SOM Admissions

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  • Admissions Criteria

    Medical school admissions requirements nationwide have for the most part remained unchanged for decades. While students who have achieved them performed well in medical school, these requirements have often burdened and even discouraged non-science majors from applying to medical school and they impeded creativity in undergraduate premedical education.  Furthermore, they fail to convey the need to cover modern topics. After considering the ongoing transformation in medical school admissions, the array of admissions requirements used by medical schools nationwide and the type of applicant this medical school seeks to educate, an Admissions Task Force appointed by the vice dean of the School of Medicine (SOM) concluded that 1) it was in the best interest of this medical school to abandon the current list of prescribed courses and 2) to afford applicants flexibility in meeting requirements for admission. Recommendations of the Admission Task Force were endorsed by the SOM Admissions Committee and approved by the Council of Deans.

     Dates for phasing out current admissions requirements, phasing in new admissions criteria options (detailed below) and when Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT®) scores from the current (MCAT1991) and forthcoming (MCAT2015) exams will be acceptable are summarized in the following table. Further explanation of each admissions criteria options follows. Starting with the 2015 entering class, applicants must indicate on the SOM Secondary Application which criteria they wish to use to qualify for admission and courses taken or planned that fulfill that option.

     

    Medical School Entering Class*Current PrerequisitesMCAT 1991MCAT 2015End-Point CoursesCourse-Competency MapsNovel Curricula
    2013YesYes    
    2014YesYes    
    2015YesYes YesYesYes
    2016YesYesYesYesYesYes
    2017YesYesYesYesYesYes
    2018NoYesYesYesYesYes
    2019NoNoYesYesYesYes
    *Application must be submitted during previous calendar year

     

    CURRENT ADMISSIONS REQUIREMENTS

    (acceptable through 2017 entering class)

    Students, in consultation with a premedical adviser, should develop proficiency in a specific major area of study while in undergraduate school and acquire a background in the humanities and social sciences. Non-science majors with an interest in medicine are encouraged to apply.

    Course credits are acceptable from only accredited U.S. colleges and universities. The applicant must show credit for at least three years of college work, totaling not fewer than 90 acceptable semester hours (excluding unacceptable courses described below), completed in an accredited college. These minimum 90 hours consist of courses required for entrance to this medical school and other courses (referred to here as electives) required by an undergraduate institution for a baccalaureate degree.

    Strong preference is given to applicants who will have completed all requirements for a baccalaureate degree prior to entering medical school. For those applicants applying with the minimum 90 acceptable semester hours, a maximum of 65 semester hours of credit from an accredited community college may be applied toward the minimum 90 acceptable semester hours required for admission. College graduates may complete additional post-baccalaureate coursework to satisfy prerequisites at any accredited U.S. college or university, regardless of the number of community college credit hours applied toward their completed undergraduate degree.

    Required courses for entrance into this medical school include one academic year each of four core science courses with laboratories (biological science, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics) plus one year each of mathematics, English and advanced science.

    All required courses must have a college grade; therefore, advanced placement credit cannot meet these requirements. If an applicant has advanced placement credit for any required course, he/she can fulfill the requirement by taking either that course for a grade or a higher-level course in the same department for a grade. The minimum 90 acceptable semester hours will be completed by other course work (such as approved electives described below).

    When evaluating course work, the Admissions Committee focuses on courses that contribute to the biology, chemistry, physics and math (BCPM) grade point average (GPA) calculated in the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS®) application. Courses that contribute to the BCPM GPA are determined by AMCAS® course classification; however, when determining whether or not a science or math course will be acceptable as a prerequisite for this medical school, Student Records and Registrar examines the course number for a relevant prefix (such as BIOL, CHEM, PHYS or MATH). Required core science, advanced science and math courses must be taken in either science or math departments; thus, courses with either a related name or BCPM course classification but with a course number that contains another prefix (including but not limited to BESS, CLS, COMP, ENGI, HEAL, MEDC, NPSC, PHARM, PHCL) are not acceptable as requirements for entrance to this medical school.

    There is no time limit on the validity of a baccalaureate degree; however, the Admissions Committee has concerns when prerequisite courses have been taken 10 or more years ago. If a required core science course (biological science, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics) was taken 10 or more years ago, it should be repeated.

    If all required core science courses were taken 10 or more years ago, the applicant should take at least 32 semester hours of BCPM course work to convince the committee that they are currently capable of sustaining the rigors of learning in a classroom environment. Such applicants are encouraged to retake the required core science courses; however, this may be substituted by either 32 credits of upper level undergraduate BCPM courses beyond the advanced science requirement (see below) or 32 credits of graduate BCPM courses. In the evaluation of applicants for interviews, the admissions committee initially considers only those courses that contribute to an undergraduate BCPM GPA; however, post-baccalaureate and graduate BCPM GPAs are considered later in the interview screening process.

