Applying to medical school is one of the most stressful times in an aspiring doctor’s life.
If you apply during undergrad, you’re balancing coursework — which can be very challenging as a pre-med student — at the same time as hunting down faculty for letters of recommendation, taking the MCAT, and preparing for interviews.
If you apply after graduation, you need to fill your gap years with meaningful health-related experiences to stay competitive.
Even after all of this, it’s still incredibly hard to get into med school.
Thankfully, joint baccalaureate/MD programs exist.
Although highly competitive, BA/MD and BS/MD programs guarantee admission to med school.
Of course, you’ll have to maintain a high level of academic performance and fulfill extracurricular obligations outside of class. Still, you’ll be able to focus on doing these things without the anxiety of applying to med school separately.
The following 10 best BA-BS/MD programs mostly last eight consecutive years (4 years of undergrad followed by 4 years of med school), with some only taking seven (3 years of undergrad, 4 years of med school).
They are best suited for high school students who are sure they want to become doctors.
Because of this, these programs require lots of advance planning, but the peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re guaranteed admission to med school certainly pays off long-term.
10. University of Colorado School of Medicine/University of Colorado Denver (Aurora, CO)
This eight-year BA-BS/MD degree program is a collaboration between the School of Medicine and the College of Liberal Arts.
The goal of this program is to give highly qualified, diverse candidates a guaranteed track to med school so that they can better serve the healthcare needs of Colorado residents.
Up to 10 students get a spot in this prestigious program every year. They come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences that have informed their dedication to pursuing a medical degree.
According to U.S. News, the School of Medicine ranks #27 for research and #6 for primary care out of all the med schools in the country. It ranks so well because of its commitment to cutting-edge research and medical education. Faculty regularly receive NIH funding and publish first-of-its-kind research.
9. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Pittsburgh, PA)
Pittsburgh’s Guaranteed Admission Program (GAP) allows high school seniors admitted to the University of Pittsburgh to be guaranteed admission to the School of Medicine upon completing their bachelor’s degree.
This program is not for the faint of heart. It requires applicants to earn a minimum SAT score of 1490 or 34 on the ACT. They must also maintain the highest GPA available at their high school while choosing the most academically rigorous courses possible. Candidates that make it past the initial review must then interview at the School of Medicine.
The bachelor’s/MD program takes a total of 8 years and does not require students to take the MCAT or apply separately to med school. These two incentives alone make the program a worthwhile consideration.
Once they get to the School of Medicine, students can take advantage of cutting-edge educational technology, most of which were developed in-house by Pitt’s own software developers.
8. Hofstra/Northwell School of Medicine (Uniondale, NY)
The 4+4 program at Hofstra/Northwell lets students earn a BS or BA in four years and an MD in another 4 years.
Requirements include earning at least a 3.7 GPA out of 4.0, ranking in the top 10% of their graduating class, getting at least a 1410 on the SAT or 32 on the ACT, and taking the CASPer exam. This 90-minute exam assesses situational judgment, providing a metric outside of grades and test scores.
During undergraduate study, students must fulfill certain requirements to stay eligible for the program. As long as they do, they can automatically matriculate at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine after earning their bachelor’s degree.
The med school emphasizes a case-based curriculum that includes clinical experience starting in the first year.
Med students enjoy access to facilities at Northwell Health, New York’s largest private employer and healthcare provider.
7. George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences (Washington, DC)
George Washington University offers two different dual programs through the School of Medicine and Health Sciences: a seven-year BA/MD in conjunction with the university’s Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, or an eight-year BS/MD program in collaboration with St. Bonaventure University.
The seven-year program is offered entirely within George Washington University. Students complete their bachelor’s in three years and go on to four years of medical school. This highly competitive program requires students to be at the top of their class throughout high school and college.
The eight-year program requires students to spend their undergraduate years at St. Bonaventure University in New York. A small pool of qualified candidates can then interview for the MD program at GWU.
6. Boston University School of Medicine (Boston, MA)
BU’s Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program is one of the oldest in the nation and has been highly successful.
