I am interested in going to Med School for fall 2012. I am at present doing a postdoc in medicinal chemistry at University of Minnesota. I recently completed PhD in Biological Chemistry from Syracuse University. I am a permanent resident.
I am worried that I may not have all the pre-requisites needed to get into med school. I did my undergraduate BS and MS from India. My BS was in Chemistry but I did take a number of courses in Biology (Botany and Zoology). My masters was in chemistry with thesis.
Its been more than 7 years since I took all these courses and I am not sure IF they would be accepted.
Do you think I should redo all the pre-requisite courses? From my perspective, I have a sound background in Biology and Chemistry and have published several peer-reviewed papers. I have taught these courses at the undergrad level. Do you think I still need to take Biology 1 and 2 etc?
I have literally no background in college physics. But I have done biophysics and quantum mechanics! Both courses have significant math-calculus and derivations. How do I tackle this issue ?
Also, how many courses in liberal arts that are writing intensive that one should take?
I would be interested in your views.
- Srika Said:
I am interested in going to Med School for fall 2012...I did my undergraduate BS and MS from India...From my perspective, I have a sound background in Biology and Chemistry and have published several peer-reviewed papers. I have taught these courses at the undergrad level. Do you think I still need to take Biology 1 and 2 etc?
Probably the easiest thing you can do is to ask the same question to folks at the admissions office at your university. It's just my personal opinion, but I think you'll probably end up needing to take a few pre-reqs if not all, so you should push your target date out a bit. How much probably depends on whether the medsch is willing to "waive" pre-reqs for you. For people like us with foreign degrees, there are really no hard and fast rules. My BE was adequate for me to gain admission and graduate with an MS in engineering from a UC, and also to TA an undergrad physics lab. But the community college where I'm enrolled now won't let me take Physics 1 or Chemistry 1 because they can't place my math level without a foreign degree evaluation or a math test. There are several threads here on the "foreign undergrad degree" topic -- do a search, or click on my name and read my posts. Redo-it-all is in a position similar to yours, so read his posts as well.
Srika … The best will be to call the schools you want to apply and check what would they want. Most schools list on their website how many semester hours they need (and what is acceptable) before they will consider an applicant.
You are in a strong position - doing relevant courses already. You might have to take a couple of courses to complete the pre-req list.
Start calling the med schools and you can also call an advisor (pre-med) at a local university to know what they think.
The point of the physics prerequisite is really preparation for the physics section of MCAT’s. If the schools you are interested in will take your credits in lieu of an (admittedly lower level) course, the question is whether you can master the sort of physics material likely to be on the MCAT studying independently, or if you will need to take a course anyway.
Based on the info I have gleaned here and there, your pre-reqs, if from outside, will not count at all.
A very few schools will look at your courserwork but
1- they won’t waive the core pre-reqs, unless you have some significant achievements. So that’s a minimum of 45 credit hours (more or less)
2- they may even require you to have the full 90 credit semester hours. In other words, they may be OK with the fact that you don’t have a Bachelor’s but still, you would have to complete 90 credit hours
Worse, you may, like Dullhead, have to take pre-reqs to take pre-reqs.
For instance, and like him, I can’t take Physics 1. Luckily, I also teach at a CC, so I have my “entries” helping me, and they enroll me if I ask. But normally, you are looking at placement tests. To take physics, you need some math class. To take a math class, you will need a placement test etc…
At this point, I believe your target date is not achievable. I would simply start by going to school and also getting in touch with adcoms. I teach Biology at a CC and even then, I would have to take the Biology requirement (that I teach) for most med schools.
And I have plenty of significant publications in the field as well as various cash awards and patent.
At virtually all US-based MD programs the bare minimum for students who have a bachelor degree from outside the US or Canada is 30 credits of course work at an accredited US institution as below
“Students who have earned baccalaureate degrees outside the U.S. or Canada are required to complete at least one year of formal coursework in the sciences (about 30 credit hours) in an accredited American college or university prior to making application to the College of Medicine.”
Link to Albert Eistein COM International BA holders
Some schools may require you to get 90 credits from an accredited US institution.
My perception is depending on the quality of the candidate, some schools may accept US-based graduate work towards this. However, I have also have spoken to admissions officer at one new york school a few years who informed me that all prereqs must be taken at a US accredited institution. This was their policy but she did concede that is seemed a little silly to have Russian MDs sitting in freshman biology!
So the point here is do not assume anything and that I would suggest you contact at least 4 to 6 schools with detailed info on your background and ask for guidance.
One last point, even though the original poster felt he has a strong background in biology, the preparation is not necessarily for you. It is, rather, for the adcoms to have a basis to compare candidates across schools. In other words, you may have to jump thru hoops to get into medical school.
Totally agreed with Gonnif. and the “it depends rule”.
It was said to me that a baseline, with a GPA and MCAT score are necessary for applicants (even with advanced degrees) in order to compare applicants.
But the truth is that there the adcoms consider backgrounds on a case by case basis. There are so many factors.
For sure however, a foreign educated person has to take courses in a US accredited institution. So you should start by looking into that and get yourself started. It is not as easy as one might think.
Thank you for all the suggestions. I will talk to the admission folks and keep you posted.
While this will unlikely prove much of a boon to most holders of foreign degrees, I want clarify what several have posted before. Most US medical schools require a minimum of 90 undergraduate credits and seem to indicate that these must be from a accredited US or Canadian school. Yet, most have conflicting or confusing policies on this. I am giving you a sampling from research I did for a group of post-bacc advisors and directors I meet with last year. Bold and Italicized indicates quotes directly from medical school web page
University of South Florida: "Does USF COM accept credit from undergraduate work in a foreign country? No. "
perfectly clear – absolutely not
Albert Einstein: “Students who have earned baccalaureate degrees outside the U.S. or Canada are required to complete at least one year of formal coursework in the sciences (about 30 credit hours) in an accredited American college or university prior to making application to the College of Medicine. It is recommended that such students also take courses in English if it is not the studentâ€™s first language.”
perfectly clear – here is the mechanism in which to do so
Stanford: “Applicants must have received an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university by the time of matriculation”
perfectly open to interpretation. Do they mean only US/Canadian based schools? I was informed yes by admissions but also told they have accepted people with Oxford University England, Cambridge University England, Tokyo University Japan,
John Hopkins: “Accredited Institution. All applicants must be or have previously been in attendance at an institution on the list entitled â€œAccredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education,â€™â€™ authorized and published by the American Council on Education, One DuPont Circle, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036. … Preparation in foreign universities, in most cases, must be supplemented by a year or more of work in an approved university in the United States.”
Perfectly contradictory: The ACE list above lists only US schools yet mechanism for foreign universities is noted
SUNY Downstate: “You must have completed at least 90 semester credits of study from a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) regional accreditation association (e.g., Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools) college or university. "
(but in the following paragraph it says)
If you were educated abroad, a minimum of two full time semesters (one academic year) of college study at a CHEA regionally accredited college/university in the United States prior to application is required. In addition, you must demonstrate English proficiency, both verbally and in writing, if your prior medium of instruction was in another language. If a substantial amount of your education has been completed abroad, or if you have completed science prerequisites abroad, you are required to submit a course by course educational credentials evaluation from a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) agency, such as World Educational Services to enable the Committee on Admissions to assess prior academic performance.”
(I should send off a slew of letters to office of general counsel of these schools for clarification)
Lastly, in the MSAR (Medical School Admissions Requirements), which has a summary in a standardized two-page format for each allopathic medical school, under “Acceptances & Matriculation Data” in the middle of the right-hand page, this question is asked and answered:
Applications accepted from International Applicants: which is followed by a yes or no
While this appears to be directed to residency status of international students currently studying at US institutions, it does raise the possibility that schools answering yes may accept foreign credits or degrees.