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Masters in Physiology?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by bigfkd22, May 1, 2002.

  1. bigfkd22

    bigfkd22 Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2002
    Erie, PA
    I have a question regarding getting a masters in a medically related field. My school has masters in Cellular Physiology, which is geared toward people raising their stats for medical school. Has anyone had any success with this type of program? Do you know of anyone who has?
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  3. Green912

    Green912 10+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2001
    I assume that you are going the Masters route because you need the boost for your application. Not unlike myself. A Masters in a medically related field is a pretty broad target. Overall Adcoms want to see you tackle and do well in science courses that will show that you can handle Med School courses. This means "pure" science courses like neurobiology, biochem, respiratory phys etc. I don't know how cellular physiology could hurt you other then it seeming a bit too focused for me. Just make sure you do very well!
  4. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
    okay, here's the scoop. i'm assuming, like the previous poster, that you're interested in this program because you need to raise your GPA. unless this masters is specifically a feeder program into your university's med school (some med schools have 'feeder' masters from which they take a certain percentage of students), i wouldn't do it. why? because your grad GPA is NOT averaged into your undergrad GPA, and adcoms generally use your undergrad GPA to make initial objective decisions about your app (like who to invite for interviews, etc). if your undergrad GPA is too low, your app may never make the initial cuts for someone on the admissions committe to take your app to the next level of examination and thus notice that you're completing a masters. med schools often advise applicants to take grad-level courses to show they can handle med school work, but no one bothers to mention this significant GPA detail. if your undergrad GPA is the weakpoint of your app, i would take *undergrad* science courses to bring it up, because even if you take these courses several years out of college and at a different university, they will still average into that magic undergrad GPA. if your undergrad GPA is NOT the weakpoint of your app, then you especially shouldn't bother with the masters--spend the time and effort improving whatever it is that is bringing your app down.

    hope this helps...
  5. Green912

    Green912 10+ Year Member

    Jun 11, 2001
    sandflea you are powerful and have many posts, but I wouldn't totally discount the value of a separate grad GPA. Not that you were...totally. Especially if it's a stark contrast to ones undergrad. The initially screening isn't a big computer in a dark room, but someone looking at the app and asking themselves why you should be interviewed. If they were too see an undergrad gpa of "crap" and a grad gpa of "nice" then they'll probably dig a little deeper. And the rest could be history. For the majority of students (who do it right the first time) the BCMP is really the only answer to the question "can they do the work". That question can be answered a number of ways including a good grad showing. Then again maybe I'm just hoping! :D
  6. nap

    nap Member 7+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2002
    I agree with you Green, and from what Ive read from other people on this thread..the masters gpa has helped them tremendously.
  7. sandflea

    sandflea Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jun 23, 2001
    i'm not saying a masters is a waste of time. heck, it's the route i took--i graduate with a masters tomorrow! but from a practical point of view in regards to admissions, how close your app gets scrutinized in the early stages of admissions and how a grad GPA factors in really depends on the particular school. and the fact is, the grad GPA is not factored in with the undergrad GPA, and med schools often use the undergrad GPA as the initial comparison method between applicants. yes, at some schools, a masters will be looked at favorably, but there is a lot of objectivity to the initial stages of admissions and the extent to which a masters is considered, or even noticed, really differs. there simply may not be a person closely examining every single app in the early stages of admissions; some schools get nearly 10000 applications and there is simply no way for every app to be read thoroughly. your grad GPA will not cancel out a low undergrad GPA--there is no way around this, unfortunately, except to take more undergrad courses. grad grades are generally considered to be inflated anyway, because it is hard to fail, and that is probably part of the reason why grad GPAs are kept separate from undergrad.

    there are several of us on this board who went the grad school route to improve our apps. too bad the search function is out right now--kutastha has one of the most inspiring stories on this board. basically, he's applied three times, always with awesome MCAT scores, first out of undergrad, then with a masters, and now finally on the tail end of a PhD, and has finally been accepted. a doctorate is pretty damn impressive if you ask me, but the weird thing about admissions is that it's primarily based on undergrad stats so it's as if the graduate accomplishments mattered less. your grad GPA is like icing on the cake, like impressive ECs--but again, their effect will be minimal if your undergrad GPA and MCAT scores aren't already up to snuff.

