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A closeup of the Penn State College of Medicine logo is seen on the jacket of a white coat, draped over the arm of a medical student who is also holding a White Coat Ceremony program. The student was part of the July 2016 White Coat Ceremony, in which incoming medical students at the College receive their short white coats signifying their status as future doctors.

MD Program

MD Admission & Interview Process

The College of Medicine requires an online application through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), completion of an online secondary application and completion of the CASPer Situational Judgement Test. Applicants must either be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents or hold formal DACA status. International applicants are not considered for admission. Interviews for the 2022 admissions cycle will be conducted in a virtual format from mid-September through March.

Application Process

The Penn State College of Medicine strictly adheres to the following application process.

  • Complete and submit an online application to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), indicating Penn State College of Medicine as one of your medical schools of choice.
  • You must provide AMCAS with an official transcript, a service fee and arrange letters of recommendations. AMCAS will verify application information and send it electronically to the Penn State College of Medicine. Your verified and processed AMCAS application must be received by November 15.
  • Upon receipt of your initiated AMCAS application, beginning in July, the College of Medicine will notify you via email to complete and submit a web-based Secondary Application.
  • In addition to the secondary application, all applicants are required to complete the CASPer Situational Judgement Test. Please go to the CASPer website to register for the Medicine (UME) (CSP-1011 – U.S. Medicine).
  • Letters of recommendation are required from each institution that granted you a degree and any institution you are attending or plan to receive a degree. A composite letter of support from a pre-professional committee is strongly recommended. If no such committee is available, letters should be solicited from individual faculty members as outlined in the secondary application instructions. If there is a pre-professional committee and a recommendation will not be forthcoming, you should note this on the secondary application. Applicants who have been enrolled in graduate program are required to provide an additional letter of support from their graduate program. Please note that the College of Medicine only accepts letters through the AMCAS Letter Service system.
  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete at the time of submission. It should include the completed and submitted secondary application, completion of the CASPer Situational Judgement Test, all required letters of support and payment of the $90 secondary application fee. The College of Medicine will not accept updates, including additional letters of support, post-submission.
  • It is the policy of the College of Medicine to deny requests to submit applications after the published deadlines.

Correspondence Policy

The "Preferred Addresses" (mail and email) listed on the applicant AMCAS application will be used for all correspondence from Penn State College of Medicine. If there is a change in the addresses after submission of the AMCAS application, the applicant will need to enter the change(s) in the electronic application, then re-certify and resubmit the application to AMCAS.

Email is a regular and official mode of communication during the application cycle. The College of Medicine recommends that applicants establish and maintain a unique and confidential email address that is not shared with others.

It is the sole responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the email address remain functional and the preferred mailing address is correct.

Letters of Recommendation

The College of Medicine accepts letters through the AMCAS letter system only. You must send, or have sent, your letters directly to AMCAS. Please reference the website or call AMCAS at 202-828-0600 for further clarification.

If your letters are being transmitted to the admission committee by your undergraduate advising office, it is possible that office is using VirtualEvals. Once your letters are posted to VirtualEvals, they will be downloaded by AMCAS and made available to us. If you have a question about whether or not your advising office uses VirtualEvals, please contact your undergraduate advising office.

If your college or university has a pre-health committee or pre-health office that submits recommendation letter(s), you are required to use their service. If you do not use their service, you must include an explanation (please title your explanation "Reasons for not using the Pre-Health Committee").

If your college or university does not have a pre-health committee or pre-health office, you are required to submit a minimum of four recommendation letters (maximum of six) using the guidelines below:

  • At least two letters from faculty in science disciplines
  • At least one letter from faculty in a non-science discipline
  • At least one remaining letter from college faculty, community leader, employer, or others in positions of responsibility that know the applicant well

In either case, no additional letters are required, unless:

  • You have multiple degrees. If this is true, you must submit one letter from each of the institutions that has granted you any of the following degrees:
    • Associate
    • Bachelor
    • Master
    • Doctorate
  • You have one or more years of graduate study or full-time employment at the time of application. If this is true, you are required to submit one additional letter of recommendation from a member of the graduate faculty or work supervisor.

Application Review

After the receipt of all required materials, the applications are reviewed according to medical student selection committee procedures. Decisions are made by the admissions committee after careful consideration of all aspects of the application.

