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MD-PhD Programs: The Ultimate Guide (2023)

Everything you need to know about md-phd programs and how to get in, including example md-phd essays and complete lists of md-phd and mstp programs by state.

medical research application essay

(Note: We recommend using this resource alongside our free, 102-page comprehensive guide to medical school applications,  Get Into Medical School: 6 Practical Lessons to Stand Out and Earn Your White Coat .)

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: an overview of md-phd programs, part 3: how to apply to md-phd programs, part 4: how to write md-phd essays (examples included), appendix a: complete list of medical scientist training program (mstp) institutions, appendix b: complete list of md-phd programs.

If your career goals include both practicing medicine and diving deep into scientific research, you may have your eye on MD-PhD programs. You might also wonder if applying to MD-PhD programs differs from the traditional medical school admissions process .

The two processes are distinct in several different ways. Yet, while the majority of medical schools offer these dual-degree programs, the differences between MD and MD-PhD admissions are neither widely discussed nor well understood, largely because far fewer students apply to become “physician scientists.” In the 2022–2023 admissions cycle, there were 55,188 MD applicants vs. just 1,793 MD-PhD applicants—nearly 30 times fewer.

Because the number of MD-PhD applicants is comparatively small, there’s also simply less information available to help prospective applicants through the MD-PhD admissions process. That’s why we created this guide, which will answer the many questions that we commonly receive about MD-PhD applications.

We’ll provide information to help you decide whether these programs are right for you, strategies you can use should you choose to apply, discussions of the required MD-PhD essays (including examples), and complete lists of MD-PhD and MSTP programs so you can maximize your odds of getting in.

What are MD-PhD programs?

MD-PhD programs are joint (i.e., dual-degree) programs that allow you to receive medical training and develop expertise in a research area. Most MD-PhD students complete dissertation research in biomedical sciences like biochemistry, genetics, and neuroscience, to name just a few examples. However, some may specialize in other fields, including anthropology, public health, bioengineering, and bioethics.

What are Medical Scientist Training Programs (MSTP)?

MSTP programs are a subset of 50 MD-PhD programs that are funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). While MSTP admissions are very competitive, these programs come with many benefits including full tuition coverage, a living expenses stipend, and professional development opportunities such as seminars, conferences, and mentorship. The MSTP initiative is meant to encourage the development of physician scientists to advance the medical field through research.

Many non-MSTP programs, however, will also provide some of these benefits, such as tuition remission and living stipends. Each program’s resources and offerings will differ.

How many MD-PhD programs are there?

As of February 2023, there are 116 MD-PhD programs in the United States and 24 in Canada. You can find the full list of current programs at the end of this guide, as well as on the AAMC website .

How long are MD-PhD programs?

MD-PhD programs are designed to be completed in 7 to 8 years. A minority of students complete the program in 6 or 10 years.

Here’s what the typical MD-PhD curriculum looks like:

Years 1–2 will be spent mostly on completing medical school coursework.

Years 3–6 will consist mostly of PhD research.

Years 7–8 will be spent mostly completing clinical rotations.

Following the completion of your MD-PhD program, the majority of MD-PhD grads go on to match into medical residencies and fellowships—this means another 3–7 years of training, depending on what field you enter. As you can see, earning an MD-PhD is a substantial time commitment.

What are the benefits of having MD-PhD attached to your name?  

Physician scientists are uniquely equipped to investigate diseases because of their extensive scientific and medical training. This type of work has the potential to impact the lives of millions of patients. While MD physicians can also pursue meaningful research, they typically don’t receive specialized training unless they seek it out.

On the other hand, MD-PhD graduates develop the necessary research skills during their graduate studies to eventually pursue independent research projects, run their own labs, and so on.

Moreover, in some circles, MD-PhD graduates enjoy additional prestige because they’re seen as research experts simply by virtue of going through such a rigorous program.

What kind of residencies do MD-PhDs enter?

MD-PhD graduates have traditionally entered medical residencies in internal medicine, pediatrics, or pathology. While those are still the most common choices, the range of specialties chosen by MD-PhDs has widened. Other relatively popular specialties include psychiatry, general surgery, anesthesiology, neurological surgery, and neurology.

There are also a growing number of “research residency programs.” Specifically designed with physician scientists in mind, these programs integrate research into their clinical training, which often means that specialty training is shortened by a year.

No matter what residency you match into, MD-PhD grads are often considered desirable candidates for programs at top academic institutions due to their additional training.

What is the average MD-PhD salary and career?

The average physician scientist salary is currently $207,635. However, your salary will depend largely on whether you work in the public or private sector, and what medical specialty you choose.

One thing to keep in mind is that, although some programs are fully funded, MD-PhD programs take 3–4 years longer to complete than an MD program. Therefore, MD-PhD graduates will not begin earning a salary until several years after their MD counterparts.

Your typical career path as an MD-PhD graduate will be to become a faculty member in an academic medical center, such as a medical school or teaching hospital, where most of your time will be spent on research activities; other duties usually include teaching, administrative work, and clinical service. A large portion of your compensation will come in the form of research grants. Around 75% of MD-PhD grads follow this path.

Another sizable portion of physician scientists—around 16%—work as physicians in private practice.

These two career paths account for the vast majority of MD-PhD grads. Still, there are those who earn a comfortable living in the private sector working for pharmaceutical or biotech companies. Others work in governmental or nonprofit research organizations like the NIH and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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How competitive are MD-PhD programs? Is it easier or harder to get into an MD-PhD vs. MD program?

The competitiveness of MD-PhD programs vs. MD programs depends on how you look at it.

Comparing programs at the same school: At some highly competitive medical schools, less than 3% of applicants are admitted to the MD program, whereas about 10% of MD-PhD applicants get in due to a smaller applicant pool.

Comparing overall acceptance rates: During the 2022–2023 application cycle, 709 out of 1,793 applicants (39.5%) matriculated into an MD-PhD program . This number is slightly lower than the overall admissions percentage to MD programs during the same cycle (41.2%).

Comparing stats: In the most recent admissions cycle, the mean GPA and MCAT score for MD-PhD matriculants were 3.82 and 516.2. For MD matriculants , the mean GPA and MCAT score were 3.75 and 511.9.

Overall, it’s fair to state that MD-PhD admissions are more difficult than MD admissions. However, because MD-PhD programs so heavily emphasize your research track record, you may be more or less competitive for them depending on your stats and extracurricular profile .

(Suggested reading: Average GPA and MCAT Score for Every Medical School )

Do MD-PhD programs require that I take the GRE in addition to the MCAT?

It depends on the specific medical school and PhD discipline you’re applying to conduct research in. Non-medical disciplines (e.g., sociology) are far more likely to ask for your GRE score in addition to your MCAT score . You should review application requirements months ahead of time to ensure you meet them.

How should I prepare differently to apply for MD-PhD programs?

The key differentiator between MD-PhD and MD programs is their research emphasis. If you’re considering applying to MD-PhD programs, make sure you will be able to demonstrate a longstanding commitment to research, preferably in one to three different labs. Moreover, aim to become an author on multiple publications to boost your admissions odds. Finally, make sure to develop strong rapport with your labs’ PIs so that you can secure strong recommendation letters when the time comes to apply.

With regard to coursework, the same ones that satisfy MD program requirements will satisfy MD-PhD programs’ requirements. In other words, you won’t need to take additional prerequisites to qualify for MD-PhD programs.

How many MD-PhD programs should I apply to?

It depends on several factors, including:

Your stats and extracurricular background: The higher your stats and the stronger your extracurricular—especially research—background, the greater your overall odds.

The competitiveness of your school list: The more selective the school, the lower your admissions odds there.

The number of concurrent MD applications: The more schools you apply to overall, the greater your total admissions odds.

Overall, we recommend that you apply to 20–35 schools across MD and MD-PhD programs.

Can I apply to MD and MD-PhD programs at the same time?

Yes. Simply indicate on your AMCAS application application which schools you’d like to apply for as an MD candidate vs. an MD-PhD candidate. Most schools who reject you for their MD-PhD program will still consider you for their regular MD program.

What is the MD-PhD application timeline like?

It mimics the MD application timeline . Ideally, you’ll want to submit your primary application as soon as possible after AMCAS opens for submissions in late May/early June. You should then aim to pre-write your secondary essays so you can submit your supplemental applications within two weeks of receiving them, usually sometime in July. MD-PhD interviews typically take place between October and March, with most interview invitations sent out during that same period.

Do I face a disadvantage if I apply MD/PhD, get rejected, and essentially lose out on the early rolling admissions benefit?

In our experience, we have observed no such disadvantage. We have students who get into some MD/PhD programs, while others get deferred but are ultimately accepted into MD programs. Therefore, we encourage you to apply MD/PhD wherever you hope to attend such programs.

How does the MD-PhD application differ from the MD application?

You’ll have to submit two additional essays through AMCAS—on top of your personal statement and Work and Activities section —for MD-PhD consideration:

The MD-PhD essay, which asks for your reasons for pursuing the dual-degree program

The “significant research experience” essay, which asks for details about the scientific research you have conducted

Below, we’ll go over how to approach each MD-PhD essay, show you full-length examples, and discuss what makes them successful.

MD-PhD essay

In this essay, you’ll explain why you want to enter a dual-degree program. Your essay should thus focus on why you need to complete both an MD and a PhD, and why you wouldn’t be fulfilled by a career that didn’t include both research and clinical work.

To explain their reasons for applying, applicants sometimes write about how they love both research and medicine, and simply couldn’t decide which to focus on. A weakness of this approach is that these essays often end up describing research and medicine in isolation from each other, which highlights that the applicant hasn’t really thought through how they interact. This might inadvertently suggest to adcoms that you actually would be better off in a standalone MD or PhD program.

Instead of this, we suggest discussing how you can’t envision not having both in your life. In other words, focus on why the combination of research and medicine is important to you. How have you and how will you apply research to your clinical work and vice-versa? What does their integration offer you that a standalone program won’t? By showing how the two areas cross over and impact each other, you’ll be able to make the case that an MD-PhD program is right for you.

Here’s an example that discusses this successfully:

My clinical work and research during college seemed separate. As a longtime psychiatric emergency department (ED) volunteer, I worked firsthand with patients and families in medical and psychological crises. As a researcher, I initially organized patient files before creating and managing a new patient database for a project identifying risk factors for stroke and cerebrovascular disease in underserved and Latino populations. It wasn’t until my postgraduate years that I began to integrate my passion for mental health treatment with research.

After graduating from college, I accepted a research associate position in the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, where I worked in Dr. Joan Stephenson’s autism assessment lab. I trained to reliably evaluate individuals suspected of having autism spectrum disorder (ASD) using behavioral observation and clinical interview methods to determine their eligibility for study participation. While my experiences in the Stephenson Lab were markedly different from working in the psychiatric ED, I realized that the importance of empathic care transcends the acuity of a patient’s condition. For instance, I distinctly remember a mother who feared that her 2-year-old son would receive an ASD diagnosis like his older brother, despite her and her husband praying for years that they would have one child with typical development before they were unable to have other children. When the lead psychologist confirmed their younger son’s ASD diagnosis, the mother broke down in tears. Before providing information on the boy’s prognosis and ASD treatment options, the psychologist and I spent the next 15 to 20 minutes validating the mother’s concerns. At that point, we figured the mother needed someone to tell her that her feelings were normal and that she wanted the best for her children. Doing so helped the mother be more receptive to our treatment recommendations.

My fascinations with mental health and cognitive psychology stem from believing that differences among human beings are not limited to the physical or social or mental aspects of development, but encompass their interaction. Reflecting on the challenges of living with Tourette Syndrome and coming from an immigrant family, I realize that the distinct combination of life events we experience, referred to simply as “environment,” is what truly makes each of us unique.

My life and research experiences have collectively taught me how conditions aren’t merely something you study in a lab out of curiosity, but rather how they dramatically impact patient life and outlook. Moreover, these experiences helped me realize my desire to become a physician scientist and pursue translational research to directly improves peoples’ lives on a larger scale.

Why does this essay work?

This applicant does an excellent job of explaining how he came to realize that his passions for clinical work and psychiatric research, once separate, actually complement and benefit each other. For example, he discusses an experience in which empathy, which is typically thought of a trait of physicians rather than researchers, came into play while working as a research assistant.

