Caring for society’s most vulnerable

For more than a century, the doctors of the Keck School of Medicine of USC have cared for those of us who are most vulnerable. We accomplish this through excellence in research, clinical care and education.”

Raquel Arias, M.D.

Raquel Arias, MD
Associate Dean, Admissions

About Admissions

The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California offers students pursuing medical and biomedical graduate degrees a dynamic and diverse learning environment on the USC Health Sciences Campus in Los Angeles.

As part of one of the nation’s top ten private research universities, the Keck School of Medicine ranks in the top 25 U.S. medical schools in terms of federal research support. Keck School faculty physicians educate students, lead research investigations and oversee patient care in the school’s five partner hospitals. These faculty members do not simply teach medical and biological science, they actively contribute to the creation of new knowledge as they provide students with an unparalleled hands-on education.

About Our Office

The Keck School of Medicine accepts a talented and diverse group of students each year. The Office of Admissions is responsible for screening, selecting and recruiting the School’s outstanding medical students.

The Keck School has received major recognition for its innovative admissions efforts. The American Medical Student Association has recognized the Keck School as a ‘Model Medical School’ with respect to its admissions philosophy, commitment to matriculating a diverse student body, and support programs. Publicity about Keck’s commitment has resulted in new scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who intend to practice in underserved areas and has spurred philanthropic organizations to give money to support minority and disadvantaged medical students.


The Admissions Committee views the personal attributes of the applicant holistically. MCAT scores and GPAs are used as threshold measures of an individual’s ability to successfully clear the academic hurdles of medical school. The personal characteristics that distinguish the most highly recruited applicants include leadership, civic service, communication skills, empathy, and a commitment to social justice. The Committee looks favorably upon students who inspire other students and those with interests in teaching or research. In addition, the Keck School values selection of a diverse class.

Communication skills are a core competency for medical students. In particular, Spanish language skills are valued because of our history of service to LAC+ USC Medical Center.

Admissions Process

The Keck School of Medicine of USC participates in the centralized American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and also requires the submission of the Keck School of Medicine supplemental application. Visit AMCAS to find application materials, fee information, required supporting documents and instructions on completing the centralized medical school application.

Students should submit AMCAS materials as early as possible to avoid processing delays and missed deadlines. Materials received during peak periods may take considerably longer to process. Processing does not begin until AMCAS receives all required official transcripts and the completed application. Note that official transcripts for applicants must be received within 14 calendar days of the AMCAS primary application deadline. Applications missing information and/or supporting documentation and returned to the applicant for correction may not satisfy deadline requirements.


MD Admissions Timeline 2016 – 2017

  • May 2016: Primary application is available via AMCAS
  • June – November 2016: AMCAS applications are received and Keck Supplemental Application invitations are sent
  • September 2016: Valid MCAT dates for matriculation in 2017 are January 1, 2014 – September 30, 2016
  • November 1, 2016: Keck deadline for submitting the AMCAS application
  • December 1, 2016: Deadline for receipt of the secondary application, including letters of recommendation
  • July 2016 – February 2017: Applications are reviewed. Invitations to interview are sent
  • October 2016 – April 2017: Offers of admission are made on a “rolling” basis
  • January – July 2017: Applicants submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and other financial need applications
  • April 30, 2017: Deadline for all applicants to accept a single offer of MD admission to any institution
  • August 2017: Orientation begins for entering class
  • Mid-August 2017: First week of classes


Prerequisites of the Keck School of Medicine

Applicants must have completed a baccalaureate degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university prior to matriculation. The school has no specific course requirements. Strong applicants will have distinguished themselves in their chosen field of study and have demonstrated competency in the sciences at the time of their application. Please see the MSAR for recommended coursework. Please discuss any coursework preparation with your pre-health advisor. If you do not have a pre-health advisor, the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions provides advising free of charge. Due to the large number of applications that we receive, we are not able to provide individualized admissions counseling.

Individuals who have discontinued studies in medical school for academic reasons are not eligible to apply to the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Please see the Eric Cohen Student Health Center for information on Health Clearance requirements for incoming students

International applicants must hold a degree considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree as evaluated by the USC Office of Graduate and International Admissions. International applicants who have been invited to interview will be asked at that time to submit an evaluation of their transcripts. Please do not send transcript evaluation materials unless you are specifically asked to do so by our office.

Please see financial information for international students

The Keck School of Medicine considers completed applications received by AMCAS between June 1 and November 1. Official transcripts must be submitted within 14 calendar days of the November 1 primary application deadline for the applicant to be considered.

For additional questions, view AMCAS’ list of frequently asked questions.

