Have you always known you wanted to be a doctor without a shadow of a doubt? If so, you may want to consider a BS/MD program. BS/MDs are often referred to as direct medical school programs because students apply for their bachelor’s and medicine degrees at the same time. When BS/MD students are accepted to a school for their bachelor’s degree (BS), they are also accepted for their Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.
A BS/MD program allows students to bypass the long and difficult process of applying to medical school altogether. On average, combined MD/BS programs take about 7-8 years to finish. Very few programs, such as Howard University’s BS/MD program, allow students to finish their degrees in 6 years. BS/MD degree programs that take 6-7 years to complete are shorter than the amount of time it would take to finish your Bachelor’s Degree and Doctor of Medicine.
In most BS/MD programs, students will attend the same university for their bachelor’s and medicine degrees. However, some schools connect undergraduate students to a different medical programs. For example, at Penn State University’s BS/MD program, students receive their Bachelor’s from Penn State and then attend Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. Similarly, students can begin their BS/MD program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and end at Albany Medical College.
Many students and universities recognize this is an extremely beneficial program for students looking to break into the medical field. As such, BS/MD programs are extremely competitive and have very low acceptance rates. In this article, we will review some of the major pros and cons of applying to combined MD/BS programs. We will also provide you with a list of the 10 best BS/MD programs, as well as a complete list of all of the BS/MD programs offered in the US.
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Pros of BS/MD
So now that we’ve established that these programs are highly competitive, are BS/MD programs worth it? Let’s take a look at some of the top advantages of enrolling in a BS/MD program.
Peace of mind
There are many benefits to consider in a BS/MD program. Most notably, this program eliminates the stress of applying for medical school. Students can focus solely on their studies rather than spend lots of time and money applying to different medical schools across the country. In fact, most premeds apply to 16 medical schools each cycle. A BS/MD program ensures your spot in a medical program, as long as you meet basic requirements.
Another benefit of the BS/MD program is the ability to bypass the MCAT altogether. Some schools do not require students to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in order to enter the MD program. Much like the SAT, the MCAT is necessary for the medical school admissions process. BS/MD programs such as Northwestern University, Syracuse University, Brown University, and Spelman College do not require BS/MD students to take the MCAT.
BS/MD programs provide a sense of stability. Students can enter their undergraduate education knowing they will get into medical school. Entering medical school right after undergraduate education means they can speed up their timeline and enter the field of medicine a bit faster than those completing the traditional application process.
Traditionally BS/MD programs have small cohorts. Most programs have less than 100 people in their program. Smaller cohorts can mean a close-knit community of students who work and study together. It can also mean a greater chance to get to know your professors and build your network. Smaller cohorts can facilitate a personalized learning experience.
Some BS/MD programs offer merit-based scholarships and grants to help offset the cost of postsecondary education. Some will even provide funding for the MD part of the program. This can be beneficial, especially because the cost of medical school is expensive. Be sure to check what financial opportunities schools offer before applying!
Cons of BS/MD
We’ve already established that BS/MD program acceptance rates are incredibly low, but what are some of the other cons to applying to combined medical programs?
In programs where the MCAT is required, students often have to reach a certain percentile to gain admission to medical school. For example, Boston University’s Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program requires students to take the MCAT before a certain date and achieve a combined score at or above the 80th percentile. Their MCAT score is taken into consideration when determining whether or not to accept them into medical school. The time constraint and score requirement may cause additional stress. Many students take the MCAT many, many times before achieving the score they want. Students may need additional time to achieve the score they want. Taking the test multiple times and at your own pace may make the process less stressful and give you enough time to achieve the score you want.
Many students believe that they want to become doctors. Many also realize after their first organic chemistry class that the field is not for them. The BS/MD fast track requires students to know what they want to do at a young age and stick to it. While you can always change your mind, it may cost you time, money, and stress.
Additionally, BS/MD programs require students to commit to both an undergraduate and medical school at once. This may pose a problem if students realize the school they chose is not an academic or cultural fit. Depending on the program, students may not be able to apply to another medical school outside of the BS/MD program. Applying to medical school separately gives students the freedom of choice and the ability to experience a different college.
As previously mentioned, BS/MD programs are intense. Ivy League programs have acceptances below one percent. Even more selective schools have extremely low acceptance rates for BS/MD programs. BS/MD programs are notoriously difficult to get into and have lengthy application processes. Students may allocate hours to a singular program without achieving the results they want. While this should not discourage you from applying, it is important to be aware of it and ensure you have other options.
