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Selection Criteria & Requirements

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Admissions Principles

Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) seeks applicants who uphold the highest academic and personal standards. WCMC is among the most selective medical schools in the nation. Each year the Committee on Admissions selects 106 students from approximately 7,000 applicants. The committee seeks students who are best prepared for future leadership roles in medicine. In addition to thorough preparation in the basic sciences, applicants should have a broad liberal arts education, with demonstrated accomplishment in the humanities and social sciences.

We attempt to identify the most qualified applicants from diverse academic and personal backgrounds. In keeping with the principles of Weill Cornell Medical College and Cornell University, we seek students with outstanding academic accomplishments, who have also demonstrated exceptional personal initiative. Such initiative may take the form of leadership, creativity, research, community service, motivation or other life experience.

No person shall be denied admission to any educational program or activity, or be denied employment, on the basis of any legally prohibited discrimination involving, but not limited to, such factors as: race, color, creed, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, or veteran status. Cornell University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. 

Selection Criteria

Premedical Curriculum

The Committee on Admissions considers equally students with backgrounds in the basic sciences, social sciences and liberal arts. Each application is considered on an individual basis. We encourage applicants to pursue premedical curricula that allow them to sample a broad range of academic disciplines, and to explore one or more areas in depth. All required premedical coursework should be completed by January 31 of the year for which admission is sought. 

Letters of Evaluation

Letters of evaluation play an important role in the committee's assessment of your application. Those who know you well personally should write these letters.

MCAT Scores

The committee regards the MCAT as a standardized tool that allows for one form of comparison among applicants. MCAT scores are considered as part of an application, but do not outweigh other components of the application. There are no cutoffs for MCAT scores. 

Extracurricular Activities

The committee is extremely interested in meaningful extracurricular activity participation, whether on- or off-campus. Such participation should demonstrate commitment and involvement, as evidenced by extension over time, leadership roles and accomplishments.  

Investigation in the Field of Medicine

We encourage applicants to explore medicine in some form before entering medical school. This exploration may take the form of research, volunteer activities in medicine, preceptor experiences in medical practices or laboratories, summer employment, etc. We are interested in meaningful, rather than perfunctory, participation. 


The committee values applicants' research experiences, whether in basic science, social science or liberal arts. Research in biomedical sciences is encouraged.


The practice of medicine requires the highest level of personal integrity. The committee seeks applicants whose characters are developing in a way conducive to the best practice of medicine. This will include emotional maturity, personal depth, commitment to others' well-being, and ethical and moral integrity. 


Each year the committee members interview 700-750 applicants for the M.D. program, and around 70 for the M.D.-Ph.D. program. As we receive approximately 7,000 applications, only a small portion of applicants will be selected for interviews. We select applicants for interviews according to the extent to which we feel they fulfill our criteria.

We interview for the M.D. program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you are offered an interview, we will notify you by email. The message will indicate available dates and times. If you are able to attend those dates and times, please confirm as soon as possible. If you are unable to attend, we are happy to arrange alternative times.

On the day of the interview, please plan to stay for all scheduled activities, which occupy most of the day. The day's activities will include:

  • an information meeting with the Associate Dean for Admissions or Director of Admissions
  • a meeting with representatives from the Office of Diversity and Student Life
  • a tour of the medical school
  • meetings and lunch with medical students
  • two interviews with members of the Committee on Admissions. The interviews, scheduled for 30 minutes each, are designed to provide you with an opportunity to discuss your decision to pursue a career in medicine, your preparation for medical school, and your life interests and experiences.


Basic Sciences

WCMC requires two semesters or their equivalent, in biology, chemistry and physics. These will typically be comprehensive introductory courses with laboratory work. In biology, coursework will typically include molecular biology, cell biology and genetics. 

Organic Chemistry

We recommend two semesters of organic chemistry, with lab, but we accept one semester of organic chemistry, with lab, and one semester of other advanced biology or chemistry coursework. Examples include biochemistry, physical chemistry, analytic chemistry, and molecular genetics.

Writing-Intensive Courses

WCMC requires two semesters of writing-intensive courses: one in the humanities or social sciences (e.g., history, philosophy, anthropology), and one focusing on English-language literature.

Laboratory Coursework

In some instances, actual laboratory work experience may be substituted for laboratory courses. 

Integrated Science Courses

Integrated science courses, that include biology, chemistry, physics and mathematical aspects of life sciences, may be substituted for coursework in the three basic science areas on a credit-hour-by-credit-hour basis. These courses should be rigorous, and competency in basic science content must be corroborated by achievement in other areas, such as advanced science courses, research and/or MCAT scores.

Breadth of Study

WCMC strongly encourages applicants to study a broad range of disciplines, including the humanities and social sciences, beyond the minimal requirements for admission. Of particular value in the modern practice of medicine are statistics, ethics, psychology, anthropology, sociology and management skills. 

Depth of Study

WCMC strongly encourages applicants to undertake study at an advanced, in-depth level in at least one discipline beyond the minimal requirements for admission and the course requirements for their major. 

Validity of Courses

To fulfill an admissions requirement, courses must have been satisfactorily completed within 10 years of application. We recommend that one or more advanced science course(s) be completed within five years of application. All required premedical coursework should be completed by January 31 of the year for which admission is sought.

Advanced Placement Credit

AP credit from high school can be used to satisfy the WCMC requirement in physics. AP credit in other areas cannot be used to satisfy the WCMC requirement. If a student has AP credit in an area other than physics, they fulfill the WCMC requirement by completing advanced science coursework.

Minimum Grade

The minimum grade in any course to fulfill a WCMC admissions requirement is "C”.


WCMC does not require courses in mathematics, but recommends coursework in calculus and statistics.

Online Courses

In general, courses taken online will not be accepted to fulfill WCMC admissions requirements. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis; in these instances, the applicant must provide evidence of rigorous coursework.

In view of the COVID pandemic, WCMC will accept Pass/Fail grades and online courses to fulfill prerequisites for courses taken during the global health crisis.

Distance Learning

In general, courses taken as "distance learning" will not be accepted to fulfill WCMC admissions requirements. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis; in these instances, the applicant must provide evidence of rigorous coursework.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

In general, scores on CLEP examinations may not be used to fulfill WCMC admissions requirements. Exceptions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Courses Taken Outside of the U.S. and Canada

Course taken outside of the U.S. and Canada may be used to fulfill WCMC admissions requirements. We encourage applicants in this situation to undertake additional coursework in the U.S.

Second Language

WCMC encourages applicants to develop skills and, if possible, proficiency in a second language.

We place a premium on diversity among fields of study, depth of academic exploration, and enriching life experiences. Many of our students have majored in liberal arts, and many have taken time between college and medical school. We recommend that students who have not majored in basic sciences take at least two terms of biological science beyond the introductory level.

While most WCMC students will have completed undergraduate bachelor degrees before matriculating at the medical school, an undergraduate degree is not a prerequisite for acceptance or matriculation.

Office of Admissions 445 East 69th Street
Room 104
New York, NY 10021 (212) 746-1067

Office of Medical Education 1300 York Avenue, Room C-118 New York, NY 10065 (212) 746-1050