UNTHSC’s MedSci Program Prepares Students for Medical School Success

dc.creatorStafford, Suzanneen_US
dc.creatorSchreihofer, Dereken_US
dc.description.abstractPurpose: It is well known that a medical school acceptance is difficult to obtain. The Association of American Medical Colleges’ most recent report of medical school acceptances shows that in 2021, a total of 62,443 students applied to U.S. medical schools, and 23,711 were accepted1. With a greater demand for seats than are available, admissions committees must determine who is or is not eligible for attending their program. The Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) has a class size generally seating 230–240 students from a pool of about 4,500–5,000 applicants2. For students whom the office of admissions feels could benefit from additional curriculum preparation, the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) offers a postbaccalaureate Master of Science in Medical Science. UNTHSC had its first Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Certification Program class in the fall of 2000 with a total of 7 students. The Medical Science master’s program was offered in 2005. The intent was to provide qualified, yet ultimately not accepted, applicants an opportunity to prepare for the rigors of medical school while improving their medical school application. In 2017, about 82% of the students who completed the program were successful in receiving either admission to a medical or dental school in the United States3. Currently, the program has grown to over 300 students and includes face-to-face and online cohorts. Methods: Our study examines the development and changes to the program over a 20-year period including curriculum and cohort size. We also examine the academic readiness of the TCOM-attending “MedSci” students to their non-MedSci classmates by comparing individual TCOM course GPAs and both COMLEX and STEP medical board examination passing scores. Results: Over the span of the program, the required courses have become more similar to the year 1 curriculum that TCOM offers. In 2021, the average TCOM GPA of former MedSci students was 86.61. The average GPA of their non-MedSci counterparts was 85.45. The general trend from 2015–2021 shows comparable scores for the MedSci students. For the 2021 COMLEX exam, 94.12% of MedSci students passed on their first attempt compared to the 97.62% of non-MedSci students. The average COMLEX 1 score for MedSci students was 559.83 compared to the non-MedSci average score of 546.92. Although not required, some students chose to take STEP 1, the first USMLE board examination. Of the MedSci students, 46 of 51 chose to take the exam with a first-time passing rate of 97.83% and an average score of 230.81. Of the non-MedSci students, 133 of 168 chose to take the exam with a first-time passing rate of 96.99% and an average score of 226.15. Conclusion: The MedSci program offered by UNTHSC allows students who were originally not accepted to medical school to match or exceed the academic expectations for medical students. 1Association of American Medical Colleges. (2021, December). 2021 Fall Applicant, Matriculant, and Enrollment Data Tables. 2TCOM admissions statistics. Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. (2023, May 18). https://www.unthsc.edu/texas-college-of-osteopathic-medicine/admissions-and-outreach/tcom-admissions-statistics/ 3Medical science. School of Biomedical Sciences. (2024, February 2). https://www.unthsc.edu/school-of-biomedical-sciences/medical-sciencesen_US
dc.titleUNTHSC’s MedSci Program Prepares Students for Medical School Successen_US