No time off
Jumping from an undergraduate degree to a graduate degree can be exhausting. Some premed students select to take time off to pursue a master’s degree, intern at a hospital, or work as a medical assistant to gain some real-world experience before jumping into medical school. These experiences may help students figure out the best path for them and allow them to grow their professional network before committing to four more years of school. It can also provide a much-needed breather between an intensive four years of medical school.
Top 10 BS/MD programs
The best BS/MD programs are highly competitive. In fact, many schools only select a small handful of students. If you want to know what the best combined medical programs are, refer to our table below. Additionally, if you’re curious about BS/MD programs that don’t require MCAT, take an extra look at Brown University, Case Western Reserve University, University of Rochester, and George Washington University.
|Name of Program||Undergraduate Institution||Medical School||Years to Complete||Required Undergrad GPA||MCAT Requirement|
|Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME)||Brown University||The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University||8 years||3.0 in biology courses||Not required|
|Pre-Professional Scholars Program (PPSP) in Medicine||Case Western Reserve University||Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine||8 years||3.63||Not required|
|Guaranteed Admission Program (GAP)||University of Pittsburgh||University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine||8 years||3.75||Required|
|Baylor Baylor Medical Program||Baylor University||Baylor College of Medicine||8 years||3.5||Required|
|Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REM)||University of Rochester||University of Rochester School of Medicine||8 years||3.6||Not Required|
|Connections Dual Admissions (BS/MD) Program||University of Cincinnati||University of Cincinnati College of Medicine||8 years||3.5||Required|
|Penn State-Jefferson Premedical-Medical (PMM) Program||Penn State University||Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University||7 years||3.5||Required|
|Dual BA/MD Program with GW Columbian College of Arts and Sciences (George Washington University)||George Washington University||George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences||7 years||3.6||Not Required|
|Pre-Med Health Scholar Program||Temple University||Temple University School of Medicine||8 years, possibly 7 years||3.6||Required|
|Guaranteed Admission Program at Virginia Commonwealth University||Virginia Commonwealth University||Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine||8 years||3.5||Required|
It’s important to note that even if you are accepted into a combined medical program, your medical school enrollment is conditional. BS/MD program requirements often include a minimum undergraduate GPA, as well as a minimum MCAT score.
Complete list of BS/MD programs in the US
As you investigate how to get into a BS/MD program, take a look at this complete list of combined medical programs in the US. It’ll take some time, but regardless of whether you are looking for BS/MD programs with the highest acceptance rates or BS/MD programs that accept transfer students, there’s likely a program suited for your needs!
- Albany Medical College/RPI, Union College, Siena College
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine
- California Northstate University College of Medicine
- Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
- Cooper Medical School of Rowan University
- CUNY Medical School (Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education)/City College of New York
- Drexel University College of Medicine
- Florida Atlantic University Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine/Florida A&M University
- George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
- Hofstra/Northwell School of Medicine
- Howard University College of Medicine
- Indiana University School of Medicine-Evansville/University of Evansville
- Medical College of Georgia/Augusta University
- Mercer University School of Medicine
- Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
- Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences-Newark/New Jersey Medical School
- Saint Louis University School of Medicine
- Stony Brook University School of Medicine
- SUNY Downstate Medical Center/Brooklyn College
- Temple University School of Medicine
- Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine
- Texas Tech Health Sciences Center School of Medicine
- Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel Medical College/Pennsylvania State University
- University of Alabama School of Medicine
- University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
- University of Colorado School of Medicine/University of Colorado Denver
- University of Connecticut School of Medicine
- University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
- University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine
- University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine
- University of New Mexico School of Medicine
- University of Oklahoma College of Medicine
- University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
- University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
- University of South Alabama College of Medicine
- University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine
- University of Toledo College of Medicine
- Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
- Wayne State University School of Medicine
Key takeaways and moving forward
There is a lot of valuable advice for pre-med students. After all, attending medical school is no easy feat! In addition to taking rigorous courses, students with medical aspirations must demonstrate their commitment through volunteer opportunities, pre-college summer programs, and high school internships. If you’re interested in applying to the best BS/MD programs in the US, reach out to learn more about our services. Here at Prepory, we have the resources and expertise to help you meet all of your college-related goals!