Criteria & Requirements

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:

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.

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.

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.

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; linguistic skills appropriate to the Health Profession Shortage Area the applicant wishes to serve.

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.

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).

Essential abilities and characteristics required for completion of the MD degree consist of certain minimum physical and cognitive abilities and sufficient mental and emotional stability to assure that accepted students must meet certain standards of capability (with or without reasonable accommodations) for matriculation, continued enrollment, and graduation with the MD degree. McGovern Medical School (MMS) intends for its graduates to become competent and compassionate physicians who are capable of entering residency training (graduate medical education) and meeting all requirements for medical licensure and who will serve the identified needs of the State of Texas. The following abilities and characteristics are defined as technical standards, which, in conjunction with academic standards established by the faculty, are requirements for admission, promotion, and graduation. Delineation of technical standards is required for the accreditation of U.S. medical schools by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Although these standards serve to delineate the necessary physical and mental abilities of all candidates, they are not intended to deter any candidate for whom reasonable accommodation will allow the fulfillment of the complete curriculum.

  • Observation: Candidates must have the skills to be able to accurately obtain information from demonstrations and patient examinations in order to gather patient data (e.g., observe a patient’s gait, appearance, posture, etc.). The skills necessitate the use of a sense of vision, hearing, and somatic sensation or a functional equivalent.
  • Communication: Candidates must be able to communicate effectively with faculty, colleagues, staff, patients, their families, and members of the health care team. They must be able to obtain a medical history in a timely fashion, interpret non-verbal information, and establish therapeutic rapport with patients. Candidates must be able to read and record information accurately and clearly in a healthcare setting.
  • Motor Function: Candidates must possess the capacity to perform physical examinations and diagnostic maneuvers. They must be able to respond to clinical situations in a timely and efficient manner while providing general and emergency care that are reasonably required of physicians. These activities require some physical mobility, coordination of both gross and fine motor neuromuscular functions, and balance and equilibrium. They must be able to adhere to universal precaution measures and meet safety standards applicable to inpatient and outpatient settings and other clinical activities.
  • Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: Candidates must be able to assimilate detailed and complex information presented in both didactic and clinical coursework, and engage in problem solving. They must be able to learn through a variety of modalities including, but not limited to, classroom instruction, small group and collaborative activities, problem-based learning groups, individual study, preparation and presentation of reports, simulations, and use of computer technology. Candidates are expected to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, synthesize, and transmit information across modalities. 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 demonstrate the maturity and emotional stability required for full use of their intellectual abilities. This includes, but is not limited to, accepting the responsibility of learning, exercising good judgment, and promptly completing all responsibilities associated with the diagnosis and care of patients. Candidates are expected to exhibit integrity, honesty, professionalism, compassion, and display a spirit of cooperation and teamwork. They must understand and abide by the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine and function within both the law and ethical standards of the medical profession. Candidates must be able to work effectively, respectfully and professionally as a part of the healthcare team, and to interact with patients, their families, health care professionals, colleagues, faculty, and staff in a courteous, professional, and respectful manner. Candidates are expected to contribute to collaborative, constructive learning environments; accept constructive feedback from others; and take personal responsibility for making appropriate positive changes. They must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and long work hours, to function effectively under stress, and to display flexibility and adaptability to changing environments. They must be capable of regular, reliable and punctual attendance at classes and in regard to their clinical responsibilities.
  • Ethical Standards: Candidates must meet the legal standards to be licensed to practice medicine. As such, candidates for admission must acknowledge and provide written explanation of any felony offense or disciplinary action taken against them prior to matriculation to McGovern Medical School. In addition, should the student be convicted of any felony offense while in medical school, they agree to immediately, but within 5 business days, notify the Vice Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs or designee as to the nature of the conviction. Failure to disclose prior or new offenses can lead to disciplinary action by MMS that may include dismissal.

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. You must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident in order to matriculate.
  • 90 undergraduate hours at a university in the United States or Canada
  • 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; detailed information and instructions are available here. MCAT scores are evaluated in compliance with Texas House Bill 1641.

Undergraduate Course Requirements

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • AP credit is accepted towards pre-medical requirements if it is listed on your transcript.
  • Graduate courses do not satisfy this requirement. 
  • Please review educational requirements on the TMDSAS website if you have questions regarding specific undergraduate coursework.
SubjectSemester Hour Requirement
Biological Sciences12 semester hours of lecture & 2 semester hours of formal lab
General Chemistry6 semester hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab
Organic Chemistry6 semester hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab
Physics6 semester hours of lecture & 2 hours of lab
English6 semester hours

Additional Recommendations for Applicants

  • Additional Recommended Courses: biochemistry, microbiology, embryology, immunology, statistics, psychology and/or sociology.
  • Applicants are able to major in any subject area. 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.

Equal Access to McGovern Medical School’s Educational Program

McGovern Medical School is committed to providing all students with opportunities to take full advantage of its educational and academic programs. MMS and UTHealth Houston recognize that students with documented disabilities may require reasonable accommodations in order to achieve this objective and/or meet the technical standards and essential functions.  Any accommodation must allow the student to complete the medical degree program within six years of matriculation.  An accommodation request may not be considered reasonable if it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of self and/or others, if making it requires a substantial modification in an essential element of the curriculum, if it lowers academic standards, or if it poses an undue administrative or financial burden.

If a student, with or without reasonable accommodation, cannot satisfy the technical standards/essential functions or if it is determined that the disability would interfere with patient or peer safety or otherwise impede their ability to complete the program and advance to graduation, residency training or licensure, then the student may be separated, discontinued or dismissed from the program.

Process: Candidates with questions regarding disability accommodations are encouraged to contact the McGovern Medical School Section 504 Coordinator immediately to begin to address what types of accommodation may be considered. Admission to MMS is conditional on the candidate’s having the ability to satisfy the technical standards, with or without reasonable accommodation, and results from a process that examines and values all of the skills, attitudes and attributes of each candidate on a case-by- case basis.

Additional Resources: