BME to MD Program FAQs
General Program Questions
May I choose any academic major and still participate in the program?
Students following the BME/MD Track are required to major in Biomedical Engineering (BME), according to the articulation agreement between the College Engineering and the Morsani College of Medicine.
What are the GPA benchmarks of the program once I enroll at USF?
Students must earn a 3.5 USF (and overall) GPA, as well as a 3.5 USF science and math ("BCPM") GPA, by the end of their first year at USF. This is one of the BME-MD Track/Year 1 benchmarks to continue on to the BME/MD Program. By the end of the second and third years of the program, students are required to present a 3.6 USF (and overall) GPA, as well as a 3.6 USF science and math ("BCPM") GPA. Please note that dual enrollment grades will count toward the overall GPAs and that grade forgiveness is not applicable.
Which courses are included in the science/math (BCPM) GPA? How do I calculate this GPA?
All courses offered through the biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics (BCPM) departments are included in this GPA. Typically, courses are classified as BCPM according to the content, not course title or department in which the course is offered. For more specific information about the subjects included in these categories, please visit the AAMC course classification guide. The AMCAS GPA calculator is useful for determining the BCPM GPA.
Is the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) required for the program? If so, what is the benchmark?
Yes, the MCAT is a requirement for the BME/MD program. The MCAT is a standardized test that assesses student preparation for medical school and is one of the most challenging tasks for pre-medical students. Students in the BME/MD program take the MCAT after the third year on campus. For students who entered USF in Fall 2017, the benchmark was a 515 out of a possible 528; no individual exam sub-score can be lower than 125. Future benchmark scores, which are set by the Morsani College of Medicine, may be higher. For specific information on the MCAT, please visit www.aamc.org.
If I meet all program benchmarks, am I guaranteed admission into the Morsani College of Medicine?
There is no guarantee of admission in the BME/MD Program. Due to the requirements of the BME program, students can take four years to complete. Students who successfully complete all first, second, and third year benchmarks are guaranteed a formal interview with the Morsani College of Medicine (MCOM) in the fall of the fourth year. Upon successful completion of the interview, a student will receive a conditional acceptance to MCOM, pending completion of the fourth year of the program. Provided accepted students meet fourth year benchmarks, and can complete the BME program in four years, they will start medical school in the fall of the fifth year on campus.
What happens if I decide I no longer want to participate in the Program?
Students may choose to discontinue the BME/MD track any time, for any reason. Opting out of the Program will not negatively impact a student's chances of being accepted into the Morsani College of Medicine at a later date or graduating within four years.
BME/MD Admissions and Eligibility:
Is there a formal application that I need to complete in order to gain entrance into the BME/MD Program?
Currently there is no formal application students need to complete prior to entering USF. Students interested in following the BME/MD track should communicate this information to their BME advisor during their summer orientation. Students will formally declare their intent to follow the Program by completing a BME/MD declaration at that time during their registration session at orientation.
I am not a U.S. Citizen; may I still take participate in the Program?
International students are classified as non-residents. The Morsani College of Medicine (MCOM) requires students to be U.S. citizens or have permanent residency status. Students will need to document their status before they apply for admission to MCOM.
What are the minimum test score and GPA requirements to participate in the Program?
For Fall 2017 and beyond, students must enter USF with a minimum of 29 Math ACT and or a 690 Math SAT to qualify for the program. The best score will be considered. In addition to one of these test scores, students must present a 4.0 weighted high school GPA, as calculated by the USF Office of Undergraduate Admissions. For more information about GPA calculation, please visit the USF undergraduate admissions website.
Are transfer student eligible to apply for the Program?
No. The Program is restricted to students who enter the BME program as FTICs (first time in college students).
How will my accelerated mechanism credits (AP/IB/Dual Enrollment) apply to the BME/MD Program?
