We’re covering everything you need to know as you consider applying to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. You’ll learn about acceptance rates, application deadlines, average MCAT scores, tuition, curriculum, and more.
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All About the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Founded in 1886, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine—also known as Pitt Med—has a rich history of clinical and basic research, and continues to be a leader in the field of medical research to this day. The university became one of the top ten recipients for National Institutes of Health (NIH) support in 1998 and has remained in that position ever since. In 2018, faculty from the University of Pittsburgh were awarded more than $577 million in grant funding from NIH—making the school the fifth-largest recipient, and approximately 80% of the funding went to the School of Medicine.
Areas of research emphasis and strength include drug discovery and design, vaccine development, organ transplantation/immunology, stem cell biology and tissue engineering, medical device development, vascular biology, cancer research and therapy, cardiology, bioinformatics, psychiatry, neurobiology, structural biology, and developmental biology.
Although the school is located in Pittsburgh, its reach stretches across the globe with active collaborations between the School of Medicine and institutions in China, Colombia, France, Ghana, Honduras, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Malawi, the Philippines, and many other nations. These relationships give students the opportunity to develop a broad perspective on medical care around the world.
Pitt Med has a dedicated Office of Diversity, which seeks to recruit and retain a diverse study body. As of the 2019–2020 academic year, 55% of MD students are female, 44% are male, and 18% are from groups that are underrepresented within the medical profession. The school offers a variety of services and programs to address the overall health and wellbeing of its students, including book clubs, diversity mini electives, LGBTQ affinity groups, and a chapter of the Latino Medical Students Association.
The Curriculum at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine employs a curriculum that combines lecture and problem-based learning with early, “in-depth clinical experiences and an integrated organ systems approach to the preclinical sciences,” according to the school.
The curriculum is based on five main categories or “blocks” of learning that continue throughout the duration of a student’s time in medical school:
- Foundations of Medicine
- Organ Systems Pathophysiology
- Evidence and Discovery
- Patient, Physician, and Society
- Introduction to Patient Care
During their first two years, students’ time is divided equally between lectures and team-based learning sessions; small group sessions; and self-directed learning, computer-based study, community visits, and clinical experiences. In their third year, students participate in 10 required clerkships designed to optimize the balance between out-of-hospital and in-patient learning opportunities. During the fourth year, students engage in a mentored longitudinal research project that is due in the spring of their MS4 year and is a requirement for graduation. Research opportunities are intended to appeal to students’ personal interests and long-term career goals. They include traditional laboratory-based and clinical research experiences, as well as alternatives in health policy, epidemiology, and comparative effectiveness research.
From the first day of medical school, Pitt Med offers courses that address the human side of medicine, in addition to the rigorous traditional study of the basic sciences. In these courses, students interact with real patients, learn how to establish a patient/doctor relationship, and develop patient interviewing skills. For the first two years, students apply the skills they are learning in local practices and hospitals one afternoon a week.
In order to prepare students to address health concerns related to substance abuse, the school begins teaching about addiction medicine and the U.S. opioid epidemic early in the first year of the program. The process continues throughout the curriculum in sessions that provide essential knowledge and patient-counseling skills in pain management and addiction.
The University of Pittsburgh was one of the first medical schools to adopt a teaching method known as problem-based learning (PBL), which is now used widely in medical schools across the U.S. and throughout the world. PBL presents small, faculty-mentored groups of first-and second-year students with clinical diagnostic exercises based on actual cases. This method of instruction was designed to build collaborative problem-solving skills and help prepare students for real-world cases in which they will need to draw on vast sources of information to discover appropriate applications.
Students have the option to choose an area of concentration to pursue throughout their time in medical school by participating in a series of elective experiences intended to supplement the core curriculum. Areas of concentration include:
- Addiction Medicine
- Disabilities Medicine
- Geriatric Medicine
- Global Health
- Integrative Medicine
- Humanities, Ethics, and Palliative Care
- Public Health
- Women’s Health
- Bioengineering, Biotechnology, and Innovation
The School of Medicine offers the following degree programs:
- MD Program
- PhD and Master’s Certificate Programs
- MD/PhD Program (Medical Scientist Training Program)
- Physician Scientist Training Program (PSTP)
- Clinical Scientist Training Program (MD/MS)
- Multidisciplinary Master of Public Health Program
- Medicine/Bioethics Joint Degree (MD/MA)
How has the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine made an impact?
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s achievements include developing the polio vaccine after the largest medical field trial in history, and creating and training Pittsburgh’s Freedom House ambulance service, the nation’s first paramedics.
Pitt Med is a leader in areas of research that include the biology of aging, neuroscience, vision restoration, genome stability, regenerative medicine, biomedical device development, immunology, and more.
Faculty members and students have access to a variety of resources for conducting their world-class research, including the Center for Biologic Imaging (the largest optical imaging facility in the country), the UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center, the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, the University of Pittsburgh’s Brain Institute, the Institute for Precision Medicine, and more.
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine – Top Programs
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: Enrollment, Acceptance, Tuition, and More
For the 2019–2020 academic year, the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine received over 6800 applications. 739 applicants received an interview (~11% interview rate). 365 candidates were accepted, and 162 chose to enroll. \
Applicants must be currently enrolled students or graduates of accredited colleges who have completed at least 120 hours of undergraduate work, and a strong background in mathematics is recommended. While not mandatory, the School of Medicine prefers candidates who have completed undergraduate coursework typical of a liberal arts education.
What is the acceptance rate for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine?
The acceptance rate is 5.3%.
How expensive is tuition at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine?
Tuition costs for the first year of attendance in the 2019–2020 school year are $57,684 for Pennsylvania residents, and $59,930 for non-residents. Additional education-related costs are estimated at $2,992, and personal living costs are estimated at $22,586.
Need and merit-based scholarships are available through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, and all incoming students interested in receiving financial aid are required to complete the FAFSA (Federal Application for Student Aid).
When is the application deadline for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine?
Here is the application cycle for Pitt Med:
- Early June: AMCAS Application Opens
- Late Aug – Dec: Interviews Conducted
- Oct 1: MSTP (MD/PhD) AMCAS Application Deadline
- Oct 15: MD AMCAS Application Deadline
- Nov 15: Supplemental Application Deadline
- Jan 31: Admissions Decisions Released
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine does not have a rolling admissions process.
Median MCAT Scores for the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
For recently accepted students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the median undergraduate GPA was 3.81 and the median MCAT scores were:
- Total Score: 517
- Chemical & Physical: 129
- CARS: 128
- Biological & Biochemical: 129
- Psychological, Social & Biological: 129
In 2019, 139 Pitt Med students participated in the National Resident Matching Program. The highest placements occurred in the following specialties:
- Internal Medicine (27)
- Pediatrics (15)
- Surgery – General (13)
- Psychiatry (12)
- Emergency Medicine (8)
Students were also placed into specialties including Anesthesiology, Child Neurology, Dermatology, Family Medicine, Interventional Radiology, Neurological Surgery, Neurology, Obstetrics, Ophthalmology, Oral Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Radiation Oncology, Radiology, Research, Thoracic Surgery, and Urology.