Glide Year Master’s Programs

During the glide year, some Postbac Premed students wish to take on an additional degree or certificate program prior to enrolling in medical school. Many programs exist, but below are a few programs that have been of particular interest to Postbac Premed students.

Columbia University Master of Bioethics Program

The Combined Postbac Premed-M.S. Bioethics Program, offered in partnership with the Columbia University School of Professional Studies, allows highly-qualified students to enrich and diversify their premedical education prior to enrolling in medical school. Bioethics is an expanding discipline that brings together studies in law, philosophy, religion, economics, science, and history. It seeks to confront the challenges created by rapid changes in biotechnology and biomedicine, from end-of-life care to DNA sequencing to new reproductive technologies. For future healthcare providers, this program will provide a crucial and relevant foundation for the practice of medicine.

Students will begin taking courses in the Bioethics program during the second year of the Postbac Premed Program while completing the premedical degree requirements. Six points of coursework in Bioethics, consisting of two of the core courses in the Bioethics program, are taken during the student’s second year of Postbac study. During the Glide Year, students take an additional 30 points toward the M.S. degree, consisting of four additional core courses and five electives. Students also research and write a master’s thesis during their glide year.

Second Year (Sample Schedule)


Organic Chemistry I (3.5 points)

Ogranic Chemistry Lab (1.5 points)

Contemporary Biology I (3 points)

Contemporary Biology Lab (3 points)

Core: Philosophy of Bioethics (3 points)


Organic Chemistry II (3.5 points)

Contemporary Biology II (3 points)

Organic Chemistry Lab (1.5 points)

Core: Introduction to Clinical Ethics (3 points)


Two Bioethics Electives*


Begin medical school application process

Third Year (Glide Year) (Sample Schedule)


Core: History of Bioethics (3 points)

Core: Research Ethics (3 points)

Bioethics Electives*


Core: Global Bioethics (3 points)

Core: Law and Bioethics (3 points)

Master's Thesis Workshop

Master's Thesis (3 points)

Bioethics Electives*


Complete required coursework towards M.S. in Bioethics.

*Of the required five elective courses, one must be in the fields of law or policy, one in ethics, and one in social science methods. The two remaining electives may be taken in these or related areas, however students are strongly encouraged to take a course in genetics and, depending on their interest, a course in environmental science. These electives may also be taken during the summer.

Upon admission to the program, students are assigned to a faculty advisor in Bioethics. Students should meet regularly with this advisor as well as with their Postbac Premed advisor. Depending on a student's interest in the Master's Thesis capstone project, an additional thesis advisor may be selected.

Admission to the Combined Postbac Premed-M.S. Bioethics Program is highly selective. Students in good standing and in their first year of coursework in the Postbac Program are eligible to apply for admission, but should meet with their Postbac Premed advisor to discuss their eligibility and consider whether they can manage the workload. Information sessions about the program are typically held in the fall term. For admissions and applications requirements, please visit the website.

Application Deadlines

Early Application Deadline: January 15
Final Application Deadline: May 15

Columbia University Master of Science in Human Nutrition

The Institute of Human Nutrition, situated in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, offers highly qualified Postbac Premed students the opportunity to enrich and diversify their premedical education during a glide year prior to enrolling in medical school.

During the one-year program, training in human nutrition will expand your understanding of the role of nutrition in human health and disease prevention. Through your coursework, you will study all aspects of human nutrition, including basic nutrition science, clinical nutrition, nutritional epidemiology, and public health nutrition. You will have the opportunity to focus your degree in one of these areas through your spring elective courses and your master’s thesis project.

The MS program is committed not only to the promotion of knowledge about human nutrition, but to the professional and leadership development of their students. Elements to strengthen your writing and speaking skills are integrated throughout the program, and you will have the opportunity to take on leadership roles as a student representative.

The structure of the one-year MS degree program includes three semesters, a fall and a spring semester where you will focus full-time on coursework and part-time on your master’s thesis, and a shorter summer semester where you will focus on your master’s thesis full-time. All fall courses are required and provide a foundation of knowledge in the areas of basic nutrition science, clinical nutrition, nutritional epidemiology, and public health nutrition. Spring course material builds on the fall foundation, and includes a combination of required and elective courses. Course topics are carefully integrated to promote cross-sectional learning between the various disciplines of human nutrition. During the fall term, you are introduced to master’s thesis options and matched with a thesis mentor. To complete the program in one year, you are required to finish your thesis by the September following your enrollment year. If you are matriculating into medical school the fall after your glide year, you can arrange to complete your thesis component by mid-summer.

Course Descriptions

Master’s Thesis Information

Glide Year (Sample Schedule)


Biochemical and Physiological Bases of Nutrition I (3 credits)

Critical Readings of Biological and Clinical Literature (3 credits)

Physiology and Nutrition Throughout the Lifecycle (3 credits)

Introduction to Epidemiology for Nutrition (3 credits)

Introduction to Public Health Nutrition (3 credits)

Thesis Planning and Research Methods I (2 credits)


Biochemical and Physiological Bases of Nutrition II (3 credits)

Integrative Nutrition and Pathophysiology (3 credits)

Thesis Planning and Research Methods II (2 credits)

Elective Courses (Students must take 5 credits worth of elective courses, which generally equates to two or three courses, which are selected in consolation with an advisor. Students may choose graduate-level courses in other Columbia University departments for their electives, as long as they are approved by the MS program director.)


Thesis Research (3 credits)

Upon matriculation, you will be assigned a faculty advisor who will help you with academic decisions such as elective course and thesis mentor selection. Throughout the year you will meet regularly with your advisor, individually and in small advising groups. Your faculty advisor and the MS program director will serve as your career advisor. You should continue to meet regularly with your Postbac Premed advisor.

Admission to the Combined Postbac Premed-M.S. in Human Nutrition Program is highly selective. Students who are in good standing in the fall of their orgo/bio year are eligible to apply for admission to the MS program. If you are interested, meet with your Postbac Premed advisor to discuss your eligibility.

The IHN admits students to their MS program on a rolling basis from December 1st – August 1st each year. For additional MS program prerequisite requirements and application details, visit the Institute of Human Nutrition MS Program Application Information webpage.

In addition to their regularly-scheduled program webinars, the IHN holds information sessions for Columbia Postbac Premed students in the fall. We encourage you to attend these events if you are interested in this one-year MS in Human Nutrition program.

Columbia University Master of Public Health Program

The Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health allows highly-qualified Postbac Premed students to study for and receive a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree during the glide year by pursuing the General Public Health track within the Mailman Accelerated M.P.H. program.

The General Public Health track offers students broader participation in the field of public health as well as formal training in the methods and substantive areas of public health; moreover, it provides a superb foundation for medical education. The General Public Health track also includes a practicum experience, which provides students with opportunities to apply their academic training within a work setting.

The structure of the one-year degree program includes five components, carefully timed and integrated, so that learning in one part of the program informs activities and assignments in another.

Students begin the program by immersing themselves in the Mailman Core Curriculum, which offers grounding in the history and methods of public health, as well as foundational studies of biological and environmental determinants of health; social, behavioral, and structural determinants of health; methods for public health research and programming; and health systems.

Rather than focus on a single discipline within public health, students in the General Public Health track draw their coursework from departments and certificate programs throughout the Mailman School.

In addition, each student is expected to develop and demonstrate improved skills in a technical area, such as research design, program evaluation, health education, health program planning, or administration, as well as select from the School’s curriculum, in consultation with their academic advisor, those courses that help meet this objective.

Each student’s program is planned individually in consultation with a Mailman advisor.


To be eligible to apply for this program, Postbac Premed students must:

  • have completed at least nine points of required premedical coursework, including Calculus (grade of B+ or higher), and have received no grade in premedical science coursework below a B.

  • be in their Orgo/Bio Year

  • have received a grade of B+ or better in a writing-intensive course; this course may have been completed either as an undergraduate or as a Postbac student.

  • have a minimum of one year (two years preferred) of work experience in a health-related field.

Application Requirements

The following materials must be submitted as part of the required application: