Candidates for admission to the Boston University School of Medicine should apply to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Information and application materials are available at the AAMC website. Candidates may apply between June 1 and November 1, but early application is strongly recommended.
Applicants are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college of arts and sciences or engineering. Occasionally a candidate of unusual ability is accepted after attendance for three academic years in an undergraduate school if he or she has satisfactorily completed all of the prerequisites and the minimum entrance requirements of 90 semester hours. To be considered for acceptance to the program, the following courses are required:
- English Composition or Literature (1 year)
- Humanities (1 year)
- Biology (1 year) with Lab
- General Chemistry (1 year) with Lab
- Organic Chemistry (1 year) with Lab
- Physics (1 year)
All prerequisites must be completed before a student can matriculate at BUSM. The Committee on Admissions generally prefers that applicants complete the required courses at a four-year undergraduate institution accredited in the United States or Canada. If an applicant’s academic record does not meet this expectation, the applicant is asked to explain the circumstances. If an applicant has placed out of a required college-level course, we accept another course at a higher level in the same discipline.
A knowledge of quantitation in chemistry is recommended; usually these methods are taught in general chemistry or organic chemistry. A course in college-level mathematics is recommended but not required; many students find that a course in statistics is more helpful than the traditional calculus course. The biology and chemistry courses should include laboratory exercises. Applicants currently enrolled in a professional or graduate school must be in the terminal year of the degree program to be considered for admission to the first-year class. Applicants are urged to acquire a broad experience in the humanities, as well as in the behavioral and social sciences during their college years, but they should follow their own interests whether in the arts or in the sciences. It is not recommended that applicants try to anticipate subjects that will be required in medical school.
Throughout a student’s four years at Boston University School of Medicine beginning with the Introduction to Clinical Medicine and followed by various clerkships, students travel to BUSM-affiliated clinical sites. Most students choose not to have a car during the first two years of the program, but many find it is convenient to have personal transportation for the third and fourth years.
The Diversity & Multicultural Affairs Office has a variety of programs and resources to support students from groups underrepresented in medicine. These resources may include financial aid provided through the need-based scholarship and loan programs of the School. These programs are described in more detail at the Diversity & Multicultural Affairs Office website. All applications are processed in the Admissions Office.
All applicants must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and should communicate directly with the Association of American Medical Colleges for information concerning these examinations. Applicants are encouraged to take the MCAT in the spring of the year of application and to have most of the basic science requirements completed at the time of application. Applicants who have not taken the MCAT by September of the calendar year of application cannot be considered for admission. MCAT scores can be considered only if the test was taken within four years of the anticipated matriculation date. While we do our best to give equal consideration to all applications that are completed prior to our published deadlines, we have a very large applicant pool and early applications may be more likely to receive a favorable review.
Early Decision Plan
Some applicants may wish to apply under the Early Decision Plan. This plan is intended for applicants whose credentials are outstanding in every respect, and who can articulate a clear rationale for selecting BUSM as their first-choice medical school. Under this plan, applicants must file applications between June 1 and August 2. Applicants may apply only to Boston University School of Medicine and, if accepted, they will neither apply to, nor attend, any other medical school. Applicants interested in an Early Decision application should speak with the associate dean and director of admissions prior to submitting the application. All Early Decision applicants will be notified that they are accepted, deferred, or rejected on or before October 1, at which time they will be free to apply to other schools if they have not been accepted to BUSM.
The Committee on Admissions chooses applicants who appear to be best qualified, not only by academic record, college recommendations, and involvement in college and community activities, but also by less tangible qualities of personality, character, and life experience. A personal interview is an integral part of the admissions process. There are no age restrictions.
In recent years, more than one of every four individuals applying to United States medical schools through AMCAS has included Boston University School of Medicine on his or her list of schools. For the class of 2010, more than 11,500 applications were received for approximately 120 four-year MD seats in the entering class of 180 students.
Students in the class of 2010 had the following characteristics:
The mean undergraduate GPA was 3.72 and the mean MCAT quantitative sub-test total was 33 compared with a national average of 28 for all test takers and 31 for matriculants. The group was 54% women, 19% underrepresented minorities, 61% spoke at least one language other than English, and they represented 38 states and 21 countries of origin.
Students in Post-Baccalaureate or Graduate Programs
Many students apply to medical school after post-graduate study or the completion of premedical requirements in a post-baccalaureate program. Students who are enrolled in graduate programs may apply in the terminal year of the graduate program for which they were originally accepted into graduate school. Applicants must complete all degree requirements of any program in which they were enrolled at the time of application. Students in post-baccalaureate programs are urged to request a letter of recommendation from the Premedical Advisory Committee of the undergraduate college, or, if more appropriate, from the college or university where they are pursuing post-baccalaureate studies. A final transcript or other evidence of completion of degree requirements will be required prior to matriculation.
Students from Other Countries and U.S. Students at Foreign Medical Schools
Students from other countries or U.S. students at foreign schools are not considered eligible for admission to the first-year class unless they have satisfactorily completed at least two years of study in an undergraduate institution accredited in the United States or Canada.
