MD Admissions

General Academic Competencies

The Perelman School of Medicine seeks MD and MD/PhD candidate students with a broad and comprehensive education that includes rigorous science preparation. Admissions competencies are not based on specific courses, but rather on the cumulative achievement of knowledge that is necessary to become a competent physician. At a minimum, all applicants must have a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree from an accredited college or university in the United States (including territories) or Canada prior to matriculation.

This academic foundation, together with professional integrity, commitment to service, and deep appreciation of the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, are critical components for members of the medical profession. The breadth and depth of students' lived experiences, records of scientific inquiry, critical thinking skills, career motivations, interpersonal communication skills, cultural competence, and service orientation are all incorporated throughout our student selection process as part of our holistic applicant review. Guidelines for admissions competency are based on recommendations from the Association of American Medical Colleges Core Competencies for Entering Medical Students, and include but are not limited to the sections discussed below. For additional context and details, including information on accommodations, please view the Technical Standards for Admission.

English Language Fluency and Communication Skills

Competency in communicating vital information across a wide range of situations and modalities is essential in medicine. This includes English fluency in writing, speaking, and reading as well as demonstrated abilities to organize and deliver oral presentations, the ability to read critically and appraise technical content, and develop strong interpersonal skills. Fluency in other languages is also considered a valuable asset to delivering care to an increasingly diverse patient population.


Competency in basic biological principles of all living organisms is required for the practice of medicine. This includes comprehension of the diversity of life, basic molecular and cellular structures, life cycles and metabolic processes, and transfer and storage of biological information.


Competency in the basic principles of chemistry is essential for understanding the complex systems that underlie many disorders cared for by physicians. This includes understanding the molecular basis of life; principles of chemical equilibria and thermodynamics; acid-base balance; ionization and redox reactions; the structure of molecules and experimental methods and the molecular architecture of organic compounds; and the quantitative and qualitative aspects of reaction rates, binding constants, and reaction mechanisms.

Physics and Mathematics

Physics provides the conceptual framework for quantitative biology and biomedical sciences. A firm foundation in mathematics, statistics, and physical science is essential in medicine, and includes knowledge of algebra, equations, constants and units of physical measurements, and interpretation of graphic representations of data.

Behavioral Disciplines

Understanding the basic social, cultural, and behavioral factors that influence individuals and decision making, and that impact the overall health of (and health outcomes within) local and global communities, is essential for the practice of medicine. Applicants should also seek opportunities to understand societal forces that inform the delivery of healthcare and contribute to care access barriers for various populations. Appreciation of these elements can in turn be incorporated into research projects spanning the gamut of laboratory, clinical, translational and health service sciences. Knowledge in this area is not limited to one discipline, but can be derived from a range of courses, such as history, philosophy, ethics, anthropology, political science, economics, sociology, and psychology.