Student Life at Boston University School of Medicine

Interactions Among Students

Outline of Fountain Outside the School of Medicine
  • BUSM is known for the very warm and collegial relationships that are established among students. The class is very diverse and students generally place great value on the opportunity to meet and work with people of so many backgrounds. The new introductory module at the start of the 1st year gives students ample opportunity to develop friendships and establish study groups.
  • The curriculum incorporates many opportunities for working teams and study groups. This approach is specifically encouraged by the faculty as it is a prelude to the collaborative nature of the modern practice of medicine.
  • Virtually all students had other opportunities that they declined in order to choose BUSM. They are in the class by choice and are fully engaged, both personally and professionally.

Faculty Student Interactions

  • Strong and collegial relationships between faculty and students are a high priority throughout the entire 4 years of the program. Both the clinical and the basic science faculty are involved in advising and mentoring activities and participate in the Informal Curriculum, allowing substantial interactions with students outside of the structured environment of the classroom or the clinical service.
    • The student government sponsors a spring dinner with faculty.
    • Each student is a member of an Academy of Advisors, participating in an ongoing series of activities, both on-campus and in faculty homes.

Governance and Activities

  • SCOMSA (Student Committee on Medical School Activities)
    • Curriculum Committee
    • Executive Committee – 1 representative/class
    • Admissions Committee – 2/5 representative/class (spring)
    • General Committee – 6 MD and 1 MD/PhD students from each class
      • Approve funding for organizational events, and conferences
      • Plan events:
        • Barbeque – spring and fall
        • Faculty dinner – spring
        • Informal and semiformal – spring and fall
        • Skit night
      • Funds are allocated for each class to promote cohesiveness, sponsoring a variety of activities such as: a ski trip last year for 1st year students- 70 participated, and an Alternative Spring Break that took students to Nicaragua to work with Habitat for Humanity.

Interest Groups

34 student organizations are currently active on the medical campus, including ACOG, AMSA, AMWA,  Anna Bissonnette House, Armed Forces Medical Society, Asian American Medical Society, AAMC-OSR, Geriatrics, Integrative Medicine, Adult Immunization, Business and Medicine, Christian Medical Dental Association (CMDA), Clinical Neuroscience, Creative Arts Society, Domestic Violence Awareness Project, Family Medicine, International Health Organization, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual People in Medicine,  Maimonides Society, MedGLO, Medical Students for Choice, Environmental Awareness, Outreach Van Project, PEDS, Physicians for a National Health Program, Primary care Society, American Heart Assoc., South Asian Medical Student Assoc., Neurology, Student National Medical Association, Surgical Society. Psychiatry Interest Group. Approximately 85% of students participate in one-or-more groups in a substantial way during their 4 years at BUSM. Click here to view the Student Organizations.

Please see the following link to the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs publication of “The Many Facets of our Diversity”.

The daily BU Today newsletter recently put out a story on the Outreach Van Project and it’s impact on the community it serves.  Read the story here for further information.

International Health Program

For students interested in an International Health experience, the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) offers an International Health Program. The goals of the International Health Program are:

  • -Provide clinical, public health, research and cultural/language immersion experiences abroad to broaden students’ perspective on health and human illness in diverse, underserved healthcare systems
  • -Facilitate the exchange of ideas and practices through healthcare and clinical research with international partners
  • -Promote the development of students into culturally competent physicians who are sensitive to the needs of underserved populations
  • -Expose students to a multi-disciplinary international health team approach that includes collaboration among a variety of health care providers

There are a number of options available including summer programs after the first year is completed or as a fourth year elective credit. For a video highlighting our International Health Program, please visit the BUniverse website here.

Service Learning

At BUSM, service-learning offers medical students a unique educational experience through engagement with community-based medicine and social advocacy, such as the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program and the Outreach Van Project.  These experiences encourage the development of professionalism, ethics and humanitarian values. A description of service learning opportunities may be found here.

Advising and Support

  • Academies of Advisors is a nationally recognized advising and mentoring program initiated during the 2003-2004 academic year and is designed to increase personal and professional interactions between faculty and students, improve advising and mentoring, and expanding career counseling.  Feedback has been very positive both from students and faculty, and the program continues to grow and expand to serve the needs of our medical students.  Each incoming student is assigned to an Academy and an Advisor and will remain in that Academy for the length of their time at BUSM.  Additionally, students self-select a field specific advisor during the 3rd year as he/she begins to focus on a career path.
  • Careers in Medicine is a program developed by the AAMC that serves as a compliment the Academies and provides students with tools and resources for selecting a medical specialty and preparing for residency.
  • Peer Advising at BUSM provides non-academic advice and uniquely personal student perspectives about life and learning at BUSM in an informal way to all medical students, primarily in the 1st and 2nd years.  Peer advising is the student complement to the more formal advising provided by the Academies of Advisors. Through the PA program, medical students will gain informed student perspective on BUSM which is based on their Peer Advisor’s personal experience in medical school.
  • Student Support Services provides one-on-one counseling, learning resources and other tools to help all students excel in their academic and career goals while at BUSM.  Programs include Strategies for Success workshops, the Tutor Program, Board Review Program to prepare students for Step 1 and Step 2 Exams.  This office also supports those students who may need accommodations for learning due to physical or learning disabilities.

Special Pathways and Their Impact on Student Life

BUSM has multiple tracks leading to the MD degree. These tracks, along with our various combined degree programs (MD-PhD, MD-MPH, MD-MBA), contribute to diversity of educational background, perspective, and career goals, producing a lively and challenging academic environment. The following special pathways, as a group, typically constitute up to about 30% of the entering class.

  • Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program (SMED)
    • Opportunity for exceptional high school seniors to obtain both the baccalaureate and medical degrees in 7 years. There are flexible opportunities to pursue and develop academic interests and potentially decompress the first year of medical school.
  • Modular Medical Integrated Curriculum (MMEDIC)
    • Boston University students who have completed 2 years of undergraduate study in the College of Arts and Sciences may apply for early selection to the School of Medicine. MMEDIC integrates the study of traditional arts and sciences with the study of medical science. This may result in decompression and enrichment of the BUSM, but does not shorten the total educational sequence below the traditional 8 years.
  • Engineering/Medical Integrated Curriculum ( ENGMEDIC )
    • Students who have completed 2 years of study in biomedical engineering at the College of Engineering may apply for early selection to the School of Medicine. The curriculum integrates biomedical engineering courses with liberal arts, sciences and medical courses, again allowing decompression and enrichment of the curriculum without shortening the time required to obtain the two degrees.
  • Early Medical School Selection Program (EMSSP)
    • Students from a consortium of undergraduate schools (Clark-Atlanta, Dillard, Hampton, Morehouse, Morgan State, Morris Brown, North Carolina Central, Spelman, Tougaloo, University of the Incarnate Word, University of Texas at El Paso, University of the Virgin Islands, and Virginia Union) may apply for early admission during the sophomore year of college. They spend 2 summers and the senior year at Boston University. They may earn double credit for selected BA/BS and MD courses as a college senior, allowing them to decompress and enrich the medical school schedule.

How Well We Do on National Measures

  • National Board Licensure Exams (USMLE): In recent years, BUSM students have achieved a 91-94% pass rate for first time takers on step I and 92-94% for step II – both are at or above the average for U.S medical schools. In 2006-2007, the pass rate reached 99%, with a similar jump in mean scores.
  • Internship and Resident Match (NRMP): Survey of graduating students in recent years indicate that 85-89% had matched in one of their top 3 choices and 90% or more were satisfied or very satisfied with the results. Moreover, as BUSM students are encouraged to apply to the top programs in their field of choice, the very high match rates above are all the more extraordinary. A full match list for the most recent graduating class is available on the Office of Student Affairs Home Page.
For more information on Student Life, please visit the Office of Student Affairs.
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of BU School of Medicine