BS MD Programs - Everything you need to know

BS MD Programs: Everything You Need To Know

One option for attending medical school is to get accepted into a BS MD program or BA MD program. This blog post will go over a lot of information about these special dual degree programs so that you can determine whether applying to BS MD programs is right for you! 

BS MD programs allow high school students to apply to college and medical school at the same time. This means that BS MD students directly enter medical school for their Medical Degree (MD) after completing their Bachelor of Science (BS) without undergoing the medical school application process. Both medical degrees and undergraduate degrees are usually conferred by the same university, although some partnership programs offer degrees from different institutions (e.g. Albany Medical College has links with several colleges; students can receive their undergraduate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Union College, or Siena College).

While most BS MD programs follow an 8-year track (4 years of college followed by 4 years of medical school), some offer accelerated 7- or even 6-year pathways. However, accelerated pathways are becoming increasingly rare as it is more difficult to cover necessary material in a shortened timespan.

Students accepted to a BS MD program must complete the necessary premedical coursework, undergraduate requirements, and major requirements that is expected of most pre-meds. Most programs require students to maintain a minimum Grade Point Average in these courses (e.g. most schools require a minimum 3.5 GPA throughout college). 

Many BS MD programs allow students to bypass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is another potential advantage of a BS MD program (see more pros and cons of BS MD programs below). While some programs require students to score a specified minimum to fulfill conditions of matriculation, others waive the exam entirely.

Now that you know more about BS MD programs, what are BA MD programs? 

In BA MD programs, students receive a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) like a B.A. in English, Public Policy, or Sociology. In BS MD programs, students receive a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) like a B.S. in Biology, Chemistry, or Neuroscience. 

It’s important to note that the terms BS/MD and BA/MD are often used interchangeably, so a student is not necessarily limited to the degree advertised on paper. 

The takeaway? Don’t eliminate a program solely based on whether it is called a BS MD program or BA MD program – they are effectively the same thing. They are both dual degree programs. They follow the same career paths towards a medical career.

List of BS MD Programs

Here is a list of BS MD programs in alphabetical order using the name of the medical school. For more details about various programs, click on the hyperlinks and receive detailed information on each school profile. As you will observe, some medical schools have partnerships with multiple undergraduate institutions.
  1. Albany Medical College – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI): BS + MD 7-year Physician-Scientist Program
  2. Albany Medical College – Siena College: Siena-AMC Science Humanities and Medicine 8-year Program
  3. Albany Medical College – Union College: Leadership in Medicine Program (LIM)
  4. Baylor College of Medicine – Baylor University: Baylor 2 Medical Track
  5. Baylor College of Medicine – Rice University: Medical Scholars Program
  6. Brown University: Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME)
  7. Case Western Research University: Pre-Professional Scholars Program in Medicine
  8. CUNY School of Medicine: Sophie Davis Biomedical Education Program at the CUNY School of Medicine BS/MD 7-year program
  9. Drexel: BA/BS + MD Early Assurance Program
  10. Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine – Florida A&M University: FAU High School MD Direct Program (7-8 year BS/MD program)
  11. Florida Atlantic University College of Medicine – Florida Atlantic University: Wilkes Medical Scholars Program (7-8 year BS/MD program)
  12. George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Science – George Washington University Columbia College of Arts and Sciences: 7-year Dual BA/MD Program
  13. George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Science – St. Bonaventure University BS/BA-MD 4+4 Dual Admittance Program
  14. Hofstra University: 4+4 Program BS/BA MD
  15. Howard University:  6-year BS/MD program [Historically Black Colleges and University]
  16. Medical College of Georgia – Augusta University: 7-8 year BS/MD Professional Scholars Program
  17. Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University – Temple University: Health Scholars Program 
  18. Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University – Washington & Jefferson College: Medical Scholars Program BA/MD program
  19. Renaissance School of Medicine – Stony Brook University: 8-year Bachelors/MD Scholars for Medicine Program
  20. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – Caldwell University: 7-year program
  21. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – Drew University: 7-year program
  22. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – New Jersey Institute of Technology: 7-year program
  23. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – Rutgers University, Newark: 7-year program
  24. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – Stevens Institute of Technology: 7-year program
  25. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – St. Peter’s University: 7-year program
  26. Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – The College of New Jersey: 7-year program
  27. Saint Louis University: Medical Scholars Program
  28. Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University – Penn State University: The Penn State-Jefferson Premedical-Medical (PMM) Program 7-year program
  29. SUNY Downstate – Brooklyn College: Brooklyn College Honors Program BA/MD program
  30. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – Adelphi University: Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program (BA/BS/Fine Arts – MD Program)
  31. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  32. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – Hampton University: Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  33. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – Purchase College: Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program (BA/BS/Bachelor of Fine Arts – MD program)
  34. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – Rochester Institute of Technology: Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  35. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly): Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  36. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF): Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  37. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – Spelman College: Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  38. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – Syracuse University: Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  39. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – University of Albany: Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  40. SUNY Upstate College of Medicine – Yeshiva University): Upstate Accelerated Scholars Program
  41. University of Alabama: Early Medical School Acceptance Program (EMSAP) (8-year BS/MD program)
  42. University of Cincinnati: Connections Dual Admissions BS/MD Program
  43. University of Missouri Kansas City: 6-year BA/MD program
  44. University of Pittsburgh: Guaranteed Admit Program (GAP) (8-year program)
  45. University of Rochester: Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) (BA/BS + MD 8-year program)
  46. University of South Florida: 7-year BS/MD program
  47. Virginia Commonwealth University: Guaranteed Admission Program (GAP) in Medicine
*Note: In 2022, Northwestern and Boston University removed their BS MD programs.

