MSP Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Medical Scholars Program (MSP) accept international students?

No. The University of Illinois College of Medicine, and thus the MSP, accepts applications only from U.S. citizens and U.S. permanent residents. However, international students are eligible for admission to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduate programs.

Will non-resident status prevent me from being admitted to the Medical Scholars Program?

No. The Medical Scholars Program recruits nationally.

What qualities is the MSP looking for in applicants to the program?

The MSP is looking for students who can demonstrate a commitment to a career that melds the training afforded by a joint degree program. Applicants should have the ability to articulate clearly why pursuing a joint degree (MD/PhD, MD/MBA, MD/JD) through the MSP is critical to their future career goals. The program seeks students with research experience and MSP applicants should have solid letters of recommendation from research supervisors as well as from other faculty well acquainted with their work.

Do I have to fill out an application for the medical school, the graduate department, and the MSP?

MSP applicants must complete the entire College of Medicine application process. The AMCAS application must be submitted to the University of Illinois College of Medicine (school code #128) by December 31st. This is an extended deadline for MD/PhD applicants, so please check the combined medical degree box on the AMCAS application. Secondary (or supplemental) applications are due by January 31st. You should receive an invitation to complete the secondary application via e-mail. Please note that the AMCAS application and secondary application are processed through the Office of Medical College Admissions in Chicago.

The online MSP application due December 31st is used for both the graduate department and the MSP. Once the MSP office receives your completed application, we forward a copy to the graduate department(s) for use in their application process.

Do I need to take the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT? What about other department requirements? How important are these?

Many graduate departments are flexible with MSP applicants and substitute the MCAT for the GRE. However, some do require GREs. The Graduate Department table has more information. Please contact the department directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

In addition, all MBA applicants must take the GMAT and all Law applicants must take the LSAT. Applicants may contact the department(s) to which they are applying to confirm specific graduate program requirements needed for consideration for admissions.

Why do I keep receiving materials from Chicago and can I ignore them?

The University of Illinois College of Medicine has four sites - Chicago, Peoria, Rockford, and Urbana-Champaign. The Office of Medical College Admissions (OMCA), which oversees applications for the entire College, is located in Chicago. Applicants deemed qualified will receive a secondary application from OMCA. This application must be completed, including letters of recommendation and official transcripts, and submitted to OMCA in Chicago in order to complete the application to the College of Medicine.

If you are accepted to the College of Medicine, you will also be sent additional forms and materials that you must complete and return to OMCA.

Are applicants also considered for the PhD, MD, JD or MD program if they are not accepted to the MSP?

Yes. The graduate departments and the medical school make their admissions decisions independent of the MSP. You could be accepted to either the College of Medicine or the graduate program. If so, you are free to accept one of these offers if not accepted into the MSP.

Where do I mail additional MSP materials?

If you need to mail additional materials such as transcripts and letters of recommendation to MSP, our mailing address is:

Medical Scholars Program
125 Medical Sciences
506 South Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801

Can I use medical school application letters of reference for the MSP?

Generally, yes. However, note that letters of reference are often written with a particular purpose in mind. Therefore, letters written for medical school applications may not address your qualifications for research and graduate study. You may wish to supplement your medical school letters with others addressing your ability, motivation and commitment to a dual degree program. In some cases, graduate departments may prefer at least two letters from people in an appropriate academic field of study including letters from a current and/or recent research advisor.

What is the purpose of the MSP interview? Must I come for one? Will it be coordinated with the medical school interview?

An interview is required for admission to the MSP. The interview is considered essential in determining which of the many qualified applicants are best suited for the program. If you are invited to interview with the MSP, that interview will also serve as your College of Medicine interview. Please let the MSP office know if you are invited to interview with the College of Medicine before receiving an invite to interview from the MSP.

When will I receive a decision on my application?

Those applicants who appear eligible for admission are invited to come to campus for an MSP interview. Generally, these interviews are held from January through March, although some interviews may begin earlier. The MSP typically waits for an indication from the graduate department regarding an applicant's chances of acceptance before making a decision to interview. An applicant who has been accepted by both the graduate program and the College of Medicine and whose MSP interview was favorable will be presented to the MSP Admissions Committee and, on the Committee's recommendation, will be offered a place in the MSP entering class.

My undergraduate background is not in the area in which I wish to do graduate research. Is this a problem?

Successful applicants to graduate school must demonstrate an aptitude for scholarly research in their proposed field of study. Previous research experience is especially important in the biological and physical sciences but it need not be research directly in the area in which you propose to pursue graduate study. The social sciences and humanities expect undergraduate course work in the discipline and a clear rationale for seeking an advanced degree.

Is all of the clinical training for MSP students in Urbana-Champaign?

Yes. There is a full four-year program of medical education in Urbana-Champaign and the clinical portion is very strong. Due to the small class sizes, students receive personal attention in both the Introduction to Clinical Medicine component and their clinical training. Students are primarily taught by experienced practicing physicians. Fourth year students are encouraged to participate in elective clerkships at academic medical centers across the U.S. to familiarize themselves with such settings, as most MSP students select residencies at academic medical centers and expect to pursue their careers at such institutions.

Are students funded throughout their MSP studies?

In general, MSP student funding is in the form of a teaching/research assistantship or fellowship, and includes a stipend plus tuition and partial fee waivers. There is no commitment to fund MD/JD or MD/MBA students although most do find some support during their medical school training.

What can I do with a dual degree?

The MD/PhD Program is explicitly designed to help you pursue a career in Academic Medicine. Our graduates have pursued a variety of different career paths that combine both degrees. The AAMC has some good information here:

Can I still apply to the MSP if I am almost finished or already finished with my PhD?

The MSP Fellows Program exists to allow students who have already obtained their PhD to expand their training by attending medical school in a community of like-minded scholars. An MSP Fellow is treated as a traditional medical student on the UIUC campus and does not receive any funding from the MSP, but is considered a member of the program and participates in MSP events. Non-residents of Illinois will pay out-of-state tuition and fees to the College of Medicine. There may be opportunities to perform research in a laboratory on the UIUC campus, particularly during the first year of medical school, but arranging such a research position is the Fellow’s responsibility.

What is the timeline for the admissions process?

The online MSP application must be submitted by December 31st. We will need your additional materials (letters of reference, transcripts, etc.) as soon as possible after December 31st. When we return from winter break on January 6th, we will continue to process and review applications. The graduate departments will also review applications during this time. After the review process, we will extend offers to interview to qualified applicants. Interviews typically take place January-March. Thank you for your patience as we process and review your application and additional materials.

What are the average MCAT scores and GPAs for your entering class?

Applicants should have strong MCAT scores and GPAs. The mean scores for our recent entering classes have been a 31 on the MCAT and a 3.67 GPA. Please keep in mind that these are averages and that we do not make decisions based solely on numbers. If you have any questions about the viability of your application, please contact the MSP Office.

What about application fees?

Although some departments require the GRE or have other special requirements, you need not submit additional Graduate College applications (except for College of Law and MBA applicants) to each graduate department. For specific questions regarding a graduate department's requirements, research opportunities, etc please contact that department directly.
MSP applicants must pay the AMCAS and College of Medicine Supplemental Application fees, but the application fee to the Graduate College and the MSP is waived, except for College of Law applicants.