Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

Two students sitting at a table with a faculty member discussing their research

Acceptance factors and criteria

The Mayo Clinic Medical Scientist Program (MSTP) prepares M.D.-Ph.D. students to translate scientific discoveries into applications that improve patient care. This requires a wide range of skills, aptitudes, and characteristics.

Along with the basic set of prerequisites, the admission committee takes a holistic approach to admissions; meaning, we take into consideration the many factors that make up an applicant. These acceptance factors include:

  • Depth and breadth of research experience
  • Exposure to and exploration of medicine
  • Leadership experience, artistic and athletic endeavors, and work experiences
  • Academic performance and GPA
  • MCAT score/percentile
  • Personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation and rating sheets

After you review the prerequisites and general requirements for admission, learn more about the admissions and application process.



Except as defined in the next paragraph, applicants must be a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States, a noncitizen national of the United States, Asylee, or Refugee at the time of application. 

Foreign nationals regardless of immigration status, who do not fit into the categories listed above, are currently not eligible for admission to Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine unless they are able to present, at time of application, proof of eligibility to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), or proof of Canadian provincial or federal financial aid support.

Undergraduate degree

All applicants must obtain a bachelor's degree or Pharm. D. degree, preferably in the biological or physical sciences, from an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada prior to matriculation for admissions consideration. Certification of the degree is required. A higher degree cannot be substituted for this requirement, and no exceptions are made.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Applicants must have a current MCAT exam score (within three years of matriculation). Applications are not reviewed until the most recent MCAT scores have been received by the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

Grade Point Average (GPA)

There is not a minimum undergraduate GPA requirement for admission to the Mayo Clinic MSTP. All graduate-level coursework and grades are taken into consideration.

Course requirements

All applicants must have these prerequisite courses completed by June 15 of the planned matriculation year:

Course areaMinimum requirement
Biology and/or zoology One year (with one year of lab)
Inorganic chemistry One year (with one year of lab)
Organic chemistry One year (with one year of lab)
Physics One year (with one year of lab)
Biochemistry One course 
Calculus One year. While this prerequisite is not absolutely required for consideration, it is strongly suggested.

All required coursework must be completed for a letter grade. Pass/fail or credit/no credit courses will not be accepted.

Additional course work in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and physiology is encouraged.

Applicants for the Biomedical Engineering and Physiology Program track are encouraged to have courses in quantitative science and engineering, such as signal processing, computer science, and instrumentation.

Other admissions requirements

Technical standards (nonacademic criteria)

Matriculating students must meet and maintain the following nonacademic criteria (technical standards) to participate in the Medical Scientist Training Program.


  • Students must be able to participate actively in all demonstrations and laboratory exercises in the basic medical sciences.
  • Students must assess and comprehend the condition of all patients assigned to them for examination, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Such observation and information acquisition usually requires the functional use of visual, auditory, and somatic sensation.


  • Students must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients in order to elicit information, describe changes in mood, activity and posture, and assess nonverbal communications.
  • Students must be able to effectively and efficiently transmit information to patients, fellow students, faculty, staff, and all members of the health care team.
  • Students must possess required communication skills include speaking, reading and writing, as well as the observation skills described above.
  • Students must be able to communicate their discoveries in English to the scientific community.


  • Students must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers.
  • Students must be capable of performing basic laboratory tests, possess all skills necessary to carry out diagnostic procedures, and execute the motor movements reasonably required to provide general care and emergency treatment to patients.

Intellectual-conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities

  • Students must be able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize. Problem-solving, the critical skill demanded of physicians, requires all of these intellectual abilities.
  • Students must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.
  • Students must have the capacity to perform these problem-solving skills in a timely fashion.

Behavioral and social attributes

  • Students must be able to fully utilize their intellectual abilities and exercise good judgment. Prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients is required.
  • Students must be capable of developing mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients and others.
  • Students must be able to tolerate taxing workloads, function effectively under stress, adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients.
  • Compassion, integrity, concern for others, commitment, and motivation are personal qualities that each student should possess.

Transfer policy

Due to Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine's unique curriculum that integrates basic and clinical science instruction into each curricular year, it is unlikely that students requesting transfer would have a fully compatible educational experience. In addition, our small class size limits the opportunity for available space. Therefore, the Mayo Clinic Medical Scientist Training Program does not accept transfer students.

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