     

     

    Traditional Applicant  
     Must take all pre-requisites described below
    or acceptable substitutes

    Non-Traditional Applicant
    Must take pre-requisites described for Traditional Applicant

    Course

    Credits

    Substitute

    But

    Biological Science

       8

      (6 lecture + 2 lab)

    Equal credits of
    higher level BIOL

    If any core pre-requisite course(s) is 10 years old, retake that course(s).

     

    If ALL pre-requisites 10 years old, recommend re-taking 32 core credits; however, accept 32 credits of either upper level BCPM beyond Advanced Science requirement or graduate BCPM.

    Freshman Chemistry

      8

      (6 lecture + 2 lab)

    Equal credits of
    higher level CHEM

    Organic Chemistry

      8

      (6 lecture + 2 lab)

    Equal credits of
    higher level CHEM

    Physics

      8

      (6 lecture + 2 lab)

    Equal credits of
    higher level PHYS

    Core 

      32

     

    32

    English

      6

    Other writing intensive courses (writing for scientists, honors, courses, specifically petitioned, thesis credits)

    No need to repeat

     Math (Trigonometry, Algebra)

      6

    3 credits Calculus

    No need to repeat

    Advanced Science

      6

    Any junior or senior
    level BCPM courses

    No need to repeat

    Other

     18

     

    Total

     50

       

    Required Core Sciences

    Required courses in biological science, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics must be taken in science departments (course number prefix must be BIOL, CHEM or PHYS) and include formal laboratory work. If a department spreads the content of a typical two-semester required science course over three semesters, students enrolled at that institution must take all three semesters to satisfy the course requirement. The advanced science courses (see below) must be taken in a senior college.

    Mathematics

    A minimum of three semester hours of college algebra and three semester hours of trigonometry is required. A two-semester course, including algebra, trigonometry, analytical geometry and calculus, also is acceptable. Students who qualify by placement tests to enter calculus I directly can satisfy their mathematics requirement with a three- or four-hour calculus I course; the remaining two or three hours required to meet the 90-hour minimum may be met with a recommended elective course.

    English

    The usual freshman college course of six semester hours in English composition or literature is required. The applicant is urged to take an advanced course in English composition.

    Required Advanced Science

    These courses must be taken at a senior college science or math department (course number prefix must be BIOL, CHEM, PHYS or MATH). Examples of advanced science courses that are relevant to medical school are comparative anatomy, embryology, genetics, histology, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, quantitative analysis, physical chemistry, calculus II, III or IV, differential equations and advanced physics. It is recognized that laboratories are not offered with all advanced sciences.

    Approved Elective Courses

    A partial list of recommended elective courses includes advanced English, sociology, psychology, philosophy, history, geography, foreign language, computer science, fine arts (up to six semester hours) and selected advanced courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics and biology.

    Unacceptable Courses

    None of the 90 semester hours of minimum collegiate requirements listed or described or recommended above may be met by the following: correspondence courses; courses in physical training, military science, or dogmatic religion; courses in mathematics or science designed for non-science majors; or course credit granted without college-level testing. A limited number of telecourse credits may be accepted for liberal arts electives; however, none will be accepted for required science and math courses. Courses taken outside science and math departments (course prefix other than BIOL, CHEM, PHYS or MATH) are not acceptable as required courses.

    Credit Transferred from a Community College

    For applicants who do not have a baccalaureate degree, 65 semester hours of credit from an accredited community college is the maximum that may be applied toward minimum 90 acceptable semester hours required for admission. For applicants who have a baccalaureate degree, there is no limit to the number of hours one can acquire from a community college to satisfy prerequisite coursework. The Office of Student Records and Registrar will select those courses that count toward satisfaction of prerequisites.

    Completion of Degrees

    An applicant enrolled in a degree-granting program at any college or university is expected to complete the requirements for and earn that degree before enrollment in medical school. Unless prior approval has been granted by the admissions committee, this applies to both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

    NEW ADMISSIONS CRITERIA OPTIONS

    (available starting with the 2015 entering class)

    Students, in consultation with a premedical adviser, should develop proficiency in a specific major area of study while in undergraduate school and acquire a background in the humanities and social sciences. Non-science majors with an interest in medicine are encouraged to apply.

    Course credits are acceptable from only accredited U.S. colleges and universities. The applicant must show credit for at least three years of college work, totaling not fewer than 90 acceptable semester hours. These minimum 90 hours consist of courses required for entrance to this medical school and other courses required by an undergraduate institution for a baccalaureate degree. None of the 90 semester hours of minimum collegiate course work may be met by the following: correspondence courses; courses in physical training, military science, or dogmatic religion.

