Skip to main content
MenuSearch & Directory

Requirements and Standards

Specific academic requirements to enter the Saint Louis University School of Medicine include a minimum of 90 semester hours (135 quarter hours) in undergraduate arts and science courses.

Exterior shot of a School of Medicine building with a fountain in front.

Virtually all accepted applicants complete a baccalaureate degree of at least 120 semester hours (180 quarter hours) from an accredited college or university. In all cases, our SLU Committee on Admissions is more concerned with the quality of your education than with the number of hours or years of pre-medical training.

If you have received your education abroad, you must complete at least one academic year of science coursework in an accredited North American college or university before applying to SLU.

Course Requirements for Admission

Course Credit Hours
General biology or zoology 8 credit hours*
General chemistry 8 credit hours*
Organic chemistry 8 credit hours*
Physics 8 credit hours*
English 6 credit hours
Other humanities and behavioral sciences 12 credit hours

*A laboratory course is required.

The Committee on Admissions usually recognizes undergraduate credit given for Advanced Placement courses when it is indicated on a transcript. AP coursework is acceptable for prerequisites except for required biology and chemistry courses. Upper-level coursework may also be used to fulfill the course requirements. 

Since contemporary medical studies include the study of health and disease at the subcellular and molecular level, the study of biochemistry or cellular biology is highly recommended, though not required. Biochemistry may be taken in place of one semester of organic chemistry.

Humanities-based writing-intensive coursework may be used as a substitute for the English requirement. Humanities is a broad category, including fine arts, history, philosophy, etc. Business, health or science-based courses cannot be used to fulfill the humanities or English requirements. Applicants must have at least 18 credit hours total of English and/or humanities courses, and one course cannot satisfy two requirements. Please include a course description with the secondary application when using a writing-intensive substitution.

Applicants are expected to have pursued one area of knowledge or discipline in depth. The Committee on Admissions does not favor any specific major. Suitable major areas include the behavioral sciences and humanities, as well as the natural sciences. Those majoring in the behavioral sciences and humanities must demonstrate good performance in the natural sciences and those majoring in the natural sciences must, in turn, demonstrate a broad exposure to the humanities. Courses intended to satisfy basic requirements or completed online will not be considered.

Regarding community college coursework, the committee prefers (a) no more than 50% of undergraduate science coursework completed and/or (b) no post-baccalaureate redemptive work completed in this manner.

Admission is possible only at the beginning of the academic year.

COVID Exceptions

Many universities modified their grading systems as we worked through the COVID-19 pandemic. We will fully consider pass/fail grades for any lecture or laboratory courses taken during the spring 2020 semester. As in the past, prerequisite courses must be completed in a degree-granting university. Each course director is to determine the balance between online and classroom instruction. Rest assured, our committee conducts a holistic review of each applicant; that semester is just one component of your entire application. 

Average Academic Profile

Traditional pathway candidates accepted for entry at SLU in August 2023 had the following average academic credentials:

Undergraduate Grade Point Average
  • Science-Math GPA 3.82
  • Overall GPA 3.86
MCAT2015 Scores
  • CPBS 128
  • CARS: 127
  • BBFL: 128
  • PSBB: 129
  • Total Mean Score: 513

Applicants must achieve a highest total score of 498 or above to be considered.

Apart from these academic characteristics, the Committee on Admissions recognizes a responsibility to consider applicants as individuals, particularly in evaluating the breadth of their educational experience, personality traits, maturity level and appropriate motivation and commitment to a career in medicine.

We seriously consider applicants enrolled in master’s or doctoral degree programs only if they are scheduled to be completed during the year of application and before enrollment in medical school, or if recommended by a graduate faculty mentor. Other graduate students must withdraw from their graduate program before applying.

Personal Qualifications

Excellence in character, motivation and ideals cannot substitute for intellectual ability demonstrated through scholastic achievement. However, academic achievement alone is not a sufficient foundation for success in the medical profession.

The Committee on Admissions should have no reservations about the moral integrity of an applicant or the applicant's ability to use medical knowledge and skills in a manner ultimately beneficial to individual patients and society. Applicants whose personality characteristics or behavior indicate they may have problems relating appropriately to other human beings will not be accepted.

Technical Standards

1.0 Introduction

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (L.C.M.E.) stipulates that the school must develop standards for both objective and subjective criteria used for screening, selection, and admission of applications to the medical education program.

L.C.M.E. Standard 10.3 Policies Regarding Student Selection/Progress and Their Dissemination
The faculty of a medical school establish criteria for student selection and develop and implement effective policies and procedures regarding, and make decisions about, medical student application, selection, admission, assessment, promotion, graduation, and any disciplinary action. The medical school makes available to all interested parties its criteria, standards, policies, and procedures regarding these matters.

L.C.M.E. Standard 10.4 Characteristics of Accepted Applicants
A medical school selects applicants for admission who possess the intelligence, integrity, and personal and emotional characteristics necessary for them to become competent physicians.

L.C.M.E. Standard 10.5 Technical Standards
A medical school develops and publishes technical standards for the admission, retention, and graduation of applicants or medical students in accordance with legal requirements.