This joint degree requires students to complete the Medical Science major, all requirements for the bachelor of arts, and general education courses through BU Hub.
BU School of Medicine serves a diverse student population in the heart of Boston. It’s one of the top medical schools in the country for both primary care and research. In fact, some students of the accelerated program opt to take an eight-year to do additional research, take modular medical courses, and explore other academic interests.
The med school is known as the nation’s first combined cancer research and teaching lab. Today BU School of Medicine is home to over 600 research projects.
5. Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (Cleveland, OH)
At Case Western Reserve University, 15-20 high school seniors are selected per year for the Pre-Professional Scholars Program in Medicine.
This eight-year program consists of regular progress checks and does not require the MCAT, unless Scholars want to apply to a medical program at another school or want to be considered for a dean’s merit scholarship.
Curriculum at CWRU follows the Western Reserve2 (WR2) Curriculum, an innovative four-year course of study combining the fundamentals of medicine and public health.
This dynamic, interdisciplinary program trains students to study disease alongside their social and behavioral contexts. Students learn about the interplay between individual health and public health, as well as the relationships between clinical medicine and population medicine.
CWRU School of Medicine also hosts a podcast on applying to medical school. It features conversations with admissions officials and faculty and answers student questions.
4. Baylor College of Medicine (Waco, TX)
Baylor offers a variety of baccalaureate/MD programs.
The Baylor2 Medical Track Program is an eight-year program for six highly qualified high school students per year.
Two of the six students will receive a $40,000 scholarship ($10,000 for each year of undergrad), while the other four will receive $12,000 ($3,000 each year).
The Houston Premedical Academy is the result of collaboration between the DeBakey High School for Health Professions, the University of Houston, and Baylor College of Medicine.
Since being established in 1996, up to six students are selected for the program per year. They are given provisional acceptance to Baylor College of Medicine upon maintaining eligibility requirements throughout their undergraduate career.
They can major in whichever subject they want, but they must be admitted to the Honors College and minor in the Medicine & Society program there.
3. Brown University Warren Alpert School of Medicine (Providence, RI)
Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PMLE) is the only baccalaureate/MD program in the Ivy League.
The eight-year program gives students a well-rounded liberal arts education followed by an intensive medical school experience. In undergrad, students benefit from Brown’s world-famous open curriculum concept, through which they can explore any and all of their academic interests while preparing for a career in medicine.
Brown PMLE students are also free to defer their entry into med school by a year or two through the Flex Plan. They usually spend this additional time pursuing outside research, public service, government, healthcare, business, and/or educational opportunities.
After matriculating at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine, students can pursue another advanced degree alongside the MD, such as an MPH or PhD.
2. University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (Rochester, NY)
The Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) program is an eight-year BA-BS/MD degree course for high school students who know that they want to pursue medicine as a career.
REMS students attend special events, work hands-on in clinics and labs, and interact closely with world-class faculty — sometimes for all eight years. At the same time, students can explore their academic and extracurricular interests to the fullest through Rochester’s open curriculum format.
At the School of Medicine and Dentistry, the Double Helix Curriculum combines basic science and clinical experiences throughout all four years of med school.
The three pillars of this model are Collaborative Care, Technology in Medicine, and Professional Identity Formation. Instruction is structured through problem-based learning, small group exercises, simulation, and team-based learning.
1. University of Connecticut School of Medicine (Farmington, CT)
The eight-year Special Program in Medicine at UConn allows students to bypass the SAT/ACT requirement, though it still requires the MCAT.
As undergrads, students can choose from over 115 majors while participating in special seminars and health-profession events at the School of Medicine.
In order to stay eligible for matriculation into the med school, students must complete at least 100 hours each of clinical service, community service, and clinical or benchtop research.
Starting in 2020, UConn School of Medicine launched the new M Delta curriculum, which relies more on team-based learning and less on lectures.
The revamped curriculum consists of early exposure to clinical experience (as early as the first month of med school), integration of clinical medicine and basic sciences, and enhanced medical simulation exercises in gross and virtual anatomy labs.