The Fast Track to Medicine - 6 Year Direct Medical Programs

By Kristen Moon

Imagine instead of spending eight years on your undergraduate and medical degree, you could finish in just six. With an accelerated direct medical program, also called combined BS/MD or BA/MD programs, this is a possibility.

These competitive programs give students the opportunity to go directly from undergraduate to medical school, with no need to apply to medical school. The benefits for these programs are huge — instead of being faced with the uncertainty of med school acceptance, students can enter into their freshman year with the assurance that they are well on their way to becoming a doctor.

Positives of an Accelerated Program

The application process for medical school is usually extraordinarily stressful and highly competitive. Therefore, by gaining acceptance into a direct medical program, you don't have to worry about medical school come application season. Instead, you can focus on doing your best and growing as a student, with the assurance that your future is secure.

Acceptance into an accelerated program also means you will save money because these programs tend to take one or two years less than a standard program. You will be ahead of your peers and will be well on your way to earning your MD by the time they even enter medical school.

Negatives of an Accelerated Program

Students must commit their senior year of high school to a career in medicine. That can be a lot to ask of high school students who are still trying to figure out future interests and goals. Some students know from a young age that a doctor is what they want to be, but for those who aren't as sure, an accelerated program might be too big of a commitment. Of course, if you do decide against medicine after joining an accelerated program, you can get out of it, but that might cause you stress and disappointment.

Remember, the accelerated program is just that - accelerated. Many times you are cramming eight years of intense schooling into six or seven years. You will most likely be going to school year-round to finish your degrees so quickly. There isn't much time or flexibility for some of the more typical undergraduate experiences, such as regular socializing, traveling, or getting a summer job or internship.

Six-Year Programs

Once you've weighed the benefits and drawbacks, and you've decided that this is the right choice for you, here are two options for an accelerated direct medical program.

Howard University College of Medicine

Located in Washington, D.C., Howard University College of Medicine admits a limited number of students into their BS/MD program. Entrance requirements for the program include a minimum science GPA of 3.25 and a minimum overall GPA of 3.5. The student must earn a minimum of 504 on the MCAT. An interview and letters of recommendations are required as well.

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine

UMKC School of Medicine is located in Kansas City and offers a BA/MD program that fuses medical science and clinical skills with the liberal arts and humanities. Applicants must receive an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0 in the 17 core requirements of the university. Applicants must achieve a minimum of 24 on the ACT to qualify, and 1160 on the SAT if it was taken after March 2016.

For those who are certain in their chosen career path of medicine - and you want to get there fast - an accelerated direct medical program could be a good fit for you. With the above listed programs you can get your MD in just six years.


Kristen Moon is an independent college counselor and founder of She specializes in Ivy League, BS/MD Programs, and International Students. She works with students 9-12th grade.