    Strong preference is given to applicants who will have completed all requirements for a baccalaureate degree prior to entering medical school. For those applicants applying with the minimum 90 acceptable semester hours, a maximum of 65 semester hours of credit from an accredited community college may be applied toward the minimum 90 acceptable semester hours required for admission. College graduates may complete additional post-baccalaureate coursework to satisfy prerequisites at any accredited U.S. college or university, regardless of the number of community college credit hours applied toward their completed undergraduate degree.

    An applicant must indicate on the SOM Secondary Application which of the following three admissions criteria options they wish to use to qualify for admission and courses taken or planned that fulfill that option.

    For all options described below, the admissions committee evaluation of academic performance will not be limited to these courses; an applicant's entire academic record is subject to evaluation.

    • End-point Courses

    The objective of this option is to describe what courses need to be taken; but, not the path to achieve this end point. Undergraduate institutions will decide acceptable pathways to these end-point courses that may include traditional course requirements, condensed or novel requirements, AP credit and online course work. 

    Any applicant selecting this option must document on a transcript that required end-point courses have been taken; well prepared applicants may also indicate which recommended courses have been taken.

    The following courses are required:

    Life Sciences:  2 semesters of any combination of the following:

    Zoology
    Cellular Biology
    Molecular Biology
    Physiology
    Anatomy       

    Biochemistry:  1 semester
    Physics:   2nd semester

    Familiarity with the following subjects is recommended; content might be acquired by taking courses by that name, courses with different names but similar content or self-study:  

    Algebra
    Statistics
    Psychology
    Sociology

    • Course-Competency Maps

    Applicants eligible for this admissions criteria option are limited to those enrolled at institutions with departments that have constructed course-competency maps that have been submitted to the School of Medicine and approved by the Admissions Committee. The current list includes:

     
     
    • Mississippi State University
      Agricultural & Biological Engineering, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics
     
     

    The current model for this option is derived from 2010 Howard Hughes Medical Institute -Association of American Medical Colleges report, Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians.  These competencies or their source may change.

    To qualify for admission, an applicant must complete any combination of courses whose combined content has been mapped to cover the 37 learning objectives that can provide the following eight entering medical student competencies. .

    E1- Apply quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world.

    E2- Demonstrate understanding of the process of scientific inquiry, and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated.

    E3- Demonstrate knowledge of basic physical principles and their applications to the understanding of living systems.

    E4- Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of chemistry and some of their applications to the understanding of living systems.

    E5- Demonstrate knowledge of how biomolecules contribute to the structure and function of cells.

    E6- Apply understanding of principles of how molecular and cell assemblies, organs, and organisms develop structure and carry out function.

    E7- Explain how organisms sense and control their internal environment and how they respond to external change.

    E8- Demonstrate an understanding of how the organizing principle of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of life on earth.

    • Novel Curricular Tracks

    Applicants eligible for this admissions criteria option are limited to those enrolled at institutions that have devised novel premedical curricula that have been submitted to the School of Medicine and approved by the Admissions Committee.

    Institutions currently planning such curricula include:

    • Millsaps College
    • University of Mississippi
     

    To qualify for admission, an applicant must complete an approved track of multidisciplinary courses that integrate the learning objectives that can provide entering medical student competencies.

    Non-Traditional Applicants

    There is no time limit on the validity of a baccalaureate degree; however, the Admissions Committee has concerns when relevant courses have been taken 10 or more years ago. Required courses should be recently completed or current regardless of the option chosen. End-point courses (life sciences, biochemistry or physics) or any course used to meet the course-competency map option that were completed 10 more years prior to applying are not acceptable. Applicants have the choice of either repeating 10 year old courses or completing new coursework to satisfy the selected admissions option.

    Indication of Courses that Fulfill Admissions Criteria Options

    Upon receipt of a verified AMCAS® application, the medical school admissions office will email an applicant the URL for the SOM Applicant Portal. This online tool provides access to the Secondary Application to this medical school which, among other information, will ask applicants to select the admission criteria options they wish to use to qualify for admission and courses taken or planned that fulfill that option. Options include the following.

    • Prescribed Course Requirements (acceptable through 2017 entering class)
      • Applicants must list the number and name of courses that fulfill the requirements
    • End-point Courses
      • Applicants must list the number and name of courses taken or planned that fulfill this option
      • Applicants will be given the option to list the number and name of courses taken or planned that are recommended under this option
    • Course-Competency Maps
      • Applicants must list the number and name of courses taken and planned whose content maps to learning objectives that can provide the desired competencies. This option applies only to students at schools with course-competency maps previously approved by the SOM admissions committee.    
    • Novel Curricula
      • Applicants must list the number and name of courses taken or planned that comprise eligible novel curricula. This option applies only to students at schools with novel curricula previously approved by the SOM admissions committee.