Post-Bacc Questions

I live in California, and because of the budget problems the State schools are having a lot of problems and as a result it is pretty much impossible to return to one to complete the pre-med coursework needed to apply to medical school if you have already completed a degree.

I was looking into Post-Bacc programs at California schools, but all of the UC schools state that you must be from an economically disadvantaged background, which I don’t qualify for.

There are a few State schools and private institutions that offer Post-Bacc programs, but I would imagine any State school is going to be dealing with the budget crisis as well and the private institutions seem to want a 3.0gpa, whereas I have a 2.97.

The questions I have regarding Post-Bacc programs:

  1. Are there any Post-Bacc programs that will allow me to complete ALL coursework needed to apply to medical school? I literally mean all of it, I need: Calculus, Physics, Bio, Chem, etc.

  2. If you are someone who is in a Post-Bacc program or has completed one (especially in California), which did you attend and what did you have to do in order to be accepted?

  3. Is there a website that has a directory of Post-Bacc programs along with their requirements for applicants? I found a site that works like a search engine for Post-Bacc programs, but it didn’t seem to be updated that frequently.

    Any other relevant Post-Bacc information would be appreciated as well. I was planning on completing my coursework at a community college, but I contacted UC San Diego admissions to ask about their requirements, and they told me that even a 4.0 at a community college wouldn’t be that impressive to them. I understand it’s a fairly competitive school and everything, but hearing that did make me nervous about where I should complete the coursework. Once I heard that, I looked into going to the local university I graduated from to complete the coursework, but because of the budget problems I can’t do that either.

This whole budget thing out here is crazy. I managed to get into a Cal State, for an informal post-bacc, right before things went south. To be honest with you, even if you could get accepted now you wouldn’t want to. Class offerings are sparse, and with fewer classes to choose from they inevitably end up conflicting. We’re also having to re-use lab supplies, print our own handouts, and as of this coming school year our lab times in the sciences and math are being cut in half across the board. As it is, this quarter in my general physiology course we’re having a book discussion rather than a lab (as has been the standard for that class in previous quarters). Makes me wonder how someone (like me) coming from the CA University system will stack up to someone elsewhere with 50% more lab time in biology, chemistry and physics. The professors are telling us that they don’t know how they’re going to be able to cover everything. These lab cuts are ON TOP OF the existing furloughs which cause us to miss one lecture and one lab per month, per class…which in a 10 week quarter is a lot of lost time.

Anyway, not sure which part of CA you’re in, but I know that LMU in SoCal has a program that will cover the pre-reqs you need. It’s a little pricey though, and I’m not sure about the gpa requirements. Before deciding on Cal State I looked into going to Scripps (part of the Claremont McKenna schools) and they also cover the courses you want, but it’s been a while since I looked at their admissions requirements.

I’ve been looking at formal SM (special masters) programs recently, and will be applying to at least one of them at the same time I apply for medical schools in this next application season. I found them by looking at the AAMC website. Here’s the link:

That link also includes certificate programs and non-masters programs as well. It’s for the entire country. All of the SM programs I’m looking at are out of state.

I hope this helps. I’m sorry I can’t be of greater assistance. UCSD is tough to get into, period…so I’m not surprised that they told you that. There is talk around my campus that they might get rid of the physics department all together, so I called a DO school I want to apply to and asked about CC/JC classes. I was told it would look “funny” that my physics was from a CC and that I’d need to include a letter explaining why. I’m crossing everything I’ve got that I can get into physics at my university this year instead as it’s my last pre-req.

Good luck to you!

Previously California was one exception to community college being less rigorous than 4 year schools but it now seems that is not the case.

The AMSA at American River College (which I believe is near the OP location) has a huge premed conference every year in October and may the college may have a better CC program than, you may want to contact the premed advising there or see Link AMSA-ARC

I know the California Post-baccalaureate Consortium was designed for under-represented, but I was under the impression that did not cover all seats in such programs.

Lastly, I am going to send a thread link to Dr. Terri Richardson, MD, who is a premed advisor at Northridge and is a consultant to UC Chancellor and is one of our speakers this year at the OldPreMeds Conference in Chicago, and ask for some suggestions

There are a multitude of post-bacc programs out there of varying quality. You can try to go the informal route but as you said, because of budget issues that is not really an option in CA anymore.

Your other (and much pricier) option is one of the formal post-bacc programs offered by universities across the country. Admission to the “top” programs (which I’ve often seen listed as Goucher, Scripps, and Bryn Mawr) is extremely competitive, but as a result they boast near 100% acceptance rates to medical school for graduates of their programs. There are a number of slightly less competitive programs (UPenn, JHU, and Tufts come to mind) which will also enable you to complete the necessary pre-med coursework in a relatively structured setting. I believe Harvard Extension also offers a somewhat less formal program that allows you to complete pre-reqs over a span of two years. The length of the other programs varies; some are one-year only while others allow you to take classes part-time over two years so that you can work while attending classes.

Any of these formal programs will cost you a bundle - you’ll be looking at $25-30,000 for tuition alone. I don’t know how this cost compares to the special masters programs mentioned by nnylacire above, as I haven’t really looked into those.

As far as CA specifically, the only post-bacc program that springs to mind other than the UC programs for under-privileged applicants is Scripps, which as I mentioned above is very competitive.

I am in a somewhat similar situation, although I may be less ‘nontraditional’ than most; I didn’t realize I wanted to pursue medicine until I was nearly 3/4 of the way through my undergrad degree, so I will be applying to some of the formal programs mentioned above a few months after I graduate in 2011. The cost is definitely making me cringe, but like you I am a CA resident with few other options.

Just to clarify, the SM programs are generally for those who have already completed the regular premed prerequisites, but are still needing to enhance their application. Many of the SM programs I’ve looked at offer the chance for shadowing or other clinical exposure, and many involve a research project. Generally speaking, the course content includes classes that are listed as “recommended” by many medical schools (genetics, embryology, physiology, etc). Instead of a certificate you end up with a non-thesis masters in something like medical science (at Tulane I believe there’s a genetics option, and U of Cincinnati it’s physiology).

The annual tuition for SM programs are roughly what petitallegro quoted for other formal post-bacc programs. From what I’ve seen linkage isn’t all that common, but some schools promise an interview with their med school if you meet certain criteria. Some programs (like Drexel DPMS) are specifically for socially or economically disadvantaged students and are not open to other students. That’s not universally the case though.

Hi - can only offer info on a piece of your questions.


I completed a post-bacc program at Univ. of Virginia. That gpa would not necessarily keep you from being accepted. The program directors are looking for people who have the requisite personal qualities to be caring, excellent physicians and enough academic ability to succeed in the post-bacc program, in application to medical school, and in medical school. You have to contact the School of Continuing Education and complete their application and do an interview (which can be via Skype if there are geographic constraints). It is set up for you to complete all your prereqs in 1 year (except Calculus), but for those students who need and want to take calculus, they got that in as well for some of my classmates. It is VERY rigourous (you do inorganic Chem semesters 1 and 2 over the summer in 5 week intensives (with lab)…that’s all you are doing every day. Then it’s Orgo, Bio, and Physics with lab for fall and spring. Excellent premed advising, interview coaching, shadowing opportunities, committee letter (for your application), etc.


I was living in CA, but realized that I was better off leaving the area. While I’m not in a formal post-bacc, there are a number of schools out East that are more than happy to let you come in as a non-degree seeking student. I even report to the medical advisement team, since they know what I’m doing, they just don’t have a formal automatic entry into their med school.

Again, I don’t know your situation, but if you can leave, I would consider it. It’s not forever, and odds are good if you get into a med school, it might not be in CA anyway. I would have loved to stay, but I know I’d be no closer to fulfilling my dream if I had stayed.