A BS MD program can be very beneficial for a motivated high school student interested in medicine, offering an early-assurance, direct pathway to medical school. However, due to the early commitment and restrictive nature of these programs, students must weigh potential drawbacks carefully in considering whether or not to apply to BS MD programs.

We outline some pros and cons of BS MD programs & BA MD programs down below:

  • Reduce the stress of the application process: with a guaranteed MD acceptance, students will forgo having to go through the traditional medical school application process and any associated costs (which can total thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands of dollars).
  • Reduce the stress of studying for the MCAT: studying for and taking the MCAT is a substantial barrier for a majority of pre-med students. Many combined BS MD programs do not require an MCAT or waive MCAT requirements as long as you are doing well in your premed coursework. Some BS MD programs do require a minimum MCAT. For example, Hofstra’s BS/MD program requires a minimum MCAT score “equivalent to the 80th percentile.” So do your research on each program before you apply!
  • More freedom: Students in a BS MD program may feel a greater sense of freedom in selecting their extracurricular activities and commitments because they don’t have to worry about what medical school admissions committees think. For the right student, this can be intellectually beneficial and provide a less stressful and more independent education.
  • Mentorship and networking: many BS MD programs admit a very small number of students with extensive resources and mentoring from faculty available to those admitted. This presents a benefit for students who might otherwise get “lost in the crowd” in a large, collegiate student body.
  • Locked into a career: students who apply to BS MD programs are only 17-18 years old, without the additional years of experience from undergraduate schooling (and potentially post-graduate experience). It is already difficult to decide on a medical career in college; for a high schooler, this decision is even more uncertain.
  • Locked into one undergraduate and medical school career path: not all medical schools offer BS MD programs. Students admitted to BS MD programs are likely to receive offers from other prestigious universities as well. As such, BS MD programs can limit one’s educational path and number of options as opposed to choosing an undergraduate and medical school independently.
  • Preparedness for medical school: the freedom offered by BS MD programs may be harmful for students if they are not productive with their time. There are also concerns about whether accelerated programs harm students’ preparedness for the rigors of medical school because they do not develop study skills from having to study for the MCAT or achieve the highest grades in their pre-med classes. From our experiences, most high schoolers who adamantly want to pursue medicine and matriculate to combined BS MD programs do become great doctors!

[ Read more pros and cons: Pros and Cons from a Northwestern BS/MD student ]

Tips to make your BS/MD Applications Stand Out

Now that you have decided to apply to some BS MD programs, how do you stand out? 

BS MD admissions is extremely competitive. Whether you are a freshman in high school preparing to apply to BS MD programs or applying to BS MD programs this year, keep all the tips below in mind. These are our Cracking BS MD Admissions proven ways to help students get accepted to BS MD programs. 

Please note that BS MD applications typically have an earlier application deadline than regular decision schools in the Common Application. BS MD applications are generally due starting 10/15 each year. If you are thinking about applying to BS MD programs or other dual degree programs, be sure to check the application deadlines early! 

BS/MD Application Tip #1. Aim for a high GPA and standardized test scores

BS MD programs are extremely competitive. Accepted students typically have GPAs at or near 4.0 with equally high standardized test scores on their SAT or ACT. The typical BS MD program acceptance rate often lies in the single digits (e.g. the Brown University PLME program accepted 94 students out of 2641 applications for an overall acceptance rate of 3.6%). Furthermore, considering the academic rigors of medical school, it is no surprise that BS MD programs look for students who have demonstrated their prowess in school. Before applying to BS MD programs, make sure you have competitive grades and test scores!

Other than strong test scores, another way to show academic excellence is through your letters of recommendation. Read more about letters of recommendation below

Why does this matter? Your future career depends on strong academics. Pre-med requirements are not a walk in the park, and furthermore, the medical school curriculum and medical school exams are difficult. As a physician, you need strong academics, so showing a strong academic record in high school is necessary. Therefore, is it necessary to show admissions committees your academic excellence.

BS/MD Application Tip #2. Have strong healthcare-related extracurricular activities

In addition to metrics, successful BS MD applicants often pursue a well-rounded list of extracurricular activities that showcase their commitment to medicine while distinguishing themselves from others. While there is no one set of activities that guarantees acceptances to BS MD programs, we recommend students explore the following:

  • Volunteering/Community Service – medicine is an altruistic field, and BS MD admissions committees want to see that you care about your community and are willing to volunteer your time to help others. Keep in mind that a longer period of involvement is more impressive than a lot of hours in a shortened time frame, as the former further demonstrates your commitment to a cause.
  • Medical/Clinical Experience – BS MD programs want to see that you have explored healthcare and what it is like being a doctor. It is a good idea to shadow physicians and try to work in clinical settings so you can speak to the day to day realities of a career as a physician.
  • Research – medicine is an applied science, so research on one’s application will be looked upon well. Look up research internships and/or programs offered by universities near your school and apply to them. If you are able to produce evidence of your productivity, consider submitting your work to a science fair or competition. For example, winning competitions like  Regeneron Science Talent Search, and the Google Science Fair will be a substantial boost to your application.

BS/MD Application Tip #3: Exhibit a sustained demonstrated interest in, and nuanced understanding of medicine

Why does this matter? Step into the shoes of a BS/MD admissions officer. You’re trying to decide which handful of individuals you’re going to admit, years in advance of when they will matriculate to medical school. You want to pick bright, talented individuals, yes, but you also want to be sure you’re picking people who won’t end up dropping out of the program – not because they can’t handle the rigor, but because they realize they don’t want to be a doctor.

What would convince you, in this position, that a 17- or 18-year-old student will become a physician?

  • A sustained demonstrated interest:

This involves both the time you have put into understanding medicine (think, number of hours), as well as how the time period over which you’ve learned about the field. A student who has volunteered for 150 hours at a hospital over three years is more compelling than one who volunteered 100 hours the summer before senior year.

  • Relevant, patient-facing experiences

There are many medically-related volunteering opportunities and clinical experiences available to high school premeds, particularly to older students (juniors, seniors). The best opportunities are patient-facing – so rather than stamping files or organizing medical equipment in a back storage room, you transport patients in/out of Physical Therapy, play music for elderly individuals in a nursing home, provide companionship for patients at the end of their lives in hospice, and do arts/crafts with pediatric patients to name a few.  This demonstrated not only your commitment to service in a medical context, but also your understanding of how other medical professions (e.g. physical therapists) and other medical institutions (e.g. nursing homes) care for patients.

