Integrated Medicine programs are offered as baccalaureate, and MD combined programs are usually referred to as BS/MD or BA/MD programs. These are specialized, highly selective, and rigorous programs for studying medicine. The BA-BS/MD program is an excellent option for students planning on pursuing a degree in medicine in the USA. Integrated medicine courses are direct entry programs that allow motivated and high-performing high school students to go from undergraduate to medical school without going through another application process. This program requires students to commit to a career in medicine, but it gives them limited options for choosing another career path.
When did you know that you wanted to be a doctor? Some people discovered this during their undergraduate studies, while others knew they wanted to be a doctor from a very young age. As the competition to get selected into medical schools becomes tougher, applicants are seeking better ways to secure their future careers in the healthcare industry. If you’re set on going to medical school and wish to fast-track the process, then a combined BS/MD or BA/MD program might be for you.
Duration & Timeline:
The duration of these programs varies between 6-8 years. Every medical school offering this program has specific application timelines for their IMD program. You should review the school’s website for important dates and mark your calendars to stay ahead of the admissions process.
Most Integrated BA- BS/MD programs follow the below timeline:
- Admission open- August to October
- Application Deadline- November to January
- Interviews- December to March
- Acceptance letters- March to April
Accessibility & Acceptance:
Most of these programs are devised for US citizens and permanent residents of America. Integrated medicine programs give the first preference to in-state students, followed by out-state students, and finally to international students. There are around 8-9 programs that are available for international students. Certain programs such as the University of Evansville B/MD Program accepts only students from Indiana state and the Facilitated Acceptance to Medical Education (FAME) Program that accepts only Texas applicants. The acceptance rates of these programs are between 1-5%, making the level of competition fierce among students. Popular programs such as the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program have just 6 seats available for students out of thousands of applications they receive every year.
Academics & Extracurriculars:
Getting into a BA-BS/MD program is extremely competitive- students among the top 10% of their class are the suitable candidates for this type of program. The BA-BS/MD program requires a very high score in Standardized Test (SAT & SAT subject Biology/ Chemistry) and overall very high scores (GPA) across high school subjects. Successful integrated medicine applicants are students with GPAs close to 4.0, with top percentile scores in the SAT or ACT.
While grades and test scores are heavily weighted, they are not the only factors the admissions committees consider. Students who apply to these intense programs showcase meaningful community engagement, medical research experience, hospital volunteering, and physician shadowing experiences outside of school. Most medical schools are looking for well-rounded individuals who demonstrate maturity, independence, and service to others in their applications. Since admission to this program is highly competitive, students will also need exceptional recommendation letters from teachers at school, apart from high academic records.
Tests & Scores:
MCAT- the Medical College Admission Test is a computer-based standardized examination that is often a part of the entry requirement for these specialized programs. The exam not only measures your content knowledge in General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, General Biology, Biochemistry, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology—it also tests critical analysis and reasoning skills. The MCAT is over 6 hours long. Factoring in the breaks, check-in process, and commutes, students are expected to have at least 8 hours spent on the test day. The total score for MCAT is 528, and most schools require students to achieve a score of 503 and above. Some schools, however, do not require the MCAT for admission to the BA-BS/ MD program as they do not want students to stress over standardized test scores. This allows for greater flexibility for the student. Instead of spending months preparing for the MCAT to secure a top percentile score, students can focus on extracurricular activities like volunteering, research, or physician shadowing.
At times, schools offering Integrated medicine programs also require students to take the CASPer test and MCAT. CASPer (Computer-Based Assessment for Sampling Personal Characteristics) is a situational judgment test (SJT). It’s a type of psychological test that will present you with text-based or video-based scenarios, where you review a person or people acting in a particular way. This test assesses your response and reasons for choosing a specific action in the presented scenario. This test aims to evaluate the behavioural tendencies of students interested in pursuing a degree in medicine. CASPer roughly takes 90 minutes to complete with 12 sections, each comprised of a text or video scenario followed by three questions. Each section of the CASPer exam is marked out of 9 – 1 being unsatisfactory and 9 being exceptional. On average, students scoring a 6.5-7.5 on the tests are considered for BA-BA/MD programs.
Essays & Interviews:
Depending on the school you are applying to, students are expected to submit personal statements, answering why they want to pursue medicine, in addition to other supplementary essays. The essays for BA-BS/MD programs are convincing statements of purpose clearly explaining a student’s future aim and goals. A well-articulated personal statement surely helps you communicate why you want to pursue medicine courses and where your motivation and passions lie. Essay prompts are designed to assess your response to why you chose a particular school to pursue the BS/MD program and what skills you will contribute to the incoming class.
The number of individuals competing for the slots in the interview stage is significantly lower than the general application stage. This means that the competition will be extremely fierce. Students who depict strength in character, passion towards healthcare, and the ability to think on their feet ace their integrated medicine program interviews.
Follow the links below for more resources to help you prepare for application: