Caring for society’s most vulnerable

For more than a century, the doctors of the Keck School of Medicine of USC have cared for those of us who are most vulnerable. We accomplish this through excellence in research, clinical care and education.”

Raquel Arias, M.D.

Raquel Arias, MD
Associate Dean, Admissions

About Admissions

The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California offers students pursuing medical and biomedical graduate degrees a dynamic and diverse learning environment on the USC Health Sciences Campus in Los Angeles.

As part of one of the nation’s top ten private research universities, the Keck School of Medicine ranks in the top 25 U.S. medical schools in terms of federal research support. Keck School faculty physicians educate students, lead research investigations and oversee patient care in the school’s five partner hospitals. These faculty members do not simply teach medical and biological science, they actively contribute to the creation of new knowledge as they provide students with an unparalleled hands-on education.

About Our Office

The Keck School of Medicine accepts a talented and diverse group of students each year. The Office of Admissions is responsible for screening, selecting and recruiting the School’s outstanding medical students.

The Keck School has received major recognition for its innovative admissions efforts. The American Medical Student Association has recognized the Keck School as a ‘Model Medical School’ with respect to its admissions philosophy, commitment to matriculating a diverse student body, and support programs. Publicity about Keck’s commitment has resulted in new scholarships for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who intend to practice in underserved areas and has spurred philanthropic organizations to give money to support minority and disadvantaged medical students.


The Admissions Committee views the personal attributes of the applicant holistically. MCAT scores and GPAs are used as threshold measures of an individual’s ability to successfully clear the academic hurdles of medical school. The personal characteristics that distinguish the most highly recruited applicants include leadership, civic service, communication skills, empathy, and a commitment to social justice. The Committee looks favorably upon students who inspire other students and those with interests in teaching or research. In addition, the Keck School values selection of a diverse class.

Admissions Process

The Keck School of Medicine of USC participates in the centralized American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) and also requires the submission of the Keck School of Medicine supplemental application. Visit AMCAS to find application materials, fee information, required supporting documents and instructions on completing the centralized medical school application.

Students should submit AMCAS materials as early as possible to avoid processing delays and missed deadlines. Materials received during peak periods may take considerably longer to process. Processing does not begin until AMCAS receives all required official transcripts and the completed application. Note that official transcripts for applicants must be received within 14 calendar days of the AMCAS primary application deadline. Applications missing information and/or supporting documentation and returned to the applicant for correction may not satisfy deadline requirements.


MD Admissions Timeline 2015 – 2016

  • May 2015: Primary application is available via AMCAS
  • June – November 2015: AMCAS applications are received and Keck Supplemental Application invitations are sent
  • September 2015: Valid MCAT dates for matriculation in 2016 are January 1, 2013 – September 30, 2015
  • November 2, 2015: Keck deadline for submitting the AMCAS application
  • December 1, 2015: Deadline for receipt of the secondary application, including letters of recommendation
  • July 2015 – February 2016: Applications are reviewed. Invitations to interview are sent
  • October 2015 – April 2016: Offers of admission are made on a “rolling” basis
  • January – July 2016: Applicants submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and other financial need applications
  • April 30, 2016: Deadline for all applicants to accept a single offer of MD admission to any institution
  • August 2016: Orientation begins for entering class
  • Mid-August 2016: First week of classes


Prerequisites of the Keck School of Medicine

Applicants must have completed a baccalaureate degree, or its equivalent, from an accredited college or university prior to matriculation. The school has no specific course requirements. Strong applicants will have distinguished themselves in their chosen field of study and have demonstrated competency in the sciences at the time of their application. Please see the MSAR for recommended coursework. Please discuss any coursework preparation with your pre-health advisor. If you do not have a pre-health advisor, the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions provides advising free of charge. Due to the large number of applications that we receive, we are not able to provide individualized admissions counseling.

Individuals who have discontinued studies in medical school for academic reasons are not eligible to apply to the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

International applicants must hold a degree considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree as evaluated by the USC Office of Graduate and International Admissions. International applicants who have been invited to interview will be asked at that time to submit an evaluation of their transcripts. Please do not send transcript evaluation materials unless you are specifically asked to do so by our office.

Please see financial information for international students

The Keck School of Medicine considers completed applications including letters of recommendation received by AMCAS between June 1 and November 2. Official transcripts must be submitted within 14 calendar days of the November 2 primary application deadline for the applicant to be considered.

For additional questions, view AMCAS’ list of frequently asked questions.

To be considered for admission, applicants to the 2016 entering medical school class must have taken the MCAT no earlier than January 1, 2013, and no later than September 30, 2015.

All MCAT scores that meet the above criteria are visible to the Admissions Committee and taken into consideration.

The Keck School of Medicine of USC participates in the AMCAS Letter of Recommendation Service. Letters should be submitted from professors who can speak to academic as well as personal strengths. Do not send more than three letters. A committee letter may be submitted in lieu of individual letters and meets but does not exceed the requirement. Do not send additional letters. Applicants are required to send their letters through AMCAS. DO NOT send any letters of recommendation to the Office of Admissions, as they will not be accepted.

Keck School Supplemental Application Deadline: December 1

Students must submit an application processing fee of $100 with the supplemental application. Credit card payments can be made online using USC’s Admissions System. The application fee waiver will be granted ONLY to applicants who received approval from the AAMC Fee Assistance Program (FAP). Upon receipt of a candidate’s verified AMCAS application and MCAT score, the Office of Admissions will invite applicants to complete a supplemental application.

The supplemental application, application fee and letters of recommendation must be received by December 1st. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Applications are subject to review immediately upon submission. Post-submission updates or revisions are not allowed.

In the event that payment cannot be made by credit card, please make checks* payable to:

Keck School of Medicine of USC
Office of MD Admissions
1975 Zonal Ave., KAM 100B
Los Angeles, CA 90089-9020

Applicants must include their AMCAS ID number on the check. Application fee payments are NON-REFUNDABLE.

*Payments made by check must be received by the admissions office by the deadline.

Decisions regarding interviews are based upon careful evaluation of an applicant’s completed application and all supporting documentation. Personal interviews are required of applicants under serious consideration and are granted only by invitation of the Admissions Committee. Interviews are scheduled in the Los Angeles area between mid-September and March. Interview invitations are sent by email from the Admissions Committee.

Applicants should schedule their interviews as soon as possible upon receiving the invitation.

Interview day consists of a morning welcome session, one-on-one interviews with a faculty member and a current medical student, lunch with current students and a student-led tour of the campus. A list of student housing hosts is available for invited applicants visiting from out-of-town.

Notification of the Admissions Committee’s decisions will continue until the entering class of students has been selected. Accepted applicants must reserve their position in the incoming class by agreeing to the conditions outlined in the offer letter and Essential Characteristics and Abilities Required for the Completion of the MD degree. No deposit will be collected to secure an applicant’s acceptance.

On April 30th, candidates holding multiple acceptances will choose the school at which they will enroll, and withdraw, in writing, applications from all other schools that have offered an acceptance.

The Keck School of Medicine no longer participates in the Early Decision Program.

Keck Student Profiles

Amanda Sandoval
Hometown: South Pasadena, CA
Undergrad: Yale University
Residency: Child Neurology, Stanford University
Year: KSOM of USC, Class of 2015

Born and raised in South Pasadena, I decided to have an entirely new experience for my undergraduate training. I attended Yale University in New Haven, CT, and it was definitely different from the warm and sunny place and people I had grown accustomed to. I loved my time at Yale, but at the end of four years, I was ready to come back to Southern California and Keck was the perfect fit for me. I could see no better place than the Los Angeles County Hospital, one of the largest public hospitals in the United States, to fulfill my desire to work with medically underserved communities.

The hands-on experience afforded at the LAC+USC Medical Center is unparalleled. Medical students are given great clinical responsibility within the team and have autonomy with their patients, forming their own assessments and plans for the unique differential diagnoses seen here. The broad diversity of the patient population and complex medical care required by many of them create an excellent learning environment for both students and residents.

In addition to the amazing clinical experience enjoyed by students here, Keck also fosters an active student life. With numerous organizations geared towards clinical interests, recreation, and wellness, students are able to find their niche and remain well-rounded while receiving an outstanding medical education. The camaraderie and collaboration among students is further underscored by the supportive faculty and staff here. It has been easy for me to find excellent mentors who have been readily available to answer any of my questions and have encouraged me to pursue student leadership and an academic research project. I have loved my time at Keck, and would not have rather gone anywhere else!

Christos Theophanous
Hometown: Lafayette, CA
Undergrad: Harvard University
Interests: Internal Medicine, Ophthalmology
Year: Fourth Year Medical Student

I came to Keck after four years of working in the healthcare industry, first as a strategy consultant and then as a business development analyst for a dialysis organization. I pursued these experiences after college to explore the many non-clinical issues that affect patient care. Over those four years, I learned how social, financial, regulatory, and policy issues often become barriers to patient care. I know that as a physician, I want to play a role in helping my patients overcome these barriers.

I chose to attend the Keck School of Medicine largely because it serves patients who often experience challenging obstacles when accessing healthcare. The population at the LAC+USC Hospital is among the most ethnically diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged in the country. The patients I meet each day remind me that medicine requires an empathic spirit as much as a scientific mind. As medical students, we learn to modify treatment plans in order to best meet patients’ needs while addressing social concerns, insurance restrictions, language barriers, and transportation issues. As a third year student, I have the opportunity to serve as an educator for patients who lack resources to routine primary care. I believe these experiences are shaping me into a more complete physician.

Outside of the hospital, the Keck community has transformed my medical school experience. I have found countless mentors, from research advisors who are committed to my professional development, administrators who encourage participation and leadership, and clinicians who are excited to teach medical students one-on-one. Through my involvement in student government, I have also seen firsthand how much the Keck administration values student input, and how frequently feedback is acted upon to improve the student experience. I know that the many opportunities I have had to grow as a leader and as a student physician are largely attributable to this sense of community.

Elise Morocco
Hometown: Kent, CT
Undergrad: University of Pennsylvania
Interest: OB-GYN
Year: Third Year Medical Student

I came to Keck entirely new to California. I grew up mostly in the Northeast, studied public health at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and worked at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. before venturing west. I was drawn to Keck by its affiliation to the County hospital and the population it serves in the incredibly diverse and vibrant city of Los Angeles.

The extensive pathology and complex socioeconomic factors that patients face at County provide a truly unparalleled learning environment. Keck demands that we think not only about the medical care inside the hospital, but also about the factors that affect our patients outside of our doors. Clinical training at Keck begins from the very first weeks of school and I have found that it not only prepared me well for my rotations as a third year, but also was a really nice complement to our didactic training. As third and fourth years, we work as integral members of the care team, following our own patients, and formulating assessments and plans under the guidance of residents and faculty.

Above all, Keck has nurtured a sense of community. Throughout the challenges of medical school, I have always found the administration supportive, available, and receptive to feedback. Students are incredibly collaborative, unlike anywhere I have been before. They share study guides, advice, and their time to tutor.

There is also an emphasis on creating a life that extends beyond academics and research. Students are involved in community service and take time to enjoy all LA has to offer, whether that is rock climbing at the nearby climbing gym, seeing concerts, or going out for Korean barbeque. I am very happy with my decision to come across the country to Keck and feel well poised for the next steps in my career.

Class of 2019 Profile

Class Size: 186
Average MCAT at admission: 35
Average GPA at admission: 3.7

  • 54% Males
  • 46% Females

Total Underrepresented in Medicine (UIM): 31 (17%)
States of Residence

  • California: 141 (76%)
  • Other States: 45 (24%)

Top 10 Undergraduate Institutions

  • University of California, Los Angeles: 28 (15%)
  • University of Southern California: 24 (13%)
  • University of California, Berkeley: 21 (11%)
  • University of California, San Diego: 7 (4%)
  • University of California, Davis: 6 (3%)
  • Duke: 5 (3%)
  • Stanford: 4 (2%)
  • Pomona College: 3 (2%)
  • Northwestern University-Evanston: 2 (1%)
  • University of Washington: 1 (<1%)

Average Age at Admission: 23

  • Age 21 or less: 14 (7.5%)
  • Age 22: 49 (26.3%)
  • Age 23: 54 (29%)
  • Age 24-25: 52 (27.9%)
  • Age 26-29: 13 (6.9 %)
  • Age 30 and over: 4 (<1%)


FIRST offers a full range of Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools to help medical school borrowers expand their financial literacy, make smart decisions about student loans, and manage student debt wisely.

National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions

Association of American Medical Colleges

Considering a Medical Career:

Aspiring Doctors

Considering a Career in Medical Research

Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Programs

Summer Medical and Dental Education Program

Summer Undergraduate Research Programs

Admission to US Medical Schools:

AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service)

Application and Admissions Timeline

Fee Assistance Program (FAP)

Medical College Admission Test

Medical Minority Applicant Registry (Med-MAR)

Medical School Admission Requirements

Important Deadlines

Application Deadlines for Fall 2016 Admission

November 2, 2015 – AMCAS Application Deadline
December 1, 2015 – Keck School Supplemental

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