BA Students and Medical School

Hi Folks,

I was just wondering if there are medical schools in the US that accept students with BA’s? Or that do not require the MCAT? If so, what are your thoughts on this?

I read that Mt. Sinai in NY has a new program in which they are assessing non science background medical students.

It is a relatively new phenomenon in Canada but we now have a couple of schools that accept students from any academic discipline such as music, history, women’s studies etc

Quotes from McLean’s magazine:

Saleem Razack, assistant dean of admissions at McGill, says these policy changes are needed “so that the excellence that students with diverse life experiences can bring to the medical profession can be assessed and valued.”

The key is finding the right balance, says Miki Rifkin, who oversees the humanities and medicine program at Mount Sinai. While her students are exempt from most science prerequisites, they still have to take introductory chemistry and biology, and have an otherwise exemplary academic record. The goal is to encourage students who might otherwise be deterred at the prospect of the MCAT to pursue medicine. “We want to make a difference for students passionate about some non-science area,” she said.

“The older way of thinking is that doctors should be scholars and scientists first,” says Terry Wuerz, who earned his medical degree from the University of Manitoba in 2007. “I think it’s great that med schools are starting to recognize the different roles doctors play.”

The University of British Columbia is undergoing a curriculum review that could see a revamping of at least one first-year medicine course so that it no longer presumes an extensive science background. According to Joseph Finkler, associate dean of admissions for medicine, that could open the door to revising the selection process. “It is possible that we will end up with multiple admissions streams, including one without the prerequisites and MCAT,” he said. Lewis Tomalty, Queen’s University’s vice-dean, medical education, says that while some science is “necessary,” encouraging students with a range of academic backgrounds to apply is beneficial to the classroom. “We’re looking at how extensive [science prerequisites] have to be and are certainly looking to change the actual admissions requirements,” he said. Similarly, the Université de Montréal has put a committee in place to review whether its list of science requirements creates an unnecessary barrier to pursuing a career in medicine.

Interesting times

As far as I know, ALL US medical schools accept a Bachelor of Arts degree as well as other bachelor degrees, and all require the MCAT.

However, they likewise require science pre-requisites even at a reduced manner.

For instance, Harvard has changed their absolute required pre-req courses to be more fluid, same as the U of MN. That said, without a solid foundation in ochem, or gen chem, or bio, or physics, I’m not sure how one would succeed on the MCAT well enough to be accepted into their programs.

The only problem I really have with this is the no prerequisites admission. That would be insane to let someone into medical school with little or no science background. I realize that medicine is not only about the hard sciences, but come on.

There are few very specific programs that don’t follow the traditional pre-req/MCAT route. They are by far the exception rather than the rule.

I went to a Sinai presentation on their humanities program and it sounded quite cool. It’s been around at least a decade. It is geared more towards traditional undergrads rather than post-baccs and other folks and they look closely at your SAT, high school record and first couple years of college coursework.

I would be curious see how those people fared during their medical school career and what specialties they went into.