2.0 Purpose

The goal of the admissions, retention, and graduation policy is to establish admissions requirements for the selection of students to the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

3.0 Scope

The Saint Louis University School of Medicine (SLUSOM) utilizes a variety of strategies to consider and evaluate potential applicants to medical school for admissions, academic and professional progress, and graduation.

4.0 Definitions

Technical standards for the admission, retention, and graduation of applicants or medical students: This policy represents a statement by the medical school of the: 1) essential academic and non-academic abilities, attributes, and characteristics in the areas of intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities; 2) observational skills; 3) physical abilities; 4) motor functioning; 5) emotional stability; 6) behavioral and social skills; and 7) ethics and professionalism that a medical school applicant or enrolled medical student must possess or be able to acquire, with or without reasonable accommodation, in order to be admitted to, be retained in, and graduate from that school’s medical educational program. (Element 10.5)

5.0 Protocol and Procedure

Academically successful students considered for matriculation are expected to possess:

1. Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities

These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis and synthesis. Problem-solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities and often must be performed quickly, especially in emergency situations. A student must be able to identify significant findings from history, physical examination and laboratory data, provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses, prescribe appropriate medications and therapy and retain and recall information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment and in diagnostic and therapeutic planning is essential; a student must be able to identify and communicate their knowledge to others when appropriate.

2. Observational Skills

The student must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in those experiments in the basic and clinical sciences determined essential by the respective faculties. A student must be able to observe a patient accurately at a distance and at close hand, noting non-verbal as well as verbal signals. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities.

3. Communication Abilities

A student must be able to speak intelligibly, to hear adequately, and to observe closely patients to elicit and transmit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and perceive non-verbal communications. A student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, and all members of the health care team. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing. In addition, the student must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the health care team. A student must possess reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements and provide clinical care for patients. The student must be capable of completing appropriate medical records and documents and plans according to protocol and in a complete and timely manner.

4. Motor Functioning Skills

Medical students are required to possess motor skills sufficient to elicit independently information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other manually-based diagnostic procedures. Students should be able to conduct laboratory tests (urinalysis, CBC, etc.), carry out diagnostic procedures (paracentesis, etc.), and provide basic medical care (clearing the airway, placing catheters, controlling bleeding, simple obstetrical maneuvers, etc.) in the general care environment, and coordinate fine and gross muscular movements to treat patients in emergency situations. Emergency situations include any circumstance in which a patient requires immediate medical attention Medical students must be able to meet applicable safety standards for the environment, and to follow universal precaution procedures. 

5. Behavioral and Social Attributes

The student must possess the emotional health required for full use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment and the prompt completion of all responsibilities for the diagnosis and care of patients. The student must exhibit the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients, colleagues, clinical and administrative staff, and all others with whom the student interacts in the professional or academic setting, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or other attributes or affiliations that may differ from those of the student. The student must be able to tolerate physically taxing workloads and to function effectively when stressed. The student must be able to adapt to changing environments, to display flexibility and to learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. A student is expected to accept appropriate suggestions and criticism and, if necessary, respond by modification of behavior. A student is expected to self-regulate emotions and behaviors and to seek assistance when the ability to do so is compromised. Empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational processes.

6. Ethics and Professionalism

Students must interact with all individuals in a respectful and effective manner regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, religion, or any other protected status. They must maintain ethical and moral behavior consistent with professional standards for interactions with students, faculty, staff, patients, and the public. They must understand the legal and ethical aspects of the practice of medicine and function within both the law and ethical standards of the medical profession. Professionalism, compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all qualities that are expected throughout the educational processes.

6.0 Responsibilities 

The Office of Admissions will confirm that the members of the Admissions Committee are apprised of the policy, and ensure that the criteria will be applied equitably during the screening, interview, and selection processes.

7.0 References

L.C.M.E. Standard 10.3: Policies Regarding Student Selection/Progress and Their Dissemination Applicants
L.C.M.E. Standard 10.4: Characteristics of Accepted Applicants
L.C.M.E. Standard 10.5: Technical Standards

Read About L.C.M.E. Functions and Structure of a Medical School

Learn About the Americans with Disabilities Act


The policy will be reviewed by the Admissions Executive Committee and approved by the Curriculum Committee. The Admission Executive Committee approved it on June 30, 2021, and the Curriculum Committee on July 28, 2021.

Download Technical Standards for Admissions, Retention and Graduation (PDF)

Evaluation of Applications

Applications from well-qualified students are seriously considered regardless of their state of origin or citizenship. The qualifications of applicants are evaluated without discrimination in regard to financial status, age, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or veteran status. Some additional consideration is given to qualified students from SLU and the qualified sons and daughters of our School of Medicine alumni.

Failure to be Admitted

Students who have failed or have been terminated for any reason at another medical school, or who have previously earned a medical degree, whether in this country or abroad, are not eligible to apply.

The Committee on Admissions evaluates all completed applications. It’s not possible to provide places for all qualified applicants, but failure to be accepted is not necessarily an indication that you are unsuited for a medical career.

If you have unsuccessfully applied to the Saint Louis University School of Medicine more than three times, we recommend you not apply again unless significant changes have been made that would merit the Committee on Admissions’ review.