Boston University School of Medicine has a proud history of placing medical education in the context of each patient’s life, his or her neighborhood, and the larger community. The BUSM curriculum offers students the opportunity to study medicine in a flexible, supportive environment that stimulates a spirit of critical inquiry and provides a sound base of knowledge in the biological, social, and behavioral sciences. This focus begins the first week of medical school, when students begin patient care (in introduction to clinical medicine), their own professional identity and development (professionalism lectures and exercise in human behavior in medicine). At the same time they begin their study of Essentials of Public Health. In addition to patient care and lectures, students also begin focused learning in small groups in their integrated problem solving course, which is also incorporated into the early curriculum.
In the curriculum reform initiative we began in 2005, there is vertical and horizontal integration of the curriculum across all years: bringing clinical cases and challenges into the early, traditionally preclerkship years, and by revisiting anatomy, pharmacology and genetics in the later clerkship years of formal clinical training.
Boston Medical Center is the primary teaching hospital for the school of medicine and was created by the formal merger of Boston City Hospital and Boston University Medical Center Hospital (BUMCH) in 1996. BCH was founded in 1855, and BUMCH in 1864. It has the largest trauma center in New England, and the Emergency Department had more than 129,000 visits in 2008.
The BMC Mission is “Exceptional Care without Exception” and we live that mission in the care of our underserved patients, 30% of whom do not have English as their primary language. Medical students see the comprehensive care of our patients aided by our unique ancillary services: the only hospital based food pantry in the country, legal partnerships to aid in the medical care of our patients, and the center for refugee health and human rights to name a few.
Our clinical skills center is also an integral part of each student’s evolution into a clinician. In this center, students get feedback on their history and physical’s on “standardized patients” in videotaped encounters, and formal assessment in end of 1st year and end of 2nd year exams. These structured encounters allow students autonomy in an educational setting. The students continue in the center in their 2nd and 3rd years, culminating in an end of 3rd year exam, structured to provide feedback in preparation for the USMLE clinical exam.
Eligibility and Requirements
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 www.aamc.org. Candidates may apply between June 1 and November 1, but early application is strongly recommended.
Applicants are expected to receive 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. All prerequisites must be completed before a student can matriculate at BUSM.
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. 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.
Students from other countries or American 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 a college of arts and sciences accredited by an American or Canadian agency.
Further information is available on our Requirements page.
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. 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, neither apply to, nor attend, any other medical school. All such applicants will be notified that they are accepted, deferred, or rejected on or before October 1, at which time, if not accepted, they will be free to apply to other schools.
Every candidate for the degree of Doctor of Medicine at Boston University must be at least twenty-one years of age and of good moral character. He or she must have fulfilled all 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.
In 1977 the faculties of the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Medicine developed a combined program designed to integrate the liberal arts and the basic medical sciences. The MMEDIC program currently admits to the School of Medicine, subject to review as described below under Program Requirements, a limited number of qualified students who have completed two years of undergraduate study in the College of Arts & Sciences or other undergraduate colleges at Boston University. It offers an integrated curriculum composed of undergraduate and medical school courses, enabling those preselected students to fulfill portions of the requirements of the curriculum at the School of Medicine during the latter two years of undergraduate study. The MMEDIC program thus introduces certain of the preclinical subjects into the undergraduate program.
Portions of the junior and senior years are spent taking modular courses that not only enable the student to fulfill undergraduate requirements, but also allow for the completion of certain requirements ordinarily undertaken in the first year of the School of Medicine. In addition to the modular courses, students are expected to complete requirements for their field of concentration and pursue electives in the humanities and social sciences.
Eligibility and Admission
The program is designed to admit a limited number of students who expect to enter their third year of undergraduate study in September. Acceptances are determined during the preceding spring and summer. Admission into the program, and thereby to the School of Medicine, is based on academic record, letters of recommendation, and involvement in college and community activities, as well as on less tangible qualities of personality, character, and maturity.
Applications are evaluated by the Joint Admissions Committee composed of representatives from the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Medicine. If deemed eligible, the applicant is contacted for a personal interview with members of the committee.
MMEDIC students must demonstrate their ability to master the modules of instruction and must exhibit a high degree of maturity, integrity and emotional stability to be promoted to the medical phase of the program. Four modules of instruction must be completed prior to entry into the School of Medicine, at least two of which must be in biochemistry, physiology, or medical histology. At the conclusion of each semester, the faculty Committee on Promotions reviews the student’s progress.
Students are expected to maintain a 3.20 GPA cumulatively and a 3.00 GPA in the sciences for all courses taken after entry into the program to be eligible for promotion to the next curricular year and ultimately to the School of Medicine. Failure to meet the above criteria will result in appropriate action by the Committee, including academic probation, remedial coursework, or dismissal from the program. Students who have not achieved a 3.20 GPA cumulatively and a 3.00 GPA in the sciences for all courses taken after entry into the program are ineligible for promotion to the School of Medicine.
Students must take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in the spring of the third year of undergraduate study. It is expected that students will achieve a combined score of at least 30 on the three numerically scored sections of the MCAT. The results of the MCAT are considered by the Committee on Promotions when it makes the final decision as to whether to promote students to the medical curriculum. Before entering their first year in the School of Medicine, students in the program must also complete the usual required premedical courses (one year each of general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, physics, English composition or literature, and humanities).
Students may not apply to other medical schools and remain in the program.
Students who for any reason (academic, motivational, ethical or emotional) are found to be ill-suited for the program may be transferred without loss of credit into their undergraduate college. Such students may apply for entry to the School of Medicine or any other medical school by the conventional premedical route. Students may transfer voluntarily out of the program at any point and continue their undergraduate education at Boston University.
Upon entering the School of Medicine, the student will continue the program approved in the Outline of Study that will best fulfill the student’s educational needs.
Additional information may be obtained from the Boston University College of Arts and Sciences, Preprofessional Advising Office, 725 Commonwealth Avenue, Room B-2, Boston, MA 02215. Further information is available by phone at 617-353-4866 or at http://www.bu.edu/academics/busm/programs/modular-medical-integrated-curriculum/.
The Early Medical School Selection Program was developed with a consortium of historically black colleges and universities in 1982. In order to make the program more diverse, it has been expanded to include students from colleges with large hispanic populations and the Indian Health Service. The program provides an early and more gradual transition into the medical school curriculum through provisional acceptance into medical school at the completion of two years of undergraduate study.
Students accepted into the program will remain within their undergraduate colleges through the junior year and must complete the maximum number of required science courses prior to entering the senior year at Boston University. During this senior year, students will retain their degree candidacy at their undergraduate institutions. Students will take MMEDIC courses and participate in individualized programs of study in the senior year which will satisfy undergraduate academic requirements while providing a gradual transition into the medical school curriculum.
The September following the granting of the baccalaureate degree from their undergraduate institutions, students who have performed at the prescribed level will matriculate into the School of Medicine at Boston University and pursue a decompressed medical school curriculum, having already fulfilled requirements for certain medical school courses. Upon completion of the School of Medicine requirements, the degree of Doctor of Medicine wil be granted by Boston University.
Requirements for Admission
United States citizens are eligible to apply during the sophomore year of college, upon the recommendation of their premedical advisors. Admission to the program is based on the academic record, letters of recommendation, scope and quality of college and community activities, and such factors as personality, character, and maturity of the applicant. Requirements include: Biology (1 year) with laboratory; and General Chemistry (1 year) with laboratory.
In addition to the normal distribution of courses in the humanities and social sciences, applicants are strongly urged to complete the equivalent of one full year of physics (with laboratory) prior to beginning the senior undergraduate year at Boston University. Students are required to spend the senior year in residence in Boston University housing. Students must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) no later than the spring of the fourth year of undergraduate study, and are required to file an AMCAS application in the fall of the senior year.
Applications for the Early Medical School Selection Program may be obtained from the Director, Early Medical School Selection Program, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Room A-4, Boston, MA 02118, 617/638-4163.
The College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Medicine of Boston University offer a combined curriculum designed to improve the quality of medical education while shortening the overall period of study. Qualified applicants include students who are completing four full academic years of secondary education and who are currently high school seniors, or students who have completed high school but have not enrolled in any college-level, degree-granting program.
The first three years are spent in the College of Arts & Sciences, where the student takes premedical sciences and elective courses in the humanities and social sciences.In addition, the second summer is spent taking a required biology course and elective courses in the humanities and social sciences, so that the undergraduate requirements are completed by the end of the third academic year. Following completion of the required premedical courses in the first two years of study, students may enroll in certain modular medical courses in the third academic year. Many of these courses are equivalent to those taken in the first year of medical school. Completion of modular courses with equivalency credit will decompress the medical school curriculum. All students are required to complete a minor concentration in a discipline that is approved by of the College of Arts & Sciences.
Acceleration is made possible by the 12-week summer session. Although the program is accelerated, the student has three summers completely free for pursuing other interests. Students in this program must meet all liberal arts, residence, and course-distribution requirements for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree.
Additional information concerning this seven-year program may be requested by mail from the undergraduate admissions office at Boston University Office of Admissions at 121 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215. Further information is available by phone at 617-353-2300, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at http://www.bu.edu/academics/cas/programs/seven-year-liberal-arts-medical-education-program/.
Students who have earned their bachelor’s degree and have been accepted to the School of Medicine may, at any time during the first six weeks of the first year prior to exams, apply to the Alternative Curriculum. This option is designed for students who wish to have the time to pursue other interests along with their medical studies or to reinforce selected aspects of their medical education. In the Alternative Curriculum the courses of the first year are divided between two years. A number of different schedule combinations are possible, all of which yield significant curricular decompression. If a student fails an examination, they are then in a Decelerated Curriculum. Additional scheduling possibilities are available by substituting MMEDIC courses for their medical curriculum counterparts. Tuition is prorated. A maximum of ten students can be accepted into this program. If more than ten students apply, the school will select those students who appear best able to benefit from the program.
Students who are interested in the program should contact the Office of Student Affairs at 617/638-4166 or the Registrar’s Office at 617/638-4161.
Promotions Committees are appointed from the faculty for the first, second, third, and fourth years. It is their responsibility to determine which students are to be promoted, which students require remedial work, and which students should be required to withdraw from the school. A Subcommittee on Appeals for the Promotions Committees is appointed annually through input of both faculty and students. This Subcommittee receives, reviews, and acts upon appeals filed by students.
Rules Governing Promotion
1. The faculty reserves the right to require the withdrawal of any student at any time when, in the opinion of the faculty, he or she is unfit to continue his or her course.
2. Departments or course instructors use methods of examining and evaluating students that are most appropriate to their course content. For the first year, the student’s record contains for each course the appropriate (P) or (F) designation and, if possible, a detailed written narrative. For the second year, the designations are (H) or (P). For the third and fourth years, the designations are Honors, High Pass, Pass, or Fail.
3. All medical students must take Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination in June of the second year. Passing Step 2 of the USMLE is a requirement for graduation from the School of Medicine.
4. If the student is unable to achieve a pass in any given course, the Promotion Committee determines the action to be taken.
5. Written guidelines concerning promotion to each academic year are distributed to each student annually and an outline of the due process of promotions and appeals is sent to each student in the first curricular year. Copies of these documents may be obtained from the Associate Dean for Student Affairs Office.
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The student receives detailed instructions from the School of Medicine concerning the procedure to be followed during the published dates for registration.
Every student must register during the official registration period.
A late fee is charged if a student does not register during the official period. In no event may a student register later than one week immediately following the official registration period without the written approval of the Dean or other authorized person of the School.
Most state examining and licensing boards require a year of residency in an accredited hospital in addition to the regular four-year course. All fourth-year students are urged to participate in the National Residency Matching Program.
Each graduate or former student of the School of Medicine may request, free of charge, an official transcript of his or her academic record, provided that there are no outstanding overdue debts to the University with respect to such person. Official transcripts are confidential records forwarded to the agencies requesting them and not to the alumni. The name and address of the agency should be sent to the Office of the Registrar, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118. Seven-year medical students must request a copy of the first two years of study at the College of Liberal Arts from the Office of the University Registrar, Boston University, 881 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. There is a charge of $3. The University reserves the right to withhold a transcript if the individual is in debt to the University. If a transcript is withheld, the individual requesting the transcript has the right to discuss this matter with a representative of the University empowered to resolve such disputes.
A student who is absent from school assignments must inform the Registrar promptly of the reason for the absence and its expected duration.
Administrative Policies Relating to Federal Guidelines
In cooperation with the Veterans Administration, the University participates in numerous veterans benefits programs, including educational assistance, work-study, rehabilitation, deferred payment, and tutorial programs.
Students who are eligible for veterans benefits or who would like more information about VA rules and veterans programs should contact the Boston University Office of Veterans Affairs, 881 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, 617/353-3678.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ensures confidentiality of student educational records and restricts disclosure to or access by third parties, except as authorized by law. Parents of dependent students, as defined in Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, are accorded full access by the University to their dependents’ educational records, with certain exceptions, and they may receive copies of their dependents’ grade reports each semester from the Office of the University Registrar. The University assumes that its undergraduate students are financially dependent unless a parent or the student informs the University Access Officer in the Office of the University Registrar that the student is financially independent. Students may provide this notification to the Access Officer via the Financially Independent Student Form, a copy of which may be secured from the Access Officer in the Office of the University Registrar.
Students have the right to inspect their educational records, with certain exceptions. If they believe these records are inaccurate, they may request an amendment and, if denied, have the right to a hearing and to place a letter of disagreement in their file if the outcome of that hearing is negative. Students are eligible under the Act to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education Family Policy and Regulations Office, Federal Office Building Number 6, Room 3021, 400 Maryland Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20202, if they believe Boston University failed to comply with the requirements of the Act.
The University’s policies and procedures for implementation of this Act are enumerated in the Compliance Manual, copies of which are available to students at the Office of the University Registrar, 881 Commonwealth Avenue, Second Floor, Boston, MA 02215.
The University does not release personally identifiable information contained in student educational records except as authorized by law. Boston University has designated certain types of personally identifiable information as “directory information.” These include the student’s name; local or dorm address and telephone number; College of registration; degree program and major and minor; dates of attendance; part- or full-time status; degrees, honors, and awards received; and hometown for press releases. Students may restrict release of this information if they wish, and this data will not be released by the University except as authorized by law.
The Student Activities Office (Associate Director, GSU, 775 Commonwealth Avenue) and the Athletics Department (Director, 285 Babcock Street) may release or publish personally identifiable information on students who participate in officially recognized activities and sports. If students wish to restrict release and/or publication of this information, they should contact the Student Activities Office and the Athletics Department directly.
Students are informed of their rights under this law by the University Registrar. The parents of incoming freshmen and transfer students each year are informed of their rights under this law, and how to exercise them, by the Provost.
Equal Opportunity Policy
Information on Boston University’s Equal Opportunity Policy can be found at the Equal Opportunity Office website. Inquiries can be addressed to the Director, Office of Equal Opportunity, 25 Buick Street, Boston, MA 02215 or 617-353-4475.
Grievance and Arbitration Procedures under Title IX
Information on Boston University’s Title IX Policy is available online. A record of all formal grievances is kept in the office of the Dean of Students, East Tower of the George Sherman Union, 775 Commonwealth Avenue. Copies of all written statements, letters, etc., relating to a grievance should be sent to that office.
Student Retention Information
Statistics for the student retention rate at Boston University are available on request from the Office of Analytical Services, 25 Buick Street, in accordance with the Education Amendments of 1976, Section 493A.
Published by Trustees of Boston University, 147 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215.