Criminal Background Check Policy


Criminal background checks will be conducted on all students conditionally accepted for admission to the Georgetown University School of Medicine.


The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) recommends that all U.S. medical schools obtain a criminal background check on applicants upon their conditional acceptance to medical school.  To facilitate the implementation of this recommendation, the AAMC has initiated an AMCAS national background check service in which Georgetown participates.  The purposes of conducting criminal record checks prior to admission are as follows:

  • To help satisfy the School of Medicine’s obligation to the health, welfare, and safetey of patients and others at the clinical facilities where School of Medicine students train.
  • To identify prior to admission applicants whose criminal histories may interfere with their ability to participate in clinical training programs and/or to obtain professional licensure.

Process for Conducting & Reviewing Background Checks

Who is required to submit a background check?

This policy applies to all applicants to the first year medical school class, including Early Assurance applicants, Deferred applicants, Georgetown Experimental Medical Studies Program (GEMS) applicants, and Special Masters in Physiology Program (SMP) applicants.

All applicants are required to self-report military service and discharge, felony convictions, and misdemeanor convictions, including misdemeanor traffic violations.

Offers of admission are conditional, pending the applicant’s submission to, and the School of Medicine’s review of, the results of a background check.

When will the check be conducted?

For applicants to the First Year Class, the background check will be conducted after an initial, conditional offer of admission has been made.  The check will be conducted by an AAMC-designated vendor through the AMCAS Background Check Process.

The background check for Early Assurance applicants will be conducted at the time of the conditional offer of acceptance.  At present, this occurs in mid-October of the year prior to matriculation.

Deferred applicants will be required to undergo two background checks.  The first will be conducted after the initial, conditional offer of admission.  This check must be successfully completed and the admission offer finalized prior to the Committee on Admissions’ considering a request for deferment.  Assuming the deferment request is granted, the student will be required to undergo a second background check as part of the application cycle for the class in which the applicant intends to matriculate.  If the second background check identifies an issue that was not reported and considered as part of the original application, the deferred applicant will be referred to the Admissions Background Check Review Committee (see description below), which will consider the new issue and take appropriate action, up to and including revocation of the offer of admission.

What is included in the background check?

The background check reported to Georgetown University will include information about all convictions and convinction-equivalent adjudications for both felonies and misdemeanors.  Additionally, it will include military service and discharge information for those who have served in the military.

How is the background check reviewed?

The Office of Admissions will do a preliminary review of all background checks.  Any report that includes a report of an incident not previously disclosed by the applicant in her/his application for admission will be forwarded to the Admissions Background Check Review Committee for further consideration.

Applicants who are referred to the Committee shall have the opportunity to submit written comments to the Office of Admissions regarding the incident reported on the background check.  The comments must be provided to the Office of Admission within five (5) calendar days of the date the Office notifies the applicant that her/his file is being referred to the Committee.  These comments will be added to the material to be reviewed by the Committee.  Please note that because the Committee must review all applicants prior to class registration on the first day of the school year, the period of time for submission of comments may be compressed if information is received on a background check in the weeks just prior to the start of the school year.

The Committee shall be a standing committee established by the Dean of the School of Medicine, and comprised of members of the executive Committee on Admissions.  An attorney from the Office of University Counsel may serve as counsel to the Committee.  The Committee shall meet on an as-needed basis to review applications referred to it by the Office of Admissions.  As necessary, members may participate in Committee meetings by telephone.  Each member shall have one vote, and all decisions will be made by majority vote of the Committee members present at the meeting at which the applicant is discussed.  In the event of a tie vote, the matter will be referred to the Dean of the School of Medicine for final decision.  Each member will act in the best interest of the profession of medicine, potential patients of the applicant, and the Georgetown University community when servicing on the Committee, and shall abstain from acting or voting in instances where there is real or perceived conflict of interest with regard to an applicant before the Committee.

The Committee will review the background check report, any additional information provided by the applicant, and any other information it considers relevant.  The School of Medicine may independently seek additional information about the incident that is the subject of the report.  If it does so, it will share any additional information obtained with the Committee and the applicant.

Each case will be considered individually, and no information will automatically result in the revocation of acceptance.  A decision regarding final acceptance will be made only after careful review of factors including, but not limited to, the nature and seriousness of the offense, the circumstances under which the offense occurred, the relationship between the offense and the student’s participation in the School of Medicine’s curriculum, including its clinical components, the age of the person when the offense was committed, whether the offense was isolated or part of a pattern of behavior, the length of time since the offense was committed, past employment and volunteer experience, past history of misconduct at prior institutions, evidence of successful rehabilitation, and forthrightness of the information about the incident in the opportunities for self-reporting.

After fully considering each referred applicant, Committee members shall vote either to finalize or withdraw the conditional offer of acceptance extended to the applicant.  The Office of Admissions shall advise the applicant of the Committee’s decision within ten (10) business days of the date of the decision.

What are the possible implications of the background check review?

Any discrepancy between the information reported during the application process and information discovered during any background check while a student at the School of Medicine, as well as any new information or incidents that occur or are reported subsequent to the application for admission, may be grounds for rescinding the acceptance or dismissal from the School of Medicine.

Who is responsible for costs associated with the background check?

The cost of the background check prior to matriculation is included in the application fee.  During the student’s enrollment, some clinical training sites may require additional background checks.  In the event additional background checks are required during the student’s tenure at the School of Medicine, the cost of these checks will be the student’s responsibility.

How will the background check reports be maintained by the School of Medicine after they are used in the admissions process?

For students who matriculate in the School of Medicine, the portion of the admissions file that is forwarded to the Registrar’s Office to begin the student’s academic file will include information on the pre-admission background check and a notation that a final offer of admission was made after a review of the background check.

Records related to background reports for applicants who do not successfully matriculate, but for whom a background check is released to the Georgetown University School of Medicine, shall be maintained with the applicant’s admissions file for one (1) year in the Office of Admissions.  At that time, the entire file shall be destroyed, consistent with the Office of Admissions’ document retention policy.

Will I have access to a copy of this report?

Once your background check report is released to the Georgetown University School of Medicine Office of Admissions, it cannot be released.

AAMC Criminal Background Check Details & Instruction Manual

Applicants agree to the terms & conditions of the AMCAS Application at the time of submission, which includes information about the Criminal Background Check.  Please review their policies at the links above, as it is not Georgetown University School of Medicine’s responsibility to restate the policies outlined by AAMC/AMCAS.  Of particular note: applicants are required to inform the Admissions Office of each medical school to which they apply if convicted of, or plead guilty or no contest to, a misdemeanor or felony crime after the date of the original application submission and prior to medical school matriculation. Applicants understand that this communication must be in writing and must occur within ten (10) business days of the occurrence of the conviction.