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How Many Letters of Recommendation – Medical School

The question of how many letters of recommendation for medical school comes up all the time. Here, we explain how many letters you should obtain for your medical school application. As stated on the uw.edu website:

Each school has a different requirement for letters of recommendation; some will require three letters from faculty and no more, some will require more, some will allow you to submit up to five, etc. You must individually consult each school’s website to find out what the requirements are (as you’re filling out the letters of recommendation section in the AMCAS primary, it will give you links to some of the schools’ websites that specify these requirements; however, many of the links are broken).

Minimum Requirements

Before you apply, you must identify at least four people to write letters of recommendation for you. These people must be:

– 2 faculty members who taught a hard science course that you took (i.e. chemistry, biology, physics, engineering, computer science, etc.)
– 1 faculty member who taught a non-science course (i.e. humanities, social sciences, or fine arts)
– 1 non-faculty member, such as a volunteer coordinator, program adviser, employer, etc.

Some schools will accept a letter from a research principal investigator (PI) in lieu of one of the science faculty’s. If you have enjoyed and benefited from a research experience, then definitely ask your PI for a letter of recommendation. Also, some schools will accept up to six letters of recommendation, so it’s a good idea to collect some letters beyond the minimum requirements listed above.

If you have spent several years working between your undergraduate education and applying for medical school, some schools may require that you submit one or two letters from employers or other evaluators to speak to what you’ve done during that time.