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Revised October 2008

Applicants admitted to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine are selected by an admissions committee composed of members of the basic science and clinical science faculties of the School of Medicine, University faculty, medical students, and area clinicians. In making selections from each year's group of applicants, members of the Admissions Committee recognize that they are selecting future physicians. The admissions procedure is therefore an effort to select applicants who possess the individual characteristics required for both the study and practice of medicine.

The Admissions Committee considers all aspects of an applicant's application in the decision-making process. The selection criteria for admission is weighted as one-third for the MCAT score and GPA, one-third letter of recommendations and work/volunteer experiences, and one-third interviews and personal attributes.

Technical Standards

The Admissions Committee of the School of Medicine has adopted the following technical standards for admission:

The curriculum of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine has been designed to provide a general professional education leading to the M.D. degree and to prepare students to enter graduate medical training in a wide variety of medical specialties and subspecialties. All candidates for admission to, and all candidates for the M.D. degree at, the School of Medicine should possess sufficient intellectual capacity, physical ability, emotional stability, interpersonal sensitivity, and communication skills to acquire the scientific knowledge, interpersonal and technical competencies, professional attitudes, and clinical abilities required to pursue any pathway of graduate medical education and to enter the independent practice of medicine. All candidates should be aware that the academic and clinical responsibilities of medical students may, at times, require their presence during day, evening, and night hours, seven days per week.

While the School of Medicine fully endorses the spirit and intent of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992, it also acknowledges that certain minimum technical standards must be present in candidates for admission and graduation. Therefore, the School of Medicine has established the following technical standards for admission to, and graduation from, the M.D. program:

1. All candidates for admission must fulfill the minimum requirements for admission and all candidates for the M.D. degree must complete all required courses and clerkships as indicated in the School of Medicine Bulletin.

2. All candidates for admission and all candidates for the M.D. degree should possess sufficient physical, intellectual, interpersonal, social, emotional, and communication abilities to:

a) establish appropriate relationships with a wide range of faculty members, professional colleagues, and patients. Candidates should possess the personal qualities of integrity, empathy, concern for the welfare of others, interest, and motivation. They should possess the emotional health required for the full use of their intellectual abilities; the exercise of good judgment; the prompt completion of all responsibilities associated with the diagnosis and care of patients; and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients, patients' families, and professional colleagues. Candidates should be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. They must be able to adapt to changing environments, to be flexible, and to function in the face of ambiguities inherent in the clinical situation. Candidates should be able to speak, to hear, to read, to write, and to observe patients in order to elicit information, to describe changes in mood, activity, posture, and behavior, and to perceive nonverbal communications. Candidates should be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in the English language in oral and written form with all members of the health care team. Candidates must be mobile and able to ambulate within the clinical environment.

(b) obtain a medical history and perform physical and mental examinations with a wide variety of patients. Candidates must be able to observe patients accurately both close at hand and at a distance. Observation requires the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities and is enhanced by the functional use of the sense of smell. Candidates should have sufficient exteroceptive sense (touch, pain, and temperature), proprioceptive sense (position, pressure, movement, stereognosis, and vibratory), and motor function to carry out the requirements of the physical examination. Candidates should have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic operations. They should be able to use effectively and in a coordinated manner those standard instruments necessary for a physical examination (e.g., stethoscope, otoscope, sphygmomanometer, ophthalmoscope, and reflex hammer). Candidates should be able to execute motor movements required to provide general and emergency treatment to patients, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the administration of intravenous medication, the application of pressure to stop bleeding, the opening of obstructed airways, the suturing of simple wounds, and the performance of simple obstetrical maneuvers; such actions require coordination of both fine and gross muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.

(c) conduct tests and perform laboratory work. Candidates must be able to observe demonstrations, collect data, and participate in experiments in the basic sciences, including, but not limited to, physiologic and pharmacologic demonstrations in humans, microbiologic cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathologic states. They should be able to learn and perform basic laboratory studies (e.g., urinalysis, complete blood count), draw arterial and venous blood, carry out diagnostic procedures (e.g., proctoscopy, paracentesis), and read electrocardiograms and X-rays.

(d) ultimately make logical diagnostic and therapeutic judgments. Candidates should be able to make measurements, calculate, and reason; to analyze, integrate, and synthesize data; and to problem-solve. Candidates should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. Candidates should be able to integrate rapidly, consistently, and accurately all data received by whatever sense(s) employed.

In evaluating candidates for admission and candidates for the M.D. degree, it is essential that the integrity of the curriculum be maintained, that those elements deemed necessary for the education of a physician be preserved, and that the health and safety of patients be maintained. While compensation, modification, and accommodation can be made for some disabilities on the part of candidates, candidates must be able to perform the duties of a student and of a physician in a reasonably independent manner. The use of a trained intermediary would result in mediation of a candidate's judgment by another person's powers of selection and observation. Therefore, the use of trained intermediaries to assist students in meeting the technical standards for admission or graduation is not permitted.

