How to Successfully Gain Admission to a BS/MD Program

For many young individuals harboring aspirations of becoming a medical doctor, the traditional route entails embarking on their academic journey by applying to undergraduate programs renowned for their robust offerings in the hard sciences. While the choice of major among future MDs varies widely, it’s fascinating to note that the average MCAT scores of those majoring in humanities or social sciences are on par with their counterparts focusing on biology or health sciences. Regardless of their chosen field of study, undergraduate students must grapple with a demanding curriculum, encompassing essential subjects like biology, chemistry, physics, and math—core prerequisites for gaining entrance into medical school. Upon completing four years of intensive study and armed with a bachelor’s degree coupled with commendable MCAT results, they embark on the formidable task of navigating the labyrinthine process of applying to medical school.

However, this journey isn’t the sole trajectory for all aspiring medical students. Some choose a more direct and audacious path straight out of high school by applying to BS/MD programs.

Also read Top BS/MD Programs: Your Pathway to Medical Excellence

What is the BS/MD program?

A BS/MD program represents a unique educational pathway that integrates the Bachelor of Science (BS) and Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees into a seamless, continuous experience. Unlike traditional routes to medical school, BS/MD programs streamline the process by eliminating the need for a separate application to medical school. In these programs, students embark on their journey toward becoming a physician directly from undergraduate studies, without the uncertainties and anxieties associated with the traditional medical school application process.

The structure of BS/MD programs varies, with some offering the opportunity to complete both degrees in seven years, while others adhere to the standard eight-year timeline (4+4). Regardless of the duration, the hallmark of these programs is their emphasis on providing a cohesive and accelerated path to medical education, allowing students to immerse themselves in rigorous academic and clinical training from the outset of their undergraduate studies.

What is the Acceptance rates for BS/MD programs?

Acceptance rates for BS/MD programs present a formidable challenge, often rivaling or even surpassing the selectivity of renowned institutions like Stanford (4%), Harvard (3.4%), and Columbia (3.7%) in their regular undergraduate admissions process. For instance, Georgetown University’s Early Assurance Program with Georgetown’s School of Medicine boasts a mere 2.9% acceptance rate. The Ivy League’s sole BS/MD program at Brown University, known as the Program in Liberal Medical Education, received 3,516 applications for the Class of 2024, extending admission offers to only 82 applicants, equating to a daunting acceptance rate of 2.3%. Notably, successful applicants boasted an average SAT score of 1,510.

Even universities without the prestige of institutions like Brown and Georgetown often exhibit similarly minuscule acceptance rates for their limited BS/MD spots. Virginia Commonwealth University, for example, features a 3.1% admit rate for combined degree-seekers, starkly contrasting with its 87% acceptance rate for regular undergraduates.

All BS/MD programs in the U.S.

Currently, there are nearly 50 BS/MD programs offered across the United States, catering to students seeking a streamlined path to medical education. These programs are available at a diverse range of institutions, including highly selective universities like Brown University, Northwestern University, Rice University, Boston University, and the University of Rochester. Additionally, many state universities offer BS/MD programs, providing accessible options for aspiring physicians. Examples include the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, Florida State, and UConn. With such a wide array of options, aspiring medical students have the opportunity to find a BS/MD program that aligns with their academic goals and aspirations.

5 tips for standing out on your BS/MD application

In the fiercely competitive landscape of BS/MD admissions, standing out from the crowd requires more than just stellar transcripts and test scores. Here are five invaluable tips to elevate your application and leave a lasting impression on admissions committees:

  1. Prioritize Clinical Experience: Distinguish yourself by accumulating ample clinical experience during your high school years. Seek acceptance into prestigious summer programs with a pre-med focus, volunteer at local hospitals, arrange shadowing opportunities with physicians, and actively engage with patients. Building a robust clinical resume demonstrates your commitment to the field and sets you apart from other applicants.
  2. Embrace Research Opportunities: Supplement your clinical experience with research involvement, a facet equally esteemed in BS/MD admissions. Explore research-intensive summer programs or seek opportunities for laboratory work during the academic year. Don’t hesitate to leverage your network—reach out to high school teachers, university professors, and professionals in research organizations to secure meaningful research experiences.
  3. Pursue Rigorous Coursework: Take full advantage of Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate coursework available in high school, particularly in science and math disciplines. Demonstrating proficiency in rigorous academic coursework showcases your intellectual curiosity and readiness for the rigorous demands of medical school.
  4. Craft a Compelling “Why Medicine?” Narrative: Prepare to articulate your passion for medicine in a compelling and memorable manner. Draw upon your hands-on experiences and academic journey to weave a narrative that authentically communicates your motivations and aspirations. Whether through personal anecdotes or reflections on your journey, convey why a career in medicine is your calling.
  5. Excel in the Interview: The BS/MD interview is a comprehensive evaluation that extends beyond a mere chit-chat session. Be prepared for a day-long or weekend-long affair that may include social components. Present yourself as personable, professional, and collaborative, traits essential for future physicians. Approach the interview with confidence, showcasing your interpersonal skills and alignment with the values of the medical profession.

In essence, by strategically cultivating clinical and research experiences, excelling in academic coursework, crafting a compelling narrative, and mastering the interview process, you can position yourself as a standout candidate in the competitive landscape of BS/MD admissions.

Also see Top BS/Dental Medicine Schools

Deadlines for BS/MD programs

When it comes to BS/MD programs, aspiring applicants need to be vigilant about deadlines, which often differ from those of regular undergraduate programs. These combined degree programs typically have earlier application deadlines, necessitating proactive planning and preparation.

For instance, the Accelerated Medical Program at Boston University sets a deadline of November 15, while the New Jersey Institute of Technology requires all materials to be submitted by November 1. With such early deadlines looming, prospective BS/MD candidates are advised to invest significant effort during the summer preceding their senior year. This strategic approach allows them to complete as many components of each application as possible before the flurry of admissions season begins. By diligently managing their time and prioritizing their applications, applicants can maximize their chances of securing a coveted spot in these highly competitive programs.

Benefits and Drawbacks of BS/MD Programs

Considering a BS/MD program? It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before committing to this accelerated path toward a medical career.


  1. Reduced Stress: The medical school admissions process is notoriously stressful, with months spent preparing for the MCATs and maintaining exceptional grades in challenging science courses. Opting for a BS/MD program eliminates this pressure entirely, providing peace of mind and a guaranteed pathway to medical school.
  2. Unique Undergraduate Opportunities: BS/MD programs offer unparalleled access to medicine-related opportunities from day one of undergraduate studies. Whether it’s research projects, doctor-shadowing experiences, or clinical rotations, members of these selective cohorts have abundant chances to immerse themselves in the world of medicine.
  3. Streamlined Educational Path: Some BS/MD programs shorten the journey to becoming a physician by a full year, saving students money on tuition and accelerating their entry into the workforce as practicing physicians.


  1. Lack of “Free Agency”: By committing to a BS/MD program straight out of high school, students trade their future free agency for the security of guaranteed admission to medical school. While this route provides certainty, it also means forgoing the opportunity to compete for spots at the most prestigious medical schools later on.
  2. Early Commitment: Deciding on a professional career path at age 18 entails significant risk, as young adults’ brains are still developing. Committing to a BS/MD program without fully exploring other options may limit future career flexibility. Unless absolutely certain about pursuing a medical career, students may benefit from experiencing college life and exploring different academic paths before committing to a BS/MD program.


The decision to pursue a BS/MD program is a significant one that requires careful consideration of both its advantages and disadvantages. While these programs offer a streamlined path to a medical career, alleviating much of the stress associated with the traditional medical school admissions process and providing unique opportunities for undergraduate students, they also come with trade-offs such as limited future flexibility and the need for early commitment.

Ultimately, whether a BS/MD program is the right choice depends on individual preferences, goals, and level of certainty about pursuing a career in medicine. By weighing the pros and cons thoughtfully and thoroughly, prospective students can make informed decisions that align with their aspirations and set them on the path to a fulfilling and successful medical career.