Postbaccalaureate Premedical Studies

Last updated: April 15, 2014 at 5:04 p.m.

Objectives

Brandeis University's Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program is designed for college graduates and career-changers who do not have the necessary pre-requisites for health professions programs. Our unique program allows students to take not only necessary science courses, but also to benefit from Brandeis' rich programmatic offerings in health policy and related fields.

The small, intensive program of 20-25 students provides cohort members with individualized academic and career advising in a supportive environment. The curriculum supports students interested in applying to allopathic and osteopathic medical schools as well as related health fields such as dentistry, physician assistant programs, veterinary medicine, optometry and podiatry.

The program is not designed for students who wish to repeat or supplement prior science coursework. It is intended for those who still need to take the majority of courses required for admission to medical and other health professional schools. Select students who have completed a full year of General Chemistry and Biology with labs at the undergraduate level may apply for the Finisher Track, entering in the summer with Organic Chemistry. 

How to Be Admitted to the Postbaccalaureate Program

The Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program is a full-time two year program with fall entrance for most students, and summer entrance for select students on the Finisher Track. Applications for admission are considered on a rolling basis, beginning in October until the cohort is full. Please note,  June 1 is a priority deadline for applications for fall entry.  Students applying for summer entry into Organic Chemistry have a priority deadline of May 1. It is recommended that applicants have some background in math and some volunteer experience in the medical field.

This full-time program, 15 or 21 months long, is designed for U.S. citizens or permanent residents who have not taken the courses required for admission to medical and other health professional schools. Please note that international students (non- U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents) are not eligible to apply to this program.

Requirements for the Program

Once accepted into the program, students consult individually with the program director to determine one of three course tracks. The full-time program begins in the fall semester for five consecutive semesters, including the summer between the first and second year.

Track 1: Advanced Biology: begins in the fall semester and continues for five consecutive semesters, including the summer between the first and second years.

Track 2: Research: Project Lab: begins in the fall semester and continues for five consecutive semesters, including the summer between the first and second years.

Track 3: Finisher Track (for students ready to enter Organic Chemistry): begins in the summer and continues for three consecutive semesters, ending in May.

Brandeis' world-renowned science programs are the foundation for three post-bac tracks, all of which incorporate optional classes from the Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) Program curriculum. Each track includes the following coursework:

A. Nine science courses with labs (BIOL 14a and 18a, BIOL 15b and 18b, CHEM 11a and 11b, CHEM 18a and 18b, CHEM 25a and 29a, CHEM 25b and 29b, BCHM 100a, PHYS 10a and 10b, and PHYS 18a and 18b). Additional coursework in biochemistry, physiology, and psychology is available.

B. Optional courses from the Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) Program: HS 104b (American Health Care) and HSSP 114b (Racial/Ethnic and Gender Inequalities in Health and Health Care).

C. Two two-credit semesters of Clinical Seminar (PMED 201a) featuring physician guest speakers from a variety of health care practices.

E. If a student does not already have a year of college math, we recommend, prior to enrollment, one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics, plus a strong review of pre-calculus. At Brandeis, these courses would be MATH 10a (Methods and Techniques of Calculus) and one of the following courses: BIOL 51a (Biostatistics), PSYC 51a (Psychology Statistics), MATH 8a (Introduction to Probability and Statistics), or equivalent.

In addition to the core curriculum, students choose one of the following tracks:

  • Track One: Advanced Biology coursework
    Track one requires 2 advanced Biology electives in addition to the core curriculum
    See http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/premed/academics/track-one.html for additional information.
  • Track Two: Research
    Track two requires one semester of BIOL 155a Project Lab offering students the experience of conducting bench research and an independent project through a small, lab-based course. Each year focuses on a specific topic, such as DNA mutation and repair, epigenetics, behavior, or biodiversity. Students design and carry out original experiments, refine laboratory techniques and experimental design, and gain experience in reading and writing scientific papers.
    Please see http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/premed/academics/track-two.html for more information.

To be eligible for continuing each semester in the postbaccalaureate premedical program, students must complete the requirements for their track, with a grade of B- or above in each course. At Brandeis, each lecture course counts as one class. The labs generally are counted as ½ course, with the exception of BIO 18A, which is a 4-credit lab. 100-level courses are open to post-bac students who want to take advantage of additional Brandeis course offerings. Courses with capped enrollment may require faculty approval.

Academic standing: If a student receives a grade below B-, course credit will not be earned and therefore not applied to the program requirements. A student may retake the course or take an additional science course with a lab to meet the grade requirement of B- or above.

Requirements for admission to healthcare programs vary by school and by field of study. Veterinary schools, dental schools, medical schools and other health careers have somewhat different requirements though the four lecture and lab sequences in chemistry, biology, organic chemistry and physics are foundational for each medical professional track. It is important to complete all four science sequences in addition to biochemistry and psychology before taking the Medical College Admissions Tests (MCAT) or the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Many veterinary schools will accept the Graduate Record Examination.

