Is UAB A Good Medical School? (Major Pros & Cons)

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine (UAB) is a public med school established in 1859. The principal campus of the School of Medicine at UAB is in Birmingham, and it has branch campuses in Huntsville, Montgomery, and the University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences in Tuscaloosa.

They claim to prepare their students to become highly qualified, compassionate physicians and offer various clinical, educational, and research opportunities! So let’s find out what they deliver.

Is UAB a Good Medical School?

UAB is a great med school. It offers cutting-edge scientific research opportunities, a combined-degree option, fair tuition for in-state, an affordable cost of living in Birmingham, and a great campus. Its only real disadvantages are its competitiveness and the unfriendly acceptance of out-of-state students.

But if you’re interested in finding out more about UAB, and diving a little deeper into its pros and cons, read on…

Interested in learning more about specific medical school pros and cons? Check out our Medical School Guides here – we cover all osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) schools.

Why UAB Medical School? Major Pros

1. Research

UAB offers its students tons of opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research.

Heersink provides an excellent atmosphere for innovative biomedical research, from introductory science to clinical trial excellence.

It was the fastest-growing NIH-funded institution between 2015 and 2019.

2. Highly ranked specialties

UAB has many highly ranked specialties, including the studies of AIDS, geriatrics, rural medicine, primary care, and internal medicine.

3. Combined Degrees

Students at the UAB Medicine can earn an MD or joint degrees that combine an MD with a Ph.D. or master of public health.

4. Extracurriculars

Beyond the course requirements, UAB med students have many ways to advance their studies, mainly through student organizations.

And there are many of them, including local chapters of national organizations, medical interest groups, community service clubs, and other organizations, such as the medical school’s very own vocal performing group.

Full list here.

5. Low Cost of Living

The cost of living is very cheap in Birmingham, a benefit of Alabama medical schools. It is reasonable to expect to pay between $400 and $600 for a one-bedroom apartment near UAB Birmingham medical school.

6. Prestige & Ranking

The UAB School of Medicine ranks among the nation’s best medical schools, according to the 2019 US News and World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools Rankings.”

It ranked #37 in primary care, #32 in medical research, and #15 in obstetrics and gynecology.

7. Downtown city life

Downtown Birmingham has something for everyone. Med students can enjoy dinner at the Pizitz Food Hall, great shows at the Alabama Theatre, and baseball games at Region’s Field.

8. Campus

UAB Medicine’s beautiful urban campus is centralized in a large university complex over 80 city blocks. Much of that space is dedicated to clinical facilities, research laboratories, classrooms, and surgical suites. It is home to the award-winning UAB Recreation Center and lush green spaces.

A great plus at Heersink is the fact students can complete clinical training in Birmingham or at other regional campuses in Huntsville, Montgomery, and Tuscaloosa.

9. Training facilities

The first two years of preclinical training occur at the campus in Birmingham, located in the center of UAB and surrounded by world-class medical facilities UAB Hospital, the Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, and Children’s of Alabama.

But UAB Medicine has nine freestanding locations too, including nationally-recognized facilities like UAB Hospital, The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital, UAB Women & Infants Center, and the UAB Callahan Eye Hospital.

10. Support curriculum planning

The Office of Undergraduate Medical Education supports students in planning, implementing, and evaluating their undergraduate medical curriculum for the MD degree. They work with clinical leadership and collaborate with other SOM units.

11. Tuition

UAB has competitive tuition for instate students: $29,998, lower than the national average.

Out-of-state students, on the other hand, have a $62,714 yearly tuition.

12. Diversity

UAB commits to promoting a diverse presence of trainees while promoting a welcoming and inclusive culture and environment. Among the institution initiatives we highlight:

  1. Diversity and Inclusion Mentorship Program: a mentorship portal designed to facilitate underrepresented students to find and connect with faculty mentors from similar backgrounds.
  2. The Underrepresented in Medicine Housestaff Committee (URiM Housestaff): serves as a home for Asian-Pacific Islander, Black/African American, LGBTQ+, Hispanic, Women, and Native American residents and fellows to grid.

Why UAB Medical School? Major Cons

1. Competitive

As with any Alabama medical school, the University of Alabama at Birmingham admissions are very competitive. In 2021, there were 5,774 applications, but only 186 enrolled.

That makes UAB medicine’s acceptance rate about 3.2%.

2. Not friendly for out-of-the-state students

UAB admits applicants from all over the United States, but they strongly prefer legal residents of Alabama.

Important UAB Med School Data


2021’s data says a successful applicant’s average total GPA was 3.78, and the average MCAT score was 509.

Match List

The 2022 class celebrated an incredibly successful Match Day, with 100 percent of students matching into residency positions.

What Are The Entry Requirements For UAB? 

UAB med school has very similar selection factors to other good medical schools, including academic achievement, community service, and compassion.

Applicants to UAB must complete the AMCAS and UAB secondary applications. To receive the invitation to the secondary application, med applicants must achieve the minimum requirements in the MCAT Score, GPA, Citizenship, and Credit Hours.

  • MCAT Score: 495 total MCAT are typically eligible.
  • GPA: Alabama residents must have a 3.0 science (BCPM) GPA at the undergraduate level, and out-of-state must have a 3.3 science (BCPM) GPA,
  • Citizenship: Only US citizens and permanent residents are considered.
  • Credit Hours: at least 90 hours of undergraduate course credit from an accredited US college or university on the AMCAS application.

UAB Early Decision Program

High school seniors can jump-start their med school dreams by applying for the UAB School of Medicine’s Early Medical School Admission Program, which permits them to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and an MD.

Is UAB A Good Medical School? Reddit’s Opinion

Here are some of the best comments on the pros and cons of UAB Medical School found over on Reddit…

Positive Opinion On UAB Medical School

Birmingham is a great city to live in

Birmingham is a pretty cool, growing city! I grew up in Birmingham and my family still lives there. I go to college somewhere else in the state, but I still go back over the holidays. When I get around to applying, UAB will probably be one of my top choices.


Good school, great opportunities, and cheaper…

UAB without a second thought! Very good school, great career opportunities, and you won’t be tens of thousands of dollars in debt! The decision couldn’t be easier.

– u/guitarfluffy

Negative Opinion On UAB Medical School

The school is not friendly to out-of-state students

UAB is a great school. As an OOS resident with no ties you can still be competitive but you need to have killer stats and research...Also beware the OOS tuition is very very high (65K+ for tuition) and it is close to impossible to become an in state resident. I was accepted there as OOS and chose not to go for this reason.

– u/wildcatmd

Do you have any strong ties to the area/state? They are not OOS friendly and their secondary application is a bitch to fill out – expect a mini version of the AMCAS there.

– u/Byakugan360

Conclusion: Is UAB A Good Medical School? 

UAB is a great med school. It offers state-of-the-art scientific research opportunities, a combined-degree option, fair tuition for in-state, an affordable cost of living in Birmingham, and excellent clinical facilities and extracurriculars. Out-of-state students might have a rough time here, however, especially in terms of increased tuition and competitive preference for in-state.