Having a couple different types of shadowing experiences can also be helpful. Shadowing different types of physicians can give you breadth into the medical profession. First, you will see how different physicians interact with their patients. Second, shadowing in various specialties will show different issues and medical procedures. For instance, as a pre-med, Dr. Rizal shadowed a nephrologist who took her to dialysis centers. She learned what dialysis centers were and the potential burden late-stage diabetes had on patients’ lives. Dr. Rizal also shadowed a general surgeon where she watched surgeries, and she shadowed OB/GYNs where she met expecting mothers.

  • A nuanced understanding of medicine

Suppose you’ve shown, through your application, that you’ve devoted hundreds of hours to shadowing and volunteering in patient-facing roles. What then?  You need to show a specific, developed understanding of the role of a physician. This is particularly important for high school seniors going into the “Why Doctor” essay, and interviews.

Many students think they should pursue medicine because of their interest in science and serving others. That alone isn’t enough for an admissions officer – there are a variety of career paths you can take with those interests.  You need to show why you specifically want to be a doctor, and not a P.A., or nurse, or physical therapist. You also want to be able to demonstrate you don’t have a “rosy-eyed” viewed of medicine, that you understand challenges that come with the field, and have ideas on how you might want to tackle that as a physician.

[ Read more: How to Shadow a Doctor ]

How can you explain your nuanced understanding of medicine?

This might be displaying you understand, from personal experience, research, volunteering, or shadowing, how gender or race biases affect a patient’s care. It might be looking at the moral dimensions and ethical weight of patient care decisions. It might be looking more broadly to systematic issues that impact how patients view their diagnosis or treatment, or that serve as obstacles to getting the care they need. These are types of things you want to get across in your essays and interviews.

Application Tip for BS MD Programs

After each of your shadowing or medical volunteering experiences, jot down a few points about what you saw and what you learned about medicine in a Google doc. You don’t have to do this every time, but especially if something strikes you during a medical experience, make sure to capture that moment and your learnings. This will help you discuss “Why Medicine” during the application cycle, and provide a more nuanced view of medicine.


BS/MD Application Tip #4. Write compelling essays


Why does this matter? A BS/MD admissions officer is convinced you could be a good candidate. But, they’re not quite sure if you’re willing to come out to [insert far away state] for 7-8 years of your life. They also want to make sure you’re a good fit for their culture and will make good use of the opportunities at the institution. 

Your BS/MD application essays are an important way for you to tell a story and convey your motivations for pursuing a career in medicine. Furthermore, your writing can reveal important insights about your maturity, your character traits, and the way you think about the world. While BS MD supplemental essays are different than medical school secondary essays, writing the two successfully requires a similar strategy.

If all else is roughly equal, the candidate that makes a compelling case that they will thrive at that specific institution will be more likely to get the interview invite or acceptance.

How can you convince them you will?

  • Identifying specific resources at the undergraduate and medical school level you will harness

You can tie the resources and opportunities back to how you can grow as a physician. Perhaps there is a scientist who works on cystic fibrosis, a disease that holds personal importance to you. Perhaps there is someone who works in health equity from whom you can learn completely new research methods, so you can lead your own projects a few years into working with them. Being able to identify unique opportunities, how you’ll take advantage of them, and how that will serve your goal of being a certain type of clinician is key.

  • Identifying why a BS/MD and this BS/MD is the best way to achieve your professional goals

There are two components to this: (1) the first is asking why a BS/MD program? What will the extra time (not on the MCAT/applications) or the early access to medical school faculty allow you to do? (2) the second is asking why this BS/MD? What are the opportunities specific to this BS/MD and not others you want to highlight? 

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BS/MD Application Tip #5: Gain leadership and/or national/international excellence in extra-curriculars (bonus points if medically oriented)

Why does this matter? We’re back in the shoes of our BS/MD admissions officer. BS/MD programs were originally designed so that medical schools could recruit strong candidates early on that they otherwise would have lost to higher-ranked programs. Keeping this in mind, our BS/MD admissions officer wants to admit future leaders and pioneers in medicine.

