Student-centric advice and objective recommendations
Higher education has never been more confusing or expensive. Our goal is to help you navigate the very big decisions related to higher ed with objective information and expert advice. Each piece of content on the site is original, based on extensive research, and reviewed by multiple editors, including a subject matter expert. This ensures that all of our content is up-to-date, useful, accurate, and thorough.
Our reviews and recommendations are based on extensive research, testing, and feedback. We may receive commission from links on our website, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. You can find a complete list of our partners here.
BS/MD Programs: Everything You Need to Know
If you are set on the idea of going to medical school, a BS/MD program can be a great option to help alleviate the stress of applying to med school after you earn your undergrad. As a BS/MD student, rather than applying for med school during your senior year or after you graduate, you’ll go straight into med school. So, the program will earn you both your BS (Bachelor of Science) and your MD (Doctor of Medicine).
If you feel a strong pull towards medical school, BS/MD programs can be a great option. They could allow you to focus on your studies rather than spending substantial effort on your med school applications. Let’s get into their pros and cons and which schools offer them.
Related: Top medical school scholarships
Pros of BS/MD programs
There are many pros to BS/MD programs, the primary one being that you don’t have to deal with med school applications. This can help you keep your grades up and focus on your studies during the time that you would have spent applying.
As a BS/MD student, you’ll have a peace of mind throughout all your studies that students in regular programs won’t have. Having the certainty of a medical school locked in can be a very comforting factor in a strenuous educational program.
As a first-year at a BS/MD program, you’ll know that you are getting involved in your new community for the long haul. You can build very strong relationships with your professors and classmates. These make for a more enriching educational experience, and could provide connections that will come in handy later.
Financial aid stability
Gaining admission to a BS/MD program is a great feat that comes with a great payoff. You’ll be able to get an idea of what your finances are going to look like for the entirety of your six-to-eight year program right when you start.
For students who might struggle to pay for medical school, this is very advantageous. You’ll get an idea from the jump about whether it is affordable for you, and you can make your decision based on that information
Generous financial aid
Because these programs are so selective, when a school admits a student, they generally want the student to attend the school. They are showing great interest by admitting you, and have a higher chance of offering you the money to ensure that you can attend.
Related: Pre med requirements
Cons of BS/MD programs
When enrolling in a BS/MD, you are signing up for a huge commitment at a relatively young age. Applicants are typically between 19 and 20 years old, and they are signing up for a 6-8 year program.
For many students, the late teens and early twenties are formative years that help them decide what to study and pursue. As a result, your priorities and interests could change over the course of your program. If you don’t complete your program, you may lose out on a host of benefits that it afforded you.
If you aren’t absolutely sure that you plan to attend med school right after college, you should think twice about BS/MD programs. You might be better off attending a regular BS or BA program and exploring your other interests.
Might have trouble reapplying if you drop out
If you end up not fitting in at your BS/MD program, you can always drop out. However, if you decide to apply to other med schools after dropping out, you may have a tough time. Your credits may not transfer cleanly to another school, and they might be off put by the fact that you dropped out in the past.
This is not to say you can’t reapply to med school if you drop out of your BS/MD. However, it may make it a little harder and you might not end up at a school you are especially excited about.
Limited options for schools
There are not all too many BS/MD programs out there, so if you shoot for one, you won’t have as many options as if you just applied for med school separately. If you are particular about the location of your school or some other aspect of it, this could be a drawback.
Undergrad-to-med school whiplash
Undergraduate education can be exhausting, especially for students studying a field as intensive as medicine. Some students may want to take time afterwards to relax, or to work a job rather than study. BS/MD programs do not have this built in, and you might have a tough time if you find yourself burned out after your first four years.
That being said, some BS/MD schools may offer you the option of taking a gap year between the two degrees. If you are considering taking this route, you should ask the school before you apply if this is an option. If you are worried that this might hurt your admissions chances, try asking a student or someone who is not assessing your application.
