UCLA Medical School – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More

When it was founded in 1951, the University of California at Los Angeles Medical School – now known as the David Geffen School of Medicine – was just the second med school in the University of California system. 

Since then, Geffen has established itself as one of the most important medical schools in the world. 

Over the years, some of the greatest medical minds have taught at UCLA Med. Faculty members include Selma Calmes, co-founder of the Anesthesia History Association, and Robert Peter Gale, an expert in leukemia therapy and bone marrow transplants. 

The school enjoys partnerships with several hospitals around the Los Angeles area, including the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, and St. Mary’s Medical Center. 

But the most important partnership is with the UCLA Medical Center. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 3rd best hospital in the U.S. A level I trauma center for children and adults, the UCLA Medical Center has 520 beds and features cutting-edge technology. 

With these resources, Geffen Med has everything that a future medical professional needs to become an expert in their field. The school combines excellent teaching, forward-thinking research, and a competitive student body. 

In this article, we will be diving into UCLA medical school’s acceptance rate, ranking, tuition, and more.

UCLA Medical School Acceptance Rate

UCLA Medical School
Public domain photo by Simon Cobb via Wikimedia Commons

The Geffen School of Medicine is one of the best in the country. So it should come as no surprise that it’s hard to get admitted into the school. 

For its 2020 incoming class, UCLA Medical School only admitted 2.8% of its applicants. To put that into perspective, that means that out of 100 students, only three will be accepted in most cases, and sometimes only two will make it in.  

That might sound like the standard for elite schools, but you must put it into contrast with the toughest schools in the world. In 2021, Harvard accepted 3.4% of its applicants while Princeton accepted 4.3%. 

Those are nearly impossible odds. 

But take notice of the word “nearly.”

Geffen actually admits approximately 175 students each year, but it gets 11,778 applications every fall. 

That number should be quite encouraging to you. It isn’t that nobody gets into Geffen – in fact, hundreds of people have been admitted into the school. It’s just that the best of the best are the only people who get accepted into Geffen. 

To be one of those 175 students, you need a robust application. Of course, this means that you’ll need to have excellent grades (more on that later). 

But you’ll also need to have strong extracurriculars, excellent references, and an application essay that will make the admissions committee pay attention. 

UCLA Medical School Tuition

Everybody knows that it isn’t cheap to go to medical school. Part of the reason it costs so much to visit a doctor is that the physicians and nurses tending to patients need to pay a lot to develop their expertise. 

Geffen Med is no exception to this rule. For the first year of medical school, students living in an off-campus apartment should plan to pay $83,182 in total expenses. That’s $25,274 for room and board, nearly $5,000 each for transportation and books and supplies, $2,625 for miscellaneous expenses, and $45,306 for tuition. 

Without question, that’s a lot of money. But there are a few modifiers that can change things. No matter what, you’ll pay $45,306 each year for tuition. Nothing will change that. 

However, the cost of books and supplies will drop over the next few years, to the point where you’ll only need to pay $570 for year four. 

Moreover, living with a friend or finding alternative transportation options, such as biking or carpooling, can change your expenses by a great deal. 

Also, it’s essential to look at these costs in relation to charges from other schools of equal quality. For example, at Stanford Med, students can plan on paying over $62,000 each year for tuition, books, and additional costs. 

There are, of course, modifiers that can bring that total down, but it’s clear that great schools are costly. 

UCLA Medical School Requirements

UCLA Medical Center
Biochemistry2016, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, CC BY-SA 4.0

As we’ve already discussed, the large majority of those who apply for admission at Geffen will be denied. Only a small fraction of the applicants get to be among the 175 who make it in. 

So what can you do to have the best chance of joining that rarified number? 

The first thing you can do to put yourself in a good position is, of course, to have good grades. On average, students entering med school have a 3.8 GPA. To earn such a grade, students must earn A’s in the large majority of their courses, especially those in science fields. 

In particular, admissions counselors expect to see strong grades in classes covering core competencies. A strong applicant will have a mastery of cellular and molecular biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, biochemistry, and other science fundamentals. 

