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Medical Scholars Program

The Saint Louis University Medical Scholars Program is an early-assurance program that offers an exclusive opportunity for exceptional SLU students to gain experience and connections with the SLU School of Medicine.

The program provides medical school preparation privileges but does not guarantee acceptance to the School of Medicine; however, participation in this program and its challenging nature greatly increase students' likelihood of matriculation to medical school. Regardless of admission status, all scholars are required to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Medical Scholars must follow the program requirements as set by the Office of Pre-Health and Pre-Law Studies, and meet the SLU School of Medicine technical standards.

Apply to the Medical Scholars Program

Watch a recorded webinar on the Medical Scholars Program 

The Application Process

The Medical Scholars Program application can be found in your Billiken Gateway portal. Applying via the Common App? Log into the Billiken Gateway portal after your Common App has been submitted to fill out the application.

Access the Billiken Gateway Portal


Eligible applicants must have an outstanding academic record with only As and Bs in math and science courses. The following materials must be submitted as part of the Medical Scholars Program application:

Required Applicant Materials
Medical Scholars Program online application
Two short essay questions
Resume listing service and leadership experiences, as well as extracurricular activities
Two letters of recommendation (these can be the same as those used for general admission, but other letters are also accepted)

If admitted to the Medical Scholars Program, applicants must confirm their acceptance by completing the Medical Scholars Program response form which is located in their Billiken Gateway portal no later than May 1.

Deadline Requirement
Dec. 1 of senior year of high school Application must be submitted
March of senior year of high school Admission decisions mailed to applicants
May 1 of senior year of high school Acceptance of invitation required

Opportunity for Current Freshmen

During your freshman year, you can apply to the Medical Scholars Program to become a scholar in your sophomore year. You will share the same benefits as first-year Medical Scholars and be able to interview with SLU’s medical school during your junior year. 

More information to come on requirements and the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do during high school to prepare myself for pre-med studies?

Concentrate on science and math courses. Take additional courses in science rather than math if given the choice, unless you plan to major in mathematics or biomedical engineering. In that case, you should take as many math courses as possible.

Consider taking Advanced Placement and/or Advanced Credit courses whenever possible. Advanced coursework in science and math is excellent preparation for pre-professional health studies in college. Medical schools generally do not accept AP/AC credit for biology, chemistry or physics. Students are encouraged to take these courses at a four-year college or university.

What is the best major for pre-med students?

The answer to this question is: whatever major you like best! Select a major which allows you to explore the content that you enjoy, and to strengthen and refine your critical and analytical thinking skills. Although many pre-med students do select majors in STEM subject areas, this is not necessary for acceptance to medical school. If you are unsure of what major to choose, the Saint Louis University Student Success Center can help.

What types of courses do pre-med students complete during college?

Regardless of their major, it is important that all pre-med student incorporate the following coursework into their undergraduate curriculum:

  • General biology courses with labs
  • General chemistry courses with labs
  • Organic chemistry courses with labs
  • Physics courses with labs
  • Upper division biology courses
  • Calculus and/or statistics course(s)
  • Biochemistry
  • Psychology and/or sociology course(s)
  • English composition course(s)
What do medical schools look for in applicants?

Medical schools pay particular attention to your overall GPA, math/science GPA, and MCAT score. You must also demonstrate a clear motivation to pursue a career in health care and are encouraged to shadow and/or volunteer in clinical settings. Leadership experience, community service and appropriate extracurricular activities benefit your application. Communication skills (both written and verbal) and interpersonal skills are also important and should be evident in your application and supporting letters.

If I am a Medical Scholar and am offered early conditional acceptance to the SLU School of Medicine, do I still need to take the MCAT?

Yes. All Medical Scholars who plan to matriculate to medical school are required to take the MCAT and achieve a score of at least 508 between January of junior year and August of senior year.

Can I apply to other medical schools as a Medical Scholar?

