Frequently Asked Questions

Most applicants apply to medical school during the summer before their senior year in college. Some applicants have already graduated. The rule to remember is that applicants must apply one year before expected matriculation. Application season begins May 1.

Annually between May 1 and October 30. The earlier you can submit your application within that time frame, the better.

The Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) is the main application processing service for all medical schools in Texas with the exception of Baylor College of Medicine. You must visit this web site and fill out their application in order to be considered for an interview at TTUHSC El Paso Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. Their web address is

Although there is no set formula for medical school admission success, in addition to good grades, a competitive MCAT score and health care exposures/experiences are among other factors considered to be beneficial.

YES! Grades are important when applying to medical school, but they are not everything. If your grades are not as competitive as applicant averages (GPA: 3.7; SGPA: 3.6;

MCAT: 508), it is beneficial to have strong health care exposure, solid letters of evaluation, and an upward grade trend to name a few other factors. There is no single factor that will result in an invitation to interview or exclusion thereof.

No. All Applications receive due consideration. Applicants selected to visit for interviews are promptly notified.

Interviews for the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine begin in early August and end in mid February. Applicants who are selected to visit for interviews are notified promptly.

The Foster School of Medicine will be conducting most of its candidate interviews virtually. Details on the interview format will be shared upon receipt of invitation to interview.

No. Interviews for the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine begin in early August and end in mid February.

Letters from a physician or faculty professor at your educational institutions are preferred. Other health care professionals can be used, as long as your desire for medicine can be described by those individuals. It is important to make sure that the individuals or committee submitting letters on your behalf know you and your desire for pursuing medicine. Visit the TMDSAS (main application) web site, here, to find out more.

Letters of evaluation are submitted through TMDSAS. You must let the service know who will be submitting your formal letters of evaluation. They will come from either a Health Professions Advisory Committee at your school or from three independent sources from the faculty or community.

When applying, have your college or university submit transcripts to TMDSAS on your behalf when you initially apply, and every time there is an update with your courses and/or GPA.

If you are accepted to the Paul L. Foster Medical School (PLFSOM), a final version of your transcripts must be submitted to the PLFSOM Office of Admissions before your first class day.

Please send all official transcripts to

Additional documents and/or updates must be submitted through the TMDSASNo letters of recommendation, updated information or letters of intent will be accepted by the Office of Admissions. 

No. Letters of intent do not enhance your chances of being selected either for interviews or admissions.

There is no age limitation for applying to medical school. Many people attending medical school have already had a prior career.

Research is not required for admission to our medical school. If you do have research experience, it is important that you are familiar with every detail of your project, including its protocol. Interview questions often arise from listed research experience.

No. It does not improve your chances of being selected from the alternate list by calling to ask about your placement on the list or reminding admissions officers about your qualifications. If you are placed on the alternate list, you will be promptly notified. If you are selected from the alternate list, you will be promptly notified.

Please contact the Office of Student Affairs:
Phone: 915-215-4010
Fax: (915) 783-5137
Address: 5001 El Paso Drive
El Paso, TX 79905

For applicants not accepted it is important to remain active during the time between applications and improve those areas of your application that may be weak. Although all applicants are different, some people choose to take post-baccalaureate courses, and/or retake the MCAT. Applicants are encouraged to contact admissions officers at the various medical schools to discover the areas that need improvement immediately after the admissions season ends in January. Reapplication to medical school is not held against applicants to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine, however the new application should demonstrate improvement in any areas of weakness.

Applicants to the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine are encouraged to take the MCAT by the June administration in the year they apply. Please refer to the AAMC MCAT exam website for more information on scheduling and release dates.

The answer is essentially yes. Although all of the documentation concerning admissions will indicate that only 90 hours of coursework is required, such applicants would have to be extremely exceptional students. An example would be a student with virtually perfect exam scores and grades and an unparalleled health care exposure. This is a very, very rare occurrence.

Yes. Most people applying to medical school are biology, biochemistry, microbiology or chemistry majors, but being a science major is definitely not a requirement. If an applicant is a non-science major, then extra upper-division science courses are recommended.

