Frequently Asked Questions

General Pre-Health Questions

How difficult is it to maintain a high GPA at RPI?

RPI offers robust academic support services, such as the Advising Learning and Assistance Center (ALAC), listed below, to assist you with acclimating to the college environment. In addition to this, we encourage you to begin the process of reaching out to your instructors early and often – our spirit of collaboration with your faculty and with your fellow students is one of the most unique things about Rensselaer, and students who take advantage of it often perform much better than those who do not. RPI is a challenging school, no doubt - but our students who take advantage of these resources perform well. 

Additional Resource:

Can I transfer in courses towards pre-med requirements at RPI?

It is preferable to take your courses at RPI. With that said, this is not a steadfast rule. All transcripts of all courses that you have taken will be evaluated by your medical school application committees and will count towards your overall GPA for medical school admissions. Generally, four-year schools with good academic reputations are weighed more heavily in admissions decisions than community colleges, particularly if you plan to take courses while enrolled at RPI. For that reason, if you do plan to take courses outside of RPI while enrolled as a student at RPI, we recommend taking any outside coursework at a reputable, four-year institution and ensure that your GPA remains a top priority if your plan is to apply to a high-ranking medical school. It is also worth keeping in mind that your application is a mosaic of many different factors, and a single course will rarely be a determining factor in your application’s success.  

I was not directly admitted, but can I apply to RPI’s BS-MD (BIAM) program? 

No. The RPI Accelerated Physician-Scientist Program does not accept students who have not been directly admitted into the program except under exceptional circumstances. With that said, there are other guaranteed admit programs - including the FlexMed program at Mount Sinai’s College of Medicine - that you may wish to consider if you want to secure an early place in a medical school without the traditional application process being a concern. Keep in mind that these programs remain highly competitive and only rarely do applicants get accepted. 

Does RPI offer a pre-Health ‘track’ to students?

Only to students within the Biomedical Engineering Program; see below for information about that program. For students in other majors, our program guides list courses that students in any major should follow if they are interested in seeking admission into a health professions program. This is general advice - requirements vary by school - but this set of courses is generally going to help prepare you for admission to most schools in the United States.

If you have specific questions about the medical field and how best to prepare, you should contact the School of Science Hub’s pre-health advising email.

Do you have automatic access to a pre-med counselor from the first day of Freshman year? 

You do. You can meet with Emma Harmon in the School of Science Hub by scheduling an appointment online

Are there certain steps I need to follow to obtain Letters of Evaluation for graduate school?

There are no certain steps that you need to take, but the following can help you find productive relationships:  

  • Speak early and often with your faculty members on campus, and take an interest in your classes. Perform well and go above and beyond the normal requirements of your coursework. Positive relationships go a long way! 

  • If you can, find research or other opportunities to demonstrate your skills outside of the classroom, but remember that your academics take priority.  

  • Remember the following: You will eventually want two letters from science faculty, one letter from a non-science faculty, and one letter from a person outside of the institute.

What is the Pre-Health Advising Committee?

The Pre-Health Advising Committee offers assistance in writing recommendation letters for students who are seeking admission into medical school or other allied health professions. This committee's role is to offer guidance on the admissions process, assistance in ensuring that your application is complete, and a letter of recommendation that speaks to your unique talents as an individual. They also assist in preparation for the medical school admissions interview process.  


Biomedical Engineering Questions

What is the Biomedical Engineering pre-Medical Track?

Students in the Biomedical Engineering major should consult with their advisors in that program about the pre-medical track specific to that major. In general, the pre-medical track requires a total of 133 credit hours and is designed to ensure that you reach your goal of having all pre-Health course requirements met prior to graduation, but is more formalized within the BME curriculum to ensure that you can meet all BME and pre-medical requirements within a reasonable timeframe. 

What is the Physician-Engineer Program?

The Biomedical Engineering Department, in conjunction with Albany Medical College, offers the Physician Engineer program in which students are able to earn a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer and an M.D. from Albany Medical College in 8 years. The MCAT requirement is waived for this combined program. A separate application for this program is needed, where students apply just before the Arch, i.e., by May 31 of their second year. Application requirements are that a student follows the BME B.S. pre-med template, has a GPA > 3.5, has a strong interest in research, and is on track to meet all degree requirements. The application material consists of a one-page statement of purpose, a letter of recommendation, an official transcript, and a waiver/release form allowing the BME Department to obtain your application material. Application materials should be submitted to the departmental staff.

Applications are reviewed by the department and a decision will be made during the summer of the second year. Selected students will be invited to interview at Albany Medical College in the second half of this summer and will be informed about their application before the beginning of the third year. Students admitted to the program need to participate in The Arch and plan to spend their “away” semester in the Personal Care Assistant program at AMC to start/increase their hours of patient contact. Students will receive a B.S. in BME from Rensselaer after the fourth year and a M.D. from Albany Medical College after the eighth year. Please note that this program is very selective.