The path from freshman year to licensed doctor is over a decade. At 18, spending the next ten years jumping between undergrad, med school, and residency can seem pretty daunting. With most medical schools having acceptance rates in the single digits, the sooner you can secure acceptance into a MD program, the better. You shouldn’t have to delay your future by one or two years just to study for the MCATs and interview at dozens of medical schools. If you’re certain about your plans to become a doctor, you should consider enrolling in one of these combined BS/MD programs.
Many students want to attend a prestigious college as the first step toward their prestigious career in medicine. Along with a good reputation and a head-turning name, prestigious schools tend to be well-funded, academically rigorous, and full of accomplished faculty.
Northwestern is the only private college of the Big 10, one of the most renowned intercollegiate athletic conferences in the U.S.. Northwestern is ranked 10 in the U.S. overall, and Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine is ranked 19th in the US News ranking of Best Medical Schools: Research. Northwestern is the highest ranking university with a combined BA/MD program. Their Honors Program in Medical Education is an accelerated program, lasting only 7 years. As one of the most prestigious accelerated programs, Northwestern is extremely competitive. The average ACT and SAT scores of incoming freshmen are 35 and 1550, respectively. Once you are admitted to HPME, you guarantee a spot for yourself at Feinberg; you don’t need to take the MCAT to get into med school, but you will need to maintain a 3.2 or higher GPA in the sciences and a minimum 3.6 overall GPA.
Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) is the only combined baccalaureate-MD program in the Ivy League. As an Ivy League university, the Brown name will always carry prestige. Brown is consistently ranked in the top 20 universities in the U.S., making it a reach school for any high school applicant. The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University is ranked 26th this year, out of 185 schools on the US News Best Medical Schools: Primary Care list. Brown’s PLME is not an accelerated program; it takes 8 years to complete just like a typical undergrad and medical school track. However, you won’t need to take a gap year to study for the MCATs (as many pre-med graduates do) because Brown does not require MCAT scores from PLME students. However, you will need to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in biology courses throughout your undergraduate years.
One of the primary reasons students choose to do a combined med/ baccalaureate program is that they want to save time. While they all save you the time of researching and applying to different medical schools, only a few save a significant amount of time. Here are two of our favorite programs that offer a six-year combined medical and undergraduate studies program.
Howard is a private, historically black university in Washington DC. This university offers a dual degree program that allows students to complete their BS and medical degree in just six years, as opposed to the customary eight years. Unlike the previously- discussed programs, Howard does require a minimum MCAT score of 504, as well as a minimum science GPA of 3.25 and a minimum overall GPA of 3.5. Undergraduates applying to the Howard University College of Medicine as part of the dual degree program are also required to submit compelling letters of recommendations and participate in an interview. Although this degree program has more steps than some of the eight year ones, and doesn’t afford you the luxury of skipping the MCAT all together, you will still end up a full one or two years ahead of your peers—at the very least!
Like Howard, UMKC offers a fast-tracked dual degree program for med school-bound students. However, instead of awarding students a BS (Bachelor of Science) and MD, their program offers a BA (Bachelor of Arts) and MD. In order to complete their BA and MD in six years, the medical student’s journey begins their first year of undergrad. You’ll immediately begin building a strong foundation in medical science and clinical skills as well as the liberal arts and humanities simultaneously. You can study the liberal arts, biology, or chemistry and earn your dual degree in six years. The six year breakdown looks something like this: Years 1-2 you’ll spend ¾ of your time studying the arts and sciences, and ¼ on medical school requirements. Years 3-6 the majority of your time will be spent studying medical school coursework, while only a small percentage of your time will be dedicated to BA requirements.
In 2016, the average tuition at a public medical school was $32,495 per year and $52,515 at private universities. Thanks to those insane price tags, 86% of med school students graduate with debt. On average, graduates from private med schools owe $150,000, whereas their public school counterparts owe $119,000. Right now, you might want to enroll in the fastest or most prestigious combined med program you can get into, but six to eight years from now you’ll be wishing you had saved a pretty penny. These are some dual degree programs that will set you up for success both now and later:
The Rice/ Baylor Medical Scholars Program stands out on this list for a number of reasons. It’s the only program that involves a partnership between two separate universities, Rice University and Baylor University’s College of Medicine. Rice and Baylor are located near one another and also have similar rankings (16 and 22 respectively) and student: teacher ratios (6:1 at Rice and 3:1 at Baylor). Still, the Rice Baylor program gives students an opportunity to differentiate between their undergrad and med school years, unlike most other combined med programs. Another unique trait is that Rice/ Baylor Medical Scholars Program meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for all admitted students. Thanks to these two remarkable features of the Rice/Baylor program, it’s also the most selective program on our list. Rice/Baylor admits up to 6 applicants each year, making their acceptance rate 0.8%. You should be mindful and realistic about the competitive nature of the Rice/Baylor program, but don’t let that discourage you! If you have your heart set on this program, it never hurts to apply.
Case Western Reserve University offers “pre-professional scholars programs” for both dentistry and medicine. Their MD/ bachelor’s program allows students the freedom to study any Case Western major during their first four years. If you finish early, you are encouraged to explore other interests, such as travel or research, until your anticipated year of entering med school begins. As of 2017, Case Western Reserve meets 100% of demonstrated need for all admitted undergraduate students. For med school, they don’t guarantee a sufficient financial aid package based solely on financial need. They provide a variety of merit scholarships and need-based aid. In order to be eligible for the merit based scholarships, however, you’ll need to take the MCAT (which the program does not otherwise require). If you take the MCAT, Case Western expects you to score in the 94th percentile or above.
There are, of course, other factors to consider when you apply to any combined med program, just as when you’re deciding on your college list. The school’s culture, location, and specialties should all be boxes on your mental checklist. However, if you know you want to study medicine down the road, it would be wise to push the schools with combined BS/MD and BA/MD programs to the top of your list, and then decide amongst those to ensure you choose a college that meets all of your needs.
Other Combined Medical programs:
- Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program at Boston University
- Bachelor of Science to Doctor of Medicine (BS-MD) Combined Programs at California Northstate University
- Medicine: Drew University – New Jersey Medical School 3+4 B.A./M.D. Program
- BA/BS + MD Early Assurance Program
- Seven-Year Dual BA/MD Program with GW Columbian College of Arts and Sciences
- Hofstra 4+4 Program: BS-BA/MD
- Rural Health Program at Indiana State University
- 3 + 4 Accelerated Program (BS/BA + MD) at NJIT
- Accelerated Premedical-Medical Program (BS/MD) at Penn State and Thomas Jefferson University
- Saint Louis University Medical Scholars Program
- 7-Year BA/MD Joint Degree Program at Rutgers
- Pre-Med Health Scholar Program at Temple
- Connections Dual Admissions Program at University of Cincinnati
- Scholars for Medicine at Stony Brook University
- Accelerated Pre-Medicine Program at Stevens Institute of Technology