    it makes no sense, i know, but it's the way this process seems to work. i don't regret for a minute pursuing a masters, because at least i can walk away with something tangible--but there are definite drawbacks to taking this route to improve your app to med school.
  8. tater tot

    tater tot Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 2, 2002
    new york
    I agree with sandflea. A masters degree w/ a high gpa is certainly worth something and helpful, however, it is undergrad classes that I believed are used as a comparison to other applying students. Why? Undergrad courses are usually competitive and are graded accordingly. Grad classes, although difficult, are known to have "grade inflation". Grad classes are sometimes aimed for a giving out A's and B's. Some grad courses do not even grade C or below, b/c any student in a grad program is typically expected to obtain a B or better-- Or eventually they will get the boot. That was in my experience anyway. I was also told by a pre-med advisor the same rational, which is why I am now going to continue more upper-level undergrad courses.
  9. lf4l29

    lf4l29 2+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2012
    So what would you suggest is the best pathway to boost your academic credentials if you have a sub par GPA
    1. Stay in Undergrad and retake courses you got Cs in
    2. Post Bacc
    3. Masters
    Is there anything else?

    Among those, which is considered the best then?
  10. cuculici1

    cuculici1 7+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    The answer depends on your current gpa and how many credits you've taken. Generally, postbac is probably the best option.
  11. IslandStyle808

    IslandStyle808 Akuma residency or bust! 5+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2012
    From a lot of SND commenters the post-baccalaureate route is the best option. Even the SMP courses (if I remember correctly), count only toward the graduate GPA. In order to do damage control to your GPA you need take undergrad courses.

    If you want to do a master's in physiology, then I suggest this plan. After you finish your undergrad credits required for the master's degree, you can do extra undergrad courses during your degree. This will go to the undergrad GPA (you can check the AMCAS instruction book if you don't believe me). It will take a longer time, since you need to focus on your thesis as well. However, if you really want the degree that badly then this would be the best suggestion.

    Also, the weight of the grad GPA DEPENDS ON THE MEDICAL SCHOOL. I emphasize this because a lot of SDNs will say that the grad school is a waste of time (if medical school is your goal) because the grad GPA does nothing to help your chances. However, there are some school that weight the grad GPA the same as undergrad and others that weigh the grad GPA more. Let me remind you that this is some of the schools but not the majority. The majority will usually favor the undergrad GPA over the grad GPA. Again evaluate your options and check with each school what their policies are on grades.

    Good luck on your endeavors!
  12. Giggles88

    Giggles88 Member

    Apr 15, 2012
    You could go this route but honestly I think it's kind of risky depending on how low your undergrad sGPA is. I think some schools screen you out if it's under a 3.0. I've always been told that this particular route should be your last option.

    If you have a genuine interest in a different kind of masters, you can do that and just take undergraduate science courses at the same school while completing it. All of the schools I emailed were perfectly fine with it, except one.

    I'm personally looking into MPH and MHA programs, and I plan on taking more undergrad science courses to raise my undergrad sGPA while completing my masters. So if you are low/maxed out on undergraduate financial aid like I am but still need to raise your undergrad sGPA, maybe this could be an option for you as well. :shrug:
  13. cest la vie

    cest la vie

    Aug 18, 2012
    There are many naysayers on this board about traditional masters program and I have no idea why they are so opposed. They are not adcom members nor have most of them done a grad program themselves.

    On the accounts of my friends who have completed traditional masters programs in the hard sciences (i.e. physiology, immunology, biochemistry, etc), they said it helped to boost their application. Although, yes, most schools will not average your grad and undergrad together or even factor it into GPA calculation, but a masters demonstrates a lot of dedication and maturity especially if one's undergrad record is lackluster. Grad programs are also excellent for obtaining great LORs, thesis work, and research. Honestly, if you think your undergrad was lackluster or borderline, a grad program can boost you up and demonstrate maturity and a commitment to improve your application if you do really well (3.75 - 4.00). I have seen this over and over again from the students who have completed grad programs.

    Some schools will well weigh it more than others. It should be easy to determine which schools put more weight on grad programs than others if you do some searching.
  14. xXIDaShizIXx

    xXIDaShizIXx 5+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2011
    How would this look compared to, say, a MBS?
  15. Benedictus123


    May 14, 2012
    So I have a question, not to hijack the thread completely. I have a strong undergrad GPA (3.9), but my GPA in my masters has been something like a 3.0 (grades were not a big deal at Princeton, and it was mostly focused on research). Then I went ahead and worked on a PhD (almost done) where my GPA has been a more respectable 3.8ish or so. So my combined graduate GPA (masters and PhD program) is something like a 3.57. How much is it going to hurt that my graduate GPA is considerably lower than my undergraduate GPA? Obviously a PhD is far more about publications than GPA, but I don't know if an adcom will see it that way.

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