To be considered for admission, applicants to the 2017 entering medical school class must have taken the MCAT no earlier than January 1, 2014, and no later than September 30, 2016.

All MCAT scores that meet the above criteria are visible to the Admissions Committee and taken into consideration.

The Keck School of Medicine of USC participates in the AMCAS Letter of Recommendation Service. A committee letter is sufficient. Alternatively, 2 or 3 letters from professors, PI’s or work experience are acceptable. Do not send more than 3 letters! Applicants are required to send their letters through AMCAS. DO NOT send any letters of recommendation to the Office of Admissions, as they will not be accepted.

Keck School Supplemental Application Deadline: December 1

Students must submit an application processing fee of $100 with the supplemental application. Credit card payments can be made online using USC’s Admissions System. The application fee waiver will be granted ONLY to applicants who received approval from the AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP). Upon receipt of a candidate’s verified AMCAS application and MCAT score, the Office of Admissions will invite applicants to complete a supplemental application.

The supplemental application, application fee and letters of recommendation must be received by December 1st. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Applications are subject to review immediately upon submission. Post-submission updates or revisions are not allowed.

In the event that payment cannot be made by credit card, please make checks* payable to:

Keck School of Medicine of USC
Office of MD Admissions
1975 Zonal Ave., KAM 100B
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9020

Applicants must include their AMCAS ID number on the check. Application fee payments are NON-REFUNDABLE.

*Payments made by check must be received by the admissions office by the deadline.

Decisions regarding interviews are based upon careful evaluation of an applicant’s completed application and all supporting documentation. Personal interviews are required of applicants under serious consideration and are granted only by invitation of the Admissions Committee. Interviews are scheduled in the Los Angeles area between September and March. Interview invitations are sent by email from the Admissions Committee.

Applicants should schedule their interviews as soon as possible upon receiving the invitation.

Interview day consists of a morning welcome session, one-on-one interviews with a faculty member and a current medical student, lunch with current students and a student-led tour of the campus. A list of student housing hosts is available for invited applicants visiting from out-of-town.

Notification of the Admissions Committee’s decisions will continue until the entering class of students has been selected. Accepted applicants must reserve their position in the incoming class by agreeing to the conditions outlined in the offer letter and Essential Characteristics and Abilities Required for the Completion of the MD degree. No deposit will be collected to secure an applicant’s acceptance.

On April 30th, candidates holding multiple acceptances will choose the school at which they will enroll, and withdraw, in writing, applications from all other schools that have offered an acceptance.

The Keck School of Medicine no longer participates in the Early Decision Program.

Keck Student Profiles

Elise Morocco
Hometown: Kent, CT
Undergrad: University of Pennsylvania
Interest: OB-GYN
Year: Third Year Medical Student

I came to Keck entirely new to California. I grew up mostly in the Northeast, studied public health at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and worked at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. before venturing west. I was drawn to Keck by its affiliation to the County hospital and the population it serves in the incredibly diverse and vibrant city of Los Angeles.

The extensive pathology and complex socioeconomic factors that patients face at County provide a truly unparalleled learning environment. Keck demands that we think not only about the medical care inside the hospital, but also about the factors that affect our patients outside of our doors. Clinical training at Keck begins from the very first weeks of school and I have found that it not only prepared me well for my rotations as a third year, but also was a really nice complement to our didactic training. As third and fourth years, we work as integral members of the care team, following our own patients, and formulating assessments and plans under the guidance of residents and faculty.

Above all, Keck has nurtured a sense of community. Throughout the challenges of medical school, I have always found the administration supportive, available, and receptive to feedback. Students are incredibly collaborative, unlike anywhere I have been before. They share study guides, advice, and their time to tutor.

There is also an emphasis on creating a life that extends beyond academics and research. Students are involved in community service and take time to enjoy all LA has to offer, whether that is rock climbing at the nearby climbing gym, seeing concerts, or going out for Korean barbeque. I am very happy with my decision to come across the country to Keck and feel well poised for the next steps in my career.

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Undergrad: Northwestern University
Interests: Primary Care, Mental Health, Preventive Medicine, Health Promotion, Global Health, Ethnic and Sexual Minority Health, Homeless Health, Medical
Anthropology Year: Third Year Medical Student

I can remember clearly my interview day at Keck School of Medicine of USC where I and the other applicants sat down to receive an introduction and welcome from Dean of Admissions, Dr. Raquel Arias. She congratulated us for our accomplishments and told us that we had all been hand-picked as potential student members of the Keck family. One of my attractions to the Keck School of Medicine was this concept of family, which carried across multiple levels of the medical school experience. Our first two years of medical education are arranged such that we have a “home base” consisting of twenty-four students who share a multi-disciplinary learning space and are a sort of family within the larger class. Within that group of twenty-four are four smaller groups of six in which we learn and practice clinical history-taking and physical examination. The faculty at Keck is extremely welcoming and excited to engage with us. I have never been told “no” when I’ve asked to shadow or when I’ve inquired about becoming involved in a faculty member’s research.