Applicants judged to be most qualified are invited for an interview. Other highly competitive applicants may be placed on a hold list and may be invited for interview at a later time if space becomes available.

Interviews are conducted only at the College of Medicine and consist of two or three individual meetings with members of the faculty. See more information in the “Interview process” section.

Applications will be continuously reviewed until the class is filled. Applicants on the hold list will be selected to fill spaces, which may occur any time prior to the first day of classes.

Students will be notified of acceptance into the class entering in the fall after October 15 and as late as required until the class is filled. Applicants have two weeks to respond to an offer of acceptance.

After an applicant is accepted, a $100 deposit is required and is applied to the first semester tuition. The deposit fee must be paid before May 15 and is not refundable upon withdrawal after this date.

Unsuccessful applicants of previous years who reapply for admission must submit a completely new application, application fee, and additional letters of recommendation. Any previous application will act as an additional resource file.

Criminal Background Checks

The College of Medicine participates in the AAMC-facilitated pilot program for performing criminal background checks on conditionally accepted applicants. The admissions process depends on the integrity of the answer to the AMCAS felony statement and timely disclosure of any related matter after submission of the application. Falsification of this information can result in dismissal from the College of Medicine.

Students should also be aware that criminal background checks will also be required during medical school in order to participate in certain clinical rotations.

According to the Pennsylvania Medical Practice Act, the state medical board may refuse to issue a license or certificate to an applicant for a number of reasons including:

  • "Being convicted of a felony or being convicted of a misdemeanor relating to a health profession or receiving probation without verdict, disposition in lieu of trial or an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition in the disposition of felony charges, in the courts of this Commonwealth, a Federal court or a court of any other state, territory or country."
  • "Conviction of a felony under the Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act or similar criminal statute of another state, unless certain conditions are met."

Please contact the Office of Medical Student Admissions at 717-531-8755 or if you have questions about criminal background checks.

Licensure and Felony Convictions

On January 1, 1986, the following amendment to the Medical Practice Act went into effect:

The board shall not issue a license or certificate to an applicant who has been convicted of a felony under the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device, and Cosmetic Act, or of an offense under the laws of another jurisdiction which if committed in this Commonwealth would be a felony under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, unless:

  • At least ten years have elapsed from the date of conviction;
  • The applicant satisfactorily demonstrates to the board that he has made significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction such that licensure of the applicant should not be expected to create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of his patients or the public or a substantial risk of further criminal violations; and
  • The applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in or authorized by this act. As used in this division the term "convicted" shall include a judgment, an admission of guilt, or a plea of nolo contendere.

Applicants can obtain further information from the State Board of Medical Education and Licensure, Post Office Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649, for information relating to licensure requirements.

Interview Process

The interview is an essential component of the selection process. It provides vital information about the applicant that is impossible to obtain by any other means. Because of COVID-19, interviews are presently being conducted in a virtual format.

Faculty interviews with critical evaluations are the only method within the admissions process for the assessment of the important nonacademic attributes of applicants. The selection committee places great importance on these evaluations in making decisions on admission.

Dates: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, mid-September through March.

Interview day: Half of the applicants will have a virtual interview in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon. Two faculty members will interview each applicant. At midday, both groups will come together for informational meetings with admissions staff, College of Medicine leadership and students.

Interview Agenda

Group 1

8:30 a.m.: Arrival to Zoom room; welcome and overview of day's activities
9 to 11 a.m.: Faculty interviews

Group 2

10:30 a.m.: Arrival to Zoom room; welcome and overview of day's activities

Groups 1 and 2

11:15 a.m.: College of Medicine presentation and Q&A
Noon: Virtual "lunch" with medical students
1 p.m.: Virtual tour of College of Medicine and Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center complex

Group 1

2 p.m.: Group is finished for the day

Group 2

2 to 4 p.m.: Faculty interviews
4:15 p.m.: Group is finished for the day

Following the interview day, applicant files will be reviewed in a holistic manner by the Admissions Committee. Applicants will be placed in one of three groups – Acceptance, Hold for Continued Review or Denied Acceptance. Files placed in the Hold category remain active in the admissions process. They are periodically reviewed and may be selected for Acceptance during the interview period. After the interview period, files remaining in the Hold category continue to be reviewed and may be selected to fill vacancies in the entering class.