Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Is CCLCM an MD/PhD program?

CCLCM is not an MD/PhD program. A thesis is required to graduate, but no dual degree is automatically granted. A master's degree may be pursued in selected areas (e.g., biomedical investigations, bioethics, public health and others). Students do not apply for the master’s degree programs until they have matriculated and have permission from their physician advisor.

What is the MD research thesis for CCLCM?

Students spend at least 12 months during their last two years (predominantly during year 4) on their mentored research project. This includes preparation and defense of a master’s level thesis.

The research follows the core clinical rotations. Students select mentors from CCLCM faculty based at Cleveland Clinic, or CWRU faculty based at the CWRU School of Medicine, University Hospitals of Cleveland, MetroHealth System and VA Medical Center. The thesis project can also involve collaborations with others outside of Cleveland, but there are restrictions and this requires approval by the Research Education Committee (REC). Students who are permitted to do research outside of Cleveland by the REC must have received grants/fellowships from NIH, Fulbright or Sarnoff.

Time for selection of a thesis project and preparation of the thesis is ample and does not reduce clinical experiences. During time devoted primarily to research, students are required to spend on average of a half day each week in clinical activities.

What is the grading system?

Throughout the five-year curriculum, students are promoted on the basis of meeting the performance standards for each of CCLCM's nine competencies. No grades are given except for courses that count toward master's degree requirements if a student is pursuing a dual degree.

Is there an early decision program?


Is preference given to Ohio residents?


Are transfer students accepted?

No. Because of the program’s unique features, students in advanced standing cannot be accepted as transfer students.

What criteria are used to evaluate applicants?

The admissions committee evaluates each candidate’s academic preparation (GPA, coursework, MCAT), research activity, letters of recommendations, life experiences, leadership, volunteer work (sacrifice for others), clinical or shadowing experiences, and demonstrated commitment to medicine. All of these factors drive decisions to interview and accept.

What is the application schedule and process?

Take special note of the deadlines, which could jeopardize your application if not met. Any changes in your status or information (e.g., address, email, phone number) should be reported to our office and to AMCAS.

Is there a preferred major of study?

No. Many of our students have a major in science. We have accepted those that majored in philosophy, music, math, languages and many other subjects.

Are laboratory courses considered prerequisites for medical school?

Laboratory courses are considered prerequisites. Most premedical courses have laboratory components that enhance and reinforce students’ knowledge of the scientific topic and may be helpful in preparing for the MCAT and for the basic sciences in medical school. Further, many schools require laboratory work to complete the requirements in a specific major.

Are premedical requirements taken at community colleges accepted?

We discourage students from taking all their science prerequisites from a community college. However, if some are taken there, the MCAT must show solid science scores.

Do I need to take biochemistry before I can apply to CCLCM?

No. Applicants can apply before fulfilling the biochemistry requirement but must complete the course prior to matriculation.

Are AP credits accepted for premedical requirements?

AP credits are acceptable for mathematics, physics and general chemistry. They are not accepted for organic chemistry or biology.

If a student does have AP biology credits, they may complete two upper-level biology courses to add to their preparation.

When should I take the MCAT?

Preferably sometime between January and August to allow you to submit your application in the summer.

What is the latest MCAT score considered for this year?

Please review MCAT requirements.

Am I at a disadvantage if I take (or retake) the MCAT in August and I am applying that year for medical school?

No, but taking the MCAT later than August will likely put you at a disadvantage. Complete your AMCAS and secondary applications (and submit your letters of recommendation) earlier while you are waiting for MCAT scores, so as not to delay your application’s review.

If I apply to CCLCM, will I automatically be considered for the CWRU University Program and the MSTP?

No, you must apply to each program. Please indicate this in your secondary application.

How long after I submit my AMCAS application will I receive word about my secondary application?

All applicants receive an email approximately two weeks after the verified AMCAS application. Full verification by AMCAS may take four to eight weeks. Once we receive your AMCAS application, we will invite you to complete our secondary application. The email contains a unique URL and password that lets you access our iApply system. We suggest that you complete your secondary application as soon as possible. Detailed instructions are provided online.

How do I apply for a dual degree?

