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Admissions Criteria and Requirements

Admissions Criteria

John P. and Kathrine G. McGovern Medical School, in conformity with the purpose assigned it by the Texas legislature and its mission statement, selects the best qualified students for its entering class who demonstrate a potential to become competent and caring physicians who will serve the identified needs of the State of Texas. To that end, the committee considers the totality of each application and gives importance to the factors enumerated below:

  1. Intellectual Capacity
    Each student who is accepted must have the intellectual ability to successfully complete medical school and master the essentials of the practice of medicine. Considered are undergraduate and graduate record, standardized test scores, academic awards and honors (e.g. Phi Beta Kappa, National Merit, etc.), research accomplishments, degree of difficulty of undergraduate academic program, pre-professional evaluations, personal interview, and any other data submitted.
  2. Interpersonal and Communication Skills
    The practice of medicine demands a high level of interpersonal skills and a compassionate attitude. Ability to communicate is essential for these qualities. Considered are community or charitable service, e.g., volunteering to help the less fortunate; extracurricular activities and organizations; leadership positions; employment history; recognition for humanitarian service; awareness and direct knowledge of cultural elements as they may impact on health care; evidence of being well-written and well-spoken exemplified by standardized test scores in verbal abilities, the MCAT score on the written essay, statements made on the application or in the personal interview and any other relevant considerations which the students or his or her pre-professional advisors may present.
  3. Breadth and Depth of Premedical Educational Experience
    The modern practice of medicine requires a strong scientific background and also an ability to understand the complex non-scientific problems facing physicians and patients, e.g., ethical or socioeconomic problems. The bare completion of the pre-medical requirements is a base on which to build further knowledge and prepare physicians for a lifetime of study so that they will remain the best possible practitioners of medicine. Considered are undergraduate core curriculum or course selection; participation in the intellectual life of the university, e.g., belonging to discipline organizations — chemistry or philosophy club; extent of reading; papers written or published; knowledge displayed at the interview; Honors Program; pre-professional evaluations; any other relevant indications of scholarly accomplishment.
  4. Potential for Service to the State of Texas
    A state medical school must have as a primary concern producing practitioners who will serve that state in residency; applicant’s goals for the future; size and location of hometown and whether applicant resides in a Health Professions Shortage Area; potential for future provision of health services to under-served areas or needed specialties; race and ethnicity (effective 2006/2007 entering class); linguistic skills appropriate to the Health Profession Shortage Area the applicant wishes to serve.
  5. Motivation
    A physician must be prepared for a lifetime of dedicated intense service to her or his patients. This requires a high level of selfless motivation. Considered are success in overcoming adverse economic or educational conditions; employment history occurring simultaneously with undergraduate academic preparation; participation in activities requiring time management skills, e.g., varsity athletes, campus symphony, etc.; constantly improving undergraduate record; veteran status; experience in health related activities.
  6. Integrity
    A physician, because of the public trust given to members of the medical profession, must have qualities of integrity beyond reproach. Considered are pre-professional evaluations; any academic integrity violation; conduct of a crime; any other relevant background relating either positively or negatively to applicant’s standard of integrity (e.g. Honorable Discharge or Discharge under Honorable Conditions).
  7. Technical Standards
    All individuals, without exception, who apply for admission to McGovern Medical School must be able to perform specific essential functions. Essential functions are the basic activities that a student must be able to perform to complete the generalist medical school curriculum. An applicant who cannot perform the medical school’s essential functions — either with or without reasonable accommodations — will not be considered for admission. A candidate for the MD degree at McGovern Medical School must be able to perform these essential functions:

    • Observation — Candidates must be able to accurately observe demonstration and patients close up and at a distance to learn skills and to gather patient data (e.g., observe a patient’s gait, appearance, posture, etc.). Candidates also must possess functional use of the senses of smell and vision and somatic sensation.
    • Communication — Candidates must be able to communicate orally and in writing with patients and members of the health-care team. Candidates also must be able to read and comprehend written material.
    • Psychomotor Skills — Candidates must have sufficient motor function to obtain data from patients using tactile, auditory, and visual maneuvers. Candidates must be able to execute motor movements to provide general care and emergency treatment that are reasonably required of physicians.
    • Intellectual and Cognitive Abilities — Candidates must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, integrate, and apply information. In addition, candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
    • Behavioral and Social Attributes — Candidates must possess the emotional health required to use their intellectual abilities fully, such as exercising good judgment, promptly completing all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and developing mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. Candidates must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility, and to learn to function in the face of many patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and education process.
    • Chronic Conditions — A candidate must not possess any chronic or recurrent illnesses, including infectious, psychiatric, or substance abuse problems that can interfere with patient care or safety and are not compatible with medical practice or training
  8. Ethical Standards
    A candidate must demonstrate professional demeanor and behavior and must perform in an ethical manner in all dealings with peers, faculty, staff, patients.

