Joining UMBC’s Health Professions Evaluation Committee (HPEC) Annual Cohort

The Health Professions Evaluation Committee (HPEC) at UMBC is no longer accepting expressions of interest from students and alumni who wish to join the HPEC Cohort for Fall 2023 matriculation into Dental or Medical (Allopathic or Osteopathic) School.

If you are applying to Medical or Dental School for Fall 2023 matriculation, and one (or more) of the schools that you are applying to requests documentation from UMBC that you are not receiving a Committee Letter from HPEC, please follow the link found below the table that explains how to express interest in joining the Cohort.

The pre-health application process, known as the HPEC Cohort process at UMBC, precedes the centralized application service process or common application process (AMCAS, AACOMAS, or AADSAS). The goals of the HPEC Cohort process are twofold:

First, the activities and assignments completed by HPEC Cohort members during the Spring semester replicate the information and materials that applicants will be asked to submit as part of their centralized (primary) application. These are designed to help the HPEC Cohort process fulfill its goal of making the completion of the centralized application(s) less daunting and overwhelming by prompting applicants to gather, organize, and prepare their documents in advance.

Second, the HPEC Cohort process assignments, including the letters of recommendation that are submitted to UMBC’s letter credentialing service on each applicant’s behalf, are used by UMBC’s Health Professions Evaluation Committee to evaluate the preparedness and competitiveness of each applicant, in accordance to the holistic review principles and competencies valued by both medical and dental professional schools.

To participate in the Health Professions Evaluation Committee’s Annual Cohort, students and alumni must meet certain minimum requirements, as described below.

HPEC Fall 2023 Cohort Minimum Requirements for Participation

To view the details of each requirement, click on the triangle next to the requirement to expand the text.

The HPEC Cohort process serves current, degree-seeking UMBC undergraduates who will earn their UMBC Bachelor’s degree on or before May 2023, and UMBC alumni who earned Bachelor’s degree at UMBC within the past seven (7) years (for the HPEC Fall 2023 Cohort, that includes degrees awarded between May 2015 through December 2021, inclusive). Both Current Undergraduates and Alumni must meet all of the minimum requirements of the current cohort, as outlined below.

Applicants who are on academic probation or suspension, or who have been dismissed from the university are not eligible to participate in the HPEC process.

Note to prospective participants in future Cohorts (2024 or later): The span of time that this service is extended to alumni is under review, and may be shortened to five (5) years as early as the Fall 2024 Cohort.

All applicants must have completed at least FIVE (5) non-laboratory UMBC undergraduate Biology, Chemistry, or Physics lecture courses by the end of the Fall 2021 semester. These five lecture courses, native to UMBC, must:

  • Be courses that will fulfill prerequisites required by the professional schools to which the student is applying (medical or dental) or be other upper-level (300 or 400 level undergraduate) courses in Biology or Chemistry (BIOL or CHEM course prefix).
  • Have earned grades of C or better. P/F grades do not count (with the exception of P/F grades awarded in Spring 2020 under the COVID-19 Grading Policies in place at that time)

Transfer courses cannot be used to fulfill the science lecture course minimum, even if they have been awarded direct equivalency to specific UMBC BIOL, CHEM, or PHYS courses that are considered professional school prerequisites. Credits awarded for independent study, tutorial projects, research (laboratory or field), internships, co-op, seminar, service learning, or similar courses cannot be used to fulfill the criteria for the five UMBC Science lecture course minimum.

Medical school applicants are required to take and fully complete the MCAT a minimum of one time, no later than the end of April 2022, in order to be eligible to participate in UMBC’s HPEC Fall 2023 Cohort. Medical schools differ on the length of time that they consider an applicant’s MCAT score “valid” – typically 2-3 years from the time the student takes the exam. Applicants planning to join the HPEC 2023 Cohort who completed their most recent MCAT in an MCAT Test year earlier than 2022 should investigate the “Oldest MCAT considered” regulations for the Medical schools to which they plan to apply, and make plans to re-take the MCAT, if their scores are too “old” for consideration. This information can be found under each school’s entry in the Medical School Admission Requirements database (Allopathic schools) and the Choose DO Explorer (Osteopathic schools).

Because the MCAT tests knowledge of biochemistry and in order to ensure that applicants are making wise choices with testing dates, all Medical school applicants in the Fall 2023 cohort are required to complete a collegiate level biochemistry course (with C or better grades posted) by the end of the Spring 2022 semester.

**NEW** Dental school applicants are required to take and fully complete the DAT at least one time by July 31, 2022.

Releasing exam scores to UMBC – All HPEC Cohort members will be required to release their centralized application service data (AMCAS/AACOMAS/AADSAS) to UMBC later in HPEC Cohort process. This data will include all of an applicant’s score history for their relevant exam, so applicants who did not release their scores to UMBC at the time they registered for their exam do not have to release those scores separately.

