Postbac Premed Eligibility
To be eligible for admission to the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program, students must:
- hold a degree of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science from an accredited college or university (You do not need to wait until you complete the undergraduate degree before applying for admission. In many cases, the admissions office can make an admission decision pending the receipt of your final transcript verifying the complete of your undergraduate degree. You will, however, need to provide an updated transcript that verifies the completion of your bachelor's.);
- have an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above; most successful applicants, however, have an average GPA of 3.65;
- not have applied to medical school within the past two years;
- not have taken the MCAT.
- Students who have taken some, but not all, of the core sciences will meet with their advisor where individual academic plans will be discussed.
- Students are eligible to apply if graduating the semester prior to the term for which they’re planning to begin the Postbac Premed Program.
- Students who have completed all of the requirements for medical school are not eligible to apply.
- Students with foreign credentials equivalent to a bachelor's degree from an American college or university may be admitted, although they may also wish to confer with an admissions representative about the possibility of earning a second bachelor’s degree at Columbia University in order to be more competitive for the medical school application process.
- Students who have completed a graduate degree are eligible to apply, however, the Admissions Committee looks at undergraduate coursework more closely than graduate coursework. Of note: a strong record in graduate school cannot compensate for a weak undergraduate record.
- All applications will be thoroughly reviewed, regardless of GPA, although it is rare for a student with a GPA under 3.0 to be accepted to the program, as the previous undergraduate GPA can strongly affect chances of ultimately being accepted to medical school. Such applicants to the Postbac Program should be sure to address in the personal statement any external factors that may have affected college grades, as well as other relevant information about the applicant’s potential to get into medical school.
- While students vary considerably in their ability to juggle studies and work, very few students can excel in two lecture courses (e.g., General Chemistry and General Physics) taken while working full time. Students who must work full time should give themselves more time to complete the first phase of their studies, and may want to consider enrolling part time.
In making its decisions, the admissions committee considers the rigor and quality of the undergraduate curriculum a student has pursued and looks for evidence that the student has developed the academic abilities to meet the demands of the Premedical Program. At a minimum, successful applicants must possess an overall cumulative GPA of 3.0; most successful applicants, however, have an average GPA of 3.65.
While no specific coursework is required for admission to the program, academic performance is expected to be outstanding. All applicants should be prepared to carry substantial course loads and plan to maintain GPAs of 3.0 or higher. Most successful medical and veterinary school applicants have GPAs of 3.5 or higher.
Students are not eligible for admission if they have completed most or all of the required premedical courses.
In some cases, however, Postbac Premed students may have completed a few of the prerequisites required for medical school admission. Depending on when such coursework was completed, and the grades achieved, students may be advised to repeat the course or to take an advanced-level science course in order to be a more competitive applicant to medical school.
Potential applicants with questions about eligibility based on previous coursework completed may schedule an appointment to speak with an admissions staff member by calling 212.854.2772 or making an admissions advisement appointment.
The Postbac Premed Program at Columbia University is a highly competitive program and that the challenges of a premedical curriculum at Columbia are significant. That's why the admissions process to the Postbac Premed Program is comprehensive and highly selective. All students admitted to our program possess the academic strength to be successful applicants to medical school. The average GPA for an entering class to our program is, historically, approximately 3.65; the average SAT score is 1390 (combined mathematics and critical reading score). This means that the students enrolled in our Postbac Premed Program are some of the best and brightest students in the country. Nonetheless, there is a modest amount of attrition from our program. The number of students who begin our program and choose to leave to pursue other ventures in life is minimal - less than five percent in any given semester. In most cases, students who choose to leave our program have made this decision because of unrelated factors affecting their lives: family considerations, job choices, or a decision to pursue a path other than medicine are all examples. To be eligible for committee support, students must consistently maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Occasionally, we dismiss students for failure to meet this expectation or to otherwise make academic progress, generally after having communicated our concerns, advised them how to improve their records, and given them an opportunity to do so; such actions are never taken lightly, but it is an important part of our counseling and advising on the extremely competitive medical school admissions process. On average, fewer than five students per term are dismissed for academic reasons. This relatively low number is a testament to the strength of our students, faculty, and advisors.