Doctor of Medicine

Keith Administration Building 100C
1975 Zonal Avenue, Los Angeles 90089-9021
(323) 442-2552
FAX: (323) 442-2433

Associate Dean, Admissions: Raquel D. Arias, M.D.

The Keck School of Medicine Committee on Admissions is responsible for selecting members of the entering class. The committee comprises both faculty and students. The committee reviews candidates whose academic achievement, commitment to service and personal qualities distinguish them from the many thousands of applicants who apply.

The applicant’s undergraduate major may be in any subject area from an accredited college or university. Although sound preparation in the basic sciences is essential, a background in the humanities, and depth and breadth of personal experience are also important.

General Admissions Information

All applicants must submit a supplemental application. The Keck School of Medicine of USC receives approximately 7,000 applications per year. Approximately 700 applicants receive interview invitations, which take place on the Health Sciences Campus. The interview day consists of a tour, lunch with medical students, a financial aid session and two 45-minute interviews with one faculty member and one medical student. Interviews begin in mid-September and end in early March. Students receive acceptance letters beginning in October. Applicants placed on the alternate list may send additional information to update their files.


All applicants to the Keck School of Medicine of USC M.D. program must complete a minimum of four full years or 120 semester hours of academic work at an accredited college or university by the time of matriculation. Applicants are strongly encouraged to complete all basic science requirements by the time of application. Required courses include two semesters, with associated labs, in biology, general chemistry, and physics. Applicants must complete one semester of organic chemistry with a lab component. In addition, applicants must complete a course in molecular biology and an additional 30 semester hours in a combination of social sciences, humanities and English composition courses. USC recommends that applicants take statistics and Spanish courses. The MCAT is required, and scores must be from within the previous three years of the date of matriculation.

International students must take at least one year of study in the United States prior to application; credits from abroad must be certified by a U.S. college both as to number of hours and course content. Individuals who have discontinued studies in medical school for academic reasons are not eligible to apply to the Keck School of Medicine.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is required of all applicants. Applicants are strongly urged to take the MCAT early in the year of application. Applicants to the 2013 entering class are required to take the MCAT no earlier than August 2010 and no later than August 2012. Scores from earlier administrations of the examination will not be accepted.


The Keck School of Medicine of USC participates in the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). AMCAS reproduces and distributes an application and standardized academic record to participating medical schools designated by the student. The fee charged for this service depends upon the number of schools to which an application is sent. Applications may be obtained from its Website (

Applications are available after June 1 for the class entering in August of the following year. Applications to USC must be returned to AMCAS before November 1, but earlier application is encouraged. The Keck School of Medicine of USC participates in the Early Decision Program. Interested applicants apply between June 1 and July 31 and are notified of the Admissions Committee’s decision by September 1.

The Committee on Admissions reviews all information submitted on the AMCAS application as well as any supplemental data; the school charges a $90 fee for this review. The most qualified candidates, as determined by this review, are invited for an interview.

Personal Interviews

Personal interviews are a required aspect of the application process. Invited candidates participate in two interviews; one with a faculty member and the other with a medical student. Interviews are conducted at the Keck School of Medicine on the Health Sciences Campus of the University of Southern California.

Notice of Acceptance

Notices of acceptance will be sent to successful candidates beginning in October until the class is filled. Since Keck uses a rolling admissions process, it is highly recommended to submit a completed application early in the cycle. If not chosen for an interview, candidates are usually notified by March of the application year.

Candidates must reply to an offer of acceptance within two weeks by sending a $100 deposit and completing an Essential Characteristics form. A letter of withdrawal is required if students wish to relinquish their place in the class; release is granted automatically when the letter is received.

M.D./Ph.D. Program

The Keck School of Medicine has developed an M.D./Ph.D. program designed for individuals who aspire to a career in academic medicine or a leadership role within the biomedical industry. Students are expected to acquire the modern skills that are required for physician competence. Additionally, the M.D./Ph.D. program provides an opportunity for the development of research expertise and academic excellence while fulfilling the requirements for a Ph.D. degree.

A joint program between the Keck School of Medicine and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) was established in fall 1997 for the granting of the M.D./Ph.D. degree. Ph.D. studies may be carried out at Caltech or through collaboration between two laboratories at both institutions. The M.D. will be awarded from the Keck School of Medicine and the Ph.D. will be awarded from Caltech.

The M.D./Ph.D. executive committee is responsible for selecting students for the M.D./Ph.D. program. Members of the committee review the qualifications of each applicant, including MCAT and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores available, academic performance, letters of recommendation and research experience. The committee interviews candidates and then selects students for admission to the program. All applicants to the joint program interview at Keck School of Medicine and the California Institute of Technology.

General Information

The M.D./Ph.D. program enrolls two to eight students annually. Students have the option of doing the Ph.D. at USC or Caltech. Each student accepted to the program must also be accepted to the Keck School of Medicine. All positions are fully funded.


Admission requirements for the M.D./Ph.D. program are those of one of the graduate programs concerned or Caltech and the Keck School of Medicine. Students select the basic science program of their choice during the first two years of the medical curriculum; descriptions of these programs are available from each department or program and Caltech.

Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

To assist the M.D./Ph.D. Committee in its evaluation of candidates, applicants to the M.D./Ph.D. program are encouraged to provide recent GRE scores. The committee does not, however, require GRE scores in order to consider an application.


Applicants to the Keck School of Medicine are advised to request information about the M.D./Ph.D. program at the time of application. In addition to completing the medical school application, applicants should indicate their interest in the M.D./Ph.D. program.

Students who are currently pursuing the medical curriculum at the Keck School of Medicine may apply to the M.D./Ph.D. program by contacting: M.D./Ph.D. Program, Keck School of Medicine, 1975 Zonal Avenue (KAM 314), Los Angeles, CA 90089-9023; (323) 442-2965, FAX: (323) 442-2318.

Personal Interviews

All applicants are screened by members of the M.D./Ph.D. Executive Committee; candidates who meet the basic criteria of the program are then invited to be interviewed by members of the committee and faculty associated with the program.

Notice of Acceptance

Students selected for acceptance to the M.D./Ph.D. program are notified between January and May of each year. Students begin their program in the fall semester and register for courses in the medical curriculum at that time.

Further information about the M.D./Ph.D. program at the Keck School of Medicine may be obtained by contacting: M.D./Ph.D. Program, Keck School of Medicine, 1975 Zonal Avenue (KAM 314), Los Angeles, CA 90089-9023; (323) 442-2965, FAX: (323) 442‑2318; email:

Graduate Degree Programs

Admission standards for these curricula are established jointly by the Keck School of Medicine, its participating programs and the Graduate School.

Applicants to graduate degree programs offered by departments of the Keck School of Medicine must meet the general criteria for acceptance to the Graduate School. Each participating department may have additional requirements for application. The programmatic requirements for the Keck School of Medicine’s graduate programs are detailed in Graduate Degree Programs.

Further information about graduate degree programs at the Keck School of Medicine may be obtained by contacting: Office of the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, Keck School of Medicine, 1975 Zonal Avenue (KAM B16), Los Angeles, CA 90089-9023; (323) 442-1607, FAX: (323) 442-1199.