10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 30, 2008
Resident [Any Field]
Do you mean you want to enter in August of 2011 or August 2012?

If you want to enter in 2011, you better get a move on. You need to get your MCAT, LORs, primary app, etc in order in about 2-3 months or so. And all that takes lots of time!!!!!


7+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2009
Resident [Any Field]
I'm currently preparing for the MCAT and did horribly on my "diagnostic." I am planning on applying for 2011 admissions and want to know what my chances of getting in are. I would appreciate any help and input on this matter!

Undergraduate GPA: 2.89 -- My undergrad was in Biomedical Engineering and this was a horrible choice for me...I hate physics and am so bad at it, but my the time I realized this I had spent too much time and money on this degree so I had to get my act together and graduate. I have an upward trend and my semester GPAs for my junior and senior year are well above 3.5.

Graduate GPA: 3.84 -- I am getting my MS in Epidemiology and absolutely love this area. I would love to get into an MD/PhD program and pursue maternal and child health Epidemiology, but I'm afraid that my undergraduate GPA is going to hurt my chances more than anything.

I've worked all throughout undergrad and have a graduate research assistanship for my MS. I'm doing research abroad this summer as part of the NIH minority training program and hope that my research experience will help me out!

Other than that, I've done pretty much everything that every other applicant has done -- volunteer, travel, volunteer abroad with NGOs, research in college, research aborad...etc. What do you think my chances will be of getting in? I got a 22 on my diagnostic -- keep in mind that it's been 6/7 years since I took chemistry and biology! -- and hope to get a 32-36...we shall see what happens.

Do you think I have a chance at getting into MD and DO schools. What MD schools should I apply to? What DO schools should I apply to? Should I even attempt to get a PhD before/while medical school????

Thanks for your help! :)
You are correct that your undergrad GPA is quite low. The upward trend and your great graduate GPA will help you, but to what extent I know not.

If you think you would like to continue into research professionally an MD/PHD would be right up your alley. If you apply MD/PHD do programs let you enroll in the regular MD if not accepted into the MD/PHD programs? This is something I know very little about but would be something to keep in mind.

Like another has said, if you plan to apply for the next cycle you need to get a move on. Ask your letter writers ASAP. Not only did it take some of my writers MONTHS to write the letter, but it also has to be mailed and processed. You should be signed up for an upcoming MCAT. A high score will help you immensely to offset your undergrad GPA.

What kind of "diagnostic" did you take? some prep classes have "diagnostics" that are made to make you score as poorly as possibly. you need to study and take the full length practice tests. Check in the MCAT forum for more info. You are already behind if you haven't studied for the MCAT, as everyone I know that is applying next year is signed up to take the MCAT in April. It would be unrealistic to study for only one month and take it. Get a move on!


5+ Year Member
Jun 9, 2009
You definitely need an MCAT of 34 or above to compensate for your low GPA. Since AMCAS calculate undergrad and grad GPA's separately, I don't know how your great graduate GPA is taken into account by med schools. You seem to have pretty solid extracurriculars. If you do have a great MCAT score then I think you would fare decently at DO schools. MD schools will be an uphill battle, but since you're a minority who knows what surprises will turn up. Definitely apply widely, but not to schools that seem to value high GPA more than high MCAT. Apply to diverse set of schools too, not just "back-end" privates but also state schools that probably don't have many OOS applicants (but are state schools that do consider OOS applicants).

You don't have much time left to study for MCAT, and try to take it as early as possible like no later than June so you can apply as early as possible, which makes a big difference. But don't take the MCAT unless you can score convincingly high on the diagnostics.

MD/PhD are harder to get in to than MD programs, so I don't know if you should try for it. However, most applications for MD/PhD have an option to be considered for MD-only if you're ruled out from MD/PhD. I heard some MDs take a year off for research before residency, but not sure if that's not a path frowned upon by residency programs thinking that you're someone who couldn't get into a residency program on your first try. I think with your low GPA, perhaps you should apply for mostly MD and some MD/PhD programs

Pursuing MD and PhD separately is only a good choice if money is not an issue for you, since MD/PhD programs are free!
Sep 4, 2006
Inside the tesseract
I think your undergrad GPA is going to hurt you regardless of the strength of your MCAT score. As Epidemiology isn't typically a hard science, your masters won't particularly help you. You have yet to prove you can survive in the upper-level science environment of a med school. I'd suggest you look into an SMP (Special Masters Program) which is a paid audition for med school where you compete with current med students to get top grades. If you perform well (eg with a GPA of 3.5 or better), your poor undergrad GPA is negated. You can check out this option in the Postbaccalaureate Programs Forum further down on SDN's list.


10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 17, 2009
Resident [Any Field]
I second what Cat said.

I don't think people will consider an MS in Epidemiology as being good enough to redeem your GPA. I think you'll have to a 2nd MS as an SMP or in a hard science such as biochem, biology, anatomy etc.