A wealth of opportunities exists for Keck students. I have had the chance to serve as the professionalism in medicine representative for my class, initiate a homeless health awareness week that has influenced curriculum changes, shadow a pediatric oncologist and observe her performing a bone marrow aspiration, rotate monthly at a homeless clinic as part of a primary care program, co-host a conference on current topics in LGBTQ healthcare, and spend a summer in Mongolia conducting research on sociocultural dimensions of postpartum depression, among other things.

Finally, I must mention that as an individual very much interested in holistic health care provision and serving diverse, underserved populations, I feel quite fortunate to have the chance to live and learn in Los Angeles, particularly at LAC+USC Medical Center, the county’s largest public healthcare facility. Our everyday encounters with patients there remind me that health is a complex entity, impacted by socioeconomic, cultural, religious, environmental, political, and other factors, and only once we start to acknowledge and address such factors can we really begin to effectively and sustainably improve health.

Hometown: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Undergrad: Southern Methodist University
Interests: Pediatrics/Child Neurology
Year: Second Year Medical Student

Born and raised on a small Caribbean island, I knew that I needed to find a medical school with a strong sense of community. From my first visit, I could see the genuine interest that faculty had in their students on a personal level. There has been more than one occasion where I have walked into a Dean’s office just to talk about how I have been feeling that week. I’ve felt comfortable enough to talk to my PPM mentors about my personal thoughts and get advice on how to navigate the ups and downs of medical school. We have had lecturers come in on holidays to review exam material with our class. In addition, I think that the Keck School of Medicine of USC does a very great job in fostering friendships through our MDLs. Through the MDLs, I have met some of the most selfless, socially conscious people and lifelong friends.

Since being at Keck School of Medicine, I have noticed that there are a great amount of opportunities to develop leadership skills at this school. Whether you want to help lead one of our many student interest groups, represent your class at curriculum meetings, represent Keck at national conferences, assist in the admissions process, or start your own student group to push for changes that you believe will improve our school, you can do it at Keck School of Medicine! Student input is valued here and the leadership skills polished in medical school will serve our students greatly in their roles as physicians navigating an ever changing healthcare system.

An experience special to me is the Longitudinal Primary Care and Community Medicine Program (LCCME), which is committed to increasing the number of primary care physicians especially in underserved communities. Those of us in LCCME go to a community clinic at least once a month where we work in an outpatient setting to gain a deeper understanding of longitudinal care and its benefits. For me, I had the unique opportunity to work and learn at a homeless shelter where a makeshift clinic is created every Tuesday and Friday to bring healthcare to this vulnerable population. Through this hands-on experience, I have learned a great deal about the health care needs of the homeless population and feel better equipped to deal with these needs as a future physician. I am unsure if I would have been afforded this opportunity at another school and am grateful that I chose Keck School of Medicine of USC for my medical education.

Class of 2020 Profile

Class Size: 186
Median MCAT at Admission: 35
Average GPA at admission: 3.7


  • 52% Males
  • 48% Females

Total Underrepresented in Medicine (UIM): 45 (24%)
States of Residence

  • California: 141 (76%)
  • Other States: 45 (24%)

Top 10 Undergraduate Institutions

  • University of California, Los Angeles: 31 (17%)
  • University of California, Berkeley: 29 (16%)
  • University of Southern California: 26 (14%)
  • Rutgers: 5 (3%)
  • Dartmouth: 4 (2%)
  • Duke: 4 (2%)
  • Pomona College: 4 (2%)
  • Princeton: 4 (2%)
  • Stanford: 4 (2%)
  • University of California, Davis: 3 (2%)

Average Age at Admission: 23

  • Age 21 or less: 13 (7%)
  • Age 22: 51 (27%)
  • Age 23: 56 (30%)
  • Age 24-25: 48 (24%)
  • Age 26-29: 12 (6 %)
  • Age 30 and over: 4 (<1%)


National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions

Association of American Medical Colleges

Considering a Medical Career:

Aspiring Doctors

Considering a Career in Medical Research

Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Programs

Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

Summer Undergraduate Research Programs

Admission to US Medical Schools:

AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service)

Application and Admissions Timeline

Fee Assistance Program (FAP)

Medical College Admission Test

Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-MAR)

Medical School Admission Requirements

Important Deadlines

Application Deadlines for Fall 2017 Admission

November 2, 2016 – AMCAS Application Deadline
December 1, 2016 – Keck School Supplemental

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