Finish MS or not and do SMP

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 26, 2011
Reaction score
I am in an awkward situation. Currently doing a MS in Materials Chemistry at the Engineering School at my alma mater. My UG cGPA is 3.262 with a sGPA of 3.0 in a Physics major. Took 2 years off to work in a medical/hospital setting (not research)
My graduate gpa was a 3.35 first semesters (as a BME student but then later switched to materials chemistry). This semester as a materials chemistry class I got C/C+ in the two classes I took, but not for lack of trying. Studied my a-- off but didn't do well. Doesn't seem like materials chemistry is my forte. Did better in the BME. At this point I am debating weather or not I should even finish the program bc I have had so many issues with the grad program.
There seems to be a lot of problems with this program from having ever changing program requirements to professors who berate and make their students cry. (Professors literally call their students stupid).
At this point I don't know what to do. I am debating dropping my MS going to another school to do finish my MS and go from there. Or straight up just switching to an SMP program to boost my GPA. What are people's thoughts?

Members don't see this ad.
@gonnif out of curiosity, what are the consequences for dropping out of master's before applying? I'm hearing mixed reports regarding dropping out after getting an acceptance (e.g. No one cares vs you're not fulfilling your commitments). But does that really hold true here?
If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.
--Lewis Carroll

Hmm, this is a tough call. So I am thinking out loud here. Not finishing a masters can be seen by an adcom as not be fully committed, which can raise questions of will be applicant be committed to medical school? But your doing so poorly, we is likely as much a motivational issue as anything else. My gut is leaning to bailing completely out of the masters but am no way is that a real solid feeling,

As for premed, I would first look at postbacc (i presume as a physics major you dont have prereqs) then SMP.

Before all that, you need to get volunteering, health care experience, shadowing, etc to find out if you really want to be a doctor

My advice for you is to get out of the masters, and get into something health related before considering the investment of time and money in premed/SMP. Yeah, you may be older when you get back into SMP and medical school but dont worry about.

It is more important you find out what you want from life before you any more major decisions of how to get there

That is my worry. I honestly don't feel like this school is a good fit. Staying with the MS in Materials Science means having the same professors over and over again (literally next semester I would have the same 2 professors I had this semester). Going back to an MS in Biomedical education means dealing with another a-hole professor. Plus it's a lot of money right now. I was thinking to do the SMP programs at Tulane or EVMS where the tuition isn't so great for one year.
The problem with post-bac is that the only school I can afford right now are state schools/universities. The nearest remotely good one is about 1.5 hour drive away from me. If by post-bac you mean career changer then no I'm not in that boat. I was pre-med as an undergrad and worked in hospitals and did clinical research. So my extracurriculars are on par, just not my grades.
Members don't see this ad :)
@gonnif out of curiosity, what are the consequences for dropping out of master's before applying? I'm hearing mixed reports regarding dropping out after getting an acceptance (e.g. No one cares vs you're not fulfilling your commitments). But does that really hold true here?

That is a good point and my exact question. Is it going to look bad if I don't finish or would it be better to not finish and go somewhere else.
Is it not a typical case here, hence my less than clear advice to the OP. You have overlapping issues which will work against the OP
1) poor academic performance both in UG and Grad
2) changing areas, physics to BME to material science
3) not completing masters

Lets work them backwards:
1) is completing the masters with bad grades worse than not completing at all? I think in terms of both emotional/psychological and adcoms, the answer is yes. I think dropping the masters is needed. It is the start of moving on, which will be part of the narrative of why medicine. But more importantly, I think the OP is lost in direction of life and needs to take the time to figure that out. Lets call this Judgement on part of OP
2) In that figuring that out, OP needs to explore medicine/health care for both him/herself as well as to show adcoms the path here in Motivation to medicine. Not the old ECs I worry about, its the change in direction that needs to be supported
3) On that path, needs to show enhancement to academics and I think that starting DIY postbacc is the place for someone still searching if medicine is right. It is less expensive and can be done part time. This is Academic It isnt simply you need to show the adcoms you can handle it, it also is to prove to yourself you both want it and can handle it. If starts well and OP matures in all the above, then SMP.

I think more than a year of SMP is needed to show Commitment now to new field, hence the exploring healthcare step, even though he has previous work.

My thoughts at any rate.

hey I wasn't sure if this was responded before or after reading my response to you, but I did clarify a little my path to medicine. It wasn't a career change for me it was always what I wanted. At least as an undergrad, also the switch from BME to Materials Chem is not evident and won't show. The BME Classes count towards my Materials Chem degree and as far as anyone can see I was just taking classes in a diff dept at my elective.
what do you mean "its the change in direction that needs to be supported"
I wanted to do an MS to show my candidacy in upper level science courses.
What direction am I changing if as an UG i was pre-med?
Last edited: