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School of Medicine Columbia

Admissions FAQs

Eligibility Questions

Although we do not have any course prerequisites, a strong preparation in the natural sciences is highly recommended including general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Further advanced studies in the biological, physical and/or chemical sciences are encouraged. Courses are always valid for admission consideration and do not have an expiration. 

We give preference to applicants who will, upon enrollment, hold a bachelor’s degree. We occasionally admit students on the basis of 90 semester hours of outstanding undergraduate achievement.

The Admissions Committee expects that applicants will have some health care experience at the time of application (i.e., volunteering at a free medical clinic or hospital, physician shadowing, medical scribing, EMT or CNA experience, etc.). We do not have a required number of hours. However, it should be significant enough that the applicant has a reasonable idea of what it means to pursue medicine. 

We do not have a minimum GPA or MCAT score for interview consideration. However, the current GPA average for matriculating students is 3.7 and our MCAT average is 508. The application process is very competitive. Please consider the strength of your application in your decision to apply.

All applicants to the School of Medicine Columbia are required to take the MCAT. You should take the MCAT no earlier than four years before you apply and no later than the last test day in September for the year in which you are applying. 

While our preference is for actual in-person shadowing, we will accept virtual shadowing experience.

Our office does NOT coordinate clinical or shadowing experience.  Please talk to your Pre-Med or Pre-Health adviser regarding these opportunities.  

University of South Carolina students and alumni can contact the Office of Pre-Professional Advising.

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia is a state assisted medical school, therefore we give primary consideration to South Carolina residents. We do not interview or accept many out-of-state students and require strong ties, see list below.  Please consider this in your decision to continue with submission of the secondary application.

  • The applicant must be primarily living, working or attending school in South Carolina.  If you were born in South Carolina, but moved away, would also be considered a close tie
  • The applicant must have parents who are current legal residents of the state

Early Decision is open to South Carolina residents only. The program is geared toward applicants who are sure that the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia is their first choice of medical school and have a competitive application. This is a binding program and applicants who apply Early Decision are not allowed to apply to other medical schools UNTIL a final decision regarding Early Decision is made. If you are not accepted as an Early Decision applicant, you would not be able to apply to other medical schools until October.

While there are no requirements for Early Decision, an applicant should at least meet the current averages of our accepted students (3.7 GPA and 508 MCAT) for Early Decision interview consideration.

Online courses from an accredited college or university are acceptable. However, the Admissions Committee prefers courses taken in the traditional classroom setting. Applicants who have successfully completed  courses in the classroom will be deemed more competitive in the selection process. For students who did not receive standard letter grades or do not elect to receive standard letter grades during the Spring 2020 – Fall 2022 semesters due to school closures and conversion to online learning, we will accept pass/fail courses and online labs. 

Yes. Criteria for transfer consideration include: 1) current enrollment and good academic standing in an LCME accredited medical school in the United States, 2) must meet the prerequisite requirements (for regular admission), 3) legal resident of South Carolina or significant tie to the state and 4) acceptances into the third year are conditioned on an overall passing score of the Step 1 of USMLE. 

We do not allow transfers into the fourth year. Please note that Transfer Admission applications are only available and accepted from January 1st – March 15th each year. For further information and to request an application for transfer, please contact

We only accept applications from those individuals who are current citizens of the United States or who are permitted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to reside permanently in the United States. Currently, international students are not eligible to obtain medical licensure in the state of South Carolina. If the licensure process for the state of South Carolina changes, then the School of Medicine Columbia will revisit the residency requirement.


Application Questions

All applicants receive a secondary application following the initial screening process. The application process is very competitive. Please consider the strength of your application in your decision to apply.

You do not have to wait until you have received all MCAT scores to submit your secondary application. If you feel confident about your MCAT preparation, you may submit your secondary application with your MCAT score pending. Your application will be placed on hold until we receive all pending MCAT scores. If you indicate in your AMCAS application that you plan to retake the MCAT then later cancel the test, please let us know so we can continue processing your application without the additional MCAT score.

The Admissions Committee will consider your highest composite score but they will also look at scores from all attempts and consider the trend of your scores.

Yes. If you have new experiences, research, or coursework you would like to submit later in the application cycle, please use the “Document Upload” option in your AMP account to update your file. Please note that while application updates are accepted throughout the cycle, only those updates submitted prior to your interview date will be considered by the Admissions Committee in the review process.   

We will waive our secondary application fee automatically for any applicant that is approved for the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program. You do not need to contact us for a fee waiver. We will verify your eligibility when you complete the secondary application. 

In addition to the AAMC’s Fee Assistance Program, we offer a very limited number of hardship fee waivers that are reviewed on an individual basis. Applicants must be legal residents of the state or have significant ties and have a documented hardship listed in their AMCAS application. Requests can be sent to for consideration.

Email is our primary method of communicating with applicants throughout the admissions process. If you have an email address change or preferred day phone number change during the admissions cycle, please login to your AMCAS account to update your contact information there. These updates will automatically be sent to our school from AMCAS on the same business day.

If you have not heard anything from us, then your application is still being reviewed. We will contact you by email as your application status is updated.

South Carolina Residency Questions

The applicant must be primarily living, working or attending school in South Carolina or have parents who are current legal residents of the state.  

An applicant who was born in South Carolina, but moved away, would be considered to have a close tie.

In general, second and/or vacation homes and other family (siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and significant others – unless legally married) living in South Carolina are NOT considered significant ties by the committee.

The School of Medicine Columbia does not make any decisions regarding legal residency. Decisions for all students are made by the Residency Office at the University of South Carolina.

Residency affects both your tuition and eligibility for scholarships. The University of South Carolina is required by state law to determine the resident classification of all applicants interested in claiming South Carolina as their state of legal residence. South Carolina Residency makes initial determinations for all students at the time of their admission. The School of Medicine Columbia does NOT make any decisions regarding legal residency. Decisions for all students are made by the Residency Office at the University of South Carolina.

Upon admission, all students claiming South Carolina as their state of residence must complete SC Residency Certification in Self Service Carolina. Any new student claiming South Carolina as their residence who does not apply for residency will be billed at non-resident tuition rates.

You will receive an email once a preliminary determination has been made. The preliminary decision will also be available on Self Service Carolina. Your official status will only be updated to resident upon receipt and processing of any additional documents.

The SC Residency Office reviews its records to determine if a student’s residency status may have changed. The office may request additional information to determine if you still meet residency eligibility requirements.

Note: We were informed of the following changes in February 2021:

  • SC Code 62-602.H.2 – An independent person ‘cannot claim the domicile of another individual as their own for the purposes of establishing intent to become a South Carolina resident’
  • Students can no longer sign a lease for a house that is the principal residence and place of habitation of another person and then claim it for residency
  • Students can only rent homes and apartments that are strictly rentals, not rent a room in someone else’s home or pay rent to family members

All newly admitted students should contact the Residency Office for further information on the legal residency process. South Carolina state legislation allows for qualifying veterans, active-duty military members, National Guardsmen, reservists and dependents to be entitled to in-state tuition and fee rates without regard to the length of time the covered individual has resided in S.C. 


All applicants are required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).  Preparing for the MCAT takes time and dedication.

Apply to Medical School with AMCAS.

Our “Day in the Life” Program will resume for the 2023-24 academic school year in early October 2023.  Please check back at that time for the sign-up form.

For the 2024 application cycle, we plan to hold several on-campus events for accepted students and applicants invited for interviews. Dates are still TBD. More information will be provided on interview day.

Accepted applicants will be considered for scholarships based on the information provided in their admissions and supplemental applications. We will contact applicants if we require additional information for scholarship consideration. 

The School of Medicine Columbia is located on the grounds of the Dorn VA Hospital.  The VA receives applications throughout the year for the Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) and Visual Impairment and Orientation and Mobility Professionals Scholarship Program (VIOMPSP). The link to this Landing Site for the Application Management System is

School of Medicine - Columbia Scholarships


While we are happy to answer questions about the application process, we do not provide academic advising services. Please reach out to your current institution’s pre-med or pre-health advising office for its feedback on your application.

University of South Carolina students and alumni can contact the Office of Pre-Professional Advising. They have a pre-med advisor who can help you as you plan your coursework and application to medical school.

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