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How to Apply: The Road to Upstate

Thank you for your interest in the MD/PhD Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University! Please click on each item for step-by-step instructions.

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Upstate Medical University, like nearly all accredited medical schools in the United States, participates in the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

You must complete the AMCAS application online at www.amcas.com and submit it to AMCAS along with your official college transcripts and MCAT scores. AMCAS will forward your application to Upstate.

Deadline for submitting the AMCAS application is October 1st.

Internal Applicants

Per our AMCAS policy:

1. Matriculated students at Upstate in the College of Medicine MD Program are eligible to apply.  It is recommended to do so in their first of medical school.  We can use your AMCAS application from your original application to medical school but require three supplemental letters of recommendations from those familiar with your potential for investigative research and two additional essays; the MD/PhD Essay and Significant Research Essay.  These supplemental materials have the same deadline as those applying traditionally, November 1st. 

2. Internal PhD Students are not eligible to apply to the MD/PhD Program. 

Submit a SUNY Upstate Medical University Secondary Application

Once your application is received from AMCAS, a link to the Secondary application will be sent you. The supplemental Application must be submitted to Upstate Medical University by November 1st.

Supplemental Application materials can be sent electronically to apply@upstate.edu or mailed to:

SUNY Upstate Medical University
Student Admissions & Financial Aid Processing
Weiskotten Hall, Room 1213
766 Irving Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13210

***Please note mailing supplemental materials may take a little longer to process.

Submit Letters of Recommendation

Applicants must submit a letter of evaluation from their Health Professions Advisory Committee or Pre-health Advisor AND three letters of recommendation from those familiar with your academic record and potential for investigative research. SUNY Upstate Medical University participates in the AMCAS Letter of Recommendation Service. Appropriate letters of recommendation must be submitted to AMCAS by October 1st. All letters must be submitted directly to AMCAS. 

Complete the CASPer Test

The CASPer Test - Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics 

All applicants to the Doctor of Medicine, at SUNY Upstate Medical University are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer), to assist with our selection process. Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory in order to complete your application and be eligible for admission.

 CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program, and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process. 

 In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a computer with audio capabilities, a webcam, and a reliable internet connection on your selected test date. CASPer can be taken practically anywhere that you can satisfy the aforementioned requirements. No exceptions will be provided for applicants unable to take CASPer online due to being located at sites where internet is not dependable due to technical or political factors.

 Please go to www.takeCASPer.comto sign up for the American Professional Health Sciences test(CSP10111) and reserve a test using your AMCAS ID and a piece of government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly; there may be updates to the test schedule.

 Please direct any inquiries on the test to support@takecasper.com. Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the takecasper.com website.

 The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections of video and written scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of probing questions under a time contract. The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete. Each response is graded by a different rater, giving a very robust and reliable view of personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required for CASPer, although you may want to familiarize yourself with the test structure at takeCASPer.com, and ensure you have a quiet environment to take the test.

 CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.

CASPER FAQS: https://takecasper.com/faq/

Dates and Fees: https://takecasper.com/test-dates/

Altus Assessments has released Casper Snapshot, an extension of the Casper Test to help aid in the admissions process. Our program will NOT be requiring our applicants to complete Snapshot OR Duet for this admissions cycle, however please note that because of its one-time completion, other programs you are applying to may require it. You can learn more about Snapshot at the Casper site.

Incomplete Applications

Missing information emails will be sent every two weeks to let students know what is needed to complete their application.

Complete Applications

Once an application is complete, students will receive an email letting them know that their application is complete and will be reviewed by the MD/PhD Program Admissions Committee. When the review is complete, applicants will be notified by email or letter, as to the status of their application.

Invitation to Interview

Each year the MD/PhD Program schedules two interview sessions - both in November/December. Candidates will be invited to campus for a two or three day visit to complete the various interviews and laboratory visits. There will be an opportunity to meet with current students, also.

Admissions Committee

Following the interview, applications are reviewed by the MD/PhD Admissions Committee. The committee is made up of faculty members, and SUNY Upstate administrators. The Admissions Committee is looking for:

  • well rounded students with strong academic records and MCAT scores
  • applicants motivated to pursue a career in academic medicine
  • applicants with research experience in addition to the required laboratory courses
  • publications are not necessary, but a great addition to an application
  • students who were well-spoken and knowledgeable during their interviews and interactions on-campus


Students will be notified of the Committee's Decision on a rolling basis. Final decisions may not be sent until May. One of the following decisions will be made for each interviewed applicant:

  • Accept:
    Students will receive an email and/or a phone call that they have been accepted. Official acceptance letters and other relevant information will be mailed out. Once students have paid their deposit, they will receive an email with information on how to log onto MyUpstate.
  • High Priority Alternate:
    Students placed on the high priority alternate list may be called at anytime, up to and including the day of registration. The admissions office does not release information regarding individual placement on the alternate list. This is an active alternate list and one we pull students off of every year, but where we get on this list will vary from year to year.
  • Reject:
    Students who are not accepted by the admissions committee will receive an email with the option to transfer their application to MD ONLY or PhD ONLY.

You have been admitted

Once you have been admitted and paid a deposit, you will have access to health clearance forms, orientation materials, registration and housing information through My Upstate.

You will also be invited to attend the 2nd Visit Day offered at Upstate Medical University. On this day you will have mini-presentations about the curriculum, student affairs, campus activities, and even get a chance to see what it is like in our clinical skills and anatomy labs. There will also be a student panel to answer any questions that you may have. It will provide you with an opportunity to decide if SUNY Upstate Medical University is the right medical school for you!