Special Master’s Programs for Medical School

It is becoming more common for students to take one or more gap years after graduating from college before they attend medical school. Taking one or more gap years may be beneficial to medical school applicants. However, it is important to use this time wisely. It is unwise to use gap time to solely focus on freedom and relaxation after completing the rigors of university requirements. This will not impress medical schools at all. Admissions officers will perceive you as lazy or unmotivated. Instead, you should use the time to devote to academic pursuits that will make you a more attractive medical school candidate.  Many nontraditional medical students use their gap time to attend special master’s programs for medical school.

Benefits of a Gap Year

It is essential to weight the pros and cons of taking a gap year before proceeding. In some instances, taking a gap year allows students time to prepare for the logistics of medical school. Some students are unsure if they truly want to pursue medicine and take a gap year to focus their goals. Taking time off before medical school also gives students the opportunity to earn and save money to help finance their education.

In addition, gap years give students the opportunity to strengthen their application. Students with low grades can take courses to prove to medical schools that they possess the academic aptitude to succeed as a medical student. Similarly a gap year allows students who did not major in science to take the necessary prerequisites for medical school. In addition, a gap year provides students the opportunity to gain clinical experience. Furthermore, most medical schools tend to prefer more mature candidates. Taking one or more gap years gives a student time to grow older and more experienced prior to submitting a medical school application.


What is a Special Master’s Program for Medical School?

Future medical students are the target demographic for special master’s programs for medical school. Students who enroll in special master’s programs take a variety of advanced science courses. In addition, some programs require students to participate in research activities. Many medical schools offer their own special master’s programs for medical school. These programs are especially helpful, because they often allow master’s students to take courses at the medical school.

Taking medical school classes as a master’s student is an extremely valuable opportunity for several reasons. First, it allows medical school admissions committees to see that you are able handle the medical school course work. Second, admissions committees are more likely to offer students an interview if they attended a special master’s program affiliated with that school. Finally, by taking medical school classes as a graduate student, you will have a unique advantage over your classmates when you are officially a medical student. You will have already taken some of the courses and will be able to do well in your classes with much less effort.



 General Application Requirements

Generally most special master’s programs for medical school require several pieces of information. They will ask applicants to submit MCAT scores, letters of recommendation, grades, and often a personal statement. Some programs will accept an AMCAS application directly while others will have their own application forms.


Choosing a Program

The United States offers many special master’s programs for medical school. It is important to research individual programs to find the one that is best for you. Below are some questions to consider when choosing a program:

  • Is the program affiliated with a medical school?
  • How long has the program been established?
  • What percentage of graduates are accepted into medical school?
  • Does the program allow master’s students to take medical school classes?



The list below shows special master’s programs for medical school that are affiliated with a medical school. This is not a comprehensive list. Additional programs can be found on the AAMC website.

Boston University – M.A. in Medical Sciences

Brown University- MS in Medical Sciences

University of Cincinnatti- Special Master’s Program in Physiology

University of Colorado- Master of Science in Modern Human Anatomy

Georgetown University- Special Master’s Program in Physiology

Loyola University- MA in Medical Sciences

Tufts University- MS in Biomedical Sciences

Tulane University- Master’s in Pharmacology

Robert Wood Johnson Medical School- Master of Biomedical Science