July 30, 2010
Many young children tell their parents they want to become doctors when they grow up. However, once in college, organic chemistry and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) often cause aspiring doctors to change their minds. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, a select group of students at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York can pursue their dreams of becoming a doctor without facing the daunting list of pre-med courses or the MCAT.
The New York Times reported that the Humanities and Medicine Program at Mount Sinai accepts about 35 undergraduates a year. These students major in humanities or social sciences and must maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA. Although they are not required to take organic chemistry, physics and calculus and are exempt from the MCAT, they do have to take biology and chemistry in addition to attending a summer boot camp program that covers essential aspects of organic chemistry and physics.
According to Newswise qualified sophomore and junior students are admitted into the program based on high school and college grades, SAT/ACT scores, two personal essays, three letters of recommendation and two interviews.
The program was created in 1987 to encourage humanities students, who are usually reluctant to consider the medical field because of rigorous requirements, to explore a career in medicine. While many are skeptical of the program since it forgoes requirements that have been in place for over 80 years, a recent study that compared 606 traditionally educated classmates to 85 students in Mount Sinai's Humanities and Medicine program found that academic performance was equivalent. "[The] data show that these students are as successful, and in some cases more successful, than their traditionally educated classmates," said Dr. Nathan Kase, professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science and Medicine, and Dean Emeritus of Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Dr. David Muller, associate professor in the Departments of Medical Education and Medicine, Dean of Medical Education, and Chair of the Department of Medical Education added, "Our results show that Humanities and Medicine students are not at a disadvantage for having bypassed standard pre-med requirements. In fact, a liberal arts background may provide these students with enhanced communication skills and improved bedside manner."
The data also showed that humanities students were more likely to devote a year to scholarly research, reported The New York Times. Furthermore, students were twice as likely to train as psychiatrists and somewhat more likely to go into primary care. Conversely, humanities students were less likely to take residencies in surgical subspecialties and anesthesiology.
While most competitive med schools do not want to drop the MCAT out of fear that it will cause the school to drop in ranking, Mount Sinai proves that schools can still be reputable without being traditional--Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by the U.S. News & World Report, stated Newswise.
The New York Times pointed out that the school continues to be selective. The admissions committee favors elite schools and in 2009, the mean SAT score among undergraduates was 1444. The mean freshman GPA was 3.74.
Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff
"Getting Into Med School Without Hard Sciences," NYTimes.com, July 29, 2010, Anemona Hartocollis
"Mt. Sinai Program Lets Some Pre-Meds Swap Orgo for Shakespeare," blogs.wsj.com, July 30, 2010, Katherine Hobson
"Students with Humanities Background Equally Successful in Medical School as Traditional Students," newswise.com, July 30, 2010