Accelerated Pathway to Medical Education (APME)

The Accelerated Pathway to Medical Education (APME) program offers a unique educational experience for talented students anticipating a career in medicine or medical science. APME is a combination undergraduate-graduate program that will take a student seven years to complete and will result in an MD degree upon graduation. Students apply to APME once they have entered their senior year of high school, have been accepted at the University of Arizona and meet the eligibility criteria. Declaring a science major is recommended to satisfy the undergraduate requirements for the MD program. Out of hundreds of applications, five students are accepted each year to the program.

Students will be required to complete required premedical courses during their undergraduate coursework. Students aren’t required to receive a bachelor’s degree but they will complete the undergraduate coursework that will prepare them for the MD curriculum before matriculating into the College of Medicine – Tucson after their third year in undergrad.

Being conditionally admitted to the program allows students to earn a reserved spot at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson MD program provided they meet specific academic, non-academic and professional requirements annually. The MCAT exam is not required for students in the APME program upon application or admission.

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Why Choose APME

Student Development

During their three years of undergraduate studies, APME students will participate in programming and workshops that focus on four crucial components for incoming medical students: community service, research, clinical work and leadership. They will complete a required number of hours in each category as well as workshops based on clinical experience, professional development and much more.

Medical School Resources and Networking

APME students will enjoy the resources offered at the College of Medicine – Tucson to help acclimate them to the College of Medicine – Tucson environment. They will meet current medical students, faculty and Banner personnel, have access to our simulation lab, and be able to join medical student clubs and affinity groups. Based on interest, APME students can be connected with a range of faculty or staff in a given specialty area to explore the field and potentially gain research opportunities.


The College of Medicine – Tucson thrives on peer and faculty mentorship. Students help the classes below them as well as with their own class as they navigate medical school. Each cohort of APME works with the one below, and each APME student is given a medical student mentor and a College of Medicine – Tucson faculty member mentor.

Students must be a high school senior (or equivalent) admitted to the University of Arizona. Students cannot take a gap year before applying to APME, and transfer students are not accepted.

We recommend students apply early to receive a decision earlier in the admissions process. The undergraduate application opened July 1, 2023, for students starting Fall 2024. Application processing time varies depending on the time of year and volume of applications. After September 15, decisions are released on a rolling basis two to four weeks from submission. The University of Arizona does not offer early admissions or early decisions.

Students must be a citizen of the United States or a U.S. permanent resident with a Form I-551, I-151 or I-551C. We accept both in-state and out-of-state students with no preference given to either group of applicants.

Students must have a minimum unweighted high school GPA of 3.7. SAT/ACT scores are not required for admission to the APME Program. If included in the application, an official College Board score will be required.

Before You Apply

Applicants must first apply to the University of Arizona and have an official admission decision. Applicants can select any undergraduate major on campus. APME students will commit to seven years in Tucson at the University of Arizona. APME does not offer gap years or transfers into the program.

Application Details

The application for the 2024-2025 cohort of APME will open in Fall 2023. Students will only see the application once all criteria are met and our system updates their application status, which may take at least 48-72 hours.

Once admitted, applicants will see APME under their Supplemental Applications tab, among the SALT Center, W.A. Franke Honors College and the Fine Arts applications. Applicants can view this both in their Common App and in the Future Wildcat Portal. Applicants will see all instructions once the application is available to them.

Once an application is submitted or the deadline has passed, we will not accept any changes or updates to applications, nor will we be able to provide any updates on application status.

What is on the application?

Each application includes:

  1. Personal statement (5,300 characters)
  2. Video introduction (optional)
  3. 4 essay questions
  4. 3-5 letters of recommendation 
  5. Unofficial high school transcript

Admissions Process

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson reviews applicants with a holistic approach when selecting incoming students. A single component of an application will not push a student ahead or hold them back. All materials will be reviewed to promote a fair and equitable consideration of an application, including the experiences, attributes and metrics. One portion of an application does not carry weight over another portion. Our admissions office looks at applicants beyond metrics to ensure that each student is a good fit for our mission and values and has a passion for medicine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is conditional admission?
Earning admission into the APME program means that applicants earn early conditional admission into the College of Medicine – Tucson. This admission is based on successfully completing APME requirements during the three years in the undergraduate program to secure the conditional admission along with other program requirements.

Who should letters of recommendation come from and how many should be submitted?
A minimum of three letters should be submitted from someone you have interacted with in an employment, volunteer or clinical setting. We recommend letters from teachers, professors or mentors who can best speak to your academic qualities and why you would be a good fit for the program. Applicants are allowed a maximum of five letters.

The supplemental questions state a minimum of 350 words but I’m able to submit more. Will my answer be cut off?
Your entire answer will be included in the application; however, the goal is to provide your answer in 350 words or less.

When will interviews take place?
Interviews will take place on March 8, 2024, and will be held via Zoom with about 30 applicants. We will not hold makeup interviews.

When will applicants be notified of their acceptance into the program?
Applicants will be notified on March 29, 2024, and will need to commit to the APME program by April 12, 2024.

What happens if I am not admitted to APME?
If you are not admitted to APME, you can work to potentially gain admission to the Honors Early Assurance Program (HEAP), which allows for academically talented students to gain early admission to the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

Do I still have to wait three years to start the MD program if I come in with a year or more of AP credit or dual enrollment/transfer credit?
Yes, you will still take three years of undergraduate courses. If you have your College of Medicine – Tucson prerequisites done, you can explore other areas you may be curious about.

If I am awarded a scholarship or have things to add to my application after I have submitted it, how can I add them?
Once your application is submitted, you will not be able to add, remove or change any content. Timing of application submission does not have any impact on chances of being admitted, so we recommend students take their time when completing their application.

Will students receive a bachelor’s degree in three years?
Earning a bachelor’s degree is not required in APME, but a student can choose to do so. They will complete undergraduate prerequisite coursework that will prepare them for the MD curriculum. After successfully completing the APME program, students will receive their MD degree in an additional four years.

APME students can choose to work toward their bachelor’s degree, but must earn their degree in the three years of their undergraduate studies, which could result in a heavier course load and potentially taking courses outside of the traditional fall/spring semesters.

Do I have to declare a College of Medicine – Tucson major?
No, you do not have to be in a College of Medicine – Tucson undergraduate major to participate in APME. However, there are courses that the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson requires for admission. Science-based majors are typically recommended to ensure all required courses are covered.

Are there additional fees or tuition for APME?
No, there are no outside fees or additional tuition in the APME program. While a student is in the first three years of their undergraduate studies, they will be charged tuition like any other student and nothing will look different for them. The same goes for when APME students begin medical school. There will be no additional fees, only the required tuition for all medical school students. APME students will be eligible to apply for scholarships, loans and grants while they are in the undergraduate classes as well as the medical school.

If you have additional questions, contact
Camille Chavez
Assistant Director of Admissions Pathways