Can I get my degree first?

I was talking with my wife tonight about my dream of becoming a physician. This summer I’ll finish my last class for my BS in Finance. I need to work while doing my prereqs that I’ll start this fall. She really couldn’t believe that I would finish my BS in Finance but not take my degree for two more years (after my prereqs are complete). Am I understanding this wrong? If I do graduate this summer and then go back in the fall for a BS in Biology, would that Biology degree not count as undergrad coursework? It does seem like since I’m still taking undergrad classes, it would just be lumped in for GPA purposes with my classes I took for my Finance degree. Is this the case?

The main reason for her concern (and mine as well) is that I could get a much better paying job for the next two years with my degree in Finance.



Check with your financial aid office about the ramifications of completing your first bachelors (where there is relatively more financial aid) and compare this to income. If you have completed all the coursework for the degree and “just want to take a few more classes” before technically graduating it may not make a difference to a potential employer as you can show you have done the work.

Just my two cents. Good Luck

Thanks for the reply!

The financial aid isn’t really a concern. What I’m most concerned about is how this will affect my application to a MD or DO school. I went to school from 1997 to 2002 and made very average grades. Now I need to rebuild my GPA. Can I graduate this summer so that I can get a better paying job, and then still take undergrad courses to raise my undergrad GPA? Or, since I accept my Finance degree, is it considered Post Bacc?

If it’s considered Post Bacc, how bad would a 2.0 undergrad GPA with a 4.0 Post Bacc hurt me? Obviously the 2.0 would kill me, but would the Post Bacc give me a shot maybe somewhere. Also, even though I will have technically graudated, for DO GPA purposes, can I still repeat classes I made poor grades in and have them replaced with the new grades?

I know this is a ton of questions in one post. Thank you all so much for all your help and advice!!!

A 2.0 UG gpa is going to be a difficult sell. I think I would call a couple of med schools and ask. Also search through the threads here as there have been many posts about how to rehabilitate a low GPA. It will take a LOT of A’s to raise that GPA to the point that you will get past the initial screening to receive a secondary application. Adcoms really know there way around transcripts and this is really going to depend upon your gpa trends to a certain point, your application as a whole, and, especially your MCAT score.

Are you making a 4.0 now in your final UG classes?

That’s why I was thinking more along the lines of being a DO (that and I really like the DO approach to medicine). So over the course of 3 years along with completing my prereqs, I can retake enough courses to bring my degree up to a 3.0 with my retakes replacing the old grades. Going the MD direction, the best I could do GPA wise would be about a 2.6, which even with an amazing MCAT would be a very tough sell. That’s why I was wondering if my new grades could still replace old grades if I’ve graduated and then gone back to retake undergrad courses.

Thanks again for the help, I really appreciate it!

Sounds like a plan and yes your post-bacc grades can replace ug grades but they will still show on your transcript.

Check to see if 2.6 will get through initial screening at the schools that you are interested in and take it slow at first if you are restarting science classes. I have also read that most adcoms want to see terms where you have taken full time credit with science classes and can handle the pace of information although I have read stories from folks who didn’t do it this way. Keep researching for yourself - each person has their own way. With strong family support, I just jumped into informal post-bacc full-time and got it done and accepted in a little under two years.

As I understand, UG grades are UG grades.

I earned my BS in 2001 with a 2.5 cumulative ugpa. In 2005 I went back to school, taking undergrad courses (prereqs and some other fun stuff). It all counted as undergrad GPA; it showed up on my AMCAS transcript as such, under the “post-bacc” semester. I would imagine that your case would be the same. AMCAS doesn’t replace older grades, but AACOMAS does. I was able to register as a degree-seeking student. I spoke with the department, and they had no problem that I was not intending to complete the degree.

If you are passionate about OMM, then DO is certainly the path for you. If it’s more motivated by the grade replacement, I’m not sure how much of a priority it should be. After 2 years of 4.0, I was only able to bring my cumulative GPA up to 3.05, and I can say that I’m very flattered by the response that I’ve gotten.

You may want to check with others (e.g. schools to which you intend to apply), but I can’t see much of a downside to you completing your Finance degree.


My understanding is that even if you graduate with your finance degree, you’ll be able to enroll again as a degree seeking student, and major in biology. I would think that your general electives would transfer, so that you can concentrate on your science classes and get your bachelors in biology faster. And as long as your sciences are part of your second bachelor’s degree, they count as undergrad GPA. It will be hard to bring your GPA over 3.0 on AMCAS application, but DO schools are far more forgiving and if you do well from now on, you should be fine.

Good luck,