The University of Texas System announces intention to launch medical school in Tyler
Feb 11, 2020 | 2040 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print


The University of Texas System today announced its intention to establish a medical school in Tyler – the first in East Texas – to increase access to health care in the region.

Leaders from the UT System and the two UT institutions in Tyler joined together at Plaza Tower in downtown Tyler to announce a plan to elevate the region’s higher education and health care opportunities. They optimistically explained their case to a group of regional business, civic, educational and medical leaders and elected officials at a morning news conference.

A proposal to establish a medical school in Tyler will be on the agenda at the UT System Board of Regents’ next meeting, Feb. 26 in Austin. The regents’ authorization will allow notifications and other activities to proceed with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and other licensing and accrediting agencies. 

Board of Regents Chairman Kevin P. Eltife, Chancellor James B. Milliken, UT Health Science Center at Tyler President Kirk A. Calhoun and UT Tyler President Michael V. Tidwell emphasized that it’s time to address this need in a region growing in population that historically has had a shortage of health care professionals compared to other regions in the state.

Under the new plan, with established medical residencies already in place, future physicians could complete their entire education and training in Tyler, ultimately providing more top health care professions who will live and serve in the region.

“A medical school in Tyler will give East Texans the chance to pursue their career aspirations without having to leave the region to do so,” said Eltife, a former Tyler mayor and state senator. “More importantly, it will increase the number of physicians and critical specialty areas to serve the region, which ultimately will enhance health outcomes and benefit all East Texans. And having more health care professionals in the area will have a positive impact on hospitals and hospital systems in the region including UT Health East Texas, CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances and Baylor Scott & White Texas Spine & Joint.”

A new medical school in Tyler has received early enthusiasm from a number of elected officials, including State Representatives Matt Schaefer, Travis Clardy, Dan Flynn, Cole Hefner, Jay Dean, Chris Paddie and Gary VanDeaver, all of whom – along with Tyler Mayor Martin Heines and Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran – participated in the news conference and endorsed the proposal. Senators Robert Nichols and Bryan Hughes and Representative Keith Bell were away but sent comments in full support of the medical school. 

If approved, the medical school would be the seventh in the UT System. Most recently, both UT Austin and UT Rio Grande Valley opened medical schools in 2016.

“Health outcomes in East Texas lag the rest of the state and the nation, and today’s announcement represents an ambitious strategy to change that going forward. With six medical schools and our two Tyler institutions, the University of Texas System is uniquely positioned to develop a new school in Tyler specifically focused on the needs of the region,” Chancellor Milliken said. “The strength of UT Health Science Center at Tyler and UT Tyler, particularly as they join forces, and our experience operating very successful medical schools across Texas, will provide a solid foundation for success.”

The economic impact of a medical school is projected to be significant. The Perryman Group, a Texas economic research and analysis firm with ties to the region for more than 40 years, credited existing UT facilities in Tyler with providing an annual economic impact of $1.7 billion, including $80.1 million in tax receipts and the creation of 21,529 jobs.

“According to The Perryman Group’s analysis, we can anticipate that a new medical school would produce an additional $1.9 billion annually, as well as the creation of 18,145 new jobs. These developments are unlike anything Tyler has ever seen,” said Tom Mullins, president and CEO of the Tyler Economic Development Council.

“A medical school in Tyler will have a cascade of positive multiplier effects,” said Calhoun, the president of UT Health Science Center Tyler. “There’s a growing awareness about both the challenges and the potential of East Texas, and it’s exciting to see momentum build to support and invest in our region.”

““We are profoundly grateful to the UT System for its investment in the future health care in East Texas,” said Michael Tidwell, UT Tyler President. “These programmatic and facilities investments will improve health care education, research, and clinical services for generations to come.”  

Today’s news was preceded by two major announcements recently made by the UT System Board of Regents. In November, the Board of Regents allocated $95 million in Permanent University Fund proceeds for UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center Tyler to construct two facilities to accelerate high-quality health education and health care in East Texas. Regents earmarked $60 million for a graduate medical education and resident teaching facility at UT Health Science Center and $35 million for an advanced nursing and health sciences complex at UT Tyler.