Less well-rounded curriculum
Students enrolled in a BS/MD program are entering school with their eye on the prize. You will spend your BS preparing for med school, and spend your MD preparing to become a doctor. This affords little opportunity to pursue other interests. If you are looking forward to taking some humanities, art, or social science classes in college, a BS/MD program may not be for you.
Also see: Grad school financing options
Accelerated BS/MD programs
So now that we know what a BS/MD program is, what is an accelerated BS/MD? Accelerated BS/MD programs are between one and two years shorter than a regular BS/MD. BS/MD programs typically take eight years, but an accelerated one can only take six or seven.
This can be a great option for students who are eager to become a doctor as soon as possible. But be warned – pre-med and med school are already some of the most challenging degrees out there. Accelerating them will increase your workload dramatically. You should be sure that you are ready to commit to it before enrolling.
Accelerated programs might save you money by limiting the time you spend at school. However, they might also prohibit you from taking summer jobs and internships and pursuing other interests. You’ll probably also miss out on many of the social aspects of college, as the coursework will be extremely time-intensive.
Also see: Top nursing school scholarships
Applying as an undergraduate vs high school student
Most BS/MD programs accept high school applicants. So, while everyone else is applying for college, you’ll apply for your BS/MD program. The process will look very similar, only you will be signing up for an eight-year program rather than a four-year one.
However, since this is a very early age to choose, some BS/MD programs also accept first-year college applicants. Once students have gotten a taste of the pre-med curriculum and decided that they want to pursue it, they may apply to some BS/MD programs. If they are accepted and attend, they will finish the last seven years of their education at their BS/MD program. This shifts the burden of their med school application from their senior year of college to their freshman year.
List of schools that offer BS/MD programs
Here is a list of all the schools that offer BS/MD programs in the US. We’ve included each program’s name, as well as its state and the minimum GPA for admittance. Additionally, you can find whether or not the program is accelerated or full-length.
Summing it up
- BS/MD programs are a great way to bypass the medical school application process and square your entire medical education away with one application
- Students in BS/MD programs can build long and fruitful relationships with professors, staff, and peers
- BS/MD programs are a huge commitment that typically last eight years, and should not be taken lightly
- You can enroll in an accelerated BS/MD program that you can complete in as little as six years
- Only a limited number of schools offer BS/MD programs
Frequently asked questions about BS/MD programs
What is the difference between BS/MD and BA/MD programs?
In a BS/MD program, you earn your Bachelor of Science degree and a Doctor of Medicine degree. In a BA/MD program, you earn your Bachelor of Arts degree and a Doctor of Medicine degree.
While BA’s are typically more focused on a well-rounded education that includes arts and humanities, BS’s are typically more specialized. Typically, a pre-med BS student will not have as many opportunities to take courses outside their field as a BA student. However, they may be better-prepared when they begin med school.
At what age do you apply for BS/MD programs?
Some students apply for BS/MD programs in high school, between the ages of 18 and 19. Others apply during their first year of undergrad, between the ages of 19 and 20. Some programs allow applications at both of these stages, while some only accept current high school students or current college students.
Do I have to go to med school if I do a BS/MD program?
Technically, you can always drop out of your program at any time. However, it is not entirely practical to enroll in a BS/MD program if you are not firmly committed to the idea of going to medical school.
BS/MD programs are meant to prepare you for med school and help you move between undergrad and med school smoothly. If you are unsure whether you want to go to med school, it may be a better idea to get a BA or BS on the pre-med track rather than doing a BS/MD program.
Can I transfer out of BS/MD programs?
Yes, you can transfer out of BS/MD programs. If the school isn’t a good fit or if you have second thoughts about the field of study, you can choose to transfer to a different school or drop out altogether.
That being said, a BS/MD program is fairly specialized, so you might have trouble finding an equivalent program to transfer into. You should be sure that you are interested in medical science before enrolling.