He also writes about how research doesn’t exist in isolation in a lab or purely for the pursuit of knowledge but, rather, has a real-life impact on people’s lives. By incorporating specific examples, including his own experiences of living with Tourette Syndrome, he convincingly makes the case that he has a firsthand understanding of the practical importance of research.

The essay ends with the applicant’s goals for his career. In your own essay, you might go one step further than this applicant did by providing greater specificity—for instance, if you have a particular research interest you hope to pursue, mention it. That said, it’s not necessary to know yet exactly what problem or topic you hope to research so long as you can mention a broad field of interest, as this applicant did. 

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Significant research experience essay

Your significant research experience essay is where you’ll provide details about your notable research experiences. This includes:

Durations of your research experiences

Your mentors’ names and affiliations

What you investigated

Your project contributions

In writing about their research projects, applicants are sometimes unsure of how technical or detailed their descriptions should be. You don’t want to include so much jargon that your essay reads like a scientific manuscript submission, but it’s okay to include technical details so long as they’re at a level that any scientist will be able to understand.

While describing your experience is your main goal in this essay, you might also take on the secondary goal of communicating what kind of student and researcher you’ll be. Remember that adcoms are looking for candidates who will be able to handle the strenuous challenges of an MD-PhD program. So, this essay can also be a space to convey personal qualities like resolve, problem-solving, initiative, leadership, and the ability to absorb lessons and grow. 

Here are a few different ways that you can incorporate personal qualities into your significant research essay:

Write about what you learned from specific research experiences and how you’ll apply those lessons going forward.

Describe not only your successes, but also your failures and what they taught you.

If you played a leadership role in some of your research experiences, make sure to highlight that you weren’t simply taking directions from someone else.

Let’s take a look at an example:

I have had X significant research experiences:

1. Professor Sean Guo, MD/PhD, Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, March 2016 - August 2018

The Guo Lab investigates the development of child psychiatric conditions through imaging genetics. My project focuses on conducting cross-modal imaging genetics analyses between genes in the catecholamine system, including ADRA2A, 5-HTTLPR, DAT1, and DRD4, and functional and connectivity imaging data to unravel the genetic bases of neural networks underlying response inhibition (RI) in children. Alongside Dr. Guo, I found that youth with greater levels of impulsivity and inattentiveness, based on standardized behavioral rating scales, displayed greater latency on a computerized RI task.  Moreover, impulsive and inattentive traits, as well as performance on the RI task, was negatively associated with functional anisotropy (FA) and functional coupling between the presupplementary motor area (preSMA), interior frontal cortex (IFC),and subthalamic nucleus. Atypical connectivity and functional coupling among these brain areas were observed to be fixed and nonprogressive regardless of age. Furthermore, we found a positive association between the blood-oxygen-level-dependent signal (BOLD) and FA in the preSMA, right IFC, STN, and occipital lobe.

Identifying genetic effects on neural function and connectivity related to RI have helped us begin elucidating neural pathways of inhibitory control. This project is translational by virtue of its integration of previously unexplored genotypes and behavioral data with functional and white matter connectivity. Our next step is to apply these early causal models of RI to develop targeted interventions. This is particularly relevant given that RI deficits are associated with numerous conditions of clinical, public health, and economic significance, including substance disorders, addiction, and obesity. 

I co-authored these findings in two manuscripts published in [Journal] and [Journal]. I also co-designed and presented a poster at the [Year, Conference]. Moreover, my colleagues and I plan to submit a paper to [Journal] in the coming weeks. If accepted, this would be my third first-authored publication.

Through this project, I learned a number of neuroimaging research techniques, including recruiting, consenting, and imagine study participants, processing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data, conducting statistical analyses, and writing manuscripts for peer-reviewed journals. It was extremely gratifying not only to learn these new skills, but also to take greater ownership over a project than I have in the past. This experience helped me to better understand what goes into a study from start to finish and has prepared me for future leadership.

(Note: The applicant goes on to include additional significant research experience entries using the format above.)

Let’s analyze what’s working in this essay:

The applicant provides provides all the relevant details about a specific research experience. Note that it’s not always necessary to go into this level of detail—given that you can use up to 10,000 characters, how much detail to include will often depend on how many significant research experiences you want to convey. This excerpt uses about 2,800 characters, meaning that the applicant has room to add 2–3 more experiences at this level of detail.

He uses an entry format, which is a great strategy to provide clarity and structure to your essay. If you wish, you can also discuss your experiences in narrative form.

He concludes the entry by talking about what he learned both in terms of specific skills but also in terms of lessons that he will apply to future work. This helps adcoms get a glimpse of the human behind the accomplishments.

Final thoughts

For the aspiring physician scientist, MD-PhD programs will provide the training you need to integrate research and clinical work. The MD-PhD admissions process is challenging and differs from that of traditional medical school admissions. In addition to completing medical school prerequisites and earning excellent grades and MCAT scores, you’ll want to ensure that your research experience is robust going into application season. Then, plan to devote significant time to your required application materials, including the two MD-PhD supplementary essays, in order to have the very best chances of acceptance.

medical research application essay

About the Author

Dr. Shirag Shemmassian is the Founder of Shemmassian Academic Consulting and one of the world's foremost experts on medical school admissions. For nearly 20 years, he and his team have helped thousands of students get into medical school using his exclusive approach.

Note: This list contains MD-PhD programs funded by the NIH for award period 7/1/2021 - 6/30/2022.

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine

University of Arizona College of Medicine

Stanford University School of Medicine

University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine

University of California, Irvine School of Medicine

University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine/California Institute of Technology (Joint Program)

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine

University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences

University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine

Connecticut

Yale University School of Medicine

University of Miami School of Medicine

Emory University School of Medicine

Northwestern University School of Medicine

University of Chicago School of Medicine

University of Illinois College of Medicine

Indiana University School of Medicine

University of Iowa College of Medicine

University of Kansas Medical Center

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

University of Maryland School of Medicine

Massachusetts

Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Joint Program)

Tufts University School of Medicine

University of Massachusetts School of Medicine

University of Michigan Medical School

Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

University of Minnesota Medical School

Washington University School of Medicine

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

New York University School of Medicine

Stony Brook University School of Medicine

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Weill Cornell Medical College/The Rockefeller University/Memorial Sloan-Kettering (Tri-Institutional Program)

North Carolina

Duke University School of Medicine

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

The Ohio State University College of Medicine

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine

Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon University (Joint Program)

South Carolina

Medical University of South Carolina

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston/MD Anderson Cancer Center (Joint Program)

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

University of Virginia School of Medicine

University of Washington School of Medicine

Medical College of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Note: This is an exhaustive list of MD-PhD programs.

University of Alabama School of Medicine

University of South Alabama College of Medicine  

University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix

University of Arkansas College of Medicine

Loma Linda University School of Medicine  

University of California, Davis School of Medicine  

University of California, Irvine School of Medicine  

University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine  

University of California, San Diego School of Medicine  

University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine  

Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California  

University of Colorado Health Sciences Center  

University of Connecticut School of Medicine  

Yale University School of Medicine  

District of Columbia

Georgetown University School of Medicine  

Howard University College of Medicine  

University of Florida College of Medicine  

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine  

University of South Florida College of Medicine  

Emory University School of Medicine  

Medical College of Georgia  

Morehouse School of Medicine  

Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Loyola University of Chicago - Stritch School of Medicine  

Northwestern University Medical School   

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science - Chicago Medical School  

University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine  

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Medicine  

Indiana University School of Medicine  

University of Iowa College of Medicine  

University of Kansas School of Medicine  

University of Kentucky College of Medicine  

University of Louisville School of Medicine

Louisiana State University, New Orleans School of Medicine  

Louisiana State University, Shreveport School of Medicine  

Tulane University School of Medicine  

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine  

National Institutes of Health Intramural MD-PhD Partnership  

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences  

University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Medicine  

Boston University School of Medicine  

Harvard Medical School  

Tufts University School of Medicine  

University of Massachusetts Medical School  

Michigan State University College of Medicine  

University of Michigan Medical School  

Wayne State University School of Medicine  

Mayo Medical School

University of Minnesota Medical School  

Mississippi

University of Mississippi School of Medicine  

Saint Louis University School of Medicine  

University of Missouri - Columbia School of Medicine  

University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Medicine  

Washington University School of Medicine  

Creighton University School of Medicine  

University of Nebraska College of Medicine

University of Nevada School of Medicine  

New Hampshire

Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth  

Rutgers - New Jersey Medical School  

Rutgers - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School  

University of New Mexico School of Medicine  

Albany Medical College  

Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University  

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons  

Hofstra North Shore - LIJ School of Medicine

Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Tri-Institutional MD/PhD Program  

Mount Sinai School of Medicine  

New York Medical College  

New York University School of Medicine  

SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine  

SUNY at Stony Brook Health Sciences Center  

SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine  

SUNY Upstate Medical University  

University of Rochester School of Medicine  

Wake Forest School of Medicine  

Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University  

Duke University School of Medicine  

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine  

North Dakota

University of North Dakota School of Medicine  

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine  

Northeastern Ohio College of Medicine  

Ohio State University College of Medicine  

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine  

University of Toledo College of Medicine  

Wright State University School of Medicine  

University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center  

Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine  

Drexel University College of Medicine  

Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University  

Penn State University College of Medicine  

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine  

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine  

Temple University School of Medicine  

Rhode Island

Brown University School of Medicine  

University of South Carolina School of Medicine  

South Dakota

University of South Dakota School of Medicine  

East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine  

Meharry Medical College School of Medicine  

University of Tennessee, Memphis College of Medicine  

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine  

Baylor College of Medicine  

McGovern Medical School at UTHealth/MD Anderson Cancer Center/University of Puerto Rico Tri-Institutional Program

Texas A&M University Health Sciences Center College of Medicine College  

Texas Tech University School of Medicine  

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston  

University of Texas Health San Antonio, Long School of Medicine  

University of Texas, Southwestern Med Center - Dallas  

University of Utah School of Medicine  

University of Vermont College of Medicine  

Eastern Virginia Medical School  

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine  

University of Virginia School of Medicine  

University of Washington School of Medicine  

West Virginia

Marshall University School of Medicine  

West Virginia University School of Medicine  

Medical College of Wisconsin  

University of Wisconsin Medical School  

McGill University Faculty of Medicine  

McMaster University of Faculty of Health Sciences  

Memorial University of Newfoundland Faculty of Medicine  

Universite de Montreal Faculte de Medecine  

Universite de Sherbrooke Faculte de Medecine  

Universite Laval Faculte de Medecine  

University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry  

University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine  

University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine  

University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine  

University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine  

University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine  

University of Western Ontario  

(Suggested reading: Medical Schools in Canada: How to Get In )

Applying to MD-PhD Programs

New section.

Are you considering a MD-PhD program? Here the basics about applying to MD-PhD programs to help you get started.

The MD-PhD dual degree training prepares you for a career that is busy, challenging, and rewarding, and offers opportunities to do good for many people by advancing medical science, developing new diagnostics and treatments for diseases, and pushing back the boundaries of the unknown.

How do I know if a combined program is right for me?

MD-PhD programs are specifically designed for those who want to become physician-researchers, also known as physician-scientists. Graduates of MD-PhD programs often go on to become faculty members at medical schools, universities, and research institutes such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

MD-PhD program students are being prepared for careers in which they will spend most of their time doing research in addition to caring for patients. It is critical that applicants have a passion for doing both—most MD-PhD graduates feel strongly that they would not be fulfilled by only pursuing medicine or science.

How do I apply?

Nearly all MD-PhD programs participate in the application process via the American Medical College Application Service® (AMCAS®) . On the AMCAS application, students designate themselves as MD-PhD applicants and complete two additional essays: one related to why they are interested in MD-PhD training, and the other highlighting their significant research experiences.

What schools offer this type of program?

Nationwide, there are more than 90 MD-PhD programs affiliated with medical schools. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) supports Medical Scientist Training Programs or MSTPs. They currently provide training grants that partially support MD-PhD programs at 49 degree-granting institutions. You can see which schools offer MD-PhD degrees in the  Medical School Admission Requirements  profiles under “Combined Degrees and Special Programs.” You can also review  Individual MD-PhD Program Information for Prospective Applicants  for easy access to individual MD-PhD program websites.

How long does it take?

Students enter an integrated curriculum that typically takes seven to eight years to complete. During which time, they satisfy the full requirements for both the MD and the PhD degrees.

What kind of work can I do? How much time is spent as an MD? As a researcher?