No. In order to accept an offer of admission made through the program, Medical Scholars must apply solely to the SLU School of Medicine. Medical Scholars who apply elsewhere forfeit any offer of early acceptance. If interested, such students can then reapply for admission according to the traditional application timeline.

Does the program offer guaranteed admission into medical school?

While Medical Scholars do enjoy early application privileges, their acceptance to the SLU School of Medicine is not guaranteed; Medical Scholars must still apply and be formally accepted. The interview that is conducted by the SLU School of Medicine in the junior year is the critical and final step used to determine if a Medical Scholar is offered a conditional acceptance. 

Does eventual acceptance by the SLU School of Medicine as a Medical Scholar have any further conditions?

Yes. If you accept an offer of admission from the SLU School of Medicine after completing both the Medical Scholars Program and all application requirements, you must also be able to meet the school’s academic and technical standards.

Does the Medical Scholars Program shorten the length of time I will spend in school?

No. When a Medical Scholar obtains admission to the SLU School of Medicine, that admission is labeled as “contingent” upon successful completion of an approved bachelor’s degree from the University. We believe that a traditional, full-length course of undergraduate study remains one of the best preparations for success in medical school. 

How will my Advanced Placement and advanced credit courses transfer?

In keeping with their high level of academic achievement, students who wish to become Medical Scholars are encouraged to take Advanced Placement and/or advanced credit courses in high school whenever possible. However, no AP or advanced credit will be awarded to incoming Medical Scholars for biology, chemistry or physics. It is in the best interest of every future medical student to take these courses in college regardless of past experience. 

For math, Medical Scholar hopefuls are encouraged to take calculus AP in high school. In general, we recommend that high school students take additional courses in science rather than mathematics if faced with a choice between the two. The exceptions to this rule are biomedical engineering applicants, who are encouraged to take as many mathematics courses as possible.

Can I wait and become a Medical Scholar once I am a current SLU student?

Yes! During your freshman year, you can apply to the Medical Scholars Program to become a scholar in your sophomore year. You will share the same benefits as first-year Medical Scholars and be able to interview with SLU’s medical school during your junior year.

Which majors/programs of study can I pursue as a Medical Scholar?

At this time, the following majors are approved for Medical Scholars:

  • College of Arts & Sciences: Any major.
  • College for Public Health and Social Justice: Biostatistics, public health and health management.
  • Doisy College of Health Sciences: Exercise science (athletic training only), health sciences, medical sciences, and nutrition and dietetics.
  • School of Science and Engineering: Biochemistry, chemistry, biomedical engineering and the bioelectronics track of electrical engineering.

Any other majors must be approved by the Director of the Medical Scholars Program.

What if I change my major or decide I do not want to attend medical school?

Many students continue on as Medical Scholars even though they have chosen a new major, but approximately one-half of all Medical Scholars will end up changing their mind about the program entirely. Some withdraw from the program to explore completely new interests, while others remain on their original path but pursue a graduate opportunity other than medical school. Remember that there is no penalty for withdrawing from the program, but applying to become a Medical Scholar is an opportunity that you only have as an incoming freshman.

What are the requirements to remain in the program?

Once accepted as Medical Scholars, students are expected to maintain full-time enrollment at SLU and to meet the requirements listed below. Additional details can be found here.

Freshman Year 

  • Attend a special orientation at the start of the fall semester.
  • Present an annual GPA (fall and spring semesters) of at least 3.65 (with a 3.65 or better in math and science) at the end of the year.
  • Complete a minimum of 30 standard-letter grade credit hours each regular academic year, with at least 14 standard-letter grade credit hours each semester. Credit hours do not include courses taken pass/fail, summer school courses, credit by examination or dual and AP credit.
  • Follow appropriate curriculum requirements.

Sophomore Year through Senior Year 

  • Present an annual GPA (fall and spring semesters) of at least 3.65 (with a 3.65 or better in math and science) at the end of each year
  • Successfully complete the Medical Scholars Seminar course
  • Follow appropriate curriculum requirements
  • Formally apply to the Saint Louis University School of Medicine – Junior Year
  • Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) – Junior Year (January) – Senior Year (August)
Can I study abroad as a Medical Scholar?

