Admissions Requirements

**COVID-19 UPDATE**

September 24, 2020

Given the economic impact of COVID-19 (including job loss, furlough, or reduced income), we anticipate that students matriculating into the 2021 class of the University Program of the CWRU School of Medicine will likely demonstrate greater financial need as compared to past years.  In recognition of these unique circumstances, the School of Medicine has made the decision to focus our resources on helping to meet this need, and will be awarding only need-based aid this year.

Additionally, the School of Medicine has also made the decision to offer incoming students financial aid awards that will be guaranteed across all four years of the medical education curriculum.  A four-year guaranteed award will provide students the assurance that they will be able to have consistent award eligibility throughout their medical school career, making their anticipated costs more predictable.


July 23, 2020

We are well aware of the uncertainty that the novel Coronavirus is causing this academic year, and are prepared to be as flexible as possible with our current, and future applicant pools. In light of this, we will accept online courses and labs that occur during academic year 20-21 due to the remote instruction model.


April 20, 2020

Case Western Reserve School of Medicine (CWRUSOM) is well aware of the disruption in coursework for many current students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While letter grades for coursework are still preferred, we understand the difficulty that this may pose for many, and as such, CWRUSOM will accept Pass/No Pass grading for prerequisite courses (below) for the winter/spring and summer 2020 semesters. Online laboratory credit will also be accepted during this time period.  

We also recognize the current difficulty with MCAT scheduling, and as such, will be moving our application review/interview timelines later, in order to accommodate applicants who take late summer/fall MCATs. We will also be accepting MCAT scores that were administered in 2016.  

With various stay-at-home orders and other forms of social distancing we are also aware that many activities such as research, clinical shadowing, service and participation in student groups have been interrupted. Our application screening team will be taking this into consideration as they review applications; there will also be additional opportunity in our secondary application to further describe these interruptions, their impact on you, and to further detail experiences and competencies that may not otherwise be readily evident. 

We know that this is a fluid situation, and will continually be reevaluating our requirements as future events unfold. Please know that in these unprecedented times, we are committed to being flexible with the 2020-2021 application cycle. 

2020-21 Application Cycle FAQs Regarding COVID-Related Disruptions

Yes! Our application screening teams and Admissions Committee will be taking these disruptions into consideration as they review applications.  We are aware of the multiple issues that have resulted, including pass/fail grading, online or cancelled labs, interrupted experiences, the potential for late letters of recommendation and delayed transcripts, etc. 

We will be adding an optional essay response to our secondary application that will allow you to explain how you have been impacted by this pandemic situation.

Not necessarily.  We understand that the current pandemic has created circumstances that are very much out of your control and we will review your application in the context of your unique situation.  

No. We will continue to require an MCAT as a part of the completed application. We will not invite an applicant for an interview without an MCAT score. Please note, however, that we understand the anxiety that many of you may feel with having your MCAT delayed, and as such, we will be moving our admissions season later in order to accommodate those who had to take the fall exams.

Yes, this has always been our practice but the application will not be considered complete until the MCAT score arrives. 

An application will be marked complete and ready for review when the following are received:

  • Complete and verified AMCAS primary application

  • Complete and submitted CWRU Secondary application

  • Paid CWRU Secondary application fee

  • MCAT score received

  • CASPer score received

  • All letters of recommendation received

Our Admissions Committee and our admissions office are aware of the fluidity of the current situation, and are prepared to stay as flexible as possible.


Although strong academic credentials are important in the admissions process, equally as important are interpersonal skills, exposure to medicine, well-roundedness and qualities such as professionalism, empathy and leadership ability.

Applicants for admission must complete a course of study leading to a baccalaureate degree at an accredited US or Canadian college or university prior to matriculation. If you have received your undergraduate degree outside the US or Canada, then you must complete at least 1 year of advanced science-based course work at an accredited US institution prior to application. This can be achieved through a Masters or PhD degree, formalized post-baccalaureate program, or through a variety of upper-level science coursework.