But they must also have a strong understanding of mathematics, including biomathematics and matrix algebra, as well as the humanities, especially writing. 

Additionally, applicants accepted into Geffen Med have strong scores on their standardized tests. All students need to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which measures the medical knowledge that students developed as an undergrad. 

Among students entering Geffen Med, the average MCAT score is 517. That’s a 129 in the chemical and physical sciences, a 128 in critical analysis, a 130 in biological and biochemical sciences, and a 130 in psychological and social sciences. 

UCLA Medical School Notable Alumni

As one of the most important medical schools in the nation, UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine has been associated with a cavalcade of impressive figures. 

That list of figures starts with the great faculty members who taught at Geffen. Students at Geffen have learned from a Nobel laureate, innovative researchers, and leaders in the medical world. 

Current faculty members include Alcino J. Silva, the neuroscientist who received the Order of Prince Henry in 2008 for his work on the molecular cellular cognition of memory. 

In addition to teaching and working at Geffen Med, Dr. Joshua Prager has served as the president of the North American Neuromodulation Society and the director at large of the International Neuromodulation Society. 

But the real draw is the outstanding alumni produced by UCLA’s medical school. 

1991 graduate Eun-Sil Shelley Hwang has gone on to become the first female Chief of Breast Surgery at Duke Cancer Institute, where she also serves as the Mary and Deryl Hart Professor of Surgery. 

Her research on the disparities in breast cancer treatments between white and African American women has earned her recognition as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016.

After graduating from Geffen, Dr. Babak Azizzadeh has gone on to become the founder and president of the Facial Paralysis & Bells Palsy Foundation. A non-profit organization, the FPBPF treats those with facial nerve paralysis and Bell’s palsy. Under Dr. Azizzadeh’s leadership, the FPBPF has helped patients around the world. 

UCLA Medical School Ranking

Even if they don’t know it as the Geffen School of Medicine, most people know of UCLA’s Med school. That name recognition speaks not only to the school’s popularity but also to its quality as an institution of higher learning. 

It’s not just the general public who holds Geffen in high regard. Nearly every observing outlet places the school among the top twenty-five globally. 

These sources praise Geffen for the quality of research that it produces, the scholarly articles produced by its faculty members, and the consistent placements of its graduates.  

Among the many ranking outlets, the most respected is U.S. News & World Report. The magazine’s yearly university rankings have become the standard for institutions all over the world. Thanks to U.S. News’s comprehensive research and many analytical metrics, the site’s findings are trusted by all.

According to the findings of U.S. News, Geffen Med belongs among the best medical schools in the country. When ranked according to the best schools for research, UCLA ranks at #21. The school fairs even better on the list for primary care institutions, coming in at 12th position.

U.S. News also puts Geffen Med among the top ten in categories including anesthesiology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery. 

While U.S. News focuses on America, topuniversities.com covers the entire world. On this list, UCLA comes in at number seven, beating out University College London, Yale University, and Imperial College London. The site gives the school high marks for its academic reputation, its reputation as an employer, and faculty research citations. 

Should You Attend UCLA Medical School?

Geffen Med is one of the most exclusive medical schools in the world. As we saw earlier, it accepts only a small percentage of the thousands of people who apply for admission. Because Geffen sits near the top of nearly every ranking list available, the school can afford to be choosey. 

It will take a lot of work to be chosen. Not only do potential students need excellent grades and MCAT scores, but they must also have a strong application package, complete with great letters of recommendation and an impressive application letter. 

And if you get chosen and are offered admission to Geffen, then the real hard work begins. 

But if you’re up to that work, then you’ll surely have success. Geffen alumni include some of the greatest medical minds in the world, people who have shaped the way we care for one another. You’ll be at the cutting edge of medical research, working on procedures that will immediately make the world a better place. 

With a degree from Geffen, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on an exciting and rewarding career, whether it’s as a family doctor in a small town or as a researcher looking for new cures to diseases that still plague us. 

If that sounds like the life that you want, if you’re not afraid of the challenge or the hard work, then the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA is the place for you.