Pre-Med Programs (Part 2): Combined & Accelerated Programs

Medical Records & Stethoscope

So, of course, with every rule there is an exception. In Part 1 of this post, I reviewed the general course of study for students who consider themselves Pre-Med and stressed that (usually) there are not official “Pre-Med” majors. There are several programs around the country, however, that offer “Fast Track” or Accelerated Medical Programs. These options are usually combined baccalaureate/MD programs. So while you still can’t become a doctor in 4 years (would you really trust an open heart surgeon with only 4 years of medical background?), these programs do shave off a few years of study.

Combined Programs vs. Accelerated Programs

In a regular “pre-med” track, students apply to college as an undergraduate, and then, at the end of their undergraduate studies, apply to medical school. These 2 admissions processes are totally separate. With combined BS/MD programs there is just 1 major admissions process that is completed at the end of high school, so students apply for their undergraduate and medical school programs at the same time. Though there may be expectations and requirements that have to be met to continue on at various points in the program, BS/MD programs don’t require a separate medical school application process. Students flow directly from their BS program into the combined medical school program – hence the “combined degree” title.

Most accelerated BS/MD programs are combined but not all combined BS/MD programs are accelerated, as there are some combined BSMD programs that are NOT accelerated.

Generally, accelerated programs are 6-7 years in length while combine programs run 8-9 years, so accelerated programs actually cut some time off of undergraduate study. While combined programs make the transition to med school easier because the application process (for the most part) is done upon undergraduate entry, they are not necessarily shorter in length.

Program Specifics

Before committing to a program, make sure you learn about the specifics. Some combined programs don’t require students to take the MCAT to continue into the medical school phase while others do. If they do, what score is required to continue in the program? Can you add an extra year of undergraduate study if you choose? These are all things to consider when applying.

The major factor to research with accelerated BS/MD programs is how the program “accelerates” study. In almost all programs, the acceleration occurs during undergraduate study, and the 4 years of medical school is standard. Find out if the program is year round or if classes are combined (Organic Chemistry I&II in the same semester – yikes!). Also, consider course load. Most college freshmen are urged to take a light 12 hour course load their first semester to help them ease into college. In accelerated programs, students will probably be expected to balance a grueling schedule from day 1.

Accelerated programs usually follow a 3 (undergraduate study) + 4 (medical school) OR a 2 (undergraduate study) + 4 (medical school).

Because most of these programs are relatively new and very elite, they only accept a few students each year. To be considered for these programs, students must usually maintain a GPA that places them in the top 5-10% of their high school graduating class, score in the 2200+ range on the SAT or in the 32+ range on the ACT,  and display a strong commitment to the medical field.

Is it right for me?

While medical school may be in your future, an accelerated program is not for everyone. Is an 18 or 20 year old really ready for the maturity and dedication med school takes? It depends. Accelerated BS/MD programs are a serious commitment, and there is probably a great difference between a typical first year pre-med undergraduate student and a first year BS/MD student. These fast track and combined programs are designed for the unique and exceptional high school students who are driven and fully prepared to work in the medical profession. Students who are accepted into BS/MD programs also have to be prepared to commit the next 6-8 years to a single university and city. For some, this level of dedication and stability may not be right.

I Am Applying for a BS/MD Program. How Do I Prove I Am A Perfect Candidate?

In many ways, the BS/MD applications process is very similar to that of any undergraduate program. Stellar SAT scores, a solid GPA, a strong resume, and impressive recommendations don’t hurt. The main difference is proving your commitment to the medical field. Building experiences in the medical field will not only help your resume, they will also help you affirm your decision.

• Shadow a Doctor or Two: Make a connection with a few local doctors and see if you can interview them and shadow them for a day to get a feel for the daily routine of a doctor.
• Find a Summer Internship at a Doctor’s Office: Even though you may not be in the action, real world experience in a medical office is important.
• Volunteer at a Hospital: Most hospitals are always in search of volunteers. By consistently volunteering at a hospital over a summer or throughout high school, you will display both interest in the field and dedication to a cause.

Universities Offering Accelerated/Combined Medical Programs

There are roughly 30 universities around the country which offer combined BS/MD degrees. Some schools that offer these med programs include:
• Baylor University/Baylor College of Medicine in Texas (8 year program)
• University of Miami in Florida (7 year program)
• Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in Ohio (6 year program)
•  Tulane in Louisiana (6 year program)
•  Florida State University in Florida (7 year program)
•  Drexel University in Pennsylvania (7 year program)
•  Penn State + Jefferson Medical College (7 year program)
•  George Washington University (7 year program)

For a more complete listing of accredited universities, review this list offered by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

If you have yet to read Part 1 about general Pre-Med tracks, check it out now!

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12 Responses to Pre-Med Programs (Part 2): Combined & Accelerated Programs

  1. Pingback: Pre-Med Programs: What do I major in?

  2. Pingback: Pre-Law, What do I major in? | College Compass

  3. anonymous says:

    I have a few questions about the bs/md program. If I have a 31 ACT score, do i still have a chance to get into programs where the minimum score is a 32?
    Also, the link to the full list of bs/md programs isn’t working for me so can you give me another link to the website? I have been searching for the full list for years now and I can’t seem to find an accurate one. I want to apply to as many as I can so I have a higher chance of getting in.

    Thank You

    • Calvin says:

      These programs tend to be very competitive, so usually minimum means minimum. You are very close though, so with some extra practice you could probably raise your score to be above the minimum. Test Masters offers a 4 point score improvement guarantee, which you might be interested in. As for the list, you can find a comprehensive list of combined bachelors and med school programs here.

  4. Alvin John V Serranilla says:

    Hey let me just ask if Bio-Med is an accelerated pre med course i would love a fast reply thankyou.

    • Bill says:


      Your statement is a little ambiguous, so it is difficult to answer. As an area of undergraduate study, Biology is often considered “pre-med,” a term used for students who are completing an undergraduate degree specifically in preparation to attend medical school. Biology is one of the most common types of pre-med backgrounds, but it is not strictly speaking required that you have a degree in Biology to attend medical school (it is, however, required that you meet certain prerequisites to even be eligible to take the MCAT, which is required by most medical colleges. Learn more about the requisites to apply to medical school here.).

      Is “Bio-Med” a specific course or class you are interested in taking? Does “Bio-Med” refer to a specific degree program at a specific university? Information about all of this would be helpful in answering your question. Regardless of this, the short answer to your question is unless this class or program somehow truncates your undergraduate or graduate level studies (shortens undergrad to three years, for example), then no, it is not accelerated in that sense.

      Hope this helps!

  5. delia says:

    I have 118 credits at a university. Ive done bio 1, AP bio, micro, physics 1, med term., algebra, microbio., biochem., some business classes/ med. assisting classes. I know I am all over the place. Majority of all my prereq., for med school is comolete except chem 1/2. Is there universities that have a combine BS/MD for those already holding credits.
    PS. majority of universities will only accept low 60+ credits from a community college. Going directly into a univ. will force me into another 2 years before i can even apply to med. school.
    Thanks in advance for any help.

    • Bill says:


      Generally speaking, entrance into an accelerated BS/MD program is reserved for first year freshman. However, this policy may vary from university to university. If it is something you are interested in, I would encourage you to directly contact the university to which you would like to apply.

      You’re also correct in asserting that most four-year universities will have a cap on the number of credits you may transfer. Unfortunately, if you’re serious about med school this is just something you will have to deal with. There is no easy way around earning additional course credit beyond the maximum transferable credit hours; you will have to take the classes required by your specific degree path (sorry – I wish there was better news on this front).

      Hope this helps!

  6. Angela says:

    Hello, thank you for the great information. One quick question: if I apply for a BS/MD Program, do I have the chance to be accepted into the undergraduate studies of the school even if I am not admitted into the accelerated or combined medical program?Thank you very much!

    • Bill says:


      It would be best to contact the university that you are applying to for specific details like this. However, generally speaking, you would submit two applications – one for the BS/MD program, and one for undergraduate admission.

      Hope this helps!

  7. khalid says:

    I m father of two young boys grade 10 and 11
    They both are keen to become doctor on fast track.
    But I could not find in my state NC,
    Do you know how to get the list and their requirement?

    • Bill says:


      These types of programs are not very common, and acceptance is extremely competitive. In terms of requisite standards for admission to a program of this type, those expectations will likely be comparable to Ivy League schools (although, of course, these standards may vary slightly from school to school and program to program). You can find a comprehensive guide for Ivy League admissions here:

      The best thing your sons can do is take the most challenging course schedules available to them, participate in related extracurricular programs (think NHS, Science Club, etc.), and perhaps do volunteer work associated with medicine, like volunteering at a hospital or shadowing a doctor.

      In terms of what is specifically available near you, you might look at East Carolina University’s Assured Admission Program at the Brody School of Medicine. More information on this can be found on their website here:

      Hope this helps!

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