Frequently Asked Questions
Cost of Program
What courses do PPP students take?
Students take courses that satisfy medical school admission requirements. Nearly all medical schools in the country require the following prerequisite courses: one year of biology (with lab), one year of general chemistry (with lab), one year of organic chemistry (with lab) and one year of physics (with lab), which is fulfilled by our core curriculum of BISC 120/220, CHEM 105aL/105bL, CHEM 322aL/322bL and PHYS 135aL/135bL, respectively.
Some medical schools may also require Calculus, Molecular biology, Biochemistry, and Statistics, which may be taken at USC as upper division electives or through extension courses at another campus.
Are there special courses set up specifically for PPP students?
No. PPP students take the same courses as undergraduate students do. These are competitive courses presented in large lecture format with smaller laboratory sections. Typically, these science lectures have a few hundred students in them while the laboratory sections range from 12-20 students per lab.
Can I take more than 2 courses per semester?
Typically, our students take two courses per semester. These are intensive courses, each with a laboratory component, and ample study time is absolutely necessary for success. Considering time devoted to extracurricular medical experiences, two courses denote a rigorous workload. Rarely, a student may opt to take three courses in a semester. This is not our recommended schedule for students and must be cleared with the faculty advisor.
Does the program offer any MCAT preparation?
While the program does not sponsor a particular mode of preparation, we do provide a $2000 stipend for our students to enroll in a review of their choice. Preparatory classes provided by companies such as Kaplan, Princeton Review and Berkeley Review are the most common form of review, and the cost for such courses ranges from $1,800 to $2,500. In many cases, these prep courses are held at locations near or at USC. Because many PPP students are usually preparing for the MCAT at the same time, it is not uncommon for students to sign up for courses together and to study for the test together.
Can I work while in the program?
The pre-med curriculum is intensive and requires a good deal of time both inside and outside of the classroom in order for a student to succeed. All of our students also devote time to community outreach, research and clinical volunteering experiences. As such, although some students do manage to work on a part-time basis (12-15 hours per week), working any additional hours is risky. Also, it is important that any part-time work be flexible and able to be done around class time and examination schedules. Becoming the best applicant possible should be the top priority of a PPP student and must be planned for accordingly.
How successful are students in the program at matriculating to medical school?
Since its founding in 1998, the PPP has sent 75% of its students to medical school on first applications. Including second applications, the overall success rate is 85%.
What medical schools have students in the program been accepted to?
Please refer to the recent placements of our students..
Once I've begun the program at USC, may I take some of the requirements at another school?
After a student has joined the program, all core classes not yet completed must be taken solely at USC to remain in good standing. These classes are listed on the "Core Curriculum" part of the website. Students may choose to take peripheral requirements, such as biochemistry and calculus, and any class not listed under the "Core Curriculum" at USC or the school of their choice.
How many courses do I need to take to be eligible for the program's letter of recommendation?
In order to be eligible for Dr. Singer's letter of recommendation, a student must take at least six classes at USC and complete the core curriculum. Once a student has started the program, s/he must complete all remaining core classes only at USC to be eligible for this letter.
I did not get into medical school this year. Am I eligible to apply for your program?
No. Our program is designed for students that have not yet completed the majority of the premed curriculum. Therefore, we are unable to accept anyone who has already completed a majority of the science coursework, taken the MCAT, or applied to medical school.
I want to go to dental school. Am I eligible to enter the program?
Yes. The majority of our students are premedical students. However, we do take pre-dental and pre-veterinary students. We do not take pre-pharmacy students or any other pre-allied-health professions students.
How competitive is the admissions process?
Ours is a competitive program which seeks applicants who have demonstrated academic excellence in a competitive undergraduate program. Typically our students have completed a liberal arts degree, with a few exceptions. The minimum GPA requirement for applicants applying is 3.0. However, the majority of students admitted to the program have a GPA of 3.25 or above.
Furthermore we look for students who show a commitment to medicine. Many of the applicants who are accepted have had prior volunteer or work experience in healthcare.
What are the GPA requirements for admission into the program?
Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA to be eligible for the program. However, the majority of the students admitted have a 3.25 GPA or better.
It has been several years since I've been in college. How can I best prepare for the program?
Because our students have had little or no college-level science prior to entering our program, it is not necessary to fulfill any premedical requirements before applying to PPP. However, applicants who are unfamiliar with the sciences are advised to take preparatory courses, such as Pre-Calculus, Introduction to Chemistry and/or Conceptual Physics. Preparatory courses are beneficial for students who have not taken a science or math course in a long time and are good way of building up quantitative skills necessary for the pre-med coursework. In some cases, applicants who have demonstrated a strong, if limited science background are instead advised to do self-study in Pre-Calculus and Chemistry in order to re-familiarize themselves with their quantitative skills.
Beyond this, applicants are also advised to begin some clinical volunteering to further their exposure to the medical profession. Volunteer programs are available in most hospitals and often in community clinics.
Ultimately, the admissions committee looks for applicants who are committed to the profession of medicine and who can succeed in an academically competitive environment.
I've already taken several of the pre-med requirements. Am I still eligible to apply for the program?
Our program is designed for students who have had little or no college-level science coursework. While we can take students who have taken 2 or 3 courses (and have performed well in those courses) students who have taken more than 3 pre-med courses are not eligible for our program. A minimum of 6 of the Core Curriculum science courses must be taken at USC.
I am not a U.S. citizen. Am I still eligible for the program?
We do not accept applications from non-citizens or non-permanent residents. International students who are here on a student visa are not eligible, even when they graduated from a US college. Canadian students are an exception.
I attended college outside of the United States. Am I still eligible to enter the program?
Eligible students must have received a baccalaureate degree from an accredited American college or university.
I have some coursework from an international university. Do I need to submit a transcript evaluation?
If you attended a standard study abroad semester, where the grades are shown on your home university transcript, there is no need for an additional transcript or an evaluation. If you did a full year abroad or did independent coursework outside a study abroad program, the postbacc premed program requires an evaluation by International Education Research Foundation (IERF). If admitted to the program a full transcript from the international university will be required.
I have been out of college for several years. Do I still need to get letters of recommendation from a former professor?
If you have been out of college for many years, a letter from an employer may be sent in place of a letter from a professor.
How do I apply?
The preliminary application may be accessed from the link labeled “Apply” in the navigation bar on left-hand side of the screen and submitted electronically via this website.
To complete your file, official transcripts from all colleges attended as well as two letters of recommendation must be sent to the following address:
University of Southern California
Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences
ATTN: Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program
3620 South Vermont Avenue, KAP 358
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2520
If you choose to download and fill out the preliminary application by hand, it may also be sent to the address listed above.
When is the application deadline for the program?
Students may begin the program at three different times throughout the year: Fall, Spring or Summer semester. To be considered for entrance in a particular semester, all admissions materials must be received by our office by the deadline. Admissions materials include the preliminary application and personal statement, official transcripts from all colleges attended, and two letters of recommendation.
|Semester you are applying for:||Application Deadline:|
How will my file be evaluated?
Our committee evaluates an applicant's file based on several factors including undergraduate GPA, standardized test scores, the strength of the personal statement and letters of recommendation, prior success in science coursework and prior work and/or volunteer experience. We take ample time to evaluate all the aspects of an applicant's file before making an admission decision.
I've submitted my application. What happens now?
Once we receive all of your application materials, including official transcripts from all colleges attended and two letters of recommendation, your file will be reviewed by the admissions committee. The committee will decide either to invite you for an interview, to put your file on hold or to deny your application. The file review process may take several weeks so we ask for your patience during this time.
What is the cost of the program?
I'm not from here. What is the typical cost of living in Los Angeles?
Is there financial aid available?
For answers to these and other questions about financial aid, including contact information, click on the link below.
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
Students who receive Federal Direct Loans (Stafford Loans) are subject to the SAP policy at USC as described at
For SAP purposes, PPP students are treated as Graduate Visitors completing graduate preparatory work and the SAP policy for Graduate Students applies. If it is necessary to file an SAP Appeal Form, PPP students should use the form for Graduate Students.