Transfers & Advanced Standing

Only the University Program accepts transfer students. Transfer students are considered only when there is an open seat in the requested year.

Given the very low attrition rate of our students, it is exceedingly rare for a position to be open. In the unlikely event that there is an open position, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine will only consider applications into the third-year class from students who are enrolled in an LCME-accredited medical school in the United States or Canada, and who have demonstrated a very compelling circumstantial need to be at Case Western Reserve.


Examples of “very compelling circumstantial need” under this policy include:

  1. The applicant has a serious illness that requires them to be in Cleveland for treatment.
  2. There is a serious illness in the immediate family of the applicant, requiring the ill person to be in Cleveland for treatment and the applicant to be in Cleveland as the primary supportive member of the family during the time of the illness.

The distance of the applicant’s current school from Cleveland will also be taken into consideration.

Transfer into the third-year class is also contingent upon taking and passing Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) on the first attempt. An applicant who fails USMLE Step 1 will not be considered for admission. In addition, the current academic program must be completed successfully with no remediations. Also required are the highest levels of personal and professional conduct, including a clean criminal background check.

If there is an open position in the class, applicants will be evaluated by the Admissions Committee, with decisions based on academic credentials, supporting materials, and the urgency of the personal need to transfer. A personal interview is also be required. Overall qualifications are expected to be comparable to those of CWRU medical students admitted through the regular admissions process. The decision of the Admissions Committee is final.

An accepted transfer applicant must matriculate in the year to which they are accepted. Transfer students must complete all required clinical clerkships and the MD research thesis requirement at the CWRU SOM.

Individuals with course work completed in foreign medical schools or in programs that lead to other professional or academic credentials such as osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, or PhD degrees are not eligible for admission with advanced standing.* Individuals who already hold the degree of Doctor of Medicine from either a US or foreign institution will not be considered for admission with advanced standing.

Transfer Application Process

A completed transfer application will consist of

  • The CWRU SOM transfer request application
  • A letter stating the reason for requesting a transfer
  • Medical College Admissions Test scores
  • Complete and official transcripts from any and all undergraduate and post graduate programs attended prior to medical school
  • A copy of the AMCAS application that led to admission to the current medical school
  • A criminal background check
  • Transcript from the current medical school including notation of any leaves-of-absence, schedule modifications, and an explanation of the grading system. If any of these items are not included on the school's transcript, they should be included in the letter of evaluation
  • A letter of evaluation from the Dean/Associate Dean for Student Affairs or other appropriate official at the current medical school. Any violations of the current medical school’s ethical and behavioral conduct policy must be described
  • Two letters of recommendation from faculty who have taught the applicant in the current medical school
  • Documentation of a scheduled USMLE Step 1 examination date prior to May 1st. A passing score on the first attempt is required for matriculation into the third year class. Offers of acceptance with advanced standing are conditional pending the student's score on Part 1 of the USMLE examination
  • Transfer students meet all other technical standards and student health requirements (i.e. immunizations, etc.) as required by the School of Medicine.

A personal interview is required.

Transfer applications, including all supporting materials, must be submitted by March 1 of the year the student wishes to enter Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Transfer applicants will be notified by May 1 of the final decision.

Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery/MD Program

Individuals whose graduate work has been in the field of dental medicine may apply for advanced standing through the Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS)/MD Program.

Information regarding the combined degree program can be obtained by visiting the OMFS site.