And in December, Regents authorized the integration of talent and assets at UT Tyler and UT Health Science Center at Tyler to create a unified institution to enhance education, research and clinical delivery for the region.

About The University of Texas System

For more than 130 years, The University of Texas System has been committed to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. With 14 institutions, an enrollment of nearly 240,000 students and an operating budget of $21.1 billion (FY 2020), the UT System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produce more than 60,000 graduates annually and award more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees and more than half of its health professional degrees. Collectively, UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics accounted for more than 8.2 million outpatient visits and 1.6 million hospital days last year. Across UT institutions, research and development expenditures total $2.9 billion – the highest in Texas and second highest in the nation among public higher education systems – and the UT System is regularly ranked among the top 10 most innovative universities in the world. The UT System also is one of the largest employers in Texas, with more than 21,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and members of the National Academies – and more than 83,000 health care professionals, researchers and support staff.

image of Pre-Med alumna Ciera Ward

UT Tyler Pre-Med Academy

The University of Texas at Tyler expanded its pre-medical education initiatives with the launch of the Premedical Academy in fall 2019.

 Please register to join the Pre-Med Academy!

UT Tyler has historically produced graduates well-prepared for the rigors of medical school. Many have gone on to become successful practitioners, including anesthesiologists, surgeons, neuroscientists, radiologists and pediatricians. The UT Tyler Premedical Academy will be designed to increase the number of students accepted into medical school and improve the quality of their readiness for medical school studies.

Offered through the UT Tyler College of Arts and Sciences, the new program will:

  • Deliver programs and workshops that encourage East Texas high school students to study medicine.
  • Deliver special symposia for UT Tyler pre-med students, focused on developing the personal characteristics needed for medical school including personal responsibility, altruism, empathy and ethics.
  • Facilitate for UT Tyler pre-med students job shadowing with medical professionals and research opportunities on campus, both critical for medical school acceptance.
  • Provide UT Tyler pre-med students with dedicated advising and support from start to MCAT to medical school acceptance, helping students to get into the medical school of their choice.

See the Pre-Med Academy Announcement (Press Release)

Meet UT Tyler Pre-Med Alumni

Overview for Pre-Med

The decision to go to medical school after receiving your bachelor's degree is a very important one and requires a good deal of thought and research on your part. Medical school is not easy and it is very expensive, therefore your preparation should be taken very seriously. The three most important decision points you will reach on your way to medical school are 1) your undergraduate preparation, 2) the medical school admission process, and 3) the choice of which medical school to attend. At UT Tyler, we are prepared to help you with all of these decisions.

Incoming freshmen who are Pell Grant eligible and have an SAT or ACT score of not less than the mean for the state of Texas may participate in the UT Tyler JAMP.

  • Pre-Med Advising: This is conducted through the UT Tyler College of Arts and Sciences, which holds membership in the Texas Association of Advisors for the Health Professions and the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions. Dr. Rachel Mason, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is the pre-medical advisor and is available to help students make the important choices regarding curriculum, extra-curricular activities, medical school application process and choice of medical school. Dr. Mason is also the advisor to the Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Student Association, a group of students who share interests in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine and other professional health careers.
  • Undergraduate MajorMedical schools do not recommend any one major for students planning to attend medical school. Nor is there one field, which will give you an advantage. Instead, medical schools look for a rigorous arts and sciences education that has sharpened skills and values essential to doing well in medical school and in becoming a physician. Select a major that you not only enjoy and have a passion for but one that will demand excellence in critical thinking, expository and persuasive writing, oral communication, critical reading, research and organization. Also, seek out a curriculum that requires research papers, substantial reading, laboratory experiences, essay exams and oral presentations.

At UT Tyler, you may want to consider one of the following majors: biology, chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, English, health and kinesiology, history, mathematics, music, art, political science, sociology or speech communication.

Undergraduate Minor: If your major requires a minor; choose a minor and electives that complement your major. Because medical schools expect students to have several semesters of basic science courses, a B.S./B.A. degree is highly recommended.

