Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

BS-MD Program


Eligibility
Do I have to be a Nevada resident to apply for the program?

Yes. We only consider students who attended a Nevada high school for at least two years and graduated from a Nevada high school. Students must be Nevada residents to be eligible. No exceptions.

Will you accept a combination of SAT/ACT scores?

Yes, we will accept a combination of scores from the SAT or ACT known as "superscoring." For example, is a student takes the SAT twice and receives a 1300 both times, but their math/reading subscores are 660/640 (respectively) on the first attempt and 630/670 on the second attempt, they may combine the highest math (660) with the highest reading (670) scores for a combined score of 1330. The required minimum scores for the exams are 28 for the ACT and 1320 combined reading and math for the SAT. 

I missed the application deadline, can I still apply?

No. This is an extremely competitive program. Students must adhere to all deadlines throughout the application process to be eligible.

I’m still in high school but have already started taking college classes. Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes. We often have BS-MD applicants come into the program with some college credit. Students who attend college-run high schools like TMCC High School or CSN High School are also eligible to apply.

If I don’t get into the program this year, can I apply again?

No. Only students who are currently completing their senior year in high school are eligible to apply. We do not accept students into the program after they have graduated high school and begun college.

I go to a really difficult high school. Do you consider this when looking at student GPAs?

Students must have a minimum 3.7 unweighted GPA to be eligible for the program or be in the top 10% of their class. While we do not scale the requirement based on the school you go to, the top 10% consideration is in place to account for variability in school curriculum rigor.

Preparation
What can I do to be the most competitive applicant?

First, we look for students to have good grades and do well on the ACT/SAT. This is the first step in determining your eligibility. Once we determine you are eligible, the most consideration goes toward your extracurricular activities and personal statement. We want students who exhibit leadership though clubs and/or sports, a consistent interest in serving their community, and who show a clear desire to become a physician. It is beneficial for students applying to this program to have some clinical exposure through shadowing or volunteering – but we understand that this is difficult for students under the age of 18 so it is not a requirement.

Are there specific classes I should take in high school to increase my chances of getting into the program?

There really aren't classes that will increase your chances of getting into the program, though there are several that will help prepare you to be successful and may determine what majors you can select. We recommend that students take the highest level of math they can since math level will determine what science classes you can take in your first year. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are great if your school offers them. AP Calculus and AP Chemistry are the most helpful for entering the BS-MD Program, but AP Biology and AP Psychology are also great courses to take if available. Receiving credit for AP Biology is particularly important for students who wish to pursue the Molecular Microbiology and Immunology degree at UNR. Note that students must receive a 4 or 5 on the AP exam to get college credit for their AP courses.

Am I a more competitive applicant if I graduate from high school early?

No. In fact, we almost prefer that you don't graduate early. We believe that high school is an important period of growth for students, both academically and emotionally. We like to see applicants who have made the most of their high school experience.

How do I get clinical experience?

We recognize that it can be difficult for students to get exposure to the clinical environment before the age of 18. We recommend first looking into volunteer programs with local clinics, hospitals, hospice, or nursing home facilities. Some students find success with asking their family physician for opportunities to job shadow, or contacting the local ambulance service to do "ride-alongs." There are often internship opportunities available through the county or school districts for students, or first aid training and event support for community events. We recommend contacting your school advisor to see if they can help you find opportunities in your area.

Applications
Is there an application fee?

Yes, the application fee is $35.00. If it is a hardship for you to pay this fee, please do not hesitate to contact the program to request a fee waiver. We may request documentation that you qualify for fee assistance.

How many students apply to the BS-MD Program? How may get in?

The size of the application pool changes from year to year, but we typically receive between 75-100 applications, and we are currently accepting approximately 15 students. 

Is the BS-MD application separate from the UNR application?

Yes, they are two different application processes. Students will need to apply to UNR undergraduate campus then apply to the BS-MD Program through the School of Medicine website. The applications can be done in any order.

I’ve already sent my transcripts to UNR. Do I need to send them to the BS-MD Program too?

Yes. We do not have access to your transcripts sent to the undergraduate institution, so they must be sent directly to the program as well.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?

We require that one letter be from a science teacher, one may be from any academic environment, and one letter must be from a clinical or community service environment. For more information about letters of recommendation, please review our BS-MD Instructions, Guidelines, and Tips page.