Admissions Requirements

Requirements for Entrance

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen, Permanent Resident, or Pending a Permanent Resident in order to be considered for an interview.
  • 90 undergraduate hours at a university in the United States or Canada
  • All pre-medical requirements listed below must have been completed at a United States or Canadian University. Courses which do not conform to this requirement will not be accepted, even if transferred credit has been given for them by a U.S. or Canadian school.
  • AP credit is accepted towards pre-medical requirements if it is listed on your transcript.
  • Graduate courses do not satisfy this requirement. 
  • It is required that applicants take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) within 5 years of applying to medical school. Registration for the MCAT is coordinated through the AAMC. Directions are available on the AAMC website. MCAT scores are evaluated in compliance with Texas House Bill 1641.

Undergraduate Course Requirements

Courses for non-science majors or for health career majors (nursing, pharmacy, allied health sciences, etc.) will NOT satisfy the required coursework. All required coursework must be applicable towards a traditional science degree.

BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES 14 semester hours (12 semester hours of lecture & 2 semester hours of formal lab) or 21 quarter hours (18 quarter lecture hours & 3 quarter lab hours) of Biological Science are required.

Includes all Biological Science courses applied toward Baccalaureate degree in traditional science fields, such as General Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Ecology, Immunology, Parasitology and Anatomy & Physiology.
GENERAL CHEMISTRY  8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of General Chemistry, as required for college science majors, including the corresponding laboratory experience are required. (8 semester hours = 6 hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab; 12 quarter hours = 9 hours of lecture & 3 hours of lab).

Should include familiarity with analytic and volumetric techniques. Inorganic courses include General Chemistry, Physical Chemistry and Quantitative Analysis.
ORGANIC CHEMISTRY  8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of Organic Chemistry, as required for college science majors, including the corresponding laboratory experience are required. (8 semester hours = 6 hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab; 12 quarter hours = 9 hours of lecture & 3 hours of lab).
PHYSICS  8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours of Physics, as required for college science majors, including the corresponding laboratory experience are required. (8 semester hours = 6 hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab; 12 quarter hours = 9 hours of lecture & 3 hours of lab)Includes all physics courses applied toward a baccalaureate degree in any traditional science field.
ENGLISH  6 semester hours or 9 quarter hours of college English are required.Any course accredited by the English Department that fulfills a general education English requirement of a baccalaureate degree will be accepted. Remedial or developmental courses or “English As a Second Language” courses ARE NOT ACCEPTED.

Biology courses must be as required for science majors. One year may be completed by Advanced Placement credit. The other year must be completed in residence at a college and must include a full year of corresponding lab experience.

Recommendations for Applicants

  • Students should plan college work with an emphasis on obtaining a broad educational background. Knowledge is an end in itself. It is important that evidence of scholarly interest and achievement in some branch of academic endeavor be demonstrated.
  • The study of medicine is based upon science, so the medical student must be a capable student of science. Therefore, majors in the scientific disciplines such as, but not limited to, chemistry, biology, and physics are satisfactory.
  • A liberal arts education is an excellent basis for a medical career. Accordingly, applicants may have majored in such areas as classics, languages, history, English literature, belles letters, music, or philosophy, provided the specific scientific requirements listed below are fulfilled. All applicants are expected to be well educated and able to demonstrate the intellectual interests associated with entry into a learned profession.
  • Although the minimum requirement for admission is 90 undergraduate hours at a university in the United States or Canada, preference is given to students who obtain a baccalaureate degree prior to admission to medical school.
  • Any action taken with respect to your application is based upon the expectation that you will complete the published requirements, and any degree program that you have outlined in your application. If the requirements are not completed or the degree specified in your application is not received, then any acceptance to medical school may be withdrawn, at any time, even after matriculation.
  • Deferred acceptance is not offered.