The AMCAS Application

AMCAS stands for American Medical Colleges Application Service. The Primary Application is an online application to most allopathic medical schools. The Texas public medical schools have their own centralized application service (TMDSAS). AMCAS is a not-for-profit application service that simplifies your Primary Application in four ways.


  1. Centrally collects your information in a standard format so that you only have to complete one application for admission to any U.S. or Canadian medical school
  2. Collects all your transcripts from every post-high school you attended
  3. Verifies these records and calculates your certified “AMCAS GPA”, thus providing medical schools with a common comparison across all applicants; and then
  4. Attaches, for your designated schools, your MCAT scores.

When you submit your Primary Application, you pay an application fee to AMCAS to cover the cost of these services.

What AMCAS does is very important, but you also need to understand what AMCAS does not do. It does not screen applications or make admissions decisions.  And it is not involved in the secondary application process. Decisions are made solely by the medical schools based on individual school criteria and processes. Use this link to find the schools that participate in AMCAS.

Study Abroad and Foreign Transcripts

The application services are not equipped to evaluate foreign transcripts. They will not accept transcripts from foreign institutions in which you were enrolled. If, however, you participated in a study abroad program through a domestic institution other than Duke (e.g., New York University), you will be required to submit a transcript from the sponsoring domestic institution (e.g., New York University). Duke study abroad students who participate in a “Duke in” program (e.g., Duke in Spain), will have those courses (and grades) listed directly on their Duke transcript and these courses will be calculated into your AMCAS GPA. 

Non-AMCAS Schools

The University of Texas system has developed its own common application service. It covers all the Texas allopathic and osteopathic medical schools as well as the dental schools in Texas. However, Baylor College of Medicine does not participate in TMDSAS; instead, Baylor College of Medicine uses AMCAS. See for further details about TMDSAS.

The information below is based on the 2017 application:

On May 2, 2017, the AMCAS application will be posted to The application will then be available for you to begin entering your information. You can work through it in multiple sessions, doing however much you want and then saving the information you have entered.  AMCAS will "go live" for you to submit your completed application form on June 6, 2017. 

There are 9 sections in the application. In general, you can work on them out of order, but in some cases you must complete one section before moving to another. The sections are:

  1. Identifying Information
  2. Schools Attended
  3. Biographical Information
  4. Course Work
  5. Work and Activities
  6. Letters of Evaluation
  7. Medical Schools
  8. Essay(s)
  9. Standardized Tests

You will need to submit to AMCAS, AADSAS, AACOMAS, and VMCAS an official transcript from each institution at which you attempted any college level work, even if you took the course pass/fail, audited it or withdrew from it.

In order for your transcript to be official, it must be sent directly from the Registrar’s Office of the college or university where you took your class(es).  Please note that the HPA does not send your transcripts to the application services. The sending/receiving of transcripts can be the source of frustration and delay in the application process. But it does not have to be if you would please heed two very important pieces of advice:

  • Deal with transcripts as early as possible. Order a copy of each of your transcripts for your own use from Duke and any other school where you have done college level work. Make sure they are correct. Have updated transcripts at hand when you complete the applications. In this way you will see exactly what the application services/schools see on your transcript. Note that you should use your Duke transcript and NOT an academic history as printed from ACES. There are some difference that may cause problems.
  • Use the transcript request form provided by AMCAS as part of the application. In order to access this form, you will need to first complete the “identifying information” section and the “schools attended” section of the application. Doing so will pre-populate the transcript request form with information on the school (e.g., Duke), including the mailing address of the Registrar’s Office and your AAMC ID number. The Registrar’s Office will attach the transcript request form to the transcript that they send to AMCAS. The form will be used to help match the transcript with your application, reducing the chance for transcripts to be lost and avoiding delays in processing.

Although AMCAS will not begin to process applications before the submission date (June 6, 2017), it will accept transcripts beginning May 2, 2017 and you can have the transcript sent before you submit your application. For transcripts that are complete (e.g., from a school at which you previously took a course or courses), you can go ahead and have them sent after May 2, 2017. If you are a 2017 graduate or a rising senior, you should have your transcript sent as soon as your spring 2017 grades are posted on the transcript. An exception to this is if you are taking a course(s) in the first session of summer school. In that case you may decide that you want the grade(s) from that course(s) included on the transcript that you have submitted to schools, and so you will need to wait to submit your transcript and your application until after that grade(s) is reported and posted. We do not suggest waiting for grades from second summer session. You can always send an updated transcript directly to schools at a later date. (Updated transcripts, however, cannot be uploaded to AMCAS.)

After you submit your web-based application, AMCAS will “verify” it. They will be compare your application with the transcript or transcripts that you have submitted. If there are discrepancies you will be notified and the processing of your application will be delayed. To prevent such discrepancies, you should use a copy of each of your transcripts to complete the AMCAS academic record section.  If, after your application has been verified, you find discrepancies or you disagree with changes made during the verification process, you may submit an Academic Change Request to be reviewed by AMCAS.  After the review, the request can either be granted or denied. 

The application services and the schools themselves will be communicating with you primarily through E-mail. You must be accessible to them at all times in case there are problems with your application (as well as to receive communications directly from schools later in the process).

As part of your AMCAS application, you will designate the medical schools to which you are applying.  AMCAS will forward your application electronically to the medical schools that you designate on your application.

After AMCAS sends your application to the medical schools you designate, medical schools then contact you if they would like for you to complete a “supplemental” or “secondary” application. Schools generally charge an additional application fee for completing a supplemental application. Some schools invite all applicants to complete a supplemental application. Some conduct an initial screen of applicants and invite only a portion of the applicants to complete a supplemental application. Some state-supported schools invite all applicants who are residents of the state in which the school is located to complete a supplemental application. Most supplemental applications are now web-based rather than hard copy.

If you are applying to any schools that do not use the common application service, you will need to work with them directly either through their own web-based application or whatever system they have developed.