What are Post-Baccalaureate Programs?
These are programs that enable college graduates to complete necessary course work to apply to health professions schools. Most such programs are highly structured, but some also consider if you have previously completed relevant course work and whether it would be advisable to go over the same or similar material.
- What are your key goals? Assess you needs and objectives to determine what type of program may be most suitable. If you have taken nearly none of the science requirements for health professions schools, Career Changer post-baccalaureate programs would be your goal. If you have completed all or most of the required science course work and either look for a boost in your record or for an opportunity to complete remaining requirements, Record Enhancement programs would be your goal. Two other types of programs may be of interest particularly to college graduates who have an overall solid academic background and both see intrinsic value to earning a Masters degree in a medical science and would benefit from an academic boost through graduate course work. A number of Special Masters Programs at universities nationally, and some that cover the first year of medical curriculum at a medical school may be a good fit for you in this case. There are also a number of post-baccalaureate programs across all types that specifically aim to provide an opportunity for applicants from backgrounds under-represented in the health professions. Some programs require the MCAT. These are specifically for individuals who have already taken the MCAT and may have already applied to medical schools. If this isn't your case, it's not advisable to take the MCAT in order to get into a post-baccalaureate program.
- With whom will you be taking classes? Will you be taking undergraduate classes, open enrollment continuing education classes, or classes just with post-bacc students? Consider your needs and goals outlined above.
- Will you be eligible to receive the program's support in future medical school applications?
- Linkages - Many programs have linkage agreements with medical schools that can expedite your admission process.
- Advising - Programs should offer you access to individual advising about academic planning and the admission process.
For Students and Alumni Who Have Little or No Science Background
If you took almost none of the requisite courses required for admission to medical or other health profession schools while at Brown, consider enrolling in a post-baccalaureate program, which typically consists of all the basic science courses required for admission (the equivalent of one year with laboratory of general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, and physics). When deciding which post-bacc programs to pursue, consider the following:
Most post-baccalaureate programs can be finished in one calendar year, though in many cases you will have a "gap year" in between completing your post-bacc courses and entering a health profession training program. Admission to post-bacc programs is moderately to rather competitive, and the process varies from program to program. You may need to take the GRE, though many programs will accept your SAT scores. A number of such programs offer excellent preparation. Some of the long-running programs include Goucher College, Bryn Mawr College, Johns Hopkins University, and Tufts University. Assess programs based on your needs and goals to ensure you make an informed choice.
For Students or Alumni Who Have Completed All or Most Pre-Med/Pre-Health Courses But Wish to Strengthen Their Background
Other programs are designed for individuals who have completed all or most pre-med/pre-health courses but would like to strengthen their credentials for admission. Many such programs involve taking advanced courses either in a medical school or through a graduate unit of a university. These may lead to a certificate or a Masters degree (often called Special Masters Programs - SMP). You will find the details of such programs in the AAMC database above and on the individual programs' websites. The Warren Alpert Medical School Gateways to Medicine, Health Care and Research is an example of such a special program. Admission to these programs is also fairly competitive, requiring in many cases a minimum GPA of 3.0 (sciences and overall). Many require that you submit MCAT scores but would also take GRE scores. If you have not yet taken the MCAT and need a boost of your content knowledge through course work, opt for the GRE if possible. You should take the MCAT after you strengthen your preparation through the post-bacc program if this test isn't required.
How To Apply
The great majority of Post-Baccalaureate programs have their own application systems. Aplicants submit materials to these programs individually. In summer 2017 Liaison International launched PostBacCAS, a centralized application system that allows applicants to submit materials to multiple programs. Over 70 such programs are represented in PostBacCAS.