Though specific science and mathematics requirements for each medical school may vary, completion of the required courses below will satisfy minimum admission requirements to all eight of the Texas medical schools. Medical schools will update their websites and requirements often so take responsibility to frequently check to make sure you are up to date on current information. All science courses selected to fulfill the science requirements for admission to medical school should be courses that will satisfy the requirements for a major in one of the basic sciences.

Following is a list of required core courses as prerequisites to each of the eight medical schools in Texas.

  • A minimum of 14 semester hours of Biology: Required- BIOL 1306/1106, 1307/1107 General Biology I and II plus an addition 6 semester hrs. Suggested courses include: BIOL 3332/3133 Genetics; BIOL 4300/4101 Microbiology; BIOL 3334/3134 Cell Biology or 4302/4102 Cell and Molecular Biology; BIOL 3343/3144 Physiology; BIOL 4350 Immunology]
  • CHEM 1311/1111, 1312/1112 General Chemistry I and II
  • CHEM 3342/3134, 3344/3145 Organic Chemistry I and II
  • CHEM 4334/4135 Biochemistry I
  • #MATH 2413 Calculus OR #MATH 1342 Statistics
  • *PHYS 1301/1101, 1302/1102 College Physics I and II (Algebra-based)


  • *PHYS 2325/2125, 2326/2126 University Physics I and I (Calculus-based)
  • ENGL 1301, 1302 Grammar and Composition I and II

*Medical or dental Schools will accept either College Physics or University Physics.

#Biochemistry and Statistics are now either required or strongly encouraged as additional prerequisites for 2012.

Courses in business administration, computer science, fine arts, foreign language, philosophy and psychology are also recommended. Some schools strongly recommend students take courses in humanities, social sciences or behavioral sciences.

Courses in health career majors: nursing, pharmacy, kinesiology or allied health are not acceptable toward the prerequisite requirements.

  • Medical School Application Schedule: The application process is a lengthy one, and typically begins in the junior year of college. The process starts in the spring with the MCAT (Medical School Admissions Test) given in April (and again in August). Candidates submit their application materials no later than June. The application process for Texas public medical, dental and veterinary schools are on-line through the, Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service. Separate supplemental applications may also be necessary. A separate application to the Baylor College of Medicine is required. Candidates may also use The American Medical College Application Service. Candidates may be notified of interviews to one or more of the medical schools as early as August and interviews occur through the fall. Successful candidates are notified of matches to one or more of the medical schools by the first of February. A candidate's choice of medical school leads to matriculation in the fall.
  • Extracurricular Activities: Medical school admission committees will look not only at your MCAT scores, your GPA and the rigor of courses taken, they will also want to see participation in meaningful extracurricular activities that enhance concepts of citizenship, leadership and service, as well as activities that build writing and speaking skills. As a pre-medical student you will want to become involved in student government, university and community service and athletics.
  • Also important is evidence that you understand the work of a physician. Working or volunteering in a clinic, hospital or other health related institution will give you good experience and demonstrate your interest in medicine. You may want to contact physicians and get permission to shadow them for a few months. However, excellent grades and high MCAT scores must be a priority. Do not sacrifice your GPA in favor of extracurricular activities. Medical school admissions committees are also looking for a degree of professionalism and a passion for helping people. Your resume should demonstrate these qualities.

Here's a list of Texas medical schools.

For more information or questions concerning courses at UT Tyler that will fulfill medical school prerequisites please contact:

Dr. Rachel Mason

Chief Health Professions Advisor & JAMP Faculty Director

Associate Professor of Chemistry & Assistant Chair

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The University of Texas at Tyler

3900 University Blvd

Tyler, Texas 75799

Office: RBS 3002

Phone: 903.565.5641

Jason DiStefano

Laboratory/Technical Services Supervisor I & Lecturer

Assistant to JAMP Faculty Director

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The University of Texas at Tyler

3900 University Blvd

Tyler, Texas 75799

Office: RBS 3033

Phone: 903.565.5525

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