10 Med Schools With the Lowest Acceptance Rates

By Ilana Kowarski, March 12, 2019

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or grad school search.

Many children dream of becoming doctors when they grow up. And it's understandable why: The medical profession offers the opportunity to both heal the sick and earn a six-figure salary. But the sad truth is that many people who try to go to medical school are turned away because there are more applications than seats at these institutions.

Among the 118 ranked medical schools that reported their fall 2018 acceptance rate to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average was 6.8 percent. That means competition is fierce for medical school hopefuls, many of whom feel intense stress when attempting to distinguish themselves from others with high GPAs and MCAT scores during the admissions process.

The average acceptance rate among the 10 med schools that admitted the smallest proportion of prospective students was 2.4 percent. The University of Arizona—Tucson had the lowest rate, admitting only 1.9 percent of those who applied.

Among the 10 institutions, the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California—Los Angeles received the most applications – 14,503 – and issued only 303 acceptances.

There are, however, some medical schools where the odds of acceptance are better. The University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences had the highest acceptance rate among ranked schools that reported these data, admitting 20.5 percent of applicants.

Below is a list of the 10 ranked medical schools that accepted the lowest percentage of prospective students in fall 2018. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.


University of Arizona—Tucson   9,530   181   1.9%   65 (tie)   62 (tie)
University of California—Los Angeles (Geffen)   14,503   303   2.1%   6 (tie)   5
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine (Alix) (MN)   9,027   187   2.1%   9 (tie)   44 (tie)
Florida State University   7,178   169   2.4%   93-120   91-120
Stanford University (CA)   6,894   175   2.5%   3 (tie)   48 (tie)
Wake Forest University (NC)   10,449   260   2.5%   50 (tie)   64 (tie)
Howard University (DC)   9,167   230   2.5%   93-120   91-120
Georgetown University (DC)   13,679   357   2.6%   48 (tie)   91-120
Brown University (Alpert) (RI)   9,814   278   2.8%   36 (tie)   26 (tie)
Rowan University (Cooper) (NJ)   6,708   203   3.0%   93-120   91-120

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News Medical School Compass to find admissions data, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed 185 medical schools for our 2018 survey of research and primary care programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News' data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Medical Schools rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News' rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The acceptance rate data above are correct as of March 12, 2019.

Updated on April 3, 2019: This article has been updated to reflect how ranks for schools that fall below the top three-fourths of their ranking category are displayed.

Corrected on March 18, 2019: A previous version of this article misidentified Rowan University.