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Admission to the School of Health Professions is contingent upon acceptance to one of the programs. Each program has specific prerequisite course requirements to graduate with a Certificate or Bachelor of Science Degree. Students seeking a baccalaureate degree from MD Anderson must complete a minimum of 130 semester credit hours of which 42 general education "core" semester credit hours must be transferred to MD Anderson from an accredited college or university with acceptable transferability of credit.

Admission is criteria include previous grade point average, personal references and personal interviews. Admission is competitive. Achieving the minimum criteria does not guarantee admission into the School of Health Professions.

Texas Core Curriculum Requirements

Students receiving their first baccalaureate degree from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions (UTMDACC-SHP) must successfully complete the Texas Core Curriculum requirements. The core curriculum consists of 42 semester credit hours in specified component areas.

If a student’s transcript from another Texas public college or university indicates that the student has completed that institution’s core curriculum, no additional core curriculum requirements will be imposed. If a student has not completed the core requirement at another Texas institution prior to entering UTMDACC-SHP, the student will be required to earn academic credits from a Texas public college or university to fulfill the UTMDACC-SHP core curriculum course requirements.

The School does not offer lower division core curriculum courses, but has developed a core curriculum in order to accommodate students who transfer from other states or private institutions. If a student enrolls at UTMDACC-SHP prior to completing the core curriculum requirements elsewhere, the student is responsible for completing the core curriculum requirements listed below, and should obtain approval from his or her advisor prior to registering for courses intended to fulfill these requirements. The same requirements also apply to out-of-state students.

Texas Core Curriculum 

The Texas Core Curriculum – 42 Semester Credit Hours (SCH)
that must include courses from the following specific areas as indicated
• ENGL 1301   English Composition I
• ENGL 1302   English Composition II
• MATH 1314   College Algebra or higher
Courses in biology, chemistry, physics, geology or other natural sciences
Courses in literature, philosophy, modern or classical language/literature,
cultural studies or equivalent
Courses in arts, dance, music appreciation, music, drama or equivalent
• HIST 1301    United States History I
• HIST 1302    United States History II
• GOVT 2301   American Government I
• GOVT 2302   American Government II
Courses in anthropology, economics, criminal justice, geography, psychology,
sociology, social work or equivalent
Total Texas Core Curriculum  SCH 42

About the Texas Core Curriculum and transfers between the State of Texas public institutions:
“Each institution's Core Curriculum applies to all academic degrees. They range from 42 to 48 credit hours, depending on the college or university. Each Core Curriculum is divided into 8 or 9 categories that are common across the state. If you take the approved Core natural science courses at institution A, they are annotated on your transcript with a Core code by A and must be accepted as fulfilling that portion of the Core at institution B or any other Texas public institution. If Astronomy is a Core natural science at A and is not at B, it must still be accepted at B. This is a whole new way of doing things because the school where you take the course decides how it will transfer, and that decision is binding on any Texas school to which you transfer."

General Requirements

Consideration for admission to one of the School of Health Professions Programs is not based on race, religion, national origin, veteran status, sex, age or disability. The University of Texas School of Health Professions is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Students who can fulfill the non-academic technical standards and who have disabilities, will need to disclose those disabilities at the beginning of the program, if reasonable accommodation is  to be requested. The student should initiate the disclosure process with his or her discipline-specific  Program Director. Other resources within the institution may be consulted if appropriate. Documentation may be required to verify certain disabilities. 

The following are required for admission to the School of Health Professions  programs:

Application to the program, including submission of official transcripts, three letters of recommendation (preferably submitted on the appropriate forms) and a personal interview.

Completion of all prerequisite course work:

  1. Required courses must be acceptable toward a major in the respective field of study. Survey courses will not fulfill these requirements.
  2. Candidates who completed the prerequisite courses seven or more years before admission may be required to update their academic skills. For specific information, contact the program director.
  3. A minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale overall is required.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Applicants from countries where English is not the native language may be required to take the TOEFL. Internet based TOEFL is now available and a total test score ranging from 74-78 with a minimum score of 18 in each section is required.

Texas Success Initiative (TSI) - In accordance with Texas Education Code, Section 51.3062, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center School of Health Professions will comply with the Texas Success Initiative (TSI).

All applicants must provide proof of successful attainment of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), unless they fall into the following categories:

  1. Graduation from an accredited Texas public institution of higher education.with an associate or baccalaureate degree.
  2. Completion of 60 hours of the prerequisites for any SHP program with a grade of C (75) or higher
  3. Acceptable scores (within five years of the application) on any of the following:

    - SAT (combined verbal and mathematics score of 1070 with a minimum of 500 on both the verbal and math test)

    - ACT (composite score of 23 with a minimum of 19 on both English and mathematics)

    - TAAS exams (with a minimum scale score of 1770 on the writing test, a Texas Learning Index of 86 on the mathematics test and 89 on the reading test)

    Proof of an applicant's readiness to enroll in college level course work, as related to TSI, will be determined by the Registrar's Office based upon review of official transcripts from previously attended institutions. Satisfactory performance on an acceptable testing instrument is a requirement for admission to the baccalaureate program or to non-degree-seeking admission status.

    For additional information, please contact the Registrar's Office at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, PO Box 20036, Houston, Texas, 77225. Telephone: 713-500-3361.

Additional requirements and/or considerations are listed on the specific program web pages of the Health Professions Student Catalog.

Nonacademic Requirements:
School of Health Professions Technical Standards

Sensory/Observational Skills:

• Candidates for admission to the School of Health Professions must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in laboratory or clinical experiments and practices as required by the program of interest.
• Candidates must have visual acuity corrected to 20/20 and visual perception with respect to color. A color blindness test will be administered during orientation.
• Candidates must be able to visually identify probe colors on slides, computer readout and monitor, interpret reactions on slides, microwells, and test tubes, and visually identify cellular components and microorganisms under a microscope.
• Candidates must be able to view images for accuracy, view computer screens for extended periods, visually monitor patients during treatment and treatment-planning procedures in dim light.
• Candidates must be able to hear various equipment alerts, sounds and signals and background sounds during equipment operations, distinguish phonetic sounds either mechanically or form conversation to perform procedures in low light, and monitor patients via audio monitors during treatment and treatment-planning procedures.

Physical and Motor Skills:

• Candidates for admission to the School of Health Professions must have sufficient motor function to operate/manipulate and maintain a microscope and/or microtome and other laboratory equipment.
• Candidates must have the ability to obtain and/or verify patient samples, ambulate sufficiently to collect blood specimens from patients and possess sufficient stamina to tolerate physically taxing workloads.
• Candidates must be able to demonstrate manual dexterity required to process samples, operate, maintain, and repair laboratory equipment or maintain balance while positioning patient and adjusting x-ray tube and/or perform all aspects of clinical laboratory testing or radiological procedures.
• Candidates must be able to lift 30 pounds of weight over head, be able to reach up to six feet off floor, be able to move immobile patients from stretcher to treatment table, and/or push wheelchair from waiting area to treatment room.   
• Candidates for the Magnetic Resonance Imaging program must not have foreign bodies or medical implants that are contradicted  for the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Environment.
• Candidates must be able to stand for long periods of time, maneuver through congested areas to perform positioning procedures, and move and adjust medical equipment such as x-ray tubes.

Communication Skills:

• Candidates for admission to the School of Health Professions must be able to communicate in English and medical terminology in oral and written form to faculty, staff, colleagues, other health care professionals, patients and visitors.
• Candidates must have the ability to participate in discussions in the classroom and clinical areas.
• Candidates must be able to complete and maintain written assignments and reports.

Intellectual/Conceptual, Integrative and Qualitative Skills:

• Candidates for admission to the School of Health Professions must have the ability to measure, calculate, analyze, interpret, synthesize, and evaluate data.
• Candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional and spatial relationships on a computer monitor or under a microscope and monitor and input clinical data.
• Candidates must have the ability to learn, prioritize, and perform laboratory or radiologic testing.
• Candidates must have the ability to make sound judgements and correlate disease states with clinical data.
• Candidates must possess organizational skills and be able to problem solve in a timely manner and under stressful conditions.

Social Behavior and Professionalism:

• Candidates for admission to the School of Health Professions must demonstrate the ability to follow instructions/procedures with accuracy and precision.
• Candidates must possess the ability to maintain intellectual and emotional stability and maturity under stress, while maintaining appropriate performance standards.
• Candidates must have the ability to manage time, organize workload and meet deadlines.
• Candidates must be able to function as a part of a team and learn to delegate responsibilities appropriately.
• Candidates must be able to exhibit respect of self and others and project an image of professionalism, including appearance, dress, and confidence and maintain complete personal integrity and honesty.
• Candidates must be able to interact appropriately with diverse personalities and populations.
• Candidates must adhere to safety guidelines for self and others and be able to comply with standards and regulations required by external agencies.