There were 4,473 applicants for the class matriculating in 2019.

The Texas Tech School of Medicine was established in 1969 for the West Texas region. El Paso hosted a regional campus since 1973 and provided clinical training for a large portion of Texas Tech's School of Medicine students. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at El Paso matriculated its first freshman class in July 2009.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso
Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
5001 El Paso Drive, Medical Education Building Ste. 1201
El Paso, Texas 79905

The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine is committed to excellence in medical education founded on modern scientific principles, strong ethical values and sensitivity to our community needs. Our integrated curriculum, which received a commendation from the LCME for its clinical orientation, teaches the basic sciences with relevance to clinical presentations assigned to organ-system based units. Clinical presentations are the ways in which a patient presents to a physician. Students learn the anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and other basic sciences concepts and content needed to understand specific clinical presentations. Guided instruction by discipline experts through lecture, small group and laboratory exercises is utilized to establish this relevance. This approach has been shown to enhance knowledge comprehension, improve retention and promote the development of diagnostic reasoning skills like those used by experienced physicians. The first two years of the curriculum consists of four major courses; scientific principles of medicine (organ-system units), medical skills, masters' colloquium, and Society, Community and the Individual (SCI). The grading system is pass/fail. Preparation for the USMLE exams include cumulative unit exams and periodic use of the comprehensive basic sciences exam. In an effort to support our medical students along the way, each class is divided into learning communities called colleges, where college masters monitor student performance on a weekly basis. All students engage in a language immersion course in conversational and medical Spanish. Application of skills and knowledge learned is applied early, as students are exposed to patient care within a month of arriving on campus. The third and fourth year of the curriculum provide richly diverse and varied patient care experiences in major specialties and subspecialties.

The Joint Admission Medical Program is a pipeline to medical school for disadvantaged students involving a partnership between nine medical schools and 65 public and private undergraduate institutions in Texas. This program allows for students to receive special mentoring by JAMP faculty directors. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine has matriculated JAMP students since 2012. For further information contact

In general, emphasis is placed on undergraduate performance in science courses rather than graduate courses. Rejected applicants are not encouraged to obtain a graduate degree for the purpose of enhancing their chances of admission unless the program leads toward an alternative career goal.

Each interviewer has his/her own distinctive interview style. However, most will be interested in determining your maturity, motivation for the study of medicine, problem solving skills, ability to relate to people, and ability to express your ideas in an organized manner. Most interviewers also expect you to know something about current social, economic, and ethical issues in medicine, specifically as they relate to Texas.

Financial status by itself is not a consideration in selecting students. In conjunction with other factors on the TMDSAS application it may help determine a level of disadvantaged status which may be considered in the admissions process.

Yes, the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine is a state institution and is required to admit an entering class of 90% Texas residents.

Foreign nationals must have permanent resident status in the United States.

Applicants for advanced standing to the third year must be Texas Residents who are enrolled in an LCME accredited school. Applicants are considered on an individual and space available basis, must be in good standing and must have passed USMLE STEP 1 with the passing score reported to our school prior to the day of matriculation. Guidelines and an application form to apply for advanced standing can be found in the admissions section of our web page, here

Our school does not consider applications for transfer to the second year.

As of May 1, 2013, the PLFSOM requires a Secondary Application. There is a $60 nonrefundable fee.

Medical students begin their experiences with patients in their first semester of their first year at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine.

Yes. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine offers a limited number of competitive academic scholarships. The scholarships are based on merit as determined by the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine Admissions Committee. These scholarships are awarded prior to matriculation based on funding from year to year. These scholarships are renewable for up to four years contingent on successful advancement to the next year of medical studies. Numbers of scholarships and award amounts may vary. Please refer to our Student Affairs web page for more information on other types of available scholarships and financial aid.

Details on the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine can be found on our statistics page.

Yes, you must complete undergraduate degree before matriculation into program.

You do not need to have your prerequisite done before you apply to medical school. However, all prereq courses should be reflected in your completed or planned course work submitted to TMDSAS and you will need all prerequisite courses completed as entered in your TMDSAS application before you matriculate into medical school.