The School of Medicine will consider for admission any candidate who demonstrates the ability to perform or to learn to perform the skills and abilities specified in these technical standards. Candidates for the M.D. degree will be assessed on a regular basis, not only on the basis of their academic (intellectual) abilities, but also on the basis of their nonacademic (physical, interpersonal, communication, and emotional) abilities to meet the requirements of the curriculum and to graduate as skilled and effective medical practitioners.


The following minimum course requirements for admission have been adopted by the Admissions Committee. These requirements have been designed to provide flexibility for the Admissions Committee in evaluating the varied backgrounds of qualified applicants.


English composition and literature

Two semesters or three quarters.

Biology* with laboratory

Work in general biology, general zoology, or botany is acceptable. No more than four semester hours may be botany. Two semesters or three quarters.

General inorganic chemistry* with laboratory.

Work in qualitative analysis, quantitative analysis, or physical chemistry is acceptable. Two semesters or three quarters.

General organic chemistry* with laboratory.

This course work should include studies of aliphatic and aromatic compounds. Two semesters or three quarters.

Strongly Preferred

Histology and biochemistry.
Clinical experience.

*All science course work must be acceptable for continued study by department majors.

For most applicants, a strong preparation in the natural sciences is the best basis for the study and understanding of the medical sciences. For this reason, the Admissions Committee recommends that most applicants complete more than the minimum requirements in the area of natural science.

College Level Examination Placement (CLEP) and Advanced Placement (AP) credits are acceptable, provided that such credits have been accepted by an undergraduate school toward a degree, are clearly indicated on the official transcript, and do not represent more than 25 percent of all undergraduate credit awarded. Applicants with CLEP or AP credit in basic premedical courses are advised to take a full year of course work in the same area at the more advanced level.

Preference is given to applicants who will, upon enrollment, hold a bachelor's degree. Applicants occasionally are admitted on the basis of 90 semester hours of outstanding undergraduate achievement.

As a matter of policy, the School of Medicine can accept applications only from those individuals who are currently citizens of the United States or who are permitted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to reside permanently in the United States.

The School of Medicine can accept applications only from those individuals who have completed their undergraduate premedical educations at a college or university in the United States or Canada.

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

All applicants to the School of Medicine are required to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). The MCAT should be taken no more than five years prior to the time of application and no later than the fall by the end of September of the year of application. The MCAT is offered several times each year and is administered in colleges and universities throughout the country. It is recommended that applicants consider taking the MCAT at least two times. For registration materials, contact your premedical advisor or the MCAT Program Office at the following address:

MCAT Program Office
P.O. Box 4056
Iowa City, IA 52243

Application Procedures

Inquiries concerning admission should be addressed to:

Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services
School of Medicine
University of South Carolina
School of Medicine VA Campus Bldg. 3
Columbia, SC 29208

The School of Medicine participates in the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Applications are submitted electronically and can be accessed at www.aamc.org. Applications are available on-line after May 1 and may be submitted after June 1. The deadline for submission of applications to AMCAS is December 1.

Following receipt and individual screening of the initial AMCAS application in the School of Medicine Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services, supplemental application materials (including evaluations and a nonrefundable $75 processing fee) will be requested from all qualified applicants selected to receive further consideration. Interviews on the School of Medicine campus are at the invitation of the Admissions Committee and are a required part of the admissions process for all applicants.

The deadline date of December 1 refers only to the date by which the basic application materials must be received at the AMCAS office; January 15 is the deadline date for receipt of all supplementary application materials in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services. It is in the best interest of the applicant to submit the completed application as early in the application/admissions process as possible. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all application materials are received in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services by the deadline date. No application will be considered until all application materials have been received.

Admission Procedures

Offers of admission are made on a rolling basis after October 15 and throughout the year. An applicant who is offered a position in the next entering class will be required to accept or decline the offer within a two-week period. A $100 acceptance deposit, refundable until May 15, must accompany the acceptance of the position. This deposit will be applied to the first tuition and fees payment when the applicant matriculates. If the accepted applicant decides to withdraw from the entering class, the deposit will be refunded upon receipt of a written request from the applicant by May 15. On May 16, the acceptance deposit becomes nonrefundable.

An offer of admission is contingent upon the satisfactory completion of all requirements and conditions of admission.

Admitted applicants will be required to submit official transcripts from every college and university attended to the School of Medicine director of enrollment services/registrar prior to matriculation. These transcripts will be included in their School of Medicine academic records.

