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One-Year Master's Programs for Medical School

This article compares one-year master's degree programs that prepare students for medical school. These programs provide clinical experiences, academic coursework, MCAT preparation, and career mentorship.

Comparing One-Year Master's Degree Programs for Medical School Preparation

Master of Science in Physiology

Some one-year Master of Science in Physiology degree programs are specifically designed for students taking a gap year between finishing their undergraduate studies and applying for medical school. These programs (sometimes called pre-health or special master's degrees), give students the chance to improve their GPA and MCAT scores. Admitted students take courses that are common in first-year medical school programs. These classes may include human physiology, human anatomy, neuroscience, genomics, and research ethics. Because physiology is such a broad field, graduates can go on to pursue training in a variety of health-related disciplines, including medicine (MD), medical research, nursing, optometry, physical therapy, and dentistry. A physiology master's degree can also be used as a terminal degree (final course of training) for students who wish to pursue a career in athletic training.

Master of Science in Medical Science

A one-year Master of Science in Medical Science (ScM) program is another option for students who are set on pursuing medical school but feel the need to improve their credentials. In this program, students take academic courses in biochemistry, neuroscience, human physiology, human anatomy, and health ethics. Admitted students have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in community health centers and learn about the different paths for medical students. In some programs, students are paired with a first-year medical student or academic mentor. If students decide to go on to medical school, they may be able to use some of their master's degree credits to opt out of first-year medical school classes.

Master of Biomedical Science

Students in a one-year Master of Science in Biomedical Science (MBS) program take courses in anatomy, biochemistry, immunology, genetics, molecular biology, pathology, and physiology. Some universities also provide students with opportunities to shadow doctors in clinical settings. Students in the program work with the same professors who teach medical school classes. They have the opportunity to build their network and receive mentorship for their medical school applications. Graduates can go on to medical school or pursue careers in biomedicine.

Master of Science in Nutrition

In these 1-to 2-year master's degree programs, students study advanced human nutrition. These programs tend to be flexible, allowing students to take elective courses that best match their career, graduate school, and research interests. Most programs require a research component. Students present their research findings in a master's thesis that they defend before a panel of academic experts. Graduates are prepared to go straight to work as nutritionists, continue their research in a PhD program, or apply to medical school.

Master of Science in Biotechnology

An accelerated one-year master's degree program in biotechnology is another springboard for students who plan on applying to medical school. In these programs, students take basic biomedical science coursework, work in laboratories, and plan experiments. Courses geared for pre-medicine students can provide opportunities to complete independent research projects and participate in MCAT preparation workshops. Because biotechnology is becoming increasingly important across many health industries, graduates of this master's degree program can apply to medical schools as well as PhD programs, dental schools, pharmacy schools, and veterinary schools.

Master of Science in Bioethics

A pre-medicine master's degree program in bioethics provides future doctors with the analytical skills and theoretical knowledge they need to understand complex issues surrounding medical practice. They will likely have the chance to debate issues related to medical practice, medical science, biotechnology, and healthcare policy. Students develop an ethical and professional standing that will serve as a foundation for their future careers. They also gain experience shadowing doctors, completing mock medical admissions interviews, and working in labs.

Degree Program Program Requirements Related Careers
MS in Physiology*Bachelor's degree
*GRE test scores
*Medical school
*Athletic trainer
ScM in Medical Science*Bachelor's degree
*MCAT test scores
*Medical school
*Biomedical researcher
MS in Biomedical Science*Bachelor's degree
*GRE test scores required or recommended
*Medical school
*Biomedical researcher
MS in Nutrition*Bachelor's degree
*GRE or MCAT test scores recommended
*Medical school
*Nutritionist
MS in Biotechnology*Bachelor's degree
*GRE or MCAT test scores
*Medical school
*Biotechnology researcher
MS in Bioethics*Bachelor's degree
*GRE or MCAT test scores
*Medical school
*Policy analyst

Admissions Requirements for a Pre-Medical School Master's Degree Program

The goal of a pre-health master's degree program is to help students prepare for medical school admissions by improving their GPA, MCAT scores, and medical interview admissions skills. However, applicants must still send in their current undergraduate transcripts demonstrating a high enough GPA in prerequisite science courses. Applicants also need to submit their resume or CV and standardized test scores. Some universities require or prefer MCAT scores while others look at GRE scores. In addition, many universities require students to send in letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

There are a variety of master's degree programs that cater to pre-medical school students, including biotechnology, medical science, and nutrition programs. These programs provide academic preparation, clinical experiences, and mentorship that can help graduates qualify for the medical school of their dreams.