Admissions

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.

Philosophy

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 Admissions Committee considers both interpersonal (service orientation, social skills, cultural awareness, teamwork and oral communication) and intrapersonal (ethical responsibility, reliability, dependability, resilience, adaptability and capacity for improvement) attributes in the evaluation of applicants. 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.

Timeline

MD Admissions Timeline 2017 – 2018

  • May 2017: Primary application is available via AMCAS
  • June – November 2017: AMCAS applications are received and Keck Supplemental Application invitations are sent
  • September 2017: Valid MCAT dates  for matriculation in 2018 are January 1, 2015 – September 30, 2017
  • November 1, 2017: Keck deadline for submitting the AMCAS application
  • December 1, 2017: Deadline for receipt of the secondary application, including letters of recommendation
  • July 2017 – February 2018: Applications are reviewed. Invitations to interview are sent
  • October 2017 – April 2018: Offers of admission are made on a “rolling” basis
  • January – July 2018: Applicants submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and other financial need applications
  • April 30, 2018: Deadline for all applicants to accept a single offer of MD admission to any institution
  • August 2018: Orientation begins for entering class
  • Mid-August 2018: 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 https://ecohenshc.usc.edu/health-clearance/

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 2018 entering medical school class must have taken the MCAT no earlier than January 1, 2015, and no later than September 30, 2017.
All MCAT scores that meet the above criteria are visible to the Admissions Committee and taken into consideration.

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.
Admission with advanced standing is only allowed for those candidates admitted through the Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Program Advanced Specialty Certificate Program offered in conjunction with the Ostrow School of Dentistry.

KSOM does not accept transfer students.

Keck Student Profiles

Amy Komure
Hometown: Stockton, CA
Undergrad: Villanova University
Interest: Family Medicine
Year: Fourth-year Medical Student

Growing up, I was ready to explore so I jumped at the chance to obtain my undergraduate degree in Pennsylvania at Villanova University. After many cold winters and missed family holidays I was ecstatic for a chance to move closer to home for medical school. Interviewing at Keck just felt right. I was immediately drawn to the LAC-USC medical center and its commitment to serve the underserved which really permeated throughout the faculty and staff. Since accepting my admission to Keck a number of opportunities arose that would be difficult to find elsewhere. I was accepted into the integrated dual-degree MD/MPH program and will be graduating in 2018 with both degrees. I was also fortunate enough to have one of the best Introduction to Clinical Medicine faculty members and the founder of Keck’s Primary Care Program in one of my public health classes. Applying to the Primary Care Program has been one of the best experiences of medical school. I was able to gain early exposure to clinical practice and a realistic experience of outpatient care from program mentors. I also had great community support from other classmates in the program as well as clinical mentors. This program, along with the clinical training that all 1st and 2nd year medical students receive, prepared me well for my third year clinical rotations. Keck is a community that values its students. There is always someone I can reach out to with questions and concerns, confident that I will receive a response. Compared to colleagues at other medical schools, I also feel like our curriculum is built in ways that support our wellness. Whether this is scheduling exams on Fridays so we can have weekends off, integrating our courses to support our learning, or scheduling wellness days into our clinical rotations. I couldn’t be at a better medical school and will always be proud to have trained at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Kyle Vogt
Hometown: Davison, Michigan
Undergrad: University of Michigan
Interests: Emergency Medicine, Surgery, Infectious Diseases, LGBTQ+ Health
Year: Second Year Medical Student