Why can I no longer apply to the UNLV BS-MD Program?

There are several reasons we have chosen to no longer accept applicants to the UNLV program. First, with the timeline and curriculum changes to make it a 4 year program, we do not have the connections and resources to support the new focus tracks and extracurricular requirements through UNLV. Second, due to some restructuring in premedical advising at UNLV, the BS-MD Program will no longer have the same level of program-specific support for course planning and enrollment. Third, the UNLV program has historically seen significantly lower application numbers and enrollment than the UNR program. Finally, UNR has provided additional support funds to expand the program in Reno.

Interviews
Does everyone who applies get an interview?

No. At this point, we are only able to interview 40 applicants. When determining which students to interview, we will first look at the eligibility requirements, then at the whole application. Having a 4.0 GPA and perfect ACT/SAT score does not necessarily grant you an interview. Once you meet the eligibility requirements, we place a strong emphasis on extracurricular activities, the personal statement, and letters of recommendation.

What can I expect in the interview?

The program interviews are all held at the Medical School Campus in Reno, NV. Interview dates will be announced at the time the application opens so applicants can plan accordingly. We interview applicants using the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format, the same process used for our medical school applicants. Visit our Applicant Interview website to lean more. Please note that due to the structure and staffing needs for the Multiple Mini Interviews, we are not able to provide alternate interview dates for students who have a conflict.

Who conducts the interview?

Selected applicants will be interviewed by 7-9 different people throughout the various interview stations. Interviewers consist of undergraduate and medical school faculty, staff, medical students, and BS-MD alumni. We provide interviewers with the list of selected students in advance to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest.

When will I find out if I got an interview/was accepted?

We do not review applications until the application deadline at the end of January. Interview invites will be sent out within two weeks of that date. After the interviews take place, we do our best to send out final decisions within 2-3 weeks. We will require students to officially accept their seats by April 1. Students who do not accept their seats by this date will forfeit their position to a student on the waiting list.

Acceptances
I am waiting for acceptance decisions from other colleges/programs and may not hear from them until after the April 1 BS-MD deadline. Can I get an extension to accept my seat?

No. This is a very competitive program and we always have excellent students on the waiting list. If this is not your top choice for program/colleges/career path, we encourage you to please release your seat for someone who absolutely knows that they want to participate in the BS-MD Program.

I am on the waiting list for a seat in the BS-MD Program. What are my chances of getting offered a position?

While it depends on the year and applicant pool, it is very common for us to offer seats to students on the waiting list. We will begin sending out waiting list acceptances after the April 1 deadline and will continue until seats are filled. Waiting list acceptances may continue to be sent until May 15.

I heard that the BS-MD Program will only take one student per high school, is this true?

No. The program selects students who they feel are the best fit for the program based on their achievements, experiences, and character. We do not limit our acceptances based on high school, home town, or any other geographic or social constructs.

The Program
When does the BS-MD Program officially start?

Students will begin the week of classes for UNR since the orientation material is a part of the SCI 110 course section that all BS-MD students register for in their first semester. Please note that all students will need to complete documents such as immunizations prior to the program start date. Some students may also be required to complete summer classes prior to the program start if preparatory coursework is needed. These requirements will be communicated to the student in their acceptance letter if applicable.

Am I required to live on campus?

No, but we do recommend it. Living on campus provides you with a better connection to your classmates and college community. We highly recommend applying to live in a Living Learning Community (LLC.) Please be aware of housing deadlines as they are often earlier than other university registration deadlines in the spring prior to starting the program. Visit the housing website for UNR to learn more.

What are my college major options?

Students attending UNR can choose their major from the following options: Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Nutrition, Neuroscience, and Molecular Microbiology & Immunology. They may apply to the Honors Program as well, but it is not a requirement. Students do not have to know exactly what major they will be choosing at the time of application, but will need to declare their major in the summer prior to starting classes to ensure they are working with the correct undergraduate advisor.

Can I have a minor?

Maybe. The focus tracks will be similar to having a minor as there is required coursework involved. Should your schedule allow for additional courses and you wish to do so, you may work with your undergraduate advisor to structure a minor. Students considering this should understand summer school and wintermester coursework may be required to fit a minor into the three years.

How/when do I select my classes?