What’s a demonstration of this, at the high school level?

  • Leadership in the medical field

Students who start their own initiatives to address a cause they are passionate about within medicine are more likely to do so in a meaningful way in medical school. The story and scale are important. The “why” behind why you chose the cause is key, as it tells a story about who you are in your application. This story and focus should be authentic to you. For example, one student we advised had a childhood best friend who was diagnosed with leukemia. He started fundraisers for St. Jude’s Hospital in his town.

Please note that starting an organization is not necessary.

Another way to demonstrate leadership is to hold leadership positions in organizations. However, we want to stress that the title is not enough to display leadership. You have to do something as a leader. Competitive colleges and medical schools are looking for students who take initiative and make an impact in the people & communities around them.

  • National/international awards

A college admissions officer has to compare hundreds, and sometimes thousands of applicants. National/international awards help set apart students who are truly most excellent in their field, and again, are most likely to win future awards, garner strong positions in the residency match, etc.

BS/MD Application Tip #6: Gather Strong Letters of Recommendation

Why Does This Matter?: A BS/MD admissions officer needs evidence that you’ll be able to handle the rigors of college and medical school. They also want to get to know you more as a human being  – will you fit with the culture of the school? Will you be a good addition to the field of medicine? They’re thinking, “Is this someone whom I can trust making patient care decisions one day, with the weight of the ethical responsibilities that come with that?” Personalized letters that really speak to you as a person, demonstrate your excellence, and your character can actually go a long way. Here are some tips to get those:

  • Letters that speak to your excellence

Pick letter writers that can definitively say you were “the best of the best” or “one of the best” students they’ve had in years.

  • Letter(s) that can speak to your interest in medicine and career aspirations within it

Ask your recommendation writers to discuss your interest in medicine. If they can endorse that you will be someone who is likely to be a pioneer or be a change agent in some way (e.g. champion for a particular cause they know you’re passionate about) in medicine, that will make your letter strong. Additionally, many colleges allow an optional letter of recommendation. Strong candidates for BS/MD programs include excellent recommendation letters from one physician.

  • Letters that demonstrate your character

Your recommenders should be able to talk about your character. For example, they can talk about how you are a team player in your extra-curricular activities or on projects in school.

Read more details about what your college letter of recommendation writers should write: How to Submit Strong Letters of Recommendation

Application Tip for BS/MD Programs

Take some time to meet with the teachers you are planning to ask for letters of recommendation from after school and outside of class. Try and develop a relationship with them where you not only touch upon class content, but also begin to talk about other aspects outside of the classroom. This will help them craft a stronger letter for you down the road.

BS/MD Application Tip #7: Extensive or published research


Please note that research is not necessary before applying to BS MD programs, but we do see many successful premedical students who have done research get accepted to BS MD programs.

For a BS/MD admissions officer, research is another way to demonstrate you’ll be a leader in a particular area of medicine. Similar to medical experiences, the more research you do, the more an admissions officer will be convinced you’ll be committed to continuing research as an undergraduate and medical student. If a student publishes research, it suggests a certain caliber of work that they’re doing that is on par with medical applicants. It is worth noting that in medical school, part of what helps a student get into a competitive residency program is research publications. So starting that track record early is a value add for the medical school too – a BS/MD admissions officer wants that person to be part of the student body.

Tip for the Premeds: Look for both structured research opportunities (e.g. programs that are designed for sophomores and juniors during the summer), as well as individual research mentors at local medical schools/universities they would like to work with. They can apply to the former, and reach out to latter via email with their resumes. Some schools also have a dedicated research program, something a possible BS/MD applicant should absolutely join. These programs often help students submit to regional and national scientific competitions where they can distinguish their work.

Other Helpful Resources for College Applications

Use the information in this “How to Choose BS/MD Programs” blog post in conjunction with these other helpful posts!

Additionally, you’ll find these profiles on BS/MD programs and pre-med programs helpful!

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