According to a  study of MD-PhD program outcomes , nearly 80 percent of graduates are following career paths consistent with the goals of their training, including working as full-time faculty in academic medical centers or for the NIH, research institutes, industry, and federal agencies. Those in academia, spend between 50 and 80 percent of their time conducting research, though this can vary by specialty. Their research may be lab-based, translational, or clinical. The remaining time is often divided between clinical service, teaching, and administrative activities.

MD-PhD Application Timeline

AMCAS application opens:  May preceding the year of expected entry Applicants interviewed:  October–March Final decisions sent to applicants:  December–March Applicants revisit program(s) to decide where to matriculate:  March–April MD-PhD programs start:  June–August

Information on how to become a research physician, also known as a physician-investigator or a physician-scientist.

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When I was in college, I was in a premed “bubble” a lot of the time. I took many of my courses and labs alongside hundreds of other aspiring physicians. I would see the same people throughout my academic day, and sometimes even outside of the lecture hall. Because of this, I unintentionally overheard conversations […]

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Guidelines for Writing your Research Application Essay

The following are guidelines for writing your  Research Scholarship  application essay. These ideas will help you to think about how to structure your essay and what to include in it. They are not meant to be step-by-step instructions, nor are they given in any particular order of importance. If there is anything unusual about your timeline, project, or circumstances, please talk about this as well. In addition to reviewing these tips, you may wish to attend an  information session  before writing your essay.

Write in your own voice

Write your essay in your own voice.

It is very important that reviewers get a sense of your passion and understanding for your project. Do not cut and paste from papers or other proposals – it will be obvious to reviewers if you do and it will not convey your own understanding of your research. Write clearly and in your own voice describing your project and its relationship to research in your field of study.

Balance your essay

Be sure to talk about the project itself as well as the educational benefits of the research. As you are writing the personal side of the essay it may help in your draft to tell the story of your motivations for getting involved. But in your final essay, pull out only those points that are relevant to your current experience.

Show your enthusiasm and commitment to the work

Your essay should convey an interest and commitment to the research. Awards cover either a six or nine month period – be sure that your essay provides evidence that you will stick with the project for that period of time, and that the project has enough depth to keep you engaged during that period. Reviewers will find your interest or passion in the research compelling, so find a way to convey that in your essay.

For previous applicants/recipients

Acknowledge your prior application/award and cite the major learning goals you will set for yourself with this new application. Reviewers will want to know what you have already accomplished, as well as your plans for the new award period.

Be clear about your role in research

Be specific about your role in your proposed research project.

It is important that reviewers learn how you are contributing to the research, particularly if you have a role in a larger, ongoing project.

Describe how your faculty mentor guides/supports your role in the research process

If your research is of your own design, be sure to include how your faculty mentor helps you to make progress in your work. How does your mentor guide you so that you gain the perspective of the larger project as you contribute your work to it?

Describe the impact of your research

Describe how your research fits into a bigger picture.

Include enough detail to convey your knowledge of the topic and so that reviewers can imagine what you are doing. Reviewers will be from a variety of fields, so it is best to address your essay to an intelligent non-expert. Define field-specific terminology and be sure to give the big picture of your research area. It will also be important to include enough detail that someone in your discipline will have confidence that you understand the field in which you are working well enough to be able to contribute to the project in a meaningful way.

Describe what challenges you currently face, and how this award will help you take the next steps in your education

Be sure to describe your role in the research, and how it may have changed since your prior award. What new challenges do you need to overcome to take your work to a higher level? Will you be taking on additional responsibilities? If you are starting a whole new project and/or working with a new mentor, you may want to address the reason for the change, how the new experience will provide new opportunity for learning, and how your new mentor will contribute to that learning.

Talk about the impact of the research experience on your education

One of the goals of the Mary Gates Endowment is to invest in scholarships that help students to achieve their educational goals. Your essay should describe how the research will help you to further your own goals, and how it may help you address any difficulties you face in achieving those goals.

Follow the provided instructions on formatting, citations, etc.

Adhere to general formatting guidelines provided for the application.

Essays should be a maximum of four pages . Do not exceed the maximum page count or your application may not be considered.  Essays should be double-spaced, in 12-point font or equivalent size with standard margins. You may include one additional page for references, images, or figures, if applicable; this one additional page of supplementary material is not included in the page limit.

Properly cite the figures, graphs, and/or images that you refer to in your essay

If you refer to a figure, graph or image in your essay that is not your own, be sure to credit the source. Essays with figures, graphs or images lacking proper citations will be marked down by reviewers. Information on proper citation format can be found at:

Please refrain from citing excessive sources not relevant to your project.

Ask for critical feedback before submitting your application

Ask your faculty research mentor and someone who is not involved with the research to review your essay.

Your mentor will provide you with the best feedback on your essay’s representation of the research you are doing and how it fits into a larger framework. Someone else – a peer, another instructor, or adviser – will be able to tell you if your essay is clear to an intelligent non-expert, and if you have conveyed a sense of enthusiasm and commitment for the work you describe. Be sure to leave yourself enough time to get feedback from these key people before submitting your application.

Schedule an advising appointment with us

If you would like to discuss your application/proposed research project with a Mary Gates team member before submitting, we highly encourage you to schedule an advising appointment with us. For first-time applicants, we recommend that you schedule a ‘General Advising Appointment’. For returning applicants/awardees, you are able to discuss your past applications with an MGE team member by scheduling a ‘Feedback Appointment’ with us.

Attend an application workshop

At the end of each application cycle, we host application workshops that applicants are encouraged to attend. These workshops will give applicants more in-depth advice on how to structure their application essay and what to include. Applicants are asked to bring a draft of their application to the workshop as well, as there is allotted time for peer reviews and for applicants to ask specific questions pertaining to their project/application. RSVP here for our research application workshop !

Information for previous applicants

We expect that previous awardees have a deeper than average understanding of their research, are working at a high level, and can clearly articulate previous accomplishments as well as opportunities for new learning and achievements during a second award period.  We also expect a strong connection between the research and a student’s longer-term goals.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Application Essays

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you write and revise the personal statement required by many graduate programs, internships, and special academic programs.

Before you start writing

Because the application essay can have a critical effect upon your progress toward a career, you should spend significantly more time, thought, and effort on it than its typically brief length would suggest. It should reflect how you arrived at your professional goals, why the program is ideal for you, and what you bring to the program. Don’t make this a deadline task—now’s the time to write, read, rewrite, give to a reader, revise again, and on until the essay is clear, concise, and compelling. At the same time, don’t be afraid. You know most of the things you need to say already.

Read the instructions carefully. One of the basic tasks of the application essay is to follow the directions. If you don’t do what they ask, the reader may wonder if you will be able to follow directions in their program. Make sure you follow page and word limits exactly—err on the side of shortness, not length. The essay may take two forms:

Do some research before you start writing. Think about…

Now, write a draft

This is a hard essay to write. It’s probably much more personal than any of the papers you have written for class because it’s about you, not World War II or planaria. You may want to start by just getting something—anything—on paper. Try freewriting. Think about the questions we asked above and the prompt for the essay, and then write for 15 or 30 minutes without stopping. What do you want your audience to know after reading your essay? What do you want them to feel? Don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, organization, or anything else. Just get out the ideas you have. For help getting started, see our handout on brainstorming .

Now, look at what you’ve written. Find the most relevant, memorable, concrete statements and focus in on them. Eliminate any generalizations or platitudes (“I’m a people person”, “Doctors save lives”, or “Mr. Calleson’s classes changed my life”), or anything that could be cut and pasted into anyone else’s application. Find what is specific to you about the ideas that generated those platitudes and express them more directly. Eliminate irrelevant issues (“I was a track star in high school, so I think I’ll make a good veterinarian.”) or issues that might be controversial for your reader (“My faith is the one true faith, and only nurses with that faith are worthwhile,” or “Lawyers who only care about money are evil.”).

Often, writers start out with generalizations as a way to get to the really meaningful statements, and that’s OK. Just make sure that you replace the generalizations with examples as you revise. A hint: you may find yourself writing a good, specific sentence right after a general, meaningless one. If you spot that, try to use the second sentence and delete the first.

Applications that have several short-answer essays require even more detail. Get straight to the point in every case, and address what they’ve asked you to address.

Now that you’ve generated some ideas, get a little bit pickier. It’s time to remember one of the most significant aspects of the application essay: your audience. Your readers may have thousands of essays to read, many or most of which will come from qualified applicants. This essay may be your best opportunity to communicate with the decision makers in the application process, and you don’t want to bore them, offend them, or make them feel you are wasting their time.

With this in mind:

Imagine the worst-case scenario (which may never come true—we’re talking hypothetically): the person who reads your essay has been in the field for decades. She is on the application committee because she has to be, and she’s read 48 essays so far that morning. You are number 49, and your reader is tired, bored, and thinking about lunch. How are you going to catch and keep her attention?

Assure your audience that you are capable academically, willing to stick to the program’s demands, and interesting to have around. For more tips, see our handout on audience .

Voice and style

The voice you use and the style in which you write can intrigue your audience. The voice you use in your essay should be yours. Remember when your high school English teacher said “never say ‘I’”? Here’s your chance to use all those “I”s you’ve been saving up. The narrative should reflect your perspective, experiences, thoughts, and emotions. Focusing on events or ideas may give your audience an indirect idea of how these things became important in forming your outlook, but many others have had equally compelling experiences. By simply talking about those events in your own voice, you put the emphasis on you rather than the event or idea. Look at this anecdote:

During the night shift at Wirth Memorial Hospital, a man walked into the Emergency Room wearing a monkey costume and holding his head. He seemed confused and was moaning in pain. One of the nurses ascertained that he had been swinging from tree branches in a local park and had hit his head when he fell out of a tree. This tragic tale signified the moment at which I realized psychiatry was the only career path I could take.

An interesting tale, yes, but what does it tell you about the narrator? The following example takes the same anecdote and recasts it to make the narrator more of a presence in the story:

I was working in the Emergency Room at Wirth Memorial Hospital one night when a man walked in wearing a monkey costume and holding his head. I could tell he was confused and in pain. After a nurse asked him a few questions, I listened in surprise as he explained that he had been a monkey all of his life and knew that it was time to live with his brothers in the trees. Like many other patients I would see that year, this man suffered from an illness that only a combination of psychological and medical care would effectively treat. I realized then that I wanted to be able to help people by using that particular combination of skills only a psychiatrist develops.

The voice you use should be approachable as well as intelligent. This essay is not the place to stun your reader with ten prepositional phrases (“the goal of my study of the field of law in the winter of my discontent can best be understood by the gathering of more information about my youth”) and thirty nouns (“the research and study of the motivation behind my insights into the field of dentistry contains many pitfalls and disappointments but even more joy and enlightenment”) per sentence. (Note: If you are having trouble forming clear sentences without all the prepositions and nouns, take a look at our handout on style .)

You may want to create an impression of expertise in the field by using specialized or technical language. But beware of this unless you really know what you are doing—a mistake will look twice as ignorant as not knowing the terms in the first place. Your audience may be smart, but you don’t want to make them turn to a dictionary or fall asleep between the first word and the period of your first sentence. Keep in mind that this is a personal statement. Would you think you were learning a lot about a person whose personal statement sounded like a journal article? Would you want to spend hours in a lab or on a committee with someone who shuns plain language?

Of course, you don’t want to be chatty to the point of making them think you only speak slang, either. Your audience may not know what “I kicked that lame-o to the curb for dissing my research project” means. Keep it casual enough to be easy to follow, but formal enough to be respectful of the audience’s intelligence.

Just use an honest voice and represent yourself as naturally as possible. It may help to think of the essay as a sort of face-to-face interview, only the interviewer isn’t actually present.

Too much style

A well-written, dramatic essay is much more memorable than one that fails to make an emotional impact on the reader. Good anecdotes and personal insights can really attract an audience’s attention. BUT be careful not to let your drama turn into melodrama. You want your reader to see your choices motivated by passion and drive, not hyperbole and a lack of reality. Don’t invent drama where there isn’t any, and don’t let the drama take over. Getting someone else to read your drafts can help you figure out when you’ve gone too far.

Taking risks

Many guides to writing application essays encourage you to take a risk, either by saying something off-beat or daring or by using a unique writing style. When done well, this strategy can work—your goal is to stand out from the rest of the applicants and taking a risk with your essay will help you do that. An essay that impresses your reader with your ability to think and express yourself in original ways and shows you really care about what you are saying is better than one that shows hesitancy, lack of imagination, or lack of interest.

