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What is a Pre Med Post Bacc Program?

Posted by Callie Torres
December 20, 2023

A pre med postbaccalaureate program, commonly called a post bacc program, is an educational program that is completed following graduation from undergraduate college or university. These types of programs serve as preparation and a transition point prior to starting medical school. There are a variety of reasons why pre-med students may choose to complete a post-bacc program. These include strengthening a med school application, raising one’s GPA, taking graduate level curriculum related to medicine, learning additional study skills, improving one’s Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score etc.  In this article we will discuss how long post bacc programs last, whether they are worth completing, other similar programs, how high it can raise one’s GPA, and why UMHS School of Medicine’s Accelerated Review Program (ARP) may be superior to post-bacc programs.

Quick Navigation Links + FAQs

  1. What is a pre med post bacc program?
  2. What other programs are similar to a post bacc pre med program?
  3. What advantages does the UMHS Accelerated Review Program have over post baccs?
  4. What is the duration of post bacc programs?
  5. Are post bacc premeds worth it?
  6. Are post-bacc pre-med programs available online?
  7. What GPA is needed for acceptance into a post-bacc premed program?
  8. How high can a premed post-bacc raise a GPA?
  9. Getting started in medicine

What is a postbacc premed program?

A post-bacc pre medical program is a one to three year program that is completed following graduation with a bachelor’s degree from undergraduate college or university but prior to starting medical school. Post-baccalaureate programs are often associated with medical schools and are completed to improve one’s application. They are also used in preparation for med school and a career in medicine. Completion of these education programs allows pre medical students to make their medical school application more competitive by taking more challenging graduate-level curricula and coursework related to medicine, developing study skills necessary to do well in medical school, raising their GPA or MCAT, and more, all while earning a certificate or a degree. Post bacc pre medical programs are completed during a gap year or years, as it fills the gap after college but before medical school and a career in medicine.

What other programs are similar to post baccalaureate pre medicine programs?

In addition to a post bacc pre-med program, there are several other similar post-baccalaureate education programs that may be completed during a pre-medical gap year to improve one’s application and support success in medical school, including a Special Masters Program (SMP) and UMHS’ Accelerated Review Program (ARP).

  • Special master’s programs award a degree in an area related to medicine, such as a Master’s in Public Health or Physiology. Similar to a post-bacc, special masters programs allow students the chance to take tougher, graduate level classes while earning a degree. These programs last the same amount of time as post-baccs, 1-3 years. One potential negative of these programs is that the degree awarded at the end of the SMP may be less useful in finding a job or career based on the degree alone if one is not admitted to medical school.
  • The Accelerated Review Program at UMHS has the best benefits. The UMHS ARP lasts one semester, much less than post-baccs and SMPs. Additionally, in contrast to post-bacc and special master’s programs, upon successful completion of ARP at UHMS, students are automatically granted admission to the UMHS medical school. Lastly, at UMHS, the ARP offers more flexibility as it can be completed in person or online. More details on the benefits of ARP are discussed in the next paragraph.

What advantages does the UMHS School of Medicine's Accelerated Review Program have over a post-baccalaureate program?

The Accelerated Review Program at UMHS is more advantageous for pre-medical students for a variety of reasons including length of program, medical school level of course difficulty, enrollment period, guaranteed acceptance into medical school, and flexibility of completing in person or online. As discussed above post-bacc programs last longer, are commonly only offered in person, and do not guarantee acceptance into medical school.

  • Most importantly – completion of ARP guarantees acceptance into medical school at UMHS: Post-bacc education programs, conversely, do not guarantee acceptance into medical school. While they may help pre-med students strengthen their medical school application, that does not necessarily guarantee that they will matriculate into school. Some schools may guarantee an interview for their medical school program upon completing their post-bacc. However, one must be careful as some programs may actually make it harder to gain a spot as a post-bacc student. Some medical schools will review post-bacc students’ applications last, which can make securing a spot more difficult.
  • Four months as opposed to 1 to 3 years for the program duration: Considering the path to becoming a doctor is already very lengthy, saving time by enrolling in the ARP program is very beneficial.
  • Rolling admissions – accepting new students three times a year: Another significant advantage of the ARP is that it has rolling admissions. There are three different ARP sessions each year, meaning pre-medical students can enroll immediately. Post-bacc programs have only one admission period yearly, meaning some pre-med students may need to wait almost a full year to be admitted.
  • The ARP training program can be completed both in-person and online:This allows more flexibility for students. Most post-bacc programs are in person only. Having the ability to complete ARP online frees up time for pre med students to work on other parts of their application, such as shadowing, volunteering, and studying for the MCAT.
  • The coursework is entirely relevant for use in medical school: ARP excels at providing an experience that prepares students for medical school and becoming a physician. Many of the classes have the same teachers who lead medical school courses. This not only provides an educational experience that prepares ARP students for medical school but also teaches important study techniques to help support students’ success in medical school.
  • Students who successfully complete ARP are automatically qualified to receive a $9,000 Basic Science Scholarship: Based on academic performance in ARP, the scholarship will be awarded to students who have obtained a B average or above.


How long are Post bacc programs?

In general, post bacc pre medical programs last 1-3 years. The duration may depend on the type or program, if a degree is awarded, and whether the program is full-time or part-time.

Are post baccalaureate pre medical programs worth it?

Yes, post baccalaureate pre-health programs and other post-graduate medicine related programs such as ARP are worth completing. There are a number of benefits that one can obtain from completing these programs. Completing the right programs can allow pre medical students to raise their GPA or take graduate level courses and earn a degree. This also can teach pre-med students important study skills that will serve as preparation for challenging medical school courses. Depending on the type of post baccalaureate program, courses may also teach vital knowledge that will come in handy during medical school. During a post-bacc program, pre medical students may also have the time to re-take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and raise their score. Additional benefits of pre-med post-bacc programs include time for a student to complete research, volunteer, hold leadership roles, or publish articles. Completing these vital items will strengthen one’s medical school application and make it stand out.

Are pre med post bacc programs available online?

Yes, online pre-medicine post-bac programs are available through some Universities. Please check carefully in the course description of each program to find this information Students should also consider if they learn better online or in person.

What GPA do you need for a post-bacc pre med program?

The grade point average needed to successfully enroll in one of the many pre-medicine post-bacc programs varies by institution. Some universities require as low as a 2.5 GPA, while others require as high as a 3.5 GPA. More information about requirements can be found on each University’s website. In addition, an overview of 319 programs can be found on the AAMC website.


How high can a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program raise your GPA?

Depending upon the program, a post bacc program may be able to boost a GPA approximately three-tenths of a point. For example, from 3.0 to 3.3. If one’s primary goal is to raise GPA, make sure to only look at programs that can affect undergraduate GPA as masters level coursework will not affect undergraduate GPA.

Getting started in medicine

Having gained more information about The Accelerated Review Program and post bacc programs, you might want to start your medical education at an allopathic medical school such as The University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Visit this page to learn more about UMHS and to find answers to frequently asked questions.

ARP - Helpful Links:

ARP Scholarship

ARP Application Page

ARP Program Page

Talk with an ARP Student

Posted by Callie Torres

Callie Torres is a resident physician working at a top tier institute in the Midwest. She is a freelance health and medical writer as well as an author of many peer reviewed medical articles. She additionally serves as a Captain in the United States Air Force.

Topics: Feature Medical Practice

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