Do You Need a Bachelor’s Degree For Medical School?

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Session 185

This week, we have an interesting question from an immigrant wondering if they need to get another bachelor’s degree here in the U.S. This is a common question among international students.

Your questions are taken directly from the Nontrad Premed Forum. Be sure to check it out and register for an account.

Listen to this podcast episode with the player above, or keep reading for the highlights and takeaway points.

[01:00] OldPreMeds Question of the Week

I got my bachelor’s degree from another country, but I got a master’s degree from the U.S. I also took all my prerequisites from the U.S. colleges and universities.

Is it really necessary to obtain another bachelor’s degree here? I noticed that some med schools require a bachelor’s degree, so I’m wondering whether I need to get a second bachelor’s degree.

[Related episode: Should I Get a Second Degree or Just Take More Classes?]

[01:25] Call the School

The answer basically depends on the medical school. For a student in this process, someone like this student who has a bachelor’s degree from another country but did their prereqs here, which is great, you have to look at each medical school and what they require of their applicants. 

'Most medical schools will typically have a list of their requirements for their applicants.'Click To Tweet

Some schools may say they don’t need a bachelor’s degree and you can apply. And if you do well on the MCAT and if they like your grades, they can take you.

There are also other schools that require every single applicant to have X number of hours. 90 credit hours is a very common answer you will see. This goes out to the institutions in the U.S. and Canada.

They didn’t say undergrad hours so maybe the master’s hours count. The master’s credit hours may not be that many, but combined with the undergrad hours, maybe this could be enough.

All those being said, we don’t really know. Hence, you need to call each institution and talk about your situation. Name the credit hours. Name the schools. Tell them where you’re out and see what they say.

The worst they can say is to do 90 hours total. Maybe you only need to take a few classes and you don’t need to complete the second bachelor’s. This is just the possibility.

[04:30] Advocate for Yourself

At this point in your journey, advocate for yourself and reach out to schools. Tell them about what you think about doing. Tell them about yourself and your current dilemma, and what they can do to help you.

Let the schools tell you what you need to do. First, you’re getting them to co-sign your plan with them. Secondly, you’re introducing yourself to the school so that they would already recognize you on your next interaction.

Lastly, you’re getting a feel of the school and whether or not they’re going to support you as a nontraditional student. A lot of schools aren’t flexible at all.

[Related episode: This Student Was Her Own Advocate and Earned Two Acceptances]


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