But be warned: this strategy is a risk. If you don’t carefully consider what you are saying and how you are saying it, you may offend your readers or leave them with a bad impression of you as flaky, immature, or careless. Do not alienate your readers.

Some writers take risks by using irony (your suffering at the hands of a barbaric dentist led you to want to become a gentle one), beginning with a personal failure (that eventually leads to the writer’s overcoming it), or showing great imagination (one famous successful example involved a student who answered a prompt about past formative experiences by beginning with a basic answer—”I have volunteered at homeless shelters”—that evolved into a ridiculous one—”I have sealed the hole in the ozone layer with plastic wrap”). One student applying to an art program described the person he did not want to be, contrasting it with the person he thought he was and would develop into if accepted. Another person wrote an essay about her grandmother without directly linking her narrative to the fact that she was applying for medical school. Her essay was risky because it called on the reader to infer things about the student’s character and abilities from the story.

Assess your credentials and your likelihood of getting into the program before you choose to take a risk. If you have little chance of getting in, try something daring. If you are almost certainly guaranteed a spot, you have more flexibility. In any case, make sure that you answer the essay question in some identifiable way.

After you’ve written a draft

Get several people to read it and write their comments down. It is worthwhile to seek out someone in the field, perhaps a professor who has read such essays before. Give it to a friend, your mom, or a neighbor. The key is to get more than one point of view, and then compare these with your own. Remember, you are the one best equipped to judge how accurately you are representing yourself. For tips on putting this advice to good use, see our handout on getting feedback .

After you’ve received feedback, revise the essay. Put it away. Get it out and revise it again (you can see why we said to start right away—this process may take time). Get someone to read it again. Revise it again.

When you think it is totally finished, you are ready to proofread and format the essay. Check every sentence and punctuation mark. You cannot afford a careless error in this essay. (If you are not comfortable with your proofreading skills, check out our handout on editing and proofreading ).

If you find that your essay is too long, do not reformat it extensively to make it fit. Making readers deal with a nine-point font and quarter-inch margins will only irritate them. Figure out what material you can cut and cut it. For strategies for meeting word limits, see our handout on writing concisely .

Finally, proofread it again. We’re not kidding.

Other resources

Don’t be afraid to talk to professors or professionals in the field. Many of them would be flattered that you asked their advice, and they will have useful suggestions that others might not have. Also keep in mind that many colleges and professional programs offer websites addressing the personal statement. You can find them either through the website of the school to which you are applying or by searching under “personal statement” or “application essays” using a search engine.

If your schedule and ours permit, we invite you to come to the Writing Center. Be aware that during busy times in the semester, we limit students to a total of two visits to discuss application essays and personal statements (two visits per student, not per essay); we do this so that students working on papers for courses will have a better chance of being seen. Make an appointment or submit your essay to our online writing center (note that we cannot guarantee that an online tutor will help you in time).

For information on other aspects of the application process, you can consult the resources at University Career Services .

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Asher, Donald. 2012. Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way Into the Graduate School of Your Choice , 4th ed. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.

Curry, Boykin, Emily Angel Baer, and Brian Kasbar. 2003. Essays That Worked for College Applications: 50 Essays That Helped Students Get Into the Nation’s Top Colleges . New York: Ballantine Books.

Stelzer, Richard. 2002. How to Write a Winning Personal Statement for Graduate and Professional School , 3rd ed. Lawrenceville, NJ: Thomson Peterson.

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2 Med School Essays That Admissions Officers Loved

Here are tips on writing a medical school personal statement and examples of essays that stood out.

2 Great Med School Personal Statements

Medical student studies notes

A compelling medical school admissions essay can address nearly any topic the applicant is interested in, as long as it conveys the applicant's personality. (Getty Images)

A personal statement is often a pivotal factor in medical school admissions decisions.

"The essay really can cause me to look more deeply at the entire application," Dr. Stephen Nicholas, former senior associate dean of admissions with the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons , told U.S. News in 2017. "So I do think it's pretty important."

A compelling medical school admissions essay can address nearly any topic the applicant is interested in, as long as it conveys the applicant's personality, according to Dr. Barbara Kazmierczak, director of the M.D.-Ph.D. Program and a professor of medicine and microbial pathogenesis with the Yale School of Medicine.

“The passion that the writer is bringing to this topic tells us about the individual rather than the topic that they’re describing, and the essay is the place for us to learn about the applicant – who they are and what experiences have brought them to this point of applying to medical school,” she told U.S. News in 2017.

Rachel Rudeen, former admissions coordinator for the University of Minnesota Medical School , says personal statements help medical schools determine whether applicants have the character necessary to excel as a doctor. "Grit is something we really look for," she says.

Evidence of humility and empathy , Rudeen adds, are also pluses.

Why Medical Schools Care About Personal Statements

The purpose of a personal statement is to report the events that inspired and prepared a premed to apply to medical school, admissions experts say. This personal essay helps admissions officers figure out whether a premed is ready for med school, and it also clarifies whether a premed has a compelling rationale for attending med school, these experts explain.

When written well, a medical school personal statement conveys a student's commitment to medicine and injects humanity into an admissions process that might otherwise feel cold and impersonal, according to admissions experts.

Glen Fogerty, associate dean of admissions and recruitment with the medical school at the University of Arizona—Phoenix , put it this way in an email: "To me, the strongest personal statements are the ones that share a personal connection. One where a candidate shares a specific moment, the spark that ignited their passion to become a physician or reaffirmed why they chose medicine as a career."

Dr. Viveta Lobo, an emergency medicine physician with the Stanford University School of Medicine in California who often mentors premeds, says the key thing to know about a personal statement is that it must indeed be personal, so it needs to reveal something meaningful. The essay should not be a dry piece of writing; it should make the reader feel for the author, says Lobo, director of academic conferences and continuing medical education with the emergency medicine department at Stanford.

A great personal statement has an emotional impact and "will 'do' something, not just 'say' something," Lobo wrote in an email. Admissions officers "read hundreds of essays – so before you begin, think of how yours will stand out, be unique and different," Lobo suggests.

How to Write a Personal Statement for Medical School

Lobo notes that an outstanding personal statement typically includes all of the following ingredients:

"You should sound excited, and that passion should come through in your writing," Lobo explains.

A personal statement should tie together an applicant's past, present and future by explaining how previous experiences have led to this point and outlining long-term plans to contribute to the medical profession, Lobo said during a phone interview. Medical school admissions officers want to understand not only where an applicant has been but also the direction he or she is going, Lobo added.

When premeds articulate a vision of how they might assist others and improve society through the practice of medicine, it suggests that they aren't self-serving or simply interested in the field because of its prestige, Lobo says. It's ideal when premeds can eloquently describe a noble mission, she explains.

Elisabeth Fassas, author of "Making Pre-Med Count: Everything I Wish I'd Known Before Applying (Successfully) to Medical School," says premeds should think about the doctors they admire and reflect on why they admire them. Fassas, a first-year medical student at the University of Maryland , suggests pondering the following questions:

Fassas notes that many of the possible essay topics a med school hopeful can choose are subjects that other premeds can also discuss, such as a love of science. However, aspiring doctors can make their personal statements unique by articulating the lessons they learned from their life experiences, she suggests.

Prospective medical students need to clarify why medicine is a more suitable calling for them than other caring professions, health care fields and science careers, Fassas notes. They should demonstrate awareness of the challenges inherent in medicine and explain why they want to become doctors despite those difficulties, she says.

Tips on Crafting an Excellent Medical School Personal Statement

The first step toward creating an outstanding personal statement, Fassas says, is to create a list of significant memories. Premeds should think about which moments in their lives mattered the most and then identify the two or three stories that are definitely worth sharing.

Dr. Demicha Rankin, associate dean for admissions at the Ohio State University College of Medicine , notes that a personal statement should offer a compelling portrait of a person and should not be "a regurgitation of their CV."

The most outstanding personal statements are the ones that present a multifaceted perspective of the applicant by presenting various aspects of his or her identity, says Rankin, an associate professor of anesthesiology.

For example, a premed who was a swimmer might explain how the discipline necessary for swimming is analogous to the work ethic required to become a physician, Rankin says. Likewise, a pianist or another type of musician applying to medical school could convey how the listening skills and instrument-tuning techniques cultivated in music could be applicable in medicine, she adds.

Rankin notes that it's apparent when a premed has taken a meticulous approach to his or her personal statement to ensure that it flows nicely, and she says a fine essay is akin to a "well-woven fabric." One sign that a personal statement has been polished is when a theme that was explored at the beginning of the essay is also mentioned at the end, Rankin says, explaining that symmetry between an essay's introduction and conclusion makes the essay seem complete.

Rankin notes that the author of an essay might not see flaws in his or her writing that are obvious to others, so it's important for premeds to show their personal statement to trusted advisers and get honest feedback. That's one reason it's important to begin the writing process early enough to give yourself sufficient time to organize your thoughts, Rankin says, adding that a minimum of four weeks is typically necessary.

Mistakes to Avoid in a Medical School Personal Statement

One thing premeds should never do in an admissions essay is beg, experts say. Rankin says requests of any type – including a plea for an admissions interview – do not belong in a personal statement. Another pitfall to avoid, Rankin says, is ranting about controversial political subjects such as the death penalty or abortion.

If premeds fail to closely proofread their personal statement, the essay could end up being submitted with careless errors such as misspellings and grammar mistakes that could easily have been fixed, according to experts. Crafting a compelling personal statement typically necessitates multiple revisions, so premeds who skimp on revising might wind up with sloppy essays, some experts say.

However, when fine-tuning their personal statements, premeds should not automatically change their essays based on what others say, Fogerty warns.

"A common mistake on personal statements is having too many people review your statement, they make recommendations, you accept all of the changes and then – in the end – the statement is no longer your voice," Fogerty wrote in an email. It's essential that a personal statement sound like the applicant and represent who he or she is as a person, Fogerty says.

Dr. Nicholas Jones, a Georgia-based plastic and reconstructive surgeon, says the worst error that someone can make in the personal statement is to be inauthentic or deceptive.

"Do not lie. Do not fabricate," he warns.

Jones adds that premeds should not include a story in their personal statement that they are not comfortable discussing in-depth during a med school admissions interview . "If it's something too personal or you're very emotional and you don't want to talk about that, then don't put it in a statement."

Medical School Personal Statement Examples

Here are two medical school admissions essays that made a strong, positive impression on admissions officers. The first is from Columbia and the second is from the University of Minnesota. These personal statements are annotated with comments from admissions officers explaining what made these essays stand out.

Searching for a medical school? Get our complete rankings of Best Medical Schools.

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30+ Medical Argumentative Essay Topics for College Students

antony w

by  Antony W

January 16, 2023

medical argumentative essay topics

Medical argumentative essay topics give you some brilliant ideas that you can explore and defend depending on the research you’ve conducted.

As with any argumentative essay topic ,  a medical related essay also requires you to take a stance and use objective, verifiable, and reasonable evidence to defend your position.

However, the kinds of topics many students pick to explore in the medical field are often quite too common.

Think of type II diabetes, cardiovascular illness, breast cancer, and cirrhosis. These are topics you don’t want to cover for the simple reason that they are too common.

In this post, we give you a list of 30+ medical argumentative essay topics that aren’t too obvious.

These topic ideas should enable you to add a new spin to your work, so that you can write a medical essay that focuses on an issue that will capture the attention of your audience (reader) almost instantly.

30+ Medical Argumentative Essay Topics  

Below is a list of 30+ essay topics that you may find interesting for your medical argumentative essay assignment :

Controversial Medical Argumentative Essay Topics 

Health Practices Argumentative Essay Topics 

Medical Laws and Policies Argumentative Essay Topics 

Argumentative Essay Topics on Medical Research 

Medical Argumentative Essay Topics on Healthcare Management 

General Medical Argumentative Essay Topics 

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About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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Sample Medical School Essays

Applying to medical school is an exciting decision, but the application process is very competitive. This means when it comes to your application you need to ensure you’ve put your best foot forward and done everything you can to stand out from other applicants. One great way to provide additional information on why you have decided to pursue a career in medicine and why you’re qualified, is your medical school essay. Read these samples to get a good idea on how you can write your own top-notch essay.

