Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USU)

The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) was founded to be "America’s medical school for uniformed physicians." Located in Bethesda, Maryland, USU looks for aspiring medical students with a passion for service who thrive in a collaborative environment.

Since all USU students are active-duty service members, their education is paid for by the U.S. government, and they receive a military salary and benefits, including a housing allowance. The USU accepts both civilian and military applicants for commissioning into the Army, Navy, Air Force and U.S. Public Health Service.

Tuition + Pay

Your USU education is paid for by the U.S. government, and you will receive the same active-duty pay and benefits as are given to a second lieutenant in the Army or Air Force or an ensign in the Navy. You will be paid on the first and fifteenth of every month. The current pay in the fiscal year for 2019 to 2020 in the greater Washington, D.C., area is over $70,000 yearly. If you have any questions about your pay, you should contact the USU Office of the Commandant.

Specialized Officer Training

During the first 18 months of training, you will be taught by a mix of civilian and military instructors, and you will participate in classes, lab work and medical field exercises. Then you will embark on 12 months of rotations at military, civilian and veterans affairs (VA) medical facilities. Your last 18 months of rotations will help guide you toward a residency and auditioning for programs that you prefer. During this time, you will also have the opportunity to train at military treatment facilities around the world, including on humanitarian missions.

Application Checklist

  • Determine if you are eligible to apply.
  • Apply to USU through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), the centralized application service for medical schools, using designation code 821. Learn more about how to apply to medical schools with AMCAS.
  • Once USU receives your primary application, you will be asked to fill out a secondary application which includes personal essays and checklists regarding your past coursework and required information not included in your primary application, including a personal statement form and checklists regarding your past coursework.
  • After receiving your completed AMCAS application, secondary material and letters of recommendation, the admissions committee will choose which students they will interview.
  • The interview trip involves in-person interviews and a tour of the campus, including a visit to the USU Wide Area Virtual Environment, which immerses students in a 3D battlefield medical scenario.
  • During the interview trip, applicants will also rank which Services they would like to join if they are accepted by USU. Learn more about the different Military Services.
  • If offered an interview, applicants are required to obtain a physical exam through the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board and meet all medical qualifications before they matriculate.

Note: If you are an active-duty commissioned service member or in the Reserve officers Training Corps (ROTC) or a Service academy, your application process will be the same as for civilians, except you will need to request a letter of approval (LOA) to apply to USU from your Service branch. If you are an active-duty enlisted service member or officer, you will also need an LOA from your commander. Finally, if you are in the Reserve, you will need to request permission from your commanding officer.
If you have any questions, you can turn to the USU Office of Recruitment and Admissions at admissions@USU.edu.

Learn More About USU


Interview Process + Tips

It is important that applicants consider and can clearly articulate their genuine motivation to embark on a career in military medicine with concrete examples and reasons for this decision. Applicants should also understand what it means to not only be a physician but also a commissioned officer in the Military or U.S. Public Health Service. Applicants should also have a personal awareness of their own strengths, weaknesses, and abilities to work in teams with others. Above all else, be honest and genuine with your answers.

Service Commitment

After USU students finish their residency, they serve on active duty for seven years. Your specific role will depend on your training and the Military's needs. Another option for fulfilling your service commitment involves becoming a general medical officer (GMO) after you receive your license. In this position, your role would be similar to that of a general medical practitioner, except you are attached to a specific unit, air wing, ship or submarine. This position is open to service members in the Navy and Air Force.