What are your chances of acceptance?
Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
+ add school
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

SMP vs Post-Bacc: Which is a better option?

I'm considering doing either a special master's program (SMP) or a post-baccalaureate program after finishing my undergrad to boost my chances at med school admissions. What are the major differences between the two, and which would you guys recommend based on your experiences? I'd appreciate any tips and thoughts you can share!

6 months ago

There are definitely some key differences between Special Master's Programs (SMP) and Post-Baccalaureate Programs, and which one is more suitable for you depends on your individual needs and goals. Let's take a look at the main differences:

1. Purpose: An SMP is typically aimed at students who want to show their ability to excel in graduate-level science coursework that mimics the intensity of medical school. SMPs are generally geared towards those who have already completed their pre-med coursework. On the other hand, a post-bacc program is mainly for students who have not yet completed the required pre-med courses or are looking to retake certain courses to improve their undergraduate GPA.

2. Curriculum: SMPs are often more rigorous and more accurately simulate the medical school curriculum. They usually involve graduate-level courses, sometimes taken alongside medical students. In contrast, post-bacc programs involve undergraduate-level coursework in the pre-med sciences and are not as intense as SMPs.

3. Duration: Both options usually last about 1-2 years. However, the duration of post-bacc programs depends on whether you're enrolled full-time or part-time, and if you're taking the classes to enhance your GPA or to complete the required pre-med coursework.

4. Cost: Both SMPs and post-bacc programs can be expensive, so it's essential to take financial considerations into account when making your decision. Some programs offer financial aid, and it might be a wise idea to factor that in once you get to the stage of deciding between particular programs.

5. Outcome: SMPs can be helpful if you perform well because they exhibit your ability to handle advanced coursework similar to that you’ll have in med school. Success in a post-bacc program will mainly depend on how effectively the program helps you improve your undergraduate GPA and complete your pre-med courses. However, be cautious, as a poor performance in either may actually hurt your chances of being accepted to med school.

To decide which is better for you, evaluate your undergraduate academic performance and how much pre-med coursework you still need to complete. If you've completed your pre-med courses and are looking for a rigorous program that will give you an in-depth exposure to medical school curriculum, an SMP might be more appropriate. On the other hand, if you're looking to complete or retake pre-med coursework at the undergraduate level, a post-bacc program would be more suitable. Good luck with your decision!

6 months ago

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.