Courses of Instruction

(200 and above) Primarily for Graduate Students

PMED 201a Postbaccalaureate Premedical Clinical Seminar
Open only to Postbaccalaureate Premedical students. Yields half-course credit.
Focuses on critical dimensions of medical practice as seen from the perspectives of health care practitioners. Physician guest speakers at each seminar will represent a range of medical expertise and will include an emphasis on collaborations in delivering care. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

Core Curriculum

BCHM 100a Introductory Biochemistry
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Prerequisite: One year of organic chemistry with laboratory.
Topics include chemistry, reaction, and metabolism of biologically important compounds; formation and utilization of "energy-rich" compounds; introduction to enzyme mechanisms; interrelation and comparison of basic biochemical and chemical processes; and metabolic regulation. Usually offered every year in multiple sections.
Ms. Westover

BIOL 14a Genetics and Genomics
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May not be taken for credit by students who took BIOL 22a in prior years.
Studies fundamentals of genetics, genomics, molecular biology and biological problem-solving. Topics include heredity, meiosis, molecular basis of phenotypic variations in individuals and populations, as well as an introduction to the tools and techniques used by past and current researchers in genetics and genomics. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Woodruff

BIOL 15b Cells and Organisms
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May not be taken for credit by students who took BIOL 22b in prior years.
Introduces contemporary biology with an emphasis on cells, organs, and organ systems. Topics include the forms and functions of macromolecules, organelles, and cells, the integration of cells into tissues, and the physiology of fundamental life processes. The course is intended to prepare students to understand the biology of everyday life, and to provide a strong foundation for those who continue to study the life sciences. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Simister

BIOL 18a General Biology Laboratory
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Prerequisite: BIOL 14a. The prerequisite is waived if students have successfully completed BIOL 22a in a prior semester. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing or permission of the instructor. Yields full-course credit. Laboratory fee: $150 per semester. This lab is time-intensive and students will be expected to come in to lab between regular scheduled lab sessions. In order to accommodate students with time conflicts it may be necessary to re-assign students without conflicts to another section of the course. Students' section choice will be honored if possible.
Provides firsthand experience with a wide array of organisms and illustrates basic approaches to experimental design and problem solving in genetics and genomics. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Kosinski-Collins

BIOL 18b General Biology Laboratory
Prerequisite: BIOL 15b. The prerequisite is waived if students have successfully completed BIOL 22b in a prior semester. Prerequisites: Sophomore standing. Yields half-course credit. Laboratory fee: $150 per semester. This lab is time-intensive and students will be expected to come to lab between regular scheduled lab sessions. In order to accommodate students with time conflicts it may be necessary to re-assign students without conflicts to another section of the course. Students' section choice will be honored if possible. This course offers a 2-credit optional practicum.
Provides firsthand experience with modern molecular biology techniques and illustrates basic approaches to experimental design and problem solving in molecular and cellular biology including applications of biochemical techniques. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Baade

CHEM 11a General Chemistry I
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This course may not be taken for credit by students who have passed CHEM 15a in previous years. Four class hours and one sixty-minute structured study group session per week. The corresponding lab is CHEM 18a.
Covers a wide array of topics, embracing aspects of descriptive, as well as quantitative, chemistry. No prior study of chemistry is assumed, as the course begins by looking at the atomic foundation of matter, the elements, and the organization of the periodic table, working its way up to studying how atoms are bonded together to form larger units of matter. Students who complete this course will have an understanding of the three major phases of matter—solids, liquids, and gases—and how they behave, as well as a knowledge of the major types of chemical reactions and how to represent them. A strong focus is put on learning methods of creative problem-solving—using the material as a way to develop creative approaches to solving unfamiliar problems—a skill that carries students far beyond the confines of the classroom. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Novack

CHEM 11b General Chemistry II
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Prerequisite: A satisfactory grade (C- or better) in CHEM 11a or an approved equivalent. This course may not be taken for credit by students who have passed CHEM 15b in previous years. Four class hours and one sixty-minute structured study group session per week. The corresponding lab is CHEM 18b.
Picks up where Chemistry 11a left off, advancing students’ understanding of bonding models and molecular structure and exploring the basics of coordination chemistry. Three major quantitative topics are covered in the second half of General Chemistry—chemical equilibrium (including acid-base chemistry, solubility, and complex-ion formation), chemical kinetics, and thermodynamics. Other topics explored are electrochemistry and nuclear chemistry. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Novack

CHEM 18a General Chemistry Laboratory I
Corequisite: CHEM 11a. Dropping CHEM 11a necessitates written permission from the lab instructor to continue with this course. Two semester-hour credits; yields half-course credit. Laboratory fee: $100 per semester. This course may not be taken for credit by students who have passed CHEM 19a in previous years.
Introduction to basic laboratory methods and methods of qualitative and quantitative analyses. Included in the analytical methods are gas chromatography and infrared measurements. A synthesis project that includes analyzing the product by titration. Calorimetric experiment using probes interfaced with computers. Identification of unknowns based on physical and