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Is a B.A/M.D combined program worth it, or is the traditional 4 year pre med then med school route better?

I am a honors/straight A student, and I do well in high stress environments and do well in science classes. Also I want to do surgery for reference, so I’m thinking a ba/md program would help save time.
#pre-med #college #doctor

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John’s Answer

Sophia if you’re absolutely convinced that you want to pursue a career in medicine and you’ve tested the waters already through volunteer work, hospital shadowing, and summer research programs, you may be tempted to apply exclusively to BS/MD programs. A combined BS/MD program isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a high-achieving, focused student who knows that a Doctor of Medicine degree is in your future, it is definitely an option to consider. Combined programs allow students to earn a bachelor's degree—either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS)—and then proceed directly into a medical program for a Doctor of Medicine (MD). Since students are already accepted to medical school, they can forgo the typical medical school admissions process near the end of undergrad.


BS/MD programs are a great option for some students, but they are definitely not for everyone. Obviously, these programs require you to commit to a career path much earlier than the standard declaration of a college major. Furthermore, you are completely committed to a career in medicine whereas most college majors allow the freedom to choose from broader paths or even change course completely. This requires a particularly mature and self-driven teen to know exactly what you want to do with your life by the time you graduate high school. But if you know without a doubt that medicine is the path for you, a BS/MD program is something to consider.

Admission to these programs tends to be very competitive. While standard premed students will have the opportunity to prove themselves through college coursework and MCAT scores, you will need to show your commitment and readiness for a BS/MD program through only your college application. This means that your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and everything else included on your college application will need to be exceptional. Generally, a successful applicant will have an exceptional recommendation from a science teacher, strong scores on science SAT Subject Tests and AP exams, high SAT or ACT scores, and a high GPA. While the competitiveness of schools offering BS/MD programs varies significantly, these programs are always more competitive than admissions for just undergraduate programs at a given school. Often, the spaces are limited to only 20-30 students each year, and plenty of programs accept fewer than 10 students annually.

BS/MD programs do offer some great advantages to the students who choose them and gain admission. Foremost, you don’t have to worry about applying and being accepted to med school once you’ve been accepted to a BS/MD program. This can be a huge weight lifted and will ultimately streamline the entire process for you. While many BS/MD combined programs will still require you to take the MCAT and meet a minimum score on it (which varies by program), you will not have to worry about exemplifying your commitment to the field through coursework. Some students in BS/MD programs report that they feel more academic freedom with the knowledge that they have already been accepted to med school. Although there are still strict course requirements, you no longer have to worry about proving your commitment to the field.

Sophia in addition to offering students a stable and challenging program in their chosen fields, many combined programs provide scholarship money. Since they tend to be extremely selective, direct medical programs often offer financial aid to high-achieving students who get in. Getting this money can greatly assist you in achieving your educational goals.

Hope this was Helpful Sophia

John recommends the following next steps:

Temple University – 3+4 Accelerated BA+MD – Philadelphia, PA: If you want to get your bachelor’s degree in 3 years then move on to medical school, Temple University might be a good fit for you. Instead of applying while in high school, you’ll apply for Temple’s 3+4 Accelerated program during the first semester of your freshman year. This means you’ll have some extra time to think about your future as a doctor before fully committing your college experience to that path. The accelerated option is only available to students who have a major within the College of Science and Technology at the university.

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Claire’s Answer


First let me say, I am impressed that you are reaching out on this forum to ask this question. It is best to gather as much information as possible before making decisions such as this. I hope that you are also discussing this with others who have more knowledge.
That being said, I agree with the other answers to your questions. I would, however, warn you of your pursuit of this track to medical school. There were many many people in my college who were pre-med their freshmen and sophomore years before changing their minds due to either grades, courses or simply finding a better fit. In addition, college can be quite hard for many people, even those that excelled through high school. In fact, I would dare say that it can be even harder for those whom high school was quite easy as they did not develop the proper study strategies. College is a wonderful place to thrive, struggle, learn about yourself, and learn how to learn. It could prove to be quite difficult trying to do this with the extra weight of being in this program.
However, I do have one friend from my high school that did a combined program and truly loved every minute of it.
Therefore, I would encourage you to talk with many people and students and do a lot of self-reflection before making a decision.
I hope that this has been helpful. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you need anything. Best of luck.

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Will’s Answer

I think the other answers are excellent, however, I want to add that I really valued having four years of undergrad. You are only 18-22 once, and those are great years of your life! College is a really fun time to explore who you are as an individual and explore topics you will never have the chance to formally learn again. Medical school is rewarding but very stressful - I wouldn't rush undergrad as it is a great experience. BS/MD programs are a great option to consider, but I think that a significant con is that those fun undergrad years are too condensed to the point where you won't be able to relax and just appreciate the college experience.

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Richard’s Answer

Pro: Once admitted to the program, there is less stress of not knowing what the future holds. You can focus on learning the material and getting good grades rather than "jumping through hoops" to improve your resume. For example most students spend time shadowing physicians and volunteering in hospital. While these may be rewarding activities, the students are also trying to prove to future admissions committees that they are dedicated to the profession.

Con: You may change your mind about becoming a physician.
You still need to keep your GPA or risk having your admission declined.
You will need to stay in the same city for both college and medical school