Frequently Asked Questions | Norton College of Medicine | SUNY Upstate Medical University (2023)

What prerequisite courses do you require?

We require the following prerequisite courses:

  • General Biology I & II w/labs
  • General Chemistry I & II w/labs
  • Organic Chemistry I w/lab
  • Biochemistry*
  • General Physics I & II w/labs**
  • Writing/Composition
  • English elective
  • Statistics*** (3hrs)

- Applicants should avoid taking more than one or two prerequisite science courses during the summer and avoid taking them at community colleges.
- Applicants can apply without having completed all the prerequisites however, if accepted, it would be on the condition that any outstanding required courses be successfully completed prior to enrolling.

* Organic Chemistry II will not meet the Biochemistry prerequisite.

** While it is recommended, we do not require your Physics courses be calculus-based unlike other medical schools.

*** Calculus will not meet the statistics prerequisite.

Do you accept online courses?

Undergraduate schools are offering more online courses as a result of the COVID pandemic. We will accept online courses if they are offered by the school at which you are already enrolled. For students who are beyond their undergraduate education, we will accept online courses undertaken to meet prerequisites as long as this current crisis persists. However, in-person courses are preferred if available

Can I request interview accommodations?

SUNY Upstate is proud to provide applicants with necessary accommodations during an admissions interview.

If you would like to request any accommodations, please email us and we can assist you with your request.

Can I apply without yet having completed all the prerequisites?

Yes. The committee will consider your application if you haven't completed all the required prerequisites at time of application, and if accepted, your acceptance would be conditional upon your successfully completing any outstanding prerequisites with a grade of "C" or higher prior to enrolling at SUNY Upstate.

Can other science courses like Organic Chemistry II or Microbiology be used to complete your prerequisites?

No. We will not accept any other science courses as substitutions for our required prerequisites.

What other science courses can I take to make me more competitive?

Beyond the prerequisites, the most useful courses to take are Physiology, Genetics, and Cell Biology. These courses have some tricky concepts to master and having some familiarity with them ahead of time will be to your benefit once you enter medical school. Microbiology and Immunology may also be helpful. Courses such as Anatomy, Neuroscience, Histology, Pathology, and Pharmacology generally are subjects that can be fairly easily mastered once you enter medical school but take them as an undergrad if you enjoy them.

When it comes to suggestions of what non-science courses you can take, we recommend Psychology courses addressing the cognitive, abnormal, and developmental aspects of human behavior, knowledge of which will help you in becoming a good physician. Courses related to public health, ethics, communication skills are also of increasing benefit, as doctors become more sophisticated in these areas.

Do you accept Advanced Placement credits?

Yes, as long as you were awarded college credit and the course(s) are listed on an official transcript from your primary undergraduate institution. The Admissions Committee recommends that you also complete advanced science coursework in order to be competitive for admission.

How do I apply?

To complete an application, applicants must: submit a verified AMCAS application, submit the appropriate letters of recommendation to AMCAS, submit a SUNY Upstate Medical University Supplemental Application, submit a non-refundable application fee of $110. For more information and deadlines, go to Admissions.

What is AMCAS?

The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) is a non-profit, centralized application processing service for applicants to the first-year entering classes at participating U.S. medical schools. Most U.S. medical schools use AMCAS as the primary application. For more information, you can visit the AAMC website.

When are your application deadlines?

  • June - Begin submitting AMCAS applications
  • August 1 - Early Decision AMCAS applications must be on file
  • August 15 - Early Decision applicants must have a completed application on file
  • October 15 - AMCAS deadline
  • December 1 - Latest date to submit a completed application to SUNY Upstate (MD and MD/PhD applicants)
  • April 30 - Latest date to receive the $100 deposit refund
  • June 1 - Latest date to request a deferment on acceptance
    • *Applicants accepted off the wait list after June 1st are not eligible to request a deferral

Will you accept a course that involved a considerable amount of written assignments to meet your English or Composition requirement?

We do not accept courses towards completion of our English and/or Composition requirement simply because they involved writing assignments. However, we will consider courses that complete your school’s writing requirement even though they may not be offered through the English department, are specifically designated by your school as “Writing Intensive”, or state that an objective of the course is to develop a student’s writing ability in the course description. A review of the course description is required and approval must be granted.

Who do you send a supplemental application to?

We send a supplemental to every verified AMCAS applicant.

Do you give preference to applicants from New York State?

Yes. SUNY Upstate Medical University is a public/state institution and does give a slight preference to applicant's from New York state when reviewing applications. However, we welcome applications from and accept many out of state applicants each year.

Can an Out of State resident apply for NYS residency for tuition purposes after their first year of medical school?

SUNY Upstate Medical University follows the guidelines set forth by the State University of New York for determining residency and eligibility for resident tuition: Establishment of Residency for Tuition Purposes.
It is an extremely rare case that a student entering SUNY Upstate as an out of state resident can establish NY residency.

What if there is no pre-health committee on my campus?

In the absence of such a committee, two letters of recommendation from faculty in different departments may be submitted, although one department must be a science department.

How important is clinical experience?

Clinical experience is essential. Before you invest all the time, money and hard work that goes into becoming a doctor, you should be sure this is a career that "fits" you and clinical exposure is the way to help you determine this.

Get some exposure early, even before you have made your decision for sure. Students sometimes toy with the idea of becoming a doctor, but interactions with patients in a clinical setting often CONVINCE them one way or the other. The Admissions Committee wants to see evidence that your career choice is well informed and not a "whim."

We do not require a specific number of hours; however, clinical experience should be relevant, current, and ongoing.

Are volunteer experiences really important?

Every committee member weighs this differently, but all expect to see some service work. A medical career is service work and service work is not for everyone. We (and you) need to figure out if you are committed to service.After 30 years of service work, you can only doctor well if you enjoy the way you spend your day.

There are many selfish reasons to become a doctor: the salary, job security, and prestige, just to name a few. When reviewing your application, the Admissions Committee is trying to gauge how much of your motivation comes from a genuine desire to serve others, and your volunteer work is one of the ways in which we gauge this.

Do I have to be a science major in order to be considered for medical school?

No. While about 80% of our medical students were science majors in college, a science major is not a requirement. Keep in mind, however, that in order to be competitive (get into medical school AND get through the first two years comfortably) you should take more than the required prerequisite science courses (see question "What other science courses can I take to make me more competitive?" above for suggestions). On average, your classmates in medical school will have taken 51 semester hours of science in college and you will want to be equally prepared.

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