Postbac Premed students take the same classes with the same professors as Columbia undergraduates. Undergraduate courses are taught by members of the Columbia University Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Program length is determined by a variety of factors. Please be aware that most students do not complete more than two core science courses (plus lab) in any given term. If a student has previously taken any core science courses, these must have been taken during a full-length semester and not a mini-session or abbreviated summer semester. See the Accelerated Sequence page for more information.
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.
It is true that 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.
Postbac students are eligible to apply for Columbia University Housing. However, this process is competitive and typically fewer than 10 students in the program are offered housing each semester. The School of General Studies offers many resources to assist in finding off-campus housing.
After accepting the offer of admission and attending a Postbac Planning Session (PPS), students will have an appointment with their advisor where individual academic plans will be discussed. A part of this discussion will include the issue of repeating courses taken prior to enrolling in the Postbac Premed Program.
All preparatory coursework, including pre-calculus, pre-chemistry and basic physics, is offered during at least one of the summer terms. These courses may also be offered during the fall and spring semesters.
The traditional program and the accelerated program are both four semesters long, and each track covers the same classes and amount of material. However, the traditional program begins in the fall semester and takes two years to complete (a fall and spring semester followed by another fall and spring semester). The coursework in the accelerated program may be completed in less than 18 months, as it begins in the spring semester, includes a special full-length summer semester, and finishes with a typical fall-spring semester academic year.
Yes; 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.
The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of college graduates who have decided to pursue a medical education, but have taken none or only some of the basic science courses required for admission to medical school. It is not designed to help improve the records of people who have already completed the requirements. For more information, visit the Eligibility section of the Applying page.
Applicants with foreign credentials equivalent to a bachelor's degree from an American college or university may be admitted to the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program. U.S. medical schools, however, prefer applicants who received their undergraduate training, especially in the premedical sciences, from institutions of higher education in the United States. In many cases it may be necessary for international students to complete a bachelor's degree in the United States before applying to medical school. All international students should be aware that they may need to repeat previous work in the sciences and that they must ordinarily complete at least one year of college English at Columbia. For more information, visit the International Students page.
To verify accreditation, you must contact the school from which you received your bachelor's.
All academic transcripts are required to verify educational background.
Because the School of General Studies is an undergraduate college, the educational test administrators will not send scores to our office. Please request scores be sent to your home mailing address, and then forward them to the School of General Studies.
The Admissions Committee looks at undergraduate coursework more closely than graduate coursework. A strong record in graduate school cannot compensate for a weak undergraduate record.
The accelerated program is suitable for students who have demonstrated strong quantitative skills and have recently completed calculus or are calculus-ready.
Students may not apply to the accelerated program, but will work with their academic advisor to determine the program that is right for them—the accelerated sequence, a part-time start, or preparatory coursework are all options available to spring admits.
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.
Students do not pay tuition during their glide year, however, students who are receiving a committee letter in support of their applications will automatically be registered for Maintenance of Status (fee associated) for both terms of their glide year, unless they are enrolled in Columbia courses which will also satisfy this requirement.
Details about the requirements for a Committee Letter can be found here.
No. To be eligible for linkage nomination, students must be currently enrolled, have completed of a minimum of 15 points of science coursework in the program, and have completed at least two semesters of enrollment at GS by the time of application. For more information, please visit the Linkage Program page.