No BS degree - want to go all the way to MD?

Hello all,

First and foremost, thank you to all involved for providing this unique and informative forum. I have had significant difficulty finding information on this subject (non-trad med students) until now. Here’s my situation and subsequent question: I am 28, married w/ no kids, own a home, 2 incomes. I want to begin a career as a physician. I attended college for two years, did poorly, and dropped out. Since then I got into the corporate world, made a career in sales, and carried on with life (bought a house, got married, etc). The career of physician has always lurked in the back of my mind since childhood and over the past year or so it’s been driving me nuts that I did not pursue it. It feels like something I NEED to do. The challenge I face is “how”?

I scored a 32 on my ACT and a combined 1380 on my SAT - my final college GPA was somewhere around 2.3 (my last semester was Spring 2002, so this GPA is 7 years old). My wife and I can afford me out of work, and I’m willing to put the time and whatever effort necessary to make this happen - but the big question: Is a career as a physician and the subsequent educational path even a reality for me? Is my past college GPA going to ruin my chances? Does a combined BS/MD program make sense? Could I even enter such a program? CAN I MAKE THIS HAPPEN? HOW?

Thanks in advance for any responses - I truly appreciate the opportunity to ask these questions.



Hi Austin,

glad you found us. It is possible to get a medical degree without a bachelor’s. I know of West Virginia osteopathic which requires 90 credits and no bachelor’s. In fact I met a 22-year-old MS-2 when I was there.

There is such a thing as a six year program that combines undergraduate work with M.D., but it’s competitive to get into.

I suspect in your case you will have to do your undergrad coursework first, and then apply to medical schools, and be prepared to apply to both MD and DO medical schools.

You’re going to want to take probably a couple of years of undergrad courses and get A’s and B’s, to bring up your GPA and demonstrate your academic ability and your commitment to medicine. I think having a bachelor’s degree is preferable to not, but you should check with the admissions dept. of the med schools you’re interested in.

One thing you will hear from everyone in this forum is that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be in such a hurry; slow and steady wins the race.

Best of luck,

Yes - it is possible to do this, but I would think about is as starting over pretty much from scratch.

I agree with all of the above, except for the comment about applying to both DO and MD programs.

I encourage reading about Osteopathic medicine, and applying to DO schools if you agree with that approach to medicine. I do not encourage just applying to both types just to cover your bases.

Austin, you’ll need to start over, as Steve (swy55) said – go back to college, do well, get a bachelor’s degree (in whatever major appeals to you). I would not waste even one minute considering schools that have combined BS-MD programs, or pay attention to the statements made by a lot of schools that you can apply with 90 hrs of credit. The truth is that those programs are for the unusual/exceptional student, the SAT 1600 type. You need to “just” do well, meaning: get your bachelor’s degree with very good grades, do well on the MCAT, present a good portfolio of experiences and recommendations.

Honestly, your past is past and can’t be changed - so now you just look forward, determine how to do well and do it. From here on out, it’s all in your control and you can show schools that you’ve grown up, gotten serious and know what you want in your life. Good luck!


Hi Austin,

Welcome to OPM! You’ll get a lot of valuable feedback…exactly what both Steve and Mary provided.


Its nice to know there are non traditional students out there. I have done a lot of research. I do have a degree with very little if any science courses. But during my research I found that san francisco medical school has an options for those that do not have degrees in science or otherwise. They give you the options of getting a BS in medicine while you are in medical school. here is the website that might help. ing…

good luck!

Do not look at the BS/MD info and be fooled in to thinking that it’s an option available for everybody. Most med schools have this clause so that they can admit a very few outstanding individuals into medical school without a bachelor’s degree. Many medical schools even have a special application process for people enrolling in this manner. Very few people without bachelor’s degrees of some sort are admitted to medical school.

There are some odd exceptions.

UMKC’s school in Missouri is almost strictly a 6 yr BS/MD program. People only get into the med-school only program if a space is available because a 6-yr program person dropped out. The caveat is that it’s really geared towards graduating high schooler’s, not nontrads.