Applicants must meet the following criteria for admission:

  1. Educational Background: Candidates should have completed a minimum of three full academic years at a regionally accredited college in the United States or Canada at the time of application.
  2. Baccalaureate Degree: A bachelor's degree is required prior to enrolling in the program.
  3. English Proficiency: Applicants should have completed one year of English or other writing-intensive courses.
  4. Biology Requirement: One year of Biology with laboratory components is necessary. If a candidate's undergraduate college accepted Advanced Placement (AP) credit for this requirement, an additional year of advanced study is needed, including at least one semester with a lab (preferably two semesters).
  5. Physics Requirement: One year of Physics with at least one semester involving a lab is mandatory. However, if an applicant's undergraduate college accepted AP credit for introductory-level Physics, no further Physics coursework is necessary.
  6. Chemistry Requirement: Two years of Chemistry, including Organic Chemistry, with labs are essential. If an applicant's undergraduate institution accepted AP credit for introductory-level Chemistry, no additional upper-level Chemistry coursework is required beyond Organic Chemistry.
  7. Biochemistry: While one semester of Biochemistry is required (with a lab recommended but not obligatory), applicants for the 3-Year PhD-to-MD Program must have defended their thesis successfully by April 30th of the matriculation year.
  8. International Applicants: The university typically admits very few candidates from foreign universities due to challenges in evaluating premedical education. Therefore, at least one year of premedical training at a U.S. institution, in addition to taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), is necessary for international applicants.
  9. Financial Aid: Non-residents of the United States are not eligible for federal financial aid programs.
  10. Prerequisite Course Timing: All prerequisite courses must have been completed within ten years of the application. Ideally, biology prerequisites should be taken within five years of applying.
  11. Online Courses: Except for the exceptions mentioned due to COVID, online courses are generally not accepted for prerequisite classes.


Our Admissions Committee seeks applicants with a strong academic record, particularly in scientific courses where a majority of grades are As and Bs. We understand that exceptional circumstances may affect grades, but any final grade below C- in a required course is considered unsatisfactory by the Committee. In such cases, applicants are encouraged to retake the required courses or provide acceptable substitutes with improved grades. While applicants may choose to take some non-required courses on a pass/fail basis, a failing grade in any course may raise questions from the Committee. If applicable, applicants should provide an explanation for such a grade in their application.

Letter of Recommendation

We encourage the submission of letters of recommendation from individuals or premedical advisory groups who have a deep understanding of the applicants and can offer insightful insights beyond standard praise. Our Admissions Committee mandates three letters of recommendation but allows for a maximum of seven. It is essential that one of these letters be from a science faculty member, teacher, or research mentor who has a personal acquaintance with the applicant. Letters from individuals who lack a personal connection with the applicant cannot be given substantial weight in our evaluation process.


To be eligible for consideration in the incoming class, applicants are required to submit both the AMCAS and VP&S secondary application. A non-refundable secondary application fee of $110 is necessary upon submission. Those students who have been granted fee waivers through the AAMC's Fee Assistance Program will have their Columbia VP&S Secondary Application fee waived. Please note that we do not grant fee waivers for any other requests.

Columbia University - Medicine
Source: Columbia University - Medicine