The undergraduate advisor for your selected major will be in contact with you when it is time to set up your schedule. You do not need to worry about course registration prior to them connecting with you. The BS-MD Program and undergraduate advisors are in close communication from the moment you accept your seat in the program, so they will be aware of your accelerated scheduling requirements.

Do I have to maintain a certain GPA in college?

Yes. Students must maintain a 3.5 overall, and a 3.5 science GPA.

What type of support services are available while in college?

UNR, as well as the Medical School, provides academic advisors, tutoring centers, access to faculty and medical student mentors, seminars and programs for BS-MD students, clinical shadowing, MCAT preparation, etc. We also have a program-designated Learning Specialist to assist students in learning strategies and accessing learning resources at the undergraduate campuses.

Are there scholarships and financial aid available?

Yes. BS-MD students have several scholarship options as undergraduates, including the Millennium and Presidential and other UNR scholarships. Interested students should contact the undergraduate institution's financial aid office to learn more. The School of Medicine also has merit scholarships available which BS-MD students may be eligible for. Most scholarships at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine are needs-based. Students may also be eligible for a 4th year of Millennium Scholarship funds during their first year of medical school.

May I participate in extracurricular activities in college?

Yes, it is required. Students should become involved in activities which interest them. Students are also strongly encouraged to find community service activities or organizations. Both universities offer assistance to students and resource lists.

Can I be a collegiate athlete while in the program?

It's possible, but we don't recommend it. While it is common (and encouraged) for students to get involved in casual athletic activities and intramural leagues on campus, the rigorous BS-MD course load is not conducive to participation in official collegiate athletics where a heavy practice schedule and team travel is required. If you would like to further consider the option, we recommend setting up a meeting among yourself, the athletic advisor for your particular sport, and a representative of the BS-MD Program to discuss the feasibility.

May I work while in the BS-MD program?

Yes. That is a student's decision to make. Students who decide to obtain employment should plan on working no more than 12 to 15 hours a week, if possible. The course of study is rigorous and as students accumulate credits, low grades can be challenging to raise. Minimum GPA requirements must be met by all students.

I’d like to serve on a mission or study abroad. Will I be able to take a year off from the program to do this?

No. Students who wish to pursue interests that require them to take leave from the program are encouraged to pursue medical school through the traditional application process. The BS-MD program schedule, course rigor, cohort-centered support system, and medical school admissions process does not allow for students to take extended leave, regardless of reason. The exception to this rule would be if the student opts to serve on their mission immediately after graduating from high school and prior to applying to UNR and the BS-MD Program. There is a maximum allowance of two years between high school graduation and undergraduate/program application for pre-approved circumstances. We recommend that students interested in this option contact the program prior to high school graduation to see if their circumstances would allow them to remain eligible.

Matriculation to Medical School
Do I have to take the MCAT?

Yes. All admission requirements of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine must be met by BS-MD students. BS-MD students will complete an intensive MCAT Preparation course through the School of Medicine in the summer after their second academic year. MCAT score requirements can be found in the program handbook.

Do I still have to apply and interview for admissions to the medical school?

Yes. Even though the School of Medicine reserves seats for every student in the BS-MD program who meets the program requirements, all admissions requirements must still be met by BS-MD students. This includes the completion of the online AMCAS application, the MCAT, and interviews.

I will be entering the BS-MD Program with my Associate’s Degree from a community college. Can I matriculate to medical school early?

Students who enter with significant number of college credits may be eligible to apply to accelerate their program by one year - completing the BS-MD Program in three years instead of four. Students in this situation must work with the program coordinators in the first fall semester at UNR to begin the accelerated application process. Regardless of the number of credits a student enters the BS-MD Program with, all students are required to complete no less than three years in their undergraduate program before matriculating to medical school. In other words, matriculation in two years or less is not an option. 

Can I apply to other medical schools when I’m done with the BS-MD Program?

No. Once students are accepted, they are required to sign a statement of commitment to the program and to the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Complete information will be provided to accepted students and is described in detail in the Student Handbook.

Am I required to stay in Nevada for residency once I’m done with medical school?

While we certainly hope to retain BS-MD alumni as physicians for the state of Nevada, there is no requirement that BS-MD students must select a residency in the state. All students are encouraged to apply for residencies that best fit their interests and expertise.