Transferability of Credit

The Registrar’s office will evaluate all official transcripts from regionally accredited institutions on an individual basis to determine if coursework is acceptable for transfer credit. Official transcripts of credit earned from all institutions of higher education previously attended must be submitted as part of the admissions requirement. The official transcript must include semester credit hours and a grade symbol that reflects satisfactory performance. Not all credit earned by equivalency will be used in the calculation of the student admission GPA. The SHP does not consider a grade of  D in program-specific  pre-requisite courses to be acceptable performance. Program-specific pre-requisite courses taken at other institutions in which a grade below C was earned are not transferable or applicable toward degree requirements.

Students who satisfactorily completed an accredited health sciences program that holds current licensure/certification may be allowed up to 30 hours of transfer credit. The number of credit hours will be determined by the curriculum committee of the School of Health Professions.  

Accepted students should meet with their program director or designated faculty to complete a degree plan at the beginning of the program. Their degree plan should be reviewed and updated periodically throughout the program. The student is responsible for tracking and completing all course requirements for graduation.

International Students

Students who complete all or part of their college course work outside the United States (US) must submit their transcripts to an approved accredited U.S. evaluation agency. Students who are seeking a certificate of completion from UTMDACC-SHP should refer to the corresponding organization below for a list of acceptable agencies for course-by-course and grade-by-grade evaluations:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

 Applicants from countries where English is not the native language may be required to take the TOEFL. An internet-based TOEFL is now available and a total test score ranging from 74-78 with a minimum score of 18 in each section is required.

Transfer Students

The School of Health Professions does not accept students who are, or have been, enrolled in a similar program and wish to transfer into one of the Health Professions Programs at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. All students must take and complete all required courses shown in the current Health Professions Student Catalog. If an MDACC-SHP student prefers to change programs, the student will need to withdraw from the current program and formally apply to the new UTMDACC-SHP program of choice.


All new students are required to attend an orientation program. Information about orientation is mailed directly to students who have been admitted to the School of Health Professions.

During orientation, students have an opportunity to interact with faculty and university staff members. The program is designed to prepare students for the first semester and to acquaint them with the classroom facilities and all the additional resources and services available to them. Orientation topics include academic advising, program curriculum and testing, campus activities, environmental and safety practices and student organizations. Required tuition and fees are due at this time.

In advance of orientation, responsibilities of new students include:

Health Screenings: As part of the admissions process, students are required to complete a drug screening* and a TB screening. Drug screenings are conducted through the MD Anderson Employee Health Department prior to orientation. There is no cost to the student for these screenings, and the results will remain confidential. Any student found to have a positive drug screening will be denied admission to the school. Any student found to have a positive TB screening must provide results of the chest radiographs.
* Please see related links: Substance Abuse policy and Health Professions Student Handbook - 5.5 Drug Detection and Deterrence.

Immunizations: All proof of immunizations must be provided in writing three weeks prior to orientation. Some forms may require signatures from personal physicians. Students must complete all required immunizations prior to their clinical rotations.

Tour of Facilities: All students are scheduled to participate in official tours provided by the Office of Public Affairs. These tours acquaint the students with the campus and the many resources available to them.

Enrollment: Students should be enrolled in classes, according to their respective program curriculum, before attending orientation.

Required check-in and orientation sessions for international students are organized by the Visa and Immigration Services Administration (VISA) Office. For additional information contact:

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Visa and Immigration Services Administration (VISA)
1515 Holcombe Blvd. - Unit 1433
Houston, Texas 77030-4009
Telephone: 713-794-1257
Fax: 713-792-6229

Any general questions about orientation should be directed to:

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
School of Health Professions
1515 Holcombe Blvd.- Unit 2
Houston, Texas 77030-4009
Telephone: 713-745-1205
Fax: 713-792-0800

Instructions for Applicants

The Registrar's office at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSCH) serves as the Registrar for The University of Texas MD Anderson School of Health Professions (SHP).  To access the  SHP on- line Application Form  and also the on-line Recommendation Letter Form for admission into the program starting in Fall 2012 semester, visit 

© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center