This section contains five sample medical school essays

Medical School Essay One

When I was twelve years old, a drunk driver hit the car my mother was driving while I was in the backseat. I have very few memories of the accident, but I do faintly recall a serious but calming face as I was gently lifted out of the car. The paramedic held my hand as we traveled to the hospital. I was in the hospital for several weeks and that same paramedic came to visit me almost every day. During my stay, I also got to know the various doctors and nurses in the hospital on a personal level. I remember feeling anxiety about my condition, but not sadness or even fear. It seemed to me that those around me, particularly my family, were more fearful of what might happen to me than I was. I don’t believe it was innocence or ignorance, but rather a trust in the abilities of my doctors. It was as if my doctors and I had a silent bond. Now that I’m older I fear death and sickness in a more intense way than I remember experiencing it as a child. My experience as a child sparked a keen interest in how we approach pediatric care, especially as it relates to our psychological and emotional support of children facing serious medical conditions. It was here that I experienced first-hand the power and compassion of medicine, not only in healing but also in bringing unlikely individuals together, such as adults and children, in uncommon yet profound ways. And it was here that I began to take seriously the possibility of becoming a pediatric surgeon.

My interest was sparked even more when, as an undergraduate, I was asked to assist in a study one of my professors was conducting on how children experience and process fear and the prospect of death. This professor was not in the medical field; rather, her background is in cultural anthropology. I was very honored to be part of this project at such an early stage of my career. During the study, we discovered that children face death in extremely different ways than adults do. We found that children facing fatal illnesses are very aware of their condition, even when it hasn’t been fully explained to them, and on the whole were willing to fight their illnesses, but were also more accepting of their potential fate than many adults facing similar diagnoses. We concluded our study by asking whether and to what extent this discovery should impact the type of care given to children in contrast to adults. I am eager to continue this sort of research as I pursue my medical career. The intersection of medicine, psychology, and socialization or culture (in this case, the social variables differentiating adults from children) is quite fascinating and is a field that is in need of better research.

Although much headway has been made in this area in the past twenty or so years, I feel there is a still a tendency in medicine to treat diseases the same way no matter who the patient is. We are slowly learning that procedures and drugs are not always universally effective. Not only must we alter our care of patients depending upon these cultural and social factors, we may also need to alter our entire emotional and psychological approach to them as well.

It is for this reason that I’m applying to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, as it has one of the top programs for pediatric surgery in the country, as well as several renowned researchers delving into the social, generational, and cultural questions in which I’m interested. My approach to medicine will be multidisciplinary, which is evidenced by the fact that I’m already double-majoring in early childhood psychology and pre-med, with a minor in cultural anthropology. This is the type of extraordinary care that I received as a child—care that seemed to approach my injuries with a much larger and deeper picture than that which pure medicine cannot offer—and it is this sort of care I want to provide my future patients. I turned what might have been a debilitating event in my life—a devastating car accident—into the inspiration that has shaped my life since. I am driven and passionate. And while I know that the pediatric surgery program at Johns Hopkins will likely be the second biggest challenge I will face in my life, I know that I am up for it. I am ready to be challenged and prove to myself what I’ve been telling myself since that fateful car accident: I will be a doctor.

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Medical School Essay Two

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be writing this essay and planning for yet another ten years into the future, part of me would have been surprised. I am a planner and a maker of to-do lists, and it has always been my plan to follow in the steps of my father and become a physician. This plan was derailed when I was called to active duty to serve in Iraq as part of the War on Terror.

I joined the National Guard before graduating high school and continued my service when I began college. My goal was to receive training that would be valuable for my future medical career, as I was working in the field of emergency health care. It was also a way to help me pay for college. When I was called to active duty in Iraq for my first deployment, I was forced to withdraw from school, and my deployment was subsequently extended. I spent a total of 24 months deployed overseas, where I provided in-the-field medical support to our combat troops. While the experience was invaluable not only in terms of my future medical career but also in terms of developing leadership and creative thinking skills, it put my undergraduate studies on hold for over two years. Consequently, my carefully-planned journey towards medical school and a medical career was thrown off course. Thus, while ten-year plans are valuable, I have learned from experience how easily such plans can dissolve in situations that are beyond one’s control, as well as the value of perseverance and flexibility.

Eventually, I returned to school. Despite my best efforts to graduate within two years, it took me another three years, as I suffered greatly from post-traumatic stress disorder following my time in Iraq. I considered abandoning my dream of becoming a physician altogether, since I was several years behind my peers with whom I had taken biology and chemistry classes before my deployment. Thanks to the unceasing encouragement of my academic advisor, who even stayed in contact with me when I was overseas, I gathered my strength and courage and began studying for the MCAT. To my surprise, my score was beyond satisfactory and while I am several years behind my original ten-year plan, I am now applying to Brown University’s School of Medicine.

I can describe my new ten-year plan, but I will do so with both optimism and also caution, knowing that I will inevitably face unforeseen complications and will need to adapt appropriately. One of the many insights I gained as a member of the National Guard and by serving in war-time was the incredible creativity medical specialists in the Armed Forces employ to deliver health care services to our wounded soldiers on the ground. I was part of a team that was saving lives under incredibly difficult circumstances—sometimes while under heavy fire and with only the most basic of resources. I am now interested in how I can use these skills to deliver health care in similar circumstances where basic medical infrastructure is lacking. While there is seemingly little in common between the deserts of Fallujah and rural Wyoming, where I’m currently working as a volunteer first responder in a small town located more than 60 miles from the nearest hospital, I see a lot of potential uses for the skills that I gained as a National Guardsman. As I learned from my father, who worked with Doctors Without Borders for a number of years, there is quite a bit in common between my field of knowledge from the military and working in post-conflict zones. I feel I have a unique experience from which to draw as I embark on my medical school journey, experiences that can be applied both here and abroad.

In ten years’ time, I hope to be trained in the field of emergency medicine, which, surprisingly, is a specialization that is actually lacking here in the United States as compared to similarly developed countries. I hope to conduct research in the field of health care infrastructure and work with government agencies and legislators to find creative solutions to improving access to emergency facilities in currently underserved areas of the United States, with an aim towards providing comprehensive policy reports and recommendations on how the US can once again be the world leader in health outcomes. While the problems inherent in our health care system are not one-dimensional and require a dynamic approach, one of the solutions as I see it is to think less in terms of state-of-the-art facilities and more in terms of access to primary care. Much of the care that I provide as a first responder and volunteer is extremely effective and also relatively cheap. More money is always helpful when facing a complex social and political problem, but we must think of solutions above and beyond more money and more taxes. In ten years I want to be a key player in the health care debate in this country and offering innovative solutions to delivering high quality and cost-effective health care to all our nation’s citizens, especially to those in rural and otherwise underserved areas.

Of course, my policy interests do not replace my passion for helping others and delivering emergency medicine. As a doctor, I hope to continue serving in areas of the country that, for one reason or another, are lagging behind in basic health care infrastructure. Eventually, I would also like to take my knowledge and talents abroad and serve in the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders.

In short, I see the role of physicians in society as multifunctional: they are not only doctors who heal, they are also leaders, innovators, social scientists, and patriots. Although my path to medical school has not always been the most direct, my varied and circuitous journey has given me a set of skills and experiences that many otherwise qualified applicants lack. I have no doubt that the next ten years will be similarly unpredictable, but I can assure you that no matter what obstacles I face, my goal will remain the same. I sincerely hope to begin the next phase of my journey at Brown University. Thank you for your kind attention.

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Medical School Essay Three

The roots of my desire to become a physician are, thankfully, not around the bedside of a sick family member or in a hospital, but rather on a 10-acre plot of land outside of a small town in Northwest Arkansas. I loved raising and exhibiting cattle, so every morning before the bus arrived at 7 a.m. I was in the barn feeding, checking cattle for any health issues and washing the show heifers. These early mornings and my experiences on a farm not only taught me the value of hard work, but ignited my interest in the body, albeit bovine at the time. It was by a working chute that I learned the functions of reproductive hormones as we utilized them for assisted reproduction and artificial insemination; it was by giving vaccinations to prevent infection that I learned about bacteria and the germ theory of disease; it was beside a stillborn calf before the sun had risen that I was exposed to the frailty of life.

Facing the realities of disease and death daily from an early age, I developed a strong sense of pragmatism out of necessity. There is no place for abstractions or euphemisms about life and death when treating a calf’s pneumonia in the pouring rain during winter. Witnessing the sometimes harsh realities of life on a farm did not instill within me an attitude of jaded inevitability of death. Instead, it germinated a responsibility to protect life to the best of my abilities, cure what ailments I can and alleviate as much suffering as possible while recognizing that sometimes nothing can be done.

I first approached human health at the age of nine through beef nutrition and food safety. Learning the roles of nutrients such as zinc, iron, protein and B-vitamins in the human body as well as the dangers of food-borne illness through the Beef Ambassador program shifted my interest in the body to a new species. Talking with consumers about every facet of the origins of food, I realized that the topics that most interested me were those that pertained to human health. In college, while I connected with people over samples of beef and answered their questions, I also realized that it is not enough simply to have adequate knowledge. Ultimately knowledge is of little use if it is not digestible to those who receive it. So my goal as a future clinical physician is not only to illuminate the source of an affliction and provide treatment for patients, but take care to ensure the need for understanding by both patient and family is met.

I saw this combination of care and understanding while volunteering in an emergency room, where I was also exposed to other aspects and players in the medical field. While assisting a nurse perform a bladder scan and witnessing technicians carry out an echocardiogram or CT scan, I learned the important roles that other professionals who do not wear white coats have in today’s medical field. Medicine is a team sport, and coordinating the efforts of each of these players is crucial for the successful execution of patient care. It is my goal to serve as the leader of this healthcare unit and unify a team of professionals to provide the highest quality care for patients. Perhaps most importantly my time at the VA showed me the power a smile and an open ear can have with people. On the long walk to radiology, talking with patients about their military service and families always seemed to take their mind off the reason for their visit, if only for a few minutes. This served as a reminder that we are helping people with pasts and dreams, rather than simply remedying patients’ symptoms.

Growing up in a small town, I never held aspirations of world travel when I was young. But my time abroad revealed to me the state of healthcare in developing countries and fostered a previously unknown interest in global health. During my first trip abroad to Ghana, my roommate became ill with a severe case of traveler’s diarrhea. In the rural north of the country near the Sahara, the options for healthcare were limited; he told me how our professor was forced to bribe employees to bypass long lines and even recounted how doctors took a bag of saline off the line of another patient to give to him. During a service trip to a rural community in Nicaragua, I encountered patients with preventable and easily treatable diseases that, due to poverty and lack of access, were left untreated for months or years at a time. I was discouraged by the state of healthcare in these countries and wondered what could be done to help. I plan to continue to help provide access to healthcare in rural parts of developing countries, and hopefully as a physician with an agricultural background I can approach public health and food security issues in a multifaceted and holistic manner.

My time on a cattle farm taught me how to work hard to pursue my interests, but also fueled my appetite for knowledge about the body and instilled within me a firm sense of practicality. Whether in a clinic, operating room or pursuing public and global health projects, I plan to bring this work ethic and pragmatism to all of my endeavors. My agricultural upbringing has produced a foundation of skills and values that I am confident will readily transplant into my chosen career. Farming is my early passion, but medicine is my future.

Medical School Essay Four

I am a white, cisgender, and heterosexual female who has been afforded many privileges: I was raised by parents with significant financial resources, I have traveled the world, and I received top-quality high school and college educations. I do not wish to be addressed or recognized in any special way; all I ask is to be treated with respect.

As for my geographic origin, I was born and raised in the rural state of Maine. Since graduating from college, I have been living in my home state, working and giving back to the community that has given me so much. I could not be happier here; I love the down-to-earth people, the unhurried pace of life, and the easy access to the outdoors. While I am certainly excited to move elsewhere in the country for medical school and continue to explore new places, I will always self-identify as a Mainer as being from Maine is something I take great pride in. I am proud of my family ties to the state (which date back to the 1890’s), I am proud of the state’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty, and I am particularly proud of my slight Maine accent (we don’t pronounce our r’s). From the rocky coastline and rugged ski mountains to the locally-grown food and great restaurants, it is no wonder Maine is nicknamed, "Vacationland.” Yet, Maine is so much more than just a tourist destination. The state is dotted with wonderful communities in which to live, communities like the one where I grew up.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I plan to return to Maine after residency. I want to raise a family and establish my medical practice here. We certainly could use more doctors! Even though Maine is a terrific place to live, the state is facing a significant doctor shortage. Today, we are meeting less than half of our need for primary care providers. To make matters worse, many of our physicians are close to retirement age. Yet, according to the AAMC, only 53 Maine residents matriculated into medical school last year! Undoubtedly, Maine is in need of young doctors who are committed to working long term in underserved areas. As my primary career goal is to return to my much adored home state and do my part to help fill this need, I have a vested interest in learning more about rural medicine during medical school.

I was raised in Cumberland, Maine, a coastal town of 7,000 just north of Portland. With its single stoplight and general store (where it would be unusual to visit without running into someone you know), Cumberland is the epitome of a small New England town. It truly was the perfect place to grow up. According to the most recent census, nearly a third of the town’s population is under 18 and more than 75% of households contain children, two statistics which speak to the family-centric nature of Cumberland’s community. Recently rated Maine's safest town, Cumberland is the type of place where you allow your kindergartener to bike alone to school, leave your house unlocked while at work, and bring home-cooked food to your sick neighbors and their children. Growing up in such a safe, close-knit, and supportive community instilled in me the core values of compassion, trustworthiness, and citizenship. These three values guide me every day and will continue to guide me through medical school and my career in medicine.

As a medical student and eventual physician, my compassion will guide me to become a provider who cares for more than just the physical well-being of my patients. I will also commit myself to my patients’ emotional, spiritual, and social well-being and make it a priority to take into account the unique values and beliefs of each patient. By also demonstrating my trustworthiness during every encounter, I will develop strong interpersonal relationships with those whom I serve. As a doctor once wisely said, “A patient does not care how much you know until he knows how much you care.”

My citizenship will guide me to serve my community and to encourage my classmates and colleagues to do the same. We will be taught in medical school to be healers, scientists, and educators. I believe that, in addition, as students and as physicians, we have the responsibility to use our medical knowledge, research skills, and teaching abilities to benefit more than just our patients. We must also commit ourselves to improving the health and wellness of those living in our communities by participating in public events (i.e by donating our medical services), lobbying for better access to healthcare for the underprivileged, and promoting wellness campaigns. As a medical student and eventual physician, my compassion, trustworthiness, and citizenship will drive me to improve the lives of as many individuals as I can.

Cumberland instilled in me important core values and afforded me a wonderful childhood. However, I recognize that my hometown is not perfect. For one, the population is shockingly homogenous, at least as far as demographics go. As of the 2010 census, 97.2% of the residents of Cumberland were white. Only 4.1% of residents speak a language other than English at home and even fewer were born in another country. Essentially everybody who identified with a religion identified as some denomination of Christian. My family was one of maybe five Jewish families in the town. Additionally, nearly all the town’s residents graduated from high school (98.1%), are free of disability (93.8%), and live above the poverty line (95.8%). Efforts to attract diverse families to Cumberland is one improvement that I believe would make the community a better place in which to live. Diversity in background (and in thought) is desirable in any community as living, learning, and working alongside diverse individuals helps us develop new perspectives, enhances our social development, provides us with a larger frame of reference, and improves our understanding of our place in society.

Medical School Essay Five

“How many of you received the flu vaccine this year?” I asked my Bricks 4 Kidz class, where I volunteer to teach elementary students introductory science and math principles using Lego blocks. “What’s a flu vaccine?” they asked in confusion. Surprised, I briefly explained the influenza vaccine and its purpose for protection. My connection to children and their health extends to medical offices, clinics and communities where I have gained experience and insight into medicine, confirming my goal of becoming a physician.

My motivation to pursue a career in medicine developed when my mother, who was diagnosed with Lupus, underwent a kidney transplant surgery and suffered multiple complications. I recall the fear and anxiety I felt as a child because I misunderstood her chronic disease. This prompted me to learn more about the science of medicine. In high school, I observed patients plagued with acute and chronic kidney disease while briefly exploring various fields of medicine through a Mentorship in Medicine summer program at my local hospital. In addition to shadowing nephrologists in a hospital and clinical setting, I scrubbed into the operating room, viewed the radiology department, celebrated the miracle of birth in the delivery room, and quietly observed a partial autopsy in pathology. I saw many patients confused about their diagnoses. I was impressed by the compassion of the physicians and the time they took to reassure and educate their patients.

Further experiences in medicine throughout and after college shaped a desire to practice in underserved areas. While coloring and reading with children in the patient area at a Family Health Center, I witnessed family medicine physicians diligently serve patients from low-income communities. On a medical/dental mission trip to the Philippines, I partnered with local doctors to serve and distribute medical supplies to rural schools and communities. At one impoverished village, I held a malnourished two-year old boy suffering from cerebral palsy and cardiorespiratory disease. His family could not afford to take him to the nearest pediatrician, a few hours away by car, for treatment. Overwhelmed, I cried as we left the village. Many people were suffering through pain and disease due to limited access to medicine. But this is not rare; there are many people suffering due to inadequate access/accessibility around the world, even in my hometown. One physician may not be able to change the status of underserved communities, however, one can alleviate some of the suffering.

Dr. X, my mentor and supervisor, taught me that the practice of medicine is both a science and an art. As a medical assistant in a pediatric office, I am learning about the patient-physician relationship and the meaningful connection with people that medicine provides. I interact with patients and their families daily. Newborn twins were one of the first patients I helped, and I look forward to seeing their development at successive visits. A young boy who endured a major cardiac surgery was another patient I connected with, seeing his smiling face in the office often as he transitioned from the hospital to his home. I also helped many excited, college-bound teenagers with requests for medical records in order to matriculate. This is the art of medicine – the ability to build relationships with patients and have an important and influential role in their lives, from birth to adulthood and beyond.

In addition, medicine encompasses patient-centered care, such as considering and addressing concerns. While taking patient vitals, I grew discouraged when parents refused the influenza vaccine and could not understand their choices. With my experience in scientific research, I conducted an informal yet insightful study. Over one hundred families were surveyed about their specific reasons for refusing the flu vaccine. I sought feedback on patients’ level of understanding about vaccinations and its interactions with the human immune system. Through this project, I learned the importance of understanding patient’s concerns in order to reassure them through medicine. I also learned the value of communicating with patients, such as explaining the purpose of a recommended vaccine. I hope to further this by attending medical school to become a physician focused on patient-centered care, learning from and teaching my community.

Children have been a common thread in my pursuit of medicine, from perceiving medicine through child-like eyes to interacting daily with children in a medical office. My diverse experiences in patient interaction and the practice of medicine inspire me to become a physician, a path that requires perseverance and passion. Physicians are life-long learners and teachers, educating others whether it is on vaccinations or various diseases. This vocation also requires preparation, and I eagerly look forward to continually learning and growing in medical school and beyond.

To learn more about what to expect from the study of medicine, check out our Study Medicine in the US section.

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medical research application essay

Medical research Essays

Animal testing in medical research.

understand how the human body works. Animal testing is one of the major controversial issues, but animal testing has dramatically contributed to science. First, some people think that animal testing should not be used for testing medical techniques and drugs. However, medical research involving animal testing improved the health of human beings. They also say that information from an animal doesn’t apply on a human being, but there are enough similarities between humans and animals to apply the test results

Animal Testing In Medical Research Essay

of bioethics. Scientists and researchers believe that non-human animal tests in biomedical research have many benefits on different applications, mainly for medical developments such as vaccines and the investigation of the cure of diseases, and in many cases, there have certainly been essential advancements for the society through animal studies. However, there has been some controversy regarding medical developments and the ethical implications of it, since the way it is carried out can be considered

Medical Marijuana Research Paper

whether or not to legalize marijuana for medical use. People fear that it might be abused by others claiming to need it while those that truly need it, get put on the sidelines. Marijuana can be a hot topic, but with research people can come to understand why it should be legalized for medical use. For example, Amy and Lou Weiss are new marijuana entrepreneurs and they believe that their business can help those in pain. In their article called, “We Got into Medical Marijuana to Help People, Now We’re

Medical Research Benefits

laboratories and clinics. It is through research that we get all the possible answers about the safety and effectiveness of a new drug or a new therapy. Clinical trials are a branch from the research that helps answering the question about safety and benefits of a new intervention. Clinical trials should have more support from the government and the society since its main focus is to improve human health and his well-being leading eventually to the progress of the medical field and the economy of the country

Medical Research: Multiple Causes Of False

false positive findings, from sampling, to data analysis through research design and more. The author found that most claimed research findings are false because the majority of them are based on a single study. Major causes of false findings are biases that can be noticed from sampling, data collection, data analysis and even shifting of the initial hypothesis once the data are obtained. These

Medical Practice Research Paper

Starting a medical practice might seem like a task only for those who have been practicing for at least 20 years and have lots of expertise in the field. Realistically speaking, starting a medical practice is just like starting any other major project or goal. It takes persistence, determination and fortitude. Even though the health care world is changing, it is possible to move with the pace in way that creates longevity in the healthcare community. Remember a few basic principles in order to see

having an incurable disease and no way to cope with the pain, well this is the case for many Americans and their problems can be solved with marijuana. Now that marijuana is legal in Colorado it has decreased the amount of opioid related deaths. Medical marijuana has many great attributes such as its ability to safely and effectively help people with symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and epilepsy. There are many non smoked ways to consume marijuana, such as in cooking oils,

Ethical Principles In Medical Research Practice

ethical considerations regarding human research, treatment of humans and healthcare for humans (NHMRC Act, 2007). The current essay focuses on various ethical and legal standards of healthcare treatment that has to be provided to the humans and the importance of such activity. The ethical principles not only have impact on the research subjects but, also will influence the people affected by the research outcomes. The three basic ethical principles in medical research practice are respect for people receiving

Electronic Medical Record Research Paper

How Electronic Medical Records are Changing the Game Electronic medical records, along with health information systems and other technologies, are revolutionizing how patients access and receive health care services. Below introduces four ways that electronic medical records are changing the health care experience. Better Quality of Care Electronic medical records (EMRs) are one of the best ways to increase the quality of patient care. Digital EMRs mean that physicians can make better clinical

Argumentative Essay: We All Have Rights

experiment does not even work. Scientist use animals for medical research to try and find a cure for a disease. All different kind of animals are tested but mostly they are mice, rats, monkeys, and rabbits. Scientist test all different kind of drugs on the animal to see if they can cure the disease the animal has, if it works on the animals it might have a chance to work on humans. The problem is that the chance is really small. Medical research should not be tested on animals because almost all the

Should Animal Testing Be Banned

experimentation or research, it should be defined as all testing methods on animals including, medical exploration, cosmetics, toxicology trialing, and psychological examination involving animal subjects. It is used to assess the safety and effectiveness of medications and beauty products as well as understanding how the human physiology works. While supporters believe it is necessary practice, those against animal testing believe that it involves torture and suffering to animals. Medical research is the hardest

Animal Testing: Beneficial To Life Keeping Humane

If you had a choice to test an animal to save your child would you? Animal testing has been proven to work throughout the years but, as we evolve more and more there have been things that could substitute testing. “Research on living animals has been practiced since at least 500 bc”. “Animals used in the experiment commonly subjected to force feeding, forced inhalation, food and water deprivation etc.” Animal testing while seeming inhuman there are some beneficial sides to testing on animals. While

Animal Testing Unethical

has become a double-edged sword topic all around the world. Researchers believe that it is morally ethical to conduct extreme research procedures on animals when it is unethical to conduct on humans. Research is responsible for many medical breakthroughs and an important factor to the development of medical advances is the inclusion of animals in research. Medical research with the help of animal testing has prevented hepatitis B, measles, etc. (Karayiannis et al. 2004). Although testing on animals

Animal Testing Is Inhumane Essay

way to conduct medical research? This is a question that I often ponder on. However, I do believe that animal testing is an inhumane way to conduct medical research. I will be defending the claim that not only is animal testing unethical, but it is unreliable. Also, there are many different resources available now, that animal testing should be prohibited. As far as animal testing for cosmetics, its absurd. Many will be able to defend the claim that animal testing is useful for medical development,

