acceptances will be offered based on all the criteria with no single criterion having more importance than another, e.g., performance at interview; results of the MCAT and academic performance, etc.

Admissions counseling is routinely provided to prospective students. As such, any discussion of credentials or admission status will only be conducted with the prospective student.

Personal Qualities and Motivation

An applicant's interest in and motivation toward the medical profession is an important factor in the admissions decision. In order to assess this motivation and the personal qualities of an applicant, selected individuals are invited to campus for interview(s) with members of the Committee on Admissions. Both academic achievement and MCAT scores are considered by the Committee in determining who will be invited to interview. The personal statement on the application and recommendations submitted on behalf of the candidates allow further insight into the values and motivation of the candidates. A recommendation from the official pre-professional Advisory Committee [where such a committee exists], or recommendation letters from three faculty members, is required. Additional recommendations may be submitted, although, they should number no more than three (3).

Medical Experience

The Committee of Admissions considers it vital that prospective students enhance their knowledge of medicine through direct, patient-oriented clinical experience in a variety of settings. Such experience, which is frequently gained through volunteer work, should enable the student to acquire a greater understanding of the realities of medicine and provide an opportunity for service.

Last Published: Feb 24, 2022