It's getting to be that time of year where more people are starting to consider post-baccs and masters programs so I'm going to compile a few of my past posts about BU's program. The first post is from last december and the second is a recent PM of some questions I answered for someone considering this program. First post: I remember going through the same process as you last year, trying to figure out which master's program would be best for me. I always felt the best resources were students currently in those programs so here's my two cents on Boston University's Masters in Medical Science. The best thing about this program is that all your classes are medical school classes and in about 2/3 of those classes you are competing(I don't really like that word but it fits) with BU's first year medical school class. Thus, if you work hard and get A's in your classes you are basically showing adcoms that you can handle medical school, or even do better that most of a first year medical class(if you get the A). Another great part of this program is the advising. The program has several advisors many of whom have sat on the BU medical school admissions committee. Get a good advisor and they will tell you flat out, what you need to do in order to get into medical school, no sugar coating. Your professors are medical school faculty as well, many of which sit on the admissions committee so they will help you out as well. Here is the basics of the success rate of BU's students. About 5%(or about 10 students) get into medical school their first year in the program. This seems low but you have to factor in the enormous number of students that aren't even applying their first year. 85% get in by their second year. BU medical school accepts about 30-40 students from the medical science program each year. What I liked about the program as well was the thesis(and many people choose Georgetown over BU because they don't have to write a thesis). BUT it is valuable at interviews. At a Columbia interview I was asked what this program offered me besides medical school courses and I was able to say that I was completing medical research. BU also has numerous volunteer opportunities. Finally, if you do stay for two years you have the option of getting your MPH which I thought was enticing. Basically the masters in medical science degree can easily be completed in 1 year. So what if you don't get into medical school right away? Well there is the MPH + numerous research opportunities. Also, Boston is a great city. That factor alone tipped BU's program above Georgetowns. If you have any questions feel free to ask. Second Post QUESTIONS(Answers below): 1. When did you start the BU GMS program? 2. How was your financial aid package? Did you work full-time the year before you started? I only ask because it matters for the FAFSA. 3. How are the classes at BU? Is it extremely competitive and/or difficult to get an A? I came from a UC so 'nuff said. 4. How early did you scout the BU area in order to get housing? I'm thinking of flying out there from Cali sometime in May. Is that too late/early? 5. Is it realistic to start the program this Fall 2004 then apply in June 2005 for Fall 2006 entry to med school? 6. I heard that there were about 300 students who entered the GMS program this past fall. Do you think this is a disadvantage at all? 7. Will I be able to get a job while working on the master's thesis? Do you recommend the library or laboratory one? I have about 3 years of benchwork now so I was contemplating the laboratory thesis. Please let me know your suggestions though. 8. Is it difficult to get a LOR from the professors there? 9. How long will it take before I'm considered a Massachusetts resident? ANSWERS 1. I started the BU GMS program this last September 2003. There are typically two types of students in the program. Those that have just graduated from college and unsuccesfully applied to medical school and those that have been out of school for a couple years and need to strenghten their application. I am of the former group. 2. The financial aid package for graduate students is OK. This year we got 18K in federal aid but as you know the program costs nearly 30K. Thus the remaining 12k comes from your pocket or from private lenders like citigroup. I did not work the year before. 3. I came from a UC as well, UC Berkeley. The classes at BU are time consuming but not as tough as those at Berkeley. Those who come from UC's are typically in good shape here. Actually, one of the advisors at BU told me they really like students from the UC's because they do so well at BU. Many students with 3.3-3.5 at the UC's end up with near 4.0's at BU. The UC's are just tough schools and you'll find that many of your classmates are from california precisely for that reason. 4. I started looking for housing in June. I came out to Boston and looked at apartments for two days but didn't find anything. I was lucky in that my girlfriend's sister lives here so she was looking for us the whole summer. I have a couple friends who actually lived in a hotel for the first two weeks while they looked for housing and they have some great places. It seems like there are always places coming up so its tough to gauge the "perfect" time. 5. It is perfectly realistic to apply in June 2005 after starting this fall. In fact, that is what the majority of students do. If I were you I would halt everything this summer and devote a good 12 weeks to the MCAT and then take it in August. Many people waited to take it in the spring and are stressing out big time now. It is very difficult to get A's in your classes and do well on the MCAT. Many people who thought they were going to take it this April have actually decided to take it in August and delay their application a bit. So if there is one piece of advice I could give you it would be to give your all on this August's MCAT and be done with it. 6. This year there are 140 students in the GMS program. I'm not sure where you heard 300 although the rumor is that next year they are going to accept more students because there were so many applicants last year. As it is now I don't think there is too much of a disadvantage. The medical school class is 150 so its about the same size. *The one bad thing about the large class size is that not everyone gets to take Medical Histology first semester. The class is about 190 students but 110 of them are medical students. This is a class everyone wants to take because it is with the medical students and doing well in it looks very impressive especially to the BU school of medicine. Luckily for you its first come first serve I believe, meaning the first people accepted to the program are automatically placed into the class until it is full. You are an early applicant by the way. I was accepted in the GMS program toward the end of April and I was in Medical Histology last fall. 7. You should be able to get a job while working on your thesis. You'll start to work on your thesis after you've taken all your classes, so in the summer of 2005. Then you'll have the entire year to finish it. The library thesis takes ALOT less time. If you really want to get it done you can do it in as little as 4 weeks. The lab thesis takes longer because you are doing practical research not just library research. Those take at least a 6 month commitment(but again you have the entire year to do it). The advantage to the lab thesis is three-fold. First, you can get honors credit for it. Basically everyone gets 8 credits of "directed research" toward their degree. If you do a library thesis you get a pass or no pass. If you do a lab thesis you get a grade and supposedly if you do half way decent work you get an A. 8 credits of A is pretty good. Also you get to know a professor who can write you a good recommendation and finally its something that adds to your application. 8. It isn't too difficult to get letters of recommendation from professors. They know that you need them and they are very willing to talk to you about your goals and eventually write you a very good recommendation. Also, everyone gets a personalized dean letter that is very comprehensive. 9. It is tough to become a MA resident. If you are a student it takes like 3 or 4 years. BU is a private school though so instate residents pay just as much as out of state. New comments: BU is a stellar option for those who plan on applying at the end of the program. This allows students to apply with a whole year of grades, brand new letters of recommendation and a thesis to talk about. For those of you who want to apply this coming June 2004 and matriculate immediately after the program ends, Georgetown is geared more towards that strategy. That being said, I applied this year while in the program and I was accepted to medical school(and I would say there are about 50/140 other students who also applied this year). If you are considering the BU GMS program and want to matriculate right after the program feel free to PM me with things you can do at BU to help you do that.