The Pros And Cons Of Animal Testing

reduce the number of animals involved in animal testing. In 1970s, 5.5 million of various animals including chimpanzees, dogs, mice, rabbits, monkeys etc. are involve in the medical research field as test subjects for various experiments (PETA, 2014). However, some experiments were not beneficial to the development of the medical field but cost over a million dollar. In the United States of America, 16 billion dollars had been used on animal experimentation- 1.9 million dollars are used on the experimenting

such as medical treatments, to determine the toxicity of medications, check the safety of products destined for human use, and other biomedical, commercial, and health care uses. Which can be harmful towards the animals and beneficial to humans. Animal testing has contributed too many life-saving cures and treatments. Medical studies has stored and stepped forward the lives of hundreds of thousands of human beings. The California Biomedical Research Association states that nearly every medical breakthrough

Benefits Of Animal Testing

Animal testing has been involved in medical research for a long time, resulting in an improvement of human health. The benefits of animal testing for medical research outweigh the drawbacks. Although opponents argue that the drawbacks of animal testing outweigh the benefits because animal testing is cruel, in actuality, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks because it saves human lives and is an affordable option. Many opponents argue that one drawback of animal testing is cruelty. They state that

The Ineffectiveness Of Animal Testing

Millions upon millions of animals are killed mercilessly every year due to these experiments. “Most animal experiments are not relevant to human health, they do not contribute meaningfully to medical advances and many are undertaken simply out of curiosity and do not even pretend to hold promise for curing illnesses” (Animal). Not only does this testing waste animal lives, but humans as well. Because animal testing is so ineffective, many humans

Persuasive Essay Against Animal Testing

to produce medical cures, and to check the safety of different medications. The question is, should we keep testing animals for scientific research? People have different thoughts or opinions on animals; many think of animals as their playfellows, while others visual animals on an account of advancing and furthering medical research. The logic remains that animals are being utilized by animal facilities around the world. Even though, humans often progress from successful animal research, the pain

Down With Animal Testing Is Inhumane

animals and they don’t want to face what happens. The inhumane treatment of animals used for research is well documented. There are many pros and cons considering the use of the animals in medical research. Animals shouldn’t be used for testing because it’s inhumane and it will make the population go down. Studies of animal testing have been recorded saying that they could be wasting their time on making medical substances to help human diseases. If they found out that it was a waste of money and time

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medical research application essay

July 14, 2022

David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) Secondary Application Essay Tips [2022 – 2023]

Geffen School of Medicine secondary essay tips and deadlines

The David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) is interested in physician excellence, leadership and impact. According to Clarence H. Braddock, III, MD – the Vice Dean of Education and Chief Medical Education Officer, the Geffen SOM is interested in change, innovation, research, health, education, advocacy and humanistic care. Also, UCLA is standing by an initiative to change their policies and procedures to fix infrastructure that thwarts diversity, inclusion and equity in their institution. The Geffen School of Medicine is an institutional leader in rectifying systemic racism.

UCLA Medical School secondary application essay questions 2022-23

Ucla secondary essay #1.

At the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, students are provided with curriculum and experiences enabling them to become an “Outstanding Physician, AND…,” dedicating themselves to important societal missions. What missions do you want to embrace? What have you done toward your missions? (800 characters)

A physician is a citizen of the world. Clearly, you have a passion for some aspect of humanity. When you envision your life as a physician, what humanitarian aspect will still resonate for you? What is that other thing that will always accompany your professional engagement? What lights a fire for you in terms of effecting positive change, doing good, advocating? Why are you, as a future physician, confident that you will remain passionate about Habitat for Humanity? Training guide dogs? Cooking at a free community kitchen? Helping veterans? You should already have experience doing whatever that is. This prompt seeks out applicants who know who they are and are actively engaged in a cause uniquely suited to what moves them. 

A particular research goal might be a suitable answer to this prompt as well, as long as your application demonstrates your involvement with an area of research. What’s your particular long-term vision working with stem cells?

Perhaps you’re a writer. Do you have books to write about being a doctor, or perhaps about patients’ social determinants of health? 

Perhaps you’re a visionary. Have you developed a particular interest in medical ethics to affect policy and practice on the ethical use of animals in medical research? In twenty years, will AI have helped reduce the number of animals used in medical research?

Read: Here’s How to Match Your Values to the Medical School Mission Statement >>

UCLA secondary essay #2

Respond to the following and indicate how these areas of experience have impacted your progress toward your future career goals in relation to becoming an “Outstanding Physician, AND…” . • A-Describe your most unique leadership, entrepreneurial, or creative activity. (800 characters) • B-Describe your most important volunteer work and why it was meaningful. (800 characters) • C-Describe your most scholarly project (thesis, research or field of study in basic or clinical science or in the humanities) and provide the total number of hours, dates and advisor. (800 characters)

Last year, this prompt was rewritten slightly. It used to say “what has been your most…” – which was revised to the word “describe.” Clearly, DGSOM wants more detail than just stating your answer. Do you play electric guitar? Do you draw anatomical figures? In what context? What does this do for you? What does this do for others? Don’t forget that all three of these sub prompts need to conclude with a tie-in to your career goals.

UCLA secondary essay #3

Describe how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your pathway to medical school. Include any academic, personal, financial or professional barriers, as well as other relevant information. (800 characters)

The UCLA website has very specific information for applicants about having been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Be sure to read their statement on their expectations for applicants who have been affected academically.

They will not judge applications that show online courses, or a shift to Pass/Fail grades for 2020 or 2021. In the COVID-19 information on their website, they isolate the word “resilience” as the key quality that they found to be true for their applicants during the pandemic. Clearly they like that. So do surmise that strong answers to this prompt should demonstrate resounding resilience .

UCLA secondary essay #4

Did you experience or are you anticipating time between graduating from college and matriculating into medical school? If yes: Describe the activities in which you participated or are planning to participate. Examples include additional schooling, employment, or caring for a loved one. (800 characters)

If you have already graduated from college, you should explain what you were doing over the last year(s). If you haven’t yet graduated, you should describe plans for the gap year(s) , including positions for which you plan to apply and planned or actual volunteer work. 

Staying engaged in clinical activities is key. Building upon your exposure to patient care and research is wise as well. You might travel abroad for a medical mission trip, volunteer, or work in health care for pay. Are you a scribe? An EMT? The gap year experience must be an opportunity to show the admissions committee how practically or imaginatively you utilized this time to engage healthcare, locally or abroad, or re-engaged academia in a master’s program, to offset a low GPA, to show your commitment to becoming a doctor.

Show that your gap year will be or was a growth year!

UCLA secondary essay #5

Do you identify as being part of a group that has been marginalized (examples include, but are not limited to, LGBTQIA, disabilities, federally recognized tribe) in terms of access to education or healthcare? If yes: Describe how this inequity has impacted you or your community and how educational disparity, health disparity and/or marginalization has impacted you and your community.  (800 characters)

It is okay to say “no” here. This prompt is a hardship prompt, but it is specifically tied to issues of marginalization, identification with a marginalized group, or marginalization due to disability that impacted your access to education or healthcare. How does this story begin? How does this story play out? Tell that story explaining the significance of the consequences of your marginalization or the same marginalization for your community. How did you or your community adjust to an adverse event? How did you come to terms with your or your community’s marginalization as a reality? How and why did this experience change or deepen your passion to become a doctor?

Applying to David Geffen School of Medicine? Here are some stats:

Geffen average MCAT score: 512

Geffen average GPA: 3.7

UCLA medical school acceptance rate: 2.2%

U.S. News  ranks Geffen #19 for research and #13 for primary care.

Check out the Med School Selectivity Index for more stats.

Has this blog post helped you feel more confident about approaching your Geffen School of Medicine secondary application? We hope so. It’s our mission to help smart, talented applicants like you gain acceptance to your top choice medical school. With so much at stake, why not hire a consultant whose expertise and personalized guidance can help you make your dream come true? We have several flexible consulting options— click here to get started today !

David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA) application timeline 2022-23

Source: Geffen School of Medicine website

***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***

Mary Mahoney Admissions Expert

Dr. Mary Mahoney, Ph.D. is the Medical Humanities Director at Elmira College and has over 20 years of experience as an advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants. She is a tenured English Professor with an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and a PhD in Literature and Writing from the University of Houston. For the last twenty years, Mary has served as a grad school advisor and essay reviewer for med school applicants.  Want Mary to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!

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Unit 4: lesson 3.

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Medical School Secondary Essay Examples in

Including tips for answering the 5 most common med school secondary essay prompts.

Medical School Secondary Essay Examples

Before we jump into reviewing medical school secondary essay examples, let's discuss the purpose of secondary applications and essays. The main purpose of the secondary medical school application is to determine whether you are a good “fit” with the mission and values of the school you are applying to, whether your answer to the question " Why do you want to be a doctor ?" fits with the overall ethos of the institution.

Medical schools send out secondary essays to further assess the unique characteristics of each applicant that have not been addressed in the  AMCAS Work and Activities  section or your medical school personal statement . Acing your secondary essays can increases your chances of getting interview invites! Furthermore, these prompts can further help you brainstorm answers to medical school interview questions . This post will go over when medical schools send out secondary applications, how long you have to return them, common medical school secondary application prompts, and tips for writing strong essays that application committees will love. 

Note : If you want us to help you with your applications, interviews and/or standardized tests, book a free strategy call . If you are a university, business, or student organization representative and want to partner with us, visit our partnerships page .

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Article Contents 14 min read

When do medical schools send out secondary applications.

Once the primary application has been received and processed, schools will do one of two things. They will either send out secondary application packages to all students who applied, or they will send out secondary application essays to the students that have passed their preliminary screening process. How long it will take for you to actually receive the essay prompts is dependent upon how long it takes AMCAS to process your application (which can take up to six weeks during the peak application season) as well as how long it takes the school to process your application. 

Learn everything you need to know about medical school secondary essays in our video:

Generally speaking, the answer to this question is the sooner the better. Schools see a prompt submission as an indication of your interest in the program. Two weeks should be the most time you allow to elapse before submitting your essay. For example, UCLA secondary essays are due fifteen days after receipt of the invitation.

Some of you may be realizing at this point that you’ve applied to 10-20 schools and that each will likely send somewhere between 2-10 (looking at you, UCLA) prompts. That’s a lot of essay writing! This brings us to the next point:

Pre-Writing Your Med School Secondary Essays:

If you check out our comprehensive list of medical school secondary essay prompts, you can pull out common themes for the schools you are most interested in applying to. You should then create an essay outline or rough essay that addresses each of these themes. Though schools may change their prompts from year to year, pre-planning at least some of your essays will make you much more efficient with your writing, allowing you to create consistently well-thought-out essays. 

Even if the prompts do change, the themes often remain similar. This means that you can pre-write (or at least pre-draft) essays based on common themes that tend to recur in secondary essays. If taking this route, make sure that each example actually works for the prompt and addresses the question before using it. Have a look at our blog for UCSD secondary essay prompts and sample responses.

The most important component of answering this prompt is doing your research. Do you have a thorough understanding of the school's mission statement and values? What population or populations are they most interested in serving? How do they describe their student body? What curriculum-enriching activities are available to their students? Do they have a strong research program? Is their curriculum a good fit for your learning style? Are all of these things in line with your own values, career goals, and learning needs? Being informed will demonstrate an interest in the program, allowing you to write a response showing that you will be a genuinely good fit for the school.

Tips for how to ace "Why our school?" prompt:

What are you most excited about when you think of attending this school? Research? Global health? Community outreach? "}]' code='timeline1'>

How to Address the "Cultural Competency" Prompt:

Questions surrounding cultural competency delve into your ability to interact with people whose culture, beliefs, or values are different from your own. Are you able to help people in a way that is in line with their values and belief system, even if these values and beliefs are not in line with your own? It is also important to realize the vital role that effective communication plays in bridging cultural differences. Similar to the TMDSAS personal characteristics essay, your essay should focus on the barriers you encountered, the communication strategies you employed to overcome these barriers, how you helped the person in a way that respected their beliefs, and how you will apply this lesson in the future.

This prompt is looking at what medical schools typically refer to as “resilience”. The reality is that you will be faced with a wide variety of challenges during your medical training. Medical schools are looking for candidates who are equipped with mature coping strategies, enabling them to proficiently navigate whatever life, or medical school, decides to throw at them.

You can use any example from your own life to address this prompt. Ideas include:

The important thing to remember with this prompt is to keep it positive. Focus on the strategies you used to overcome the hurdle that presented itself to you, and what you learned from the situation. Review our blog for a more in-depth guide to writing adversity essays for medical school secondary applications.

Or, watch our video below for adversity essay examples:

It’s okay not to know exactly what kind of doctor you want to be. For this prompt, reflect on the experiences that cemented your decision to pursue medicine.

