There are eight medical schools in California. Five of these are operated by the University of California (Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco). The three private schools are University of Southern California, Stanford University, and Loma Linda University. Preparation for admission requires high scholarship in three or usually four years of premedical study.

Typically medical schools will evaluate an applicant's abilities and personal qualities through several factors: college coursework and GPA (both cumulative GPA and science GPA); scores on admissions tests (e.g., MCAT); personal statement and interview; in-depth letters of recommendation; practical volunteer experience in a health profession; and research experience in biological medical, behavioral, or physical sciences. Extracurricular activities such as student clubs, organizations, athletics, and community involvement are recommended.

Students are advised to make normal progress toward a baccalaureate degree in a major of their choice. Admission requirements may vary from one school to another, and the following courses are a composite of minimum admission requirements to medical schools in general:

Lower-division Preparation: BIO 3A, 3B; CHEM 1A, 1B, 12A, 12B; PHYS (2A and 2B) or (4A and 4B) (preferred); MATH 3A, 3B; ENG 1A, 1B and an additional English course.

Detailed information about the offerings, requirements, and selection process should be obtained from the bulletin of the medical school in which the student is interested.