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Frequently Asked Questions

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Applying to the MD/PhD Program

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How do I apply to the MD/PhD Program?

Applicants must submit a verified AMCAS application to SUNY Upstate Medical University. Be sure to check the box indicating you are applying to the MD/PhD Program (CO). Also submit through AMCAS three original letters of reference applicable to the MD/PhD Program.

In addition, you complete the SUNY Upstate Medical University Supplemental Application along with a non-refundable application $110 fee. If your AMCAS application does not include three letters from those familiar with your potential for investigative research, these will also be required as part of your Supplemental Application. 

What is AMCAS?

The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) is a non-profit, centralized application processing service for applicants to the first-year entering classes at participating U.S. medical schools. For the 2005 entering classes, most U.S. medical schools will use AMCAS as the primary application. For more information, you can visit the AAMC website.

What pre-requisite courses do you require?

We require the following pre-requisite courses:

  • General Biology I & II w/labs
  • General Chemistry I & II w/labs
  • Organic Chemistry I w/lab
  • Biochemistry
  • General Physics I & II w/labs*
  • Writing/Composition
  • English elective
  • Statistics (3hrs)

* Applicants should avoid taking more than one or two pre-requisite science courses during the summer and avoid taking them at community colleges.

* While it is recommended, we do not require your Physics courses to be calculus-based unlike other medical schools.

* Applicants can apply without having completed all the pre-requisites however, if accepted, it would be on the condition that any outstanding required courses be successfully completed prior to enrolling.

What other science courses can I take to be more competitive?

Beyond the pre-requisites, the most useful courses to take are Physiology, Genetics, and Cell Biology. These courses have some tricky concepts to master and having some familiarity with them ahead of time will be to your benefit once you enter medical school. Microbiology and Immunology may also be helpful. Courses such as Anatomy, Neuroscience, Histology, Pathology, and Pharmacology generally are subjects that can be fairly easily mastered once you enter medical school but take them as an undergrad if you enjoy them.

When it comes to suggestions of what non-science courses you can take, we recommend Psychology courses addressing the cognitive, abnormal, and developmental aspects of human behavior, knowledge of which will help you in becoming a good physician. Courses related to public health, ethics, communication skills are also of increasing benefit, as doctors become more sophisticated in these areas.

What are the application deadlines?

  • June - Begin submitting AMCAS applications
  • October 1 - AMCAS deadline
  • November 1 - Deadline to submit both your AMCAS application AND your completed supplemental application to SUNY Upstate

Who do you send a supplemental application to?

We send a supplemental to every verified AMCAS applicant.

What if there is no pre-health committee on my campus?

In the absence of such a committee, two letters of recommendation from faculty in different departments may be submitted, although one department must be a science department.

Do MD/PhD students receive a stipend?

Yes all MD/PhD students receive a stipend and tuition waiver for all years - both while in the COM and in the CGS. 

Are publications required?

No, it is not necessary to have a publication to be considered for admission. Publications are of course, a great addiiton to your application.

International Applicants

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Do you accept Canadians, and are they evaluated differently?

Throughout the application process, Canadian students are treated the same as US residents in that they must complete the same pre-requisite course work, application requirements etc.

Do international students receive the same financial aid?

Yes, all accepted students receive the same stipend and tuition waiver.

About the MD/PhD Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University

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How many students do you accept?

Generally we have over 115 applicants and we typically interview 30-40% of all applicants. From those, we send out approximately 10 acceptances with a final class of 4-6 students.

What is the average GPA for accepted students?

The average GPA for the class that entered Fall 2021 was 3.7.

What is the average MCAT score?

The average MCAT score of the 2021 matriculating class was 516.

If I am rejected from the MD/PhD Program, will I still be considered for the MD program?

Yes. If you are rejected by the MD/PhD Admissions Committee, you can select to have your application forwarded to the MD-Only or PhD-Only for consideration.

Can I apply to both the MD and the MD/PhD program?

You may only submit one application to SUNY Upstate Medical University, either for MD or the MD/PhD program. We have a designated MD/PhD Admissions committee and the committee looks for students with a passion and strong interest in research to complement their desire to become a physician. Our goal is to train physician scientists and we expect you have given much thought to your decision to apply.

If you are rejected from the MD/PhD Program, there is an option to send your application at that point to either MD ONLY or PhD ONLY.  You will receive an email in this case with the specifics to do so.

How is the Upstate Medical University MD/PhD Program funded?

The MD/PhD Program at Upstate Medical University is privately funded.

Tell me more about Syracuse

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Can I live on my stipend?

Yes, Syracuse is very affordable

Student Life

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Where do most Upstate students live?

While "on campus" housing is available in Geneva Tower, most students live off campus in rented apartments because it is very affordable. There are many places to live that are in close proximity to Upstate (for example, Madison Towers and Jefferson Towers are high rise apartment buildings within walking distance of Upstate) [WE DO NOT INSPECT, APPROVE OR SUPERVISE THE PREMISES HEREIN.] There are apartments available in the city of Syracuse and the surrounding towns. Some of the most popular areas include: the Eastwood, University Hill, and Tipperary Hill neighborhoods of Syracuse, as well as the town of Liverpool.

What is the best way to find a suitable place to live?

Most students use various websites to search for housing: www.syracuse.com/realestate and www.orangehousing.com which is primarily, but not exclusively, for SU students. Students usually visit the property before signing a lease.

What is the typical cost to rent an apartment?

One-bedroom apartments typically rent for ~$500/month. Two-bedroom apartments in a large complex typically rent for $700-750/month, while two-bedroom apartments in smaller units rent for $600-650/month.

Can I park my car on campus?

Parking is available, at a fee to all Upstate students.