While many (if not all) accelerated mechanism credits will transfer to USF, the Morsani College of Medicine sets the standards as to which science and math credits will count toward the BME/MD program. Credits for the appropriate level of Calculus and Statistics are applicable to the program. The College of Medicine will accept AP scores of 5 or IB scores of 7 for relevant science courses; an AP score of 4 (or IB score of 6) will be accepted for Calculus and Statistics courses. Physics must be calculus - based. Algebra-based physics is not accepted. Students who enter with acceptable science coursework are permitted to count up to one year of one sequence of science. For example, if a student enters USF with one year of Biology and one year of Chemistry, the student must choose which sequence s/he will apply to the program (the second sequence must be repeated at USF).
You can view the credit by exam equivalencies at USF here (please note: these are subject to change for future cohorts). While many accelerated credits may count towards the Foundations of Knowledge & Learning requirements at USF, the Morsani College of Medicine (MCOM) sets the standards as to which accelerated science and math credits will count toward the BME/MD program*.
*Although you may be permitted to use accelerated science courses toward the BME/MD Program, the Morsani College of Medicine encourages students to complete all science courses at the university level to receive the best possible preparation. Also be aware that while you may be granted credit toward your BME undergraduate degree at USF, other medical schools have policies regarding AP/IB/AICE that vary widely. You are strongly encouraged to check with specific medical schools.
What can I be doing while still in high school to prepare for this program?
Students interested in the field of medicine should complete a rigorous high school curriculum, including advanced coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics (calculus and statistics are preferred). Additionally, since the MCAT (medical college admissions test) now includes a section on psycho-social foundations of behavior, students are also encouraged to complete courses in the social and behavioral sciences. Since the MCAT is taken after the third year of the BME/MD Program, we strongly encourage students to consider enrolling in accelerated/dual enrollment credits in the areas of psychology, sociology, anthropology, math and/or English. The goal is for students to enter USF with some foundation courses fulfilled, so that they are able to enroll in more advanced MCAT preparatory courses during the first three years at USF. For more information on MCAT course recommendations, please visit this link. I have more general questions; who should I contact? Email: ENG-BMEtoMD@usf.edu
BME/MD Extracurricular and Research Requirements:
How many hours of community service and medical observation are required for the program?
Students must complete a minimum of 60 hours of community service and 60 hours of medical observation by the end of the second year of the program. Please note, however, that a minimum of 40 hours of any combination of service and/or shadowing must be completed by the end of year two (by August 1).
Please note: although the BME to MD Program requires 120 hours of service and medical experience, it is recommended that students complete additional hours, not only to increase enrichment, but so that students are more prepared for the traditional medical application process, if necessary, in the future.
What is the difference between community service and volunteering?
Community service is working with a community agency or non-profit organization, whether medically related or not. Volunteering can be identified as non-medical and medical categories. Examples of non-medical volunteering include clerical work and tutoring students. Examples of medical volunteering may include patient transport and patient language translation. The community service benchmark may be met with medical or non-medical community service/volunteer experiences.
What is medical observation ("shadowing")?
A medical observation experience offers a student the ability to receive firsthand information about the medical field from medical professionals. The experience can include, but is not limited to, the shadowing of physicians around hospital facilities and/or medical offices, observing medical procedures, engaging in dialogue, and discussing current trends in medicine as well as the future of the field. Medical observation is also known as "shadowing." We recommend that students shadow two to three physicians practicing different fields of medicine.
Is international medical observation experience acceptable for the Program?
Yes, students may shadow physicians in a foreign country; however, shadowing outside the United States should count for no more than 20 of the 60 required hours. There is no limit on the number of hours students can shadow a foreign physician who is licensed to practice in the United States.
NOTE: "The primary purpose of a student clinical experience is observation, not hands-on treatment. You are there to learn, not to treat. More information.
Why are these experiences required?
Students who desire to pursue a career in medicine and healthcare must understand that the field is demanding and is service oriented. The act of service includes helping patients, colleagues, and the community at large. Additionally, students should gain familiarity with the medical field and its specialties, as well as with the diverse nature of medical environments. It is important for one to gain practical knowledge and experience regarding what a career in medicine will entail prior to applying and attending medical school. Shadowing is also the best way for students to confirm that they truly want to become doctors.
When can I start counting/recording these experiences?
Any service and/or shadowing hours completed after graduation from high school will be applicable to the medical school application. Students are encouraged to start working on these experiences the summer prior to entering USF. To document these hours, students should request an electronic form (PDF) by email: ENG-BMEtoMD@usf.edu
How can I confirm that my volunteer and/or shadowing hours will count towards the Program?
Please feel free to contact the BME/MD advisor at any time to inquire about the applicability of your completed or planned experiences. Documented hours should be on an electronic form (PDF) obtained by email: ENG-BMEtoMD@usf.edu. To determine applicability prior to beginning an activity, please send a short description of what you did (or what you will be doing) and the name of the organization to email: ENG-BMEtoMD@usf.edu.
What kind of research is required for the Program? How many hours do I need to complete?
All BME to MD students must complete a minimum of two semesters of biomedical/health-related research prior to the end of the third year of the program. The research can be lab and/or clinically based. A total of 270 hours (typically 9 hours per week, 15 weeks each semester) must be documented.
How soon should I begin looking for a research project?
BME/MD Students will begin their research experience during their first fall semester on campus. Students should meet with their BME advisor the second week of school to begin the process.
Based on the nature of the project, mentors may require students to learn basic lab techniques prior to beginning the research project. Therefore, students should make sure they allot plenty of time to plan and coordinate their projects. Additionally, participating in research oftentimes helps students prepare for the critical thinking aspects of the MCAT (medical school admissions test).
Please note: all students need pre-approval of their research projects to confirm suitability for the program. To do so, students need to submit an electronic research form (PDF) which may be obtained by request email: ENG-BMEtoMD@usf.edu
The BME/MD Medical School Application Process:
When do BME/MD students officially apply to medical school?
Students in the program complete an official application through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) during the summer between the third and fourth year on campus. A BME/MD advisor will share specific deadlines with students during the application workshop (which typically takes place in late fall of the third year of the program).
What does the application require?
The primary application includes biographical information, college level coursework, the personal statement, the list of faculty members/professionals who will be submitting letters of recommendation, and any previous MCAT scores (or the date when a student has taken, or will take, the MCAT).
How many letters of recommendation are required? Who should I ask to write these letters?
For the BME/MD program, students need to submit a minimum of three (five is recommended) letters of recommendation, which accompany the secondary medical school application: preferably two letters submitted by faculty members who have taught students in science or math courses; the other letter(s) should be written by a non-science/math faculty member the student has had in class and/or be a character letter--that, ideally, is written by research mentors, physicians shadowed, or community service coordinators (work supervisors are also accepted). Regardless of the recommender or type of letter, the goal is for students to select professionals who know them well and can address the student's individual talents and characteristics.
*Please note: beginning with the first semester on campus, students should start making meaningful connections with faculty members.
Can I choose to attend any medical school as a BME/MD student?
No. Students who meet all benchmarks in the BME/MD Program will apply as Early Decision applicants and, upon admission, matriculate at USF's Morsani College of Medicine.
Do I have to complete a medical school interview? When does the interview take place?
Yes. All BME/MD students who meet the benchmarks must complete a formal interview with the Morsani College of Medicine. This process allows admissions committee members the opportunity to add depth to a student's application, to determine if the student is prepared for medical school, and to gain insight as to whether or not the student will be a good fit for the program. An Early Decision BME/MD applicant will typically be interviewed in September or early October of the third year on campus.
When will I find out if I am officially accepted in to the Morsani College of Medicine?
Once students complete the formal interview process, they will be notified by the Morsani College of Medicine with the admissions decision. This typically takes place a few weeks after the interview. Please note that an acceptance is conditional upon students completing all remaining program benchmarks by the end of the third year (including academic, research and GPA benchmarks).
If I fulfill all program benchmarks and I am accepted to the Morsani College of Medicine, is it possible to defer acceptance for a year?
There is no guarantee a deferral will be approved, but it is possible. The decision will be made by the Morsani College of Medicine. Upon receiving your acceptance, you would need to submit an official request for a one-year deferral.
General Questions | ENG-BMEtoMD@usf.edu