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My School of Medicine Columbia

Required Documentation

You will need a variety of documentation as you complete the residency application process. Make sure you begin gathering this information early. 

Reference the below information to learn how to obtain the documents needed for your residency applications. 

NOTE: Due to COVID-19, some of the information will be changing.  We will update the website as we know. If you have specific questions, please contact Dr. Eric Williams, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, at 803-216-3616 or email:

The MSPE details your academic history and performance through your first three full years of medical school and, in some cases, as much of your fourth year as possible. Largely written by the Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs in collaboration with other faculty members, the MSPE also includes an assessment of your professional attributes. Students have an opportunity to meet with a staff member to review their MSPE for accuracy. The MSPE release date (the date the document becomes available to programs through ERAS) is October 1 each year.

Transcripts are required for all students applying to residency programs. Unofficial transcripts will be produced by the admissions office and provided to the DWS. The DWS will upload all transcripts prior to September 15th. If you would like an updated transcript to be uploaded to your application after September 15th, please contact Dr. Eric Williams at

Most programs require a minimum of three letters of recommendation. ERAS allows you to store an unlimited number of letters and to designate different letters for each program. However, you can’t send more than four letters to an individual program. You should plan to ask for letters of recommendation at the end of your third year of medical school, between April and July, and no later than August of your fourth year.

Be sure to give letter writers at least three to four weeks to write the letter. Potential letter writers may be attending physicians from third- or fourth-year rotations, department chairs, program directors, research collaborators, deans, and faculty with whom you worked in extracurricular activities. It’s best to avoid asking residents to write letters. Letter authors upload their letters to the ERAS system.

Check individual program websites and ERAS program information for details on what types of letters of recommendation are expected and when they are due. Please note that the medical school staff (including the DWS and other members of Student Services) are not allowed to have access to any LoR. The DWS may assist authors or their designees with the steps required to upload a LoR but cannot upload the letter themselves.

The USMLE transcript is required by many M.D. residency programs as part of an application to be considered for their positions. Applicants should research programs individually for requirements related to the USMLE transcript (i.e. minimum scores). Applicants must authorize the release of their USMLE transcript and assign it to the programs they designate.

The NBME or ECFMG (for IMG Residency) charges a fee of $80 for transmitting USMLE transcripts to the programs designated by applicants. You can view the USMLE Requests Status Report to track the status of your USMLE requests by program. If you have a new score become available you must take action in MyERAS to resend USMLE scores to programs previously designated to receive them.

University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia hires a photographer for all M.D. students to have a professional head shot taken at the end of the third year. It is recommended that this photo be uploaded to MyERAS. The photo is most often used by programs to help identify applicants when reporting for an interview.

You should research programs individually to verify their requirements and use of the photo. Applicants must upload their own photo in MyERAS and then make assignments of the photo to the programs they designate. Please note that the photo file must meet the following requirements:

  • File Type: JPG/JPEG or PNG
  • Maximum File Size: 100 KB
  • Maximum Dimensions: 2.5 in. x 3.5 in.
  • Maximum Resolution: 150 DPI


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