My interview at Keck was the first time I was ever in California. I grew up in a small, semi-rural Midwestern town, so Los Angeles came as a bit of a cultural shock (albeit, a very welcomed one). I instantly fell in love with the tremendous amount of diversity in culture, food, people, backgrounds, and stories that are all scattered across this city, waiting to be discovered. Additionally, hiking, concerts, camping, beach days, and late-night taco truck runs were simply too tempting to pass up! Los Angeles has proven to be a wonderful city to meet incredible people, get involved in impactful organizations, and more clearly define who I am both as a person and as a future physician. As wonderful as Los Angeles has proven to be, Keck itself was the driving factor for my move across the country. No other school during interview day emphasized community as much as USC, both in terms of building our own and empowering the ones we serve. From the MDL’s to the seemingly endless student interest groups, we foster an extremely collaborative environment. From the week-one clinical encounters in ICM to the opportunity to interact with immensely diverse patient populations at numerous hospitals, we are privileged to have real cases impact our medical careers from the start. From the high-yield weekly handouts to the doctor-led small group labs, we have a faculty that sincerely cares about our well-being and success. Keck truly offers its students the unique opportunity to craft their own identity and their own community while simultaneously impacting the lives of real patients and learning the “human” side of medicine that is so often lacking in today’s healthcare system.

For me personally, attending Keck has given me so many wonderful things in life. It has given me my amazing classmates, my future colleagues and lifelong friends. It has allowed me the opportunity and resources to bring to light healthcare disparities and unique healthcare needs of individuals identifying as LGBTQ+. It has granted me the capacity to do cutting edge research at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles looking into the genetic basis of diabetes and how we can use stem cell therapy in potential treatment. It has gifted me a world-class medical education with an astonishing amount of humility and empathy incorporated into the very foundation of the curriculum. And it has given me the confidence to realize early in my career that I can make an impact on all patients I am given the opportunity to work with; and, of equal importance, the gift of their interactions help mold me into a better physician of tomorrow.

Taisha Husbands
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Undergrad: Southern Methodist University
Interests: Primary Care, Underserved Communities
Year: Third-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 Keck 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, I have noticed that there are a great amount of opportunities to develop leadership skills.

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! Student input is valued at Keck 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 at Keck 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 for my medical education.

Class of 2021 Profile

Class Size: 186
Median MCAT at Admission: 517
Average GPA at admission: 3.7

Gender

  • 54% Males
  • 46% Females

Total Underrepresented in Medicine (UIM): 35 (19%)
States of Residence

  • California: 136 (73%)
  • Other States: 50 (27%)

Top 10 Undergraduate Institutions

  • University of California, Los Angeles: 24 (13%)
  • University of California, Berkeley: 24 (13%)
  • University of Southern California: 20(11%)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara: 7 (4%)
  • Pomona College: 7 (4%)
  • University of California, San Diego: 6 (3%)
  • University of California, Davis: 6 (3%)
  • University of California, Irvine: 6 (3%)
  • Harvard: 5 (2%)
  • Stanford: 5(2%)

Average Age at Admission: 24

  • Age 21 or less: 8 (4%)
  • Age 22: 36 (19%)
  • Age 23: 67 (36%)
  • Age 24-25: 45 (24%)
  • Age 26-29: 25 (13%)
  • Age 30 and over: 5 (<3%)

Resources

National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions
http://www.naahp.org

Association of American Medical Colleges
http://www.aamc.org

Considering a Medical Career:

Aspiring Doctors
http://www.aspiringdocs.org

Considering a Career in Medical Research
https://www.aamc.org/students/aspiring/basics/280558/right-career.html

Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Programs
https://students-residents.aamc.org/postbacc/

Summer Medical and Dental Education Program
http://www.smdep.org/

Summer Undergraduate Research Programs
https://www.aamc.org/members/great/61052/great_summerlinks.html

Admission to US Medical Schools:

AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service)
https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/amcas/

Application and Admissions Timeline
https://www.aamc.org/students/download/175214/data/timeline.pdf

Fee Assistance Program (FAP)
https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/fap/

Medical College Admission Test
https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/data/

Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-MAR)
https://www.aamc.org/students/minorities/med-mar/414908/medmar.html

Medical School Admission Requirements
https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/requirements/msar/

Important Deadlines

Application Deadlines for Fall 2018 Admission

November 1, 2017 – AMCAS Application Deadline
December 1, 2017 – Keck School Supplemental

Need Help?

Contact Admissions
medadmit@usc.edu

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