You can then go on to say what kind of doctor you would like to be, or, if you haven't decided, suggest more generally which direction you would like to see your career take (ie: mention a patient population you think you would like to work with). Many students change their minds once having been in medical school a couple of years, so it’s reasonable to say that you will keep your eyes open and continue to explore every opportunity!

Here's a video about the secondary essay prompt, "Your Future as a Medical Professional":

How to Address the "Academic Lapses or Breaks" Prompt:

If you have an academic lapse or took a break that you wish to explain to the admissions committee, you may want to prepare this prompt in advance. The most important things to focus on are:

Here's a Recap of Everything:

1 - Why our school?

Write a critical analysis of your personal and scholastic qualifications for the study of medicine, the realization of your professional ambitions, and why you are choosing to apply to our school.

When I was in kindergarten, I was playing tag with my friends when I noticed a kid sitting on the bench. He seemed visibly anxious and left out of the fun so I felt compelled to invite him to play with us. This sense of compassion lay the foundation for my desire to study medicine. As I grew older, I became more inquisitive about the natural world and wanted to know how everything worked and fit together. I started to become passionate about chemistry, mathematics and biology, finding that those subjects gave me the tools to understand my surroundings. I felt empowered with every new concept I would learn; however I never quite felt as though I knew enough. It was only when my friend asked for help with her mental illness that I realized just how much I did not know and how unequipped I was to help someone in this situation. The clash between my sense of compassion and my lack of knowledge and ability to help drove me to want to study medicine.

As I ventured into college, my knowledge-seeking tendencies manifested in an interest in biomedical engineering. I chose this degree for its ability to teach me about the design and manufacturing of groundbreaking medical technologies such as skin-grafts, medical imaging devices, and prostheses. I dreamt of pushing clinical innovations and finding the next technology to revolutionize patient care. Aside from educating myself in medical technology, my college years gave me a lasting perspective and understanding of the Hispanic community’s struggles. I once accompanied my friends to volunteer in a mobile clinic. It was early in the morning when a nurse told me to put up a sign that read: “We do not check IDs.” At first, I was confused, but after careful consideration, I realized that it was to not deter illegal immigrants from seeking medical aid. As the day went on and patients came in, I noticed that most did not have the means to afford regular health and dental care. Most of them prayed that their illnesses would go away on their own because they did not have the means to get professional help. This experience really opened my eyes to the plight of underserved communities and reinforced my decision to pursue medicine so that I could help serve those who were unable to help themselves.

I applied to X University for its opportunities to allow me to work with underserved communities and develop the technical and interpersonal skills to provide patients from these communities the best care. I hope to combine my experience within medicine and engineering to push clinical technologies and advancements further to provide cheap and effective alternatives to current medications and treatments to drive down the cost of healthcare so that it can become available to more people.  

A. Describe how you relate to someone who is very different from you. Examples of differences may be cultural, racial, religious, economic, gender/sexual orientation, lifestyle.

The world is so diverse and it can be easy to resign to only care for and be informed of one’s own personal interests. To connect with someone else is to choose to forgo ignorance, and aim to understand other people and their backgrounds. This is a choice that is made every day when we decide how to interact in society.

In my first year of university, I roomed with a person who immigrated from Colombia. I saw how difficult it was for her to transition to a new country and to overcome cultural barriers. Instead of accepting the fact that our cultures rendered us incompatible, I decided to educate myself on her culture. I started to read of the political unrest in Colombia, I found Latin music we could listen to, and I utilized my basic Spanish to try to make her feel at home. Five years later, we still live together and are the best of friends. It's clear that a little effort trying to understand the life and journey of someone else can go a long way to building connections and trust.

B. Please discuss the diversity that you would bring to our school of medicine and the profession of medicine.


The challenges I faced as a first-generation immigrant has taught me several valuable lessons, which have influenced my pursuit of medicine. Here in the States, I am granted liberties that are otherwise unattainable in Vietnam- specifically access to quality healthcare and opportunities for growth and enrichment. My first exposure to medicine did not transpire in a hospital but instead took place in a small tent affiliated with a roaming clinic.

The significant gap in healthcare accessibility, advancement, and quality between the States and the developing countries were increasingly apparent when I returned to Vietnam to visit my family. In time, I also realized that these similar circumstances and situations exist in my local community as well. This has inspired me to advocate for the underserved population because I, myself, can identify with their struggles. During our financial crisis, my family received overwhelming support and generosity from several neighborhood communities. I wish to return the kindness. Now more than ever, in a time where immigrants are restricted access, I must fight to give them a voice.

I also bring with me the traditions and culture of a Vietnamese American. I have developed my own understanding of the diverse facets of the Asian American identity and the ripple effect it has on the community. Through lion dancing and partnering with the Vietnamese and Chinese communities, I grasped the important role that communities play in providing resources. To become one of the few Vietnamese doctors in the area would allow me to address the needs of the community and give me a platform to collaborate with other communities of color. One of my goals is to break down the language barriers and stigmas surrounding the older Asian community and help them achieve their health goals.

I bring a steadfast mindset of advocating for the underserved in my community and as an immigrant Vietnamese American, I aim to use my position to influence decisions that will benefit the entire community.

3 - Overcoming Challenges

Describe a challenging situation you faced and what you did to address it.

My sister was diagnosed with epilepsy at 3 months old, and it has been a continual learning experience. She never qualified for an autism diagnosis, but her behaviors resembled an autistic or neurodivergent individual. As an 8-year-old, I did not notice public reactions to my sister’s behaviors.

But, as we both grew older, I became embarrassed when people would stare at her, or notice her behavioral differences. Behavioral incidents continued to occur throughout my time in high school and college. However, I have grown into a more empathetic person who better understands the difficulties my sister faces. I won’t deny that sometimes it is still embarrassing, but I remind myself that she struggles to control her behaviors and it is not her fault.

The best way I can help her as a sister is to be there for her and try to help her through the emotions she may not be able to express all the time. Understanding my sister has made me into a stronger, more confident and empathetic woman.

4 - Future Goals prompt

Professionalism and the ability to gain respect in the community in which you live is of utmost importance as you embark upon a career as a physician. What three professional qualities do you feel a Student Doctor must be able to demonstrate as he/or she makes the transition into the study and practice of medicine? How will you demonstrate those qualities as a medical student at RowanSOM?

There are many valuable attributes a student doctor must possess, but the three of which I consider the most valuable are self-discipline/reflection, open-mindedness/sensitivity, and teamwork skills.

Possessing self-discipline and self-reflection skills are key for any student doctor planning on tackling the arduous medical courses that will come their way. Through my undergraduate career, I have constantly improved upon my academic study strategies to adapt to the rigors of upper-level biological courses. I realize that when one way does not work it is crucial to consult peers, advisors, and professors to improve my approach. Such changes included recording my lectures, attending more office hours, and even seeking resources outside of my lecture material to supplement my knowledge. I use this principle in my personal health goals as well. For example, my favorite hobby that I use to keep me grounded is going to the gym, where I attempt to break my fitness plateaus by researching and consulting peers. It is this drive to constantly improve myself that will allow me to overcome the many obstacles that will come my way during my medical pursuit.

In addition, it is important for student doctors to be open-minded and sensitive when understanding patients from diverse backgrounds. My research experience at the Center for Addiction, Personality, and Emotion Research enriched my understanding of the socioeconomic and environmental factors that are involved in developing addiction disorders. Learning about the neurobehavioral and psychological processes that underlie addictive behavior reinforced my awareness of the health disparities that arise from environmental and social systems in my local community. It is imperative to understand the patient outside of their symptoms in order to realize the other factors involved in their diagnosis. I aim to one day use this knowledge to inform my future patients of preventative measures and how to overcome their environmental strains.

Lastly, it is crucial for student doctors to develop teamwork skills when entering the field of medicine. Physicians have to be prepared to engage and work within different teamwork structures or environments with other specialists to provide high-quality care for their patients. My experiences as an EMT taught me firsthand how critical it is to build long-lasting relationships based on trust with your team. I have spent countless hours getting to know my EMS crew to ensure that we built a sense of camaraderie that would allow us to work well together during calls. I remember one occasion when my partner was flustered during a stressful call and could not remember the next step in delivering a treatment protocol to a patient. I noticed he was frustrated and subtly reminded him of the next step. Based on our relationship and trust, he acted on my advice and later thanked me for the assistance. Knowing that we always had each other’s back gave us the reassurance and confidence we needed to handle the many unpredictable calls that came our way. I hope to strengthen this same sense of teamwork as a future physician.

If you have taken a gap year(s), please explain what you have been, or will be, doing since graduating from your undergrad institution. 

I threw myself into the medical school application process during my final year of my undergrad degree. Realizing that my application was lacking, I have spent the time since graduation gaining volunteer and leadership experience, improving my MCAT score, and taking science prerequisite courses.

Taking post-baccalaureate classes proved advantageous. I was thrilled when my MCAT score improved significantly, going from 505 to 517. My score was a testament to the hard work and dedication I put into my organic chemistry and molecular biology courses, and to the time management, accountability, and work ethic I refined in studying for the MCAT.

While pursuing post-baccalaureate science courses improved my academics, volunteering at a seniors’ care center has opened my eyes to the issues facing seniors and those who care for them. Once, upon entering the facility, I heard a patient calling for help; he had fallen and could not get back into his wheelchair. Per volunteer protocol, I cannot physically assist the residents into their chairs. However, after determining that he was not physically hurt, I calmly reassured him that I was getting help and informed the nurses of his situation. This incident and other experiences at the center allowed me to develop and practice skills such as enforcing appropriate boundaries, working with others, and handling unexpected and stressful circumstances with poise.

From my various experiences, I have developed and refined my belief system and skill set. I've developed a greater sensitivity to those facing physical or mental limitations, and a dedication to serving my community in overcoming such challenges. I’ve learned the value of being empathetic and showing compassion in the process. I've developed the critical traits and values that I am certain this school would be proud of, whether as a student or as a physician.

Here is a recap of the medical school secondary essay examples:

Medical school secondary essays are meant to provide medical school with more specific information about your candidacy and fit for their specific medical school programs. The questions are geared towards the specific missions, requirements, and goals of each med school program.

If the school does not specify a deadline, you should aim to submit your secondaries no later than 2 weeks after receiving the invites to complete them.

Some of the most common med school secondary prompts include "Why our school?", "Cultural Competency", "Overcoming Challenges", and "Future Goals". Pay attention to the wording of the prompts - they may not include this direct terminology, but nevertheless you should approach them with specific strategies to answer them.

Each medical school will have its own secondaries requirements. Some may ask for 1 or 2 essays, while others may require 10. Check the requirements of your schools of choice to make sure.

Yes, there are some schools that do not require submission of med school secondaries, but these are rare. Check with the programs of your choice to make sure.

Many med schools recycle their secondary prompts from year to year. Plus, as you could tell from our blog, there are some common themes that all secondaries explore. Check out the old prompts from your schools of choice to start planning general outlines for your essays.

Most likely, you will be eliminated from the applicant selection pool right away. Med schools will want to see your dedicated and commitment to their school, which secondaries demonstrate. If you are late or do not submit them at all, you will no longer be considered for a position in their medical school.

If you applied to many med schools, there is a chance you will have trouble completing all the secondaries on time. If this is your position, you should certainly try to complete all of them on time and of good quality. However, if this is impossible, focus on the schools you want to attend and where you have the highest chance of acceptance and complete their secondaries first. You can then use the essays you wrote to adjust to other programs.

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Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!

Anything we didn't cover? Have a question? Ask below or share your comments!

Wynne Milhouse

Hello! Would it be okay to write about how not getting into medical school the first time was a time of adversity, even if it was on a secondary for a school I didn't apply to last time (or if it was)? I feel as if this prompt may show up for schools that I did and did not apply to two years ago, but not getting into medical school the first time WAS a big hurdle, and I have made significant changes to combat this. Is it okay to talk about that, or will that reflect poorly on me? Thanks! Best, Wynne Milhouse

BeMo Academic Consulting

Hello Wynne! Thank you very much for your question. Absolutely, you should write about not getting into med school the first time even if you are writing secondaries for a school you did not apply to last time. You can even mention that you are now applying to this school because you improved your research and found that this would be a more suitable choice for you. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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  5. TOP 29 RESEARCH TOPICS FOR ANY MEDICAL STUDENTS/POSTGRADUATE STUDENTS IN 2022

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