It is also important that you demonstrate on your application that you have carefully considered a career in medicine; make sure to thoughtfully describe your medically-related experiences and interactions with physicians, along with other patient-care or health-related experiences. The AAMC provides a number of career exploration resources and advice for students

The average GPA and MCAT for the entering class of 2020 was: 

  • 3.80 Cumulative GPA with a range of 3.22-4.00
  • 3.76 Science GPA with a range of 2.98-4.00
  • 518 MCAT with a range of 506-527. Mode: 517

Application Requirements:

  • Pre-requisite coursework completed prior to matriculation.
  • Completed MCAT exam.
  • Letters of recommendation.
  • NEW for the 2020-2021 application cycle:  Complete the CASPer Test.

University Program & CCLCM Program Pre-Requisite Coursework Requirements

Our Admissions Committee makes its decisions based on a variety of different components of the application, one of which is the depth and breadth of study in the sciences and in liberal arts, both of which are vital to success in the practice of medicine. Although we list our required and recommended coursework, it is in your best interest, both as an applicant to medical school and as an aspiring physician, to present a broad and meaningful record of study.

Science credit hours typically seen with our successful applications at the time of application are:

  • Non-science majors: at least 40 credit hours
  • Science majors: at least 55 credit hours
  • Post-bacc students: at least 32 credit hours

Note that these are simply guidelines to help you as you structure your course of study and that there can be exceptions.

Required Coursework

These are the minimum number of courses we expect you to have completed at the time of matriculation, not necessarily at the time of application. That said, it is to your advantage to have as many of the required courses as possible completed in preparation for the MCAT and to strengthen your application to medical school. Community college credits in these courses are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

  • General chemistry: 2 semesters/3 quarters with 2 semesters of lab. AP/IB credit accepted.
  • Organic chemistry: 1 semester with 1 semester of lab. AP/IB not accepted.
  • Biochemistry (must include metabolism): 1 semester course, lab not required. One quarter of biochemistry is acceptable to meet the biochemistry requirement, however, a second quarter is recommended in preparation for the MCAT and to have a solid foundation for our curriculum.
  • Writing/college English: 1 semester. This can also be fulfilled with other expository writing courses in the humanities. Science courses with extensive writing components can also fulfill this requirement. AP/IB credit not accepted.

Recommended Coursework

These are courses or areas of study that we strongly encourage you to consider in preparation for the MCAT and more importantly, in preparation for medical school. While formal coursework in these areas is the most frequent method of learning the content material, it may also be accomplished in other ways, with the most common being through research experiences.

  • Cellular Biology
  • Physics
  • Genetics
  • Biostatistics
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, etc.)
  • Research Experience
    • University Program (4 yr. MD): Research experience is not required.  However, a successful applicant must be able to demonstrate an interest in participating in a future research project as a medical student.
    • CCLCM Program (5 yr. MD): More than one summer of hypothesis-driven research experience in a medical or non-medical field is a requirement for the CCLCM Program since the CCLCM curriculum program is designed to train physician investigators

Medical Scientist Training Program

Required Coursework

These are the minimum amount of courses we expect you to have completed at the time of matriculation, not necessarily at the time of application. That said, it is to your advantage to have as many of the required courses completed in preparation for the MCAT and to strengthen your application to medical school. Community college credits in these courses are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

  • General/Inorganic chemistry: 2 semesters/3 quarters with 2 semesters of lab. AP/IB credit accepted.
  • Organic chemistry: 1 semester with 1 semester of lab. AP/IB not accepted.
  • Biochemistry (must include metabolism): 1 semester course, lab not required.
  • Advanced Biology or Biology Subfield: 1 semester, lab not required. AP/IB credit not accepted.
  • Calculus or Statistics: 2 semesters/3 quarters. AP/IB credit accepted.
  • Writing/College English: 1 semester. This can also be fulfilled with other expository writing courses in the humanities. Science courses with extensive writing components can also fulfill this requirement. AP/IB credit not accepted.
  • Research Experience: Substantive research experience during the summers and during the school year as an undergraduate, or during post-baccalaureate research time is required. Applicants must also seriously consider and explain why they want to pursue both the MD and the PhD degrees.

Recommended Coursework

These are courses or areas of study that we strongly encourage you to consider in preparation for the MCAT and, more importantly, in preparation for medical school. While formal coursework in these areas is the most frequent method of learning the content material, it may also be accomplished in other ways, with the most common being through research experiences.

  • Physics
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, etc.)

Pre-Requisite FAQs