After you have matriculated, you may apply to take graduate school courses with guidance from your physician advisor in September as long as you remain in good standing. The decision to pursue a dual degree can be made after you have taken several graduate school courses to determine how you handle the workload. Most students make a degree decision the first semester of year 2.

Are publications necessary for every applicant?

They are not required, but if you have given presentations (oral or posters) or have publications, they will enhance your application.

Is research experience necessary for applying?

Yes, hypothesis-driven research experience in a medical or non-medical field is a requirement for the CCLCM since our curriculum is designed to train physician investigators.

Can I send in the same letters of recommendation for CCLCM as I would for the University Program and MSTP?

Yes, but be sure to include a letter from a research advisor. Recommendation letters should also reflect your research background and experience.

How many letters of recommendation are required?

We recommend three to five letters of recommendation from people who know the candidate well and who are in a capacity to judge the student’s performance objectively (no family members or friends of family). At least two letters should be from science and research advisors. A letter from a research advisor is required for CCLCM. A premedical committee evaluation will be considered in lieu of the three to five letters required with the addition of a letter from a research advisor for CCLCM.

What are your interview procedures?

A personal interview is an essential component of our candidate selection. Applicants are considered for an interview once their file is complete. Unfortunately, our interview schedule cannot accommodate all outstanding candidates, and the granting of interviews remains at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

Acceptance offers are provided in early February.

Again, having all portions of the application and recommendation letters in during the summer enhances the possibility that an interview will be offered.

Who conducts the interviews?

Each candidate will have three 40-minute interviews (two with faculty/staff and one with a CCLCM student).

Can I send updates to my application?

Updates are accepted only from applicants in the categories listed below. If your application is placed into one of these categories, the ability to upload updates to your application will become available on the Status Page of your iApply account.

  • Invited for an Interview
  • Alternate List

Is the waiting list “ranked?”

No. As positions become available in the entering class, we offer acceptance to students on the alternate list on an individual basis. Since some students who eventually matriculate are accepted via the alternate list, being on the list should not be construed as an unfavorable decision by the Admissions Committee.

Will you review applications and invite applicants for an interview who have a pending MCAT score?

No. We will continue to require an MCAT as a part of the completed application. We will not invite an applicant for an interview without an MCAT score.

If I submit my AMCAS primary application early, will I be sent a secondary application in the temporary absence of an MCAT score?

Yes, this has always been our practice but the application will not be considered complete until the MCAT score arrives.

What makes for a completed application?

An application will be marked complete and ready for review when the following are received:

  • Complete and verified AMCAS primary application.
  • Complete and submitted CWRU Secondary application for CCLCM.
  • Paid CWRU Secondary application fee.
  • MCAT score received.
  • All letters of recommendation received.

Is CASPer required for application to CCLCM?

We do not require CASPer.

Will you be taking COVID-related disruptions into consideration as you make admissions decisions?

Yes! Our application screening teams and Admissions Committee will be taking these disruptions into consideration as they review applications. We are aware of the multiple issues that have resulted, including pass/fail grading, online or cancelled labs, interrupted experiences, etc.

Please visit AAMC's MCAT site for additional information regarding the changes, new course requirements, preview guides, and how to best prepare for the test.

Grades and MCAT score are not the only criteria for admission. Experience in hypothesis-driven research, personal accomplishments, leadership potential, volunteer efforts for the benefit of others, medical shadowing and group experience are extremely important. Curiosity, passion for learning, humility, integrity and professionalism are key traits that we look for in selecting our students.

International Student FAQs

International Student FAQs

Does CCLCM accept applicants with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status?

Yes. CCLCM accepts students with DACA status.

Can international students get accepted?

Yes. One degree (bachelor, master or PhD) must be earned from a school in the U.S. or Canada. The applicant must reside in the U.S. or Canada for a minimum of one year.

Although the full-tuition scholarship is given to international students, they need to determine how they will cover living expenses particularly because non-U.S. citizens have limited financial aid available to them. Most medical schools, including the CWRU School of Medicine, require proof of payment upfront for one year. International students often take loans to cover costs, and these loans must be cosigned by a U.S. citizen.

The requirements for acceptance to medical school are listed in the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) handbook, which you can locate at the American Association of Medical Colleges ( We require the MCAT from all applicants. More details for acceptance into U.S. and Canadian medical schools can be found at the AAMC website.