Each applicant must be able to secure a minimum of three (3) recommendation letters. Letters do not need to be submitted when the applicant expresses interest in joining the HPEC Cohort. Students in the Cohort will be given instructions about the submission process for their letters of recommendation through the HPEC Cohort Blackboard Organization once the HPEC Cohort has officially formed for the year (typically late February/early March).

The Health Professions Evaluation Committee sets expectations for the sources of these letters of recommendation based on a student’s degree completion date, as outlined below. For HPEC’s purposes, a “Science faculty member” is defined as a UMBC faculty member who taught the applicant in a BIOL, CHEM, or PHYS lecture or laboratory course at UMBC.

UMBC Bachelor’s Degree Awarding Date HPEC Letter of Recommendation MINIMUM expectations
Degree earned – or expected to be earned – between December 2021 and May 2023 (inclusive of those dates). Minimum of three (3) letters, at least two (2) of which must be from UMBC Science faculty member who taught the applicant in a UMBC BIOL, CHEM, or PHYS course.
Degree earned between August 2019 and August 2021 (inclusive of those dates). Minimum of three (3) letters, at least one (1) of which  must be from UMBC Science faculty member who taught the applicant in a UMBC BIOL, CHEM, or PHYS course.
Degree earned between May 2015 and May 2019 (inclusive of those dates) Minimum of three (3) letters. Letters from UMBC faculty members who taught the applicant in a UMBC BIOL, CHEM, or PHYS course are not required by HPEC for applicants in this category, but applicants should consider what each of their professional schools expect in terms of science faculty letters.

After obtaining required number of UMBC Science faculty letters, other potential recommenders may include research mentors, employment/work supervisors, healthcare professionals the student has shadowed, supervisors from clinical-related experiences, supervisors from community service experiences, coaches, and/or advisors. Applicants must assume personal responsibility to know what each of the professional schools to which they are applying require in the way of letters of recommendation. Applicants are encouraged to secure the most relevant and strongest references available to them, and the sources of the best letters will vary by student.

When preparing to ask for letters of recommendation, applicants should review these helpful and trustworthy articles: Choosing the Right Letter Writers and Preparing for the Committee Letter Process.

**A special note about UMBC Research Mentors** A letter from UMBC Research Mentor who is a faculty member in the Biological Sciences, Chemistry & Biochemistry, or Physics Department may ONLY be counted as a “UMBC Science” letter if the faculty member also taught the applicant in a lecture or lab course in addition to supervising/mentoring them in research. Credit awarded for research (e.g., BIOL499, CHEM399, etc.) is not considered a “course” for the purpose of HPEC’s “UMBC Science” letter requirements.

Applicants applying to professional school through the HPEC Cohort process are expected to understand that all UMBC faculty, staff, and other personnel are required to submit their letters of recommendation to HPEC and use the letter collection service offered by our university. If an applicant chooses to have any UMBC employee, faculty, staff member or any person affiliated with UMBC, submit a letter to any centralized application service or a professional school independently and outside the auspices of HPEC, the applicant will thus be choosing to not be a member of the official Cohort and therefore that applicant will be eliminated from the Cohort. Being eliminated from the Cohort includes giving up access to UMBC’s letter credentialing service and the HPEC composite/committee letter.

HPEC – like many professional schools – also imposes a MAXIMUM number of letters of recommendation that may be submitted on an applicant’s behalf. The maximum number of letters allowed depends upon the program(s) that the applicant is applying to.

Professional School Application Type HPEC Letter of Recommendation MAXIMUM expectations
Dental Applicant Maximum of FOUR letters (3 required, as explained above, and 1 optional)
Medical Applicant, applying only to MD programs Maximum of FIVE letters (3 required, as explained above, and 2 optional)
Medical Applicant, applying only to DO programs Maximum of FIVE letters (3 required, as explained above, and 2 optional).

HPEC strongly recommends that applicants to DO programs include a letter of recommendation from a physician they have shadowed among their letters, as many DO schools will require one (some will specifically require a letter from a DO)

Medical Applicant, applying to MD/PhD programs, or a combination MD and MD/PhD programs Maximum of SIX letters (3 required, as explained above, and 3 optional).

MD/PhD Applicants – If securing a letter from each of your research mentors would cause you to exceed this number (6), an opportunity will be given to you to schedule an appointment to discuss the limitations on the file size of your HPEC Letter Packet, and how you might optimize your choices AFTER you have joined the Cohort.

Medical Applicant, applying to a combination of MD and DO programs Maximum of SIX letters (3 required, as explained above, and 3 optional).

MD+DO applicants are allowed an extra letter of recommendation in comparison to MD-only and DO only applicants, so that if they wish to send a letter written by a DO to only their DO school selections, they may do so, while still sending five letters of recommendation to MD schools.