Yes! Students can work with their primary and pre-health advisors to determine a time that works best for them and their coursework.

What other benefits do Medical Scholars enjoy?

Medical Scholars enjoy numerous other program benefits, including:

  • One-on-one advising through the Office of Pre-Health and Pre-Law Studies, which includes academic advising and assistance with the medical school application process.
  • Review by SLU’s Pre-Health Professions Committee on Evaluations, the preferred way to obtain the requisite letter of recommendation for medical school admission.
  • Participation in a physician shadowing program with area hospitals.
  • Specialized workshops and seminars, which are designed to assist you with the medical school application process.
  • Student-sponsored programming and organizations, which include the Pre-Health Professions Club, SLU’s own chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the national premedical honor society.
What if I am not sure where I want to attend medical school? 

If you have not yet chosen which medical school you would like to attend, do not worry — neither have most of our Medical Scholars. It’s more important that you find a program that prepares you for that next step — and a university where you can stay and continue your medical education after completing your undergraduate career. 

As a pre-med student at SLU, you’ll receive the instruction and experience necessary to pursue any number of options for medical school. But you’ll also spend four years making connections with professors and researchers at the SLU School of Medicine, as well as networking and interning with medical professionals throughout the St. Louis area.

Becoming a Medical Scholar is not about choosing a medical school before you have even graduated from high school. It’s about providing yourself with the best possible opportunities for your future as a medical student. We are confident that you will be interested in continuing your studies at SLU when you see what the University has to offer. And should you decide to stay, you will be in good company; approximately one third of SLU’s medical school class each year comprises former SLU undergraduates. 

2024-25 Technical Standards

The SLU School of Medicine is committed to full compliance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Qualified applicants to the SLU School of Medicine must be able to complete all requirements leading to the M.D. degree. Because the M.D. degree signifies that the holder is a physician prepared for entry into the practice of medicine within a graduate training program, the recipient must have the knowledge and skills to function in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care as required by the curriculum. Our Mission Statement, goals, and objectives are supported by the 1979 recommendations of the Association of American Medical Colleges Special Advisory Panel on Technical Standards for medical school admission that state, in part, that the M.D. degree is, and must remain, a broad, undifferentiated degree attesting to the acquisition of general knowledge in all fields of medicine and the basic skills requisite for the practice of medicine. 

The following technical standards may be applied to the selection of medical students and to accepted students and medical students enrolled in the M.D. program. In addition to proven academic ability and other relevant personal characteristics, the SLU School of Medicine expects its students to possess and be able to demonstrate the skills, attributes, and qualities listed below, without undue dependence on technology or intermediaries to a degree that compromises independent judgment. The use of a trained intermediary is not acceptable in many clinical situations in that it implies that a student’s judgment must be mediated by someone else’s power of selection and observation. 

Academically successful students are expected to: 
  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, health professionals, teachers, staff and peers in settings where communication is typically oral, or written, or when the time span available for communication is limited.
  • Accurately observe a patient from a distance and at close range, obtain a medical history directly from the patient and directly observe a patient’s medical condition.
  • Acquire, assimilate, interpret, integrate and apply information from direct observation and oral communication, written messages, films, slides, microscope, imaging science, ECG readouts and other media.
  • Perform diagnostic and emergency maneuvers and procedures, such as palpation, percussion and auscultation, airway management, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and suturing, as well as assisting in surgery.
  • Perform problem-solving tasks quickly and efficiently in an environment that may change rapidly, without warning, and/or in unpredictable ways.
  • Comprehend three-dimensional and spatial relationships.
  • Carry out procedures involved in learning the sciences fundamental to medicine. This includes the ability to participate fully in activities dealing with curriculum requirements in the classroom, laboratory and clinical setting.