Many colleges and universities across the country offer postbaccalaureate premedical programs.. There are several different types of postbaccalaureate programs, and it is important to differentiate between them. Look carefully at each postbac program to determine if it is only for those who have not taken any science courses in the past or if it is for students who have completed some premedical science courses. Also consider whether or not the program is full-time or part-time, whether there are classes specifically for postbac students, what type of premedical advising and support is provided, what types of academic support services such as MCAT prep courses or tutoring are provided with the program, and if there is an organized postbac student community. If you are considering applying to a postbac premedical program you should talk to the prehealth advisor who is familiar with the different types of postbac programs.
These types of postbaccalaureate programs are designed for prospective medical school applicants who have not yet completed all or most of the premedical requirements. Students attending these programs do not receive a second undergraduate degree.
Some small structured career changer programs are full-time and designed for students to complete all of the core premedical courses in 12 months. These programs may have special relationships with medical schools, often called linkage or consortial agreements, which are similar to early-decision undergraduate admissions programs. During the postbac year students are able to apply to one consortial medical school, and if the student is accepted and meets the final admissions criteria (GPA and MCAT score) set by the consortial medical school, the student can matriculate in medical school directly following completion of the postbac program. Admission to medical school through a consortial arrangement enables the student to bypass the normal year-long medical school application process.
Bryn Mawr College has one of the oldest and most highly selective postbaccalaureate premedical programs in the country. The Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program of Bryn Mawr College offers highly motivated women and men career changers who never took the premedical courses the opportunity to complete an intensive, full-time preparation for medical school in one year.
These programs are for students who have already completed the premedical requirements but wish to enhance their academic records. Some of these programs are degree granting and are sometimes referred to as Special Master’s Programs. The focus of the graduate program can be in specific fields of basic biomedical sciences or in clinical fields. Depending on the program students may do laboratory or clinical research projects as part of the degree program.
Other postbac programs allow students to take upper level undergraduate science courses in order to enhance their overall cumulative undergraduate science GPAs. In these programs students will not receive a second undergraduate degree.
These programs seek specifically to assist those students who are from typically underrepresented groups in medicine or who are economically or educationally disadvantaged students. Some programs are for career changers although most are for students who have already completed the premedical requirements.