How to Choose the Right Pre-Medicine Pathway Program in the U.S.?

The big dream of practising Medicine in the United States can come true faster than you think if you’re a little smarter than the rest and do your homework in time. If you haven’t done any research on the subject so far, enrolling in a (human) Medicine degree in the States may seem a little complicated. Not sure how med schools work or what exactly a pre-med foundation degree is?

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Here are some key facts to help you get ready for beginning a rewarding career in Medicine in the United States:

  • Preparing for human Medicine degrees in the U.S.
  • How is a pre-med program like at U.S. colleges?
  • Reasons to follow a Pre-Bachelor or Pre-Master program in Medicine in the States

Preparing for Medicine graduate degrees in the United States

In the U.S., you won’t find Bachelor degrees in Medicine per se. If you would like to study Medicine, you would have to first finish a Bachelor degree and then apply to a medical school – a graduate degree that lasts four years.

The next question is: What Bachelor degree or major should I choose to be successfully admitted to medical school? This is really up to you, as there is no one specific answer to this question. Although the general recommendation and the most popular majors in pre-Medicine studies are biology, chemistry and mathematics, you can still choose other major but also complete courses in the sciences mentioned above.

Within some universities, like Boston University, you have the option to pursue a dual degree program: one – a medical degree pathway program and the other one in any field of your interest.

Georgetown School of Medicine allows Bachelor students to apply directly to their medical school at the end of the second Bachelor year (sophomore year) as long as they have successfully attended four semesters-classes in biology, chemistry and organic chemistry.

Finding the right foundation degree in Medicine in U.S. colleges

Once you start looking on the websites of each medical school, chances are that the information you read will become blurrier in your mind than it was before you knew anything about it. For some American colleges, a preparation or pathway program in Medicine is mainly a Bachelor degree that focuses on the core courses required for admission at a medical school.

For other colleges, a pre-med can be a four-month to one-year preparation program that also includes in its curriculum the main courses in sciences (biology, chemistry, mathematics) + TOEFL or IELTS training and other English academic skills.

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So, one important tip in order to not get confused about Medicine programs or degrees is to first check out their duration.

Few colleges offer pre-med (Pre-Master) preparation courses that last for maximum one year and are specifically targeted on human Medicine (e.g. University of Southern California, Widener University). On the other hand, you can find plenty of other preparation/foundation programs focused on other sub-fields of Medicine, such as occupational therapy, physician assistance, optometry or dentistry.

If you’re an international student and thought about enrolling into medical school in the States, you should know that almost half of all the American medical schools only accept applications of American and Canadian students. So if you made this your primary goal, you will need to start studying in the U.S. and complete an undergraduate degree or spend at least one year at an educational institution.

In conclusion, to get into an American medical school, follow one of the following tips:

  • If you are from the U.S., choose an undergraduate degree, preferably with a major in sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics)
  • If you’re a foreign student, either start your path to Medicine school with a Bachelor degree in the U.S. as well or select a Pre-Master program in Medicine

Regardless if you are a U.S. or an international student, all medical schools from the states require high scores of the MCAT exam. The MCAT is conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and it is a mandatory condition for successful application to any American medical school.

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The purpose of a Pre-Bachelor or Pre-Master in Medicine in the U.S.

A pathway/preparation program in Medicine is not exclusively dedicated to foreign students. You can be an American student but found your calling for Medicine after you finished a Bachelor degree in accounting or literature, for instance. Plus, through a preparation program you get the chance to see if being a doctor is really what you want to do for the rest of your life and if you have the necessary skills for this profession.

P.S. Remember to read the details of the pre-Medicine or pathway programs carefully and in case you’re not sure you fully understood all of it, contact the university and ask them to give you more information.

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