After an applicant is committed to participating in the HPEC process, a non-refundable $200 fee is collected from each applicant to cover the costs associated with the administration of HPEC. The deadline to submit this payment for the HPEC Fall 2023 Cohort will be March 1, 2022, so students should plan their finances accordingly. More details on how to the submit payment will be provided via the HPEC Cohort Blackboard Organization. In the very rare instance of an applicant applying to over fifty schools, additional fees accrue at $10/professional school.

The HPEC Fee and any additional school fees are waived for applicants who have been approved for fee assistance/waiver by the organization that administers their application process (e.g., AAMC or ADEA). At minimum, the fee waiver for HPEC 2023 Cohort members must be in effect from March 1 through July 1 of the application year (for the HPEC 2023 Cohort, this will be March 1, 2022 through July 1, 2022). It is up to the applicant to time their request for fee assistance in such a way that this time frame will be covered by their assistance/waiver. Proof of fee assistance program award will be collected from qualified applicants via the HPEC Cohort Blackboard Organization.

The HPEC Fee supports the Cohort by providing the funds that:

  • Pay for the Cohort’s use of UMBC’s letter collection vendor.
  • Keep the PreMedical and PreDental Office’s technology up-to-date for the processing and submission of documents for the Cohort members.
  • Supply the PreMedical and PreDental Advising Office staff with access to resources, services, and information disseminated by national and regional Health Professions organizations, through memberships and professional development opportunities.
  • Cover administrative costs associated with the HPEC process.

Ethical behavior is a core competency for health professionals. As a part of the application process, professional schools will ask applicants to disclose past and pending institutional actions (probation/suspension/dismissal), academic or behavioral misconduct, and criminal history. In preparation for those questions, HPEC will ask Cohort members to respond to similar questions about their history with regards to institutional actions and academic/student conduct violations at any point in the applicant’s academic history (including at another institution), as well as their criminal history.

Professional schools and HPEC will expect applicants to answer these questions honestly, accurately, and consistently. Egregious discrepancies between what an applicant includes in their responses to HPEC and in their professional school application can and will be noted in the applicant’s composite HPEC letter.  HPEC reserves the right to use publicly available databases to check on judicial or criminal records of applicants, and to submit a list of applicants to the appropriate UMBC offices to check for any past or pending judicial or institutional actions. A Cohort member’s failure to disclose incidents of this nature will result in immediate dismissal from the Cohort.

Expressing Interest in Joining the HPEC Fall 2023 Cohort

The deadline for a student to express their intent to join the HPEC Fall 2023 Cohort is based on their enrollment status at UMBC and their prior application history. Use the table below to determine which deadline applies to you.

Status at UMBC and application history How to express your intent Deadline by which to express your intent
UMBC Alumni, applying to professional school through HPEC for the first time

Applicants who have been awarded their UMBC Bachelor’s Degree in December 2021 or earlier are considered “Alumni”, even if they are currently enrolled in Post-Baccalaureate coursework or a Graduate program at UMBC.

Complete and submit the online interest form for Alumni First-time Applicants. February 1, 2022, at 11:59 pm (EST)
UMBC Undergraduate students, applying to professional school through HPEC for the first time

Applicants whose UMBC Bachelor’s degree will be awarded between January 2022 and May 2023 are considered “Undergraduate Students”

Complete and submit the online interest form for Undergraduate Student First-time Applicants. February 15, 2022, at 11:59 pm (EST)
HPEC Re-applicant, whether current UMBC student or alumni.

Applicants who participated in the HPEC process in a prior cycle through the point where an HPEC Letter Packet was sent to a Medical or Dental School application service on the applicant’s behalf are considered “Re-Applicants,” regardless of whether their UMBC Bachelor’s Degree has been completed or is still pending.

Any applicant who previously applied two or more times to professional school, with or without a pre-health committee, is ineligible to participate in the HPEC process.

Complete and submit the online interest form for Re-Applicants. May 1, 2022, at 11:59 pm (EST)

Students and Alumni who are applying independently (for whatever reason): If you are asked for documentation of your non-participation in UMBC’s HPEC process by one or more professional schools, please follow this link to more information about making a request for that documentation.

Prospective HPEC Cohort participants: HPEC does not typically make significant changes to their Annual Cohort Minimum Requirements from one year to the next.  Pre-health students who are planning to enter Medical or Dental school in 2024 or later may use this year’s HPEC Cohort Minimum Requirements as a rough guide to help them prepare for participation in a future HPEC Annual Cohort.

However, minimum requirements are subject to change at any time without notice. Information contained on this page should not be construed as a commitment or contract by HPEC. HPEC assumes no responsibility for any errors that may appear on this page or any other documents or postings or websites listing minimum HPEC requirements.