Early Decision Plan

Through AMCAS, the School of Medicine participates in the Early Decision Plan (EDP). EDP applicants must be highly qualified and apply only to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine by August 1. All supplementary application materials must be received in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services by August 15; the Admissions Committee will provide responses to EDP applicants by October 1. EDP applicants must take the MCAT prior to application by July 13. Successful EDP applicants will be constrained from applying to any other medical school and will have a place reserved for them in the entering class. EDP applicants not admitted under the Early Decision Plan will be reconsidered as regular candidates and will be able to initiate applications to other schools in time to be considered by them.

Timetable for Admission

Submission of AMCAS application Earliest date-June 5
Latest date-December 1
Submission of supplementary materials Latest date-January 15
Decision notice to applicants Earliest date-October 15
Latest date-until class is filled
Submission of EDP applications Earliest date-June 5
Latest date-August 1
Decision notice to EDP applicants Latest date-October 1
Applicant's response to acceptance offer Maximum time-two weeks
Deposit to hold place in class $100 due with response (applied to tuition)
Deposit refundable prior to May 15
Estimated number of new entrants 85
Starting date August

Delayed Matriculation

Applicants accepted to the School of Medicine may request a one-year delay of matriculation for reasons of personal and professional development or significant extenuating circumstances. Application for delayed matriculation must be made, in writing, to the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services by April 15. The application must contain a description of the specific reasons for the request. The Admissions Committee will make decisions on an individual basis by May 15. The School of Medicine reserves the right to limit the number of applicants granted delays of matriculation in each entering class. For additional information, contact the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services.

If the request for delayed matriculation is granted, other requirements are as follows:

1. The delay of matriculation will be for a maximum of one year.

2. By May 1 of the year of delayed matriculation, the applicant must provide a written report containing documentation of completion of the purposes for the delay of matriculation for review and evaluation by the Admissions Committee. Delayed matriculation will be contingent upon review, evaluation, and acceptance by the Admissions Committee of the written report.

3. The applicant will agree not to apply to any other medical schools in the interim.

4. The applicant will submit a new AMCAS application for the following year's entering class.

5. The applicant's nonrefundable acceptance deposit will be retained by the School of Medicine for the following year's entering class.

6. The applicant will provide official transcripts of all additional academic work completed or in progress.

7. The applicant must agree, in writing, to accept the offer of delayed matriculation and all associated conditions.

Combined M.D./Ph.D. and M.D./M.P.H. Plans

A combined M.D./Ph.D. plan is available to students interested in careers in academic medicine or medical research. The plan permits students to receive both the M.D. degree and the Ph.D. degree in biomedical science in approximately six years. An M.D./M.P.H. dual degree plan is available to students in conjunction with the School of Public Health. The plan permits students to receive both the M.D. degree and the M.P.H. degree in five years.

Applicants interested in the combined M.D./Ph.D. and M.D./M.P.H. plans must be admitted separately to each degree program. For additional information about the combined M.D./Ph.D. plan, contact the Office of Graduate Studies, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, or call 803-733-3100. For additional information about the M.D./M.P.H. dual degree plan, contact the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, or call 803-733-3325.

Course Exemptions

All applicants accepted to the School of Medicine are expected to enroll and complete successfully all required courses. Occasionally an applicant with specialized training will enter the School of Medicine and apply to exempt specific required courses. With the concurrence of the assistant dean for preclinical curriculum and the appropriate department chair, the applicant may be given an examination to measure the applicant's degree of proficiency in the appropriate area. Any exemption should be granted before matriculation in the course and must be granted no later than one academic week after matriculation.

Transfer and Advanced Standing

The Admissions Committee will consider applications for transfer into the second-year and third-year medical school classes contingent upon the availability of positions. All applicants for transfer must be currently enrolled and in good standing in a medical school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education and meet the prerequisite requirements in order to receive consideration. All acceptances into the third year are conditional on verification by the National Board of Medical Examiners of an overall, average passing score on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination taken by June 30 following completion of the second year.

Applications for transfer are available after January 1. All application materials (including supplemental information and a nonrefundable $75 processing fee) must be received in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services by April 1. Supplemental information includes an essay on the reasons for transfer, letters of evaluation from the dean and two faculty members of the medical school in which the applicant for transfer is currently enrolled, and verification of MCAT scores. Requests for MCAT score verification should be addressed to:

Section for the MCAT
Association of American Medical Colleges
2450 N Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037-1126

If you need more information, call 202-828-0600.

For further information concerning application for transfer, contact the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Services, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, or call 803-733-3325.

Residency in South Carolina

As a state-supported institution, the School of Medicine has a primary responsibility to train future physicians for the state of South Carolina. Preference for admission to the School of Medicine is therefore given to state residents. Determination of residency as defined by the University of South Carolina for the purpose of tuition and fees is the responsibility of the University Residency Office. For information concerning residency questions, contact the Legal Residency Office, Petigru College, Room 101, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, or call 803-777-4060.