Every candidate for the degree of Doctor of Medicine at Boston University must be at least 21 years of age and of good moral character. He or she must have fulfilled all of the requirements for admission to the School; give evidence of having been enrolled in an accredited medical school for at least four full academic years, two of which must have been spent in the regular third- and fourth-year courses at Boston University School of Medicine; and have discharged all financial obligations to Boston University.
The degree of Doctor of Medicine is awarded on recommendation of the faculty and may be granted cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude in recognition of outstanding academic achievement.
The BUSM curriculum offers students the opportunity to study medicine in a flexible, supportive environment that stimulates critical inquiry and provides a sound base of knowledge in the biological, social, and behavioral sciences. The dual degree programs (MD-PhD, MD-MPH, MD-MBA) provide students individualized medical education options for diverse careers. Over the last several years we have restructured the academic program to expand early clinical experiences; reduce lecture hours and expand small group exercises, laboratory sessions, and problem-based seminars; integrate the sciences basic to the study of medicine; and expand flexibility and elective time throughout the program.
BU CARES defines the competencies a BUSM graduate must acquire and are linked to the ACGME competencies (in parentheses). They are:
- Behaves in a caring, compassionate, and sensitive manner toward patients and colleagues of all cultures and backgrounds, using effective interpersonal and communication skills (Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Professionalism)
- Uses the science of normal and abnormal states of health to prevent disease, to recognize and diagnose illness, and to provide an appropriate level of care (Medical Knowledge; Patient Care
- Communicates with colleagues and patients to ensure effective interdisciplinary medical care (Interpersonal and Communication Skills; Patient Care)
- Acts in accordance with the highest ethical standards of medical practice (Professionalism)
- Researches and critically appraises biomedical information and is able to contribute to the advancement of science and to the practice of medicine (Practice-based Learning and Improvement; Medical Knowledge)
- Exhibits commitment and aptitude for lifelong learning and continuing improvement as a physician (Practice-based Learning)
- Supports optimal patient care through identifying and using resources of the health care system (Systems-based Practice; Patient Care)
In addition to the sciences, the preclerkship curriculum in years 1 and 2 contains two yearlong complementary courses, Integrated Problems (IP), a case-based small-group problem-solving course integrating science knowledge with clinical applications, and Introduction to Clinical Medicine (ICM), which teaches interviewing and physical diagnosis skills in small groups, online modules, and patient encounters. In Integrated Problems, students in small groups use case-based discussion to develop and integrate their knowledge in the biological and social sciences. The Introduction to Clinical Medicine course provides a mentored early clinical experience, creating an opportunity for students to develop communication and examination skills that are fundamental to effective clinical practice. These two programs provide a bridge between the basic science instruction of the first two years and the clinical clerkships of the third and fourth years.
The emphasis is on normal structure and function (anatomy and physiology).
The focus shifts to abnormalities in structure and function using an organ-based modularized course that fully integrates pathology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, microbiology, health law, and health policy.
This is the core clerkship year. Students complete their initial clinical rotations, participating in active ambulatory and inpatient practices on major teaching services, in medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, family medicine, neurology, radiology, and psychiatry. Students experience a broad range of patients and clinical conditions needed to attain clinical objectives.
In the fourth year, students complete advanced clinical rotations in ambulatory care, geriatrics, and home care, as well as a sub-internship in the specialty of their choice. The third and fourth years combined include a minimum of 24 weeks of elective time with opportunities to pursue clinical and basic science research, as well as independent study programs.
Study Abroad and Research
Many students choose to spend some of this time at other institutions, either in the U.S. or abroad in BUSM’s very active International Health program.
BUSM is a major research institution and students may return to research interests they have pursued in the past, or try research for the first time. Stipends are available for those rising second-year students who wish to undertake a summer research fellowship.
Students may choose the alternative curriculum, spreading the requirements of a single curricular year over two academic years, paying half-tuition for each of those years. This can allow a student to decompress the program or to pursue research opportunities or other interests.
The curriculum offers medical students the opportunity to be engaged with multiple types of service learning that include, for example:
The Outreach Van Project
Medical students volunteer to bring food/clothing and triage services to the homeless population in East Boston. This is a student-run project with administrative support and faculty mentorship through the Enrichment Office.
Medical students participate in a transdisciplinary service learning partnership between BU medical students and leaders of community-based organizations in Codman Square, Dorchester. BU schools involved in the partnership include BUSM, GMS, Education, Social Work, and School of Public Health. This is a student-driven project with a faculty mentor in the Enrichment Office.
The Gateway to Medicine
Medical students serve as role models, mentors, and tutors to high school students. The program existed for 20 years in New York City before being established at the John D. O’Bryant High School in Boston. This “high school within a high school” provides an enriched math, science, and extracurricular activity program to guide students toward careers in medicine.
Medical students participate at the Center for HIV/AIDS Care at BMC that offers free, confidential, rapid HIV and Hepatitis C testing and counseling as well as risk reduction services.
The Sharewood Project
This is a free health care organization, run by medical students and physicians. It offers walk-in care to medically underserved populations of greater Boston.
Project MED HEALTH is a program to educate children in the Boston Public Schools about health issues. Medical students go into schools to lead interactive workshops on nutrition, fitness, safety, puberty, and reproduction.
Medical students choose placement in community health centers from the start of their BUSM experience. They are encouraged to participate in a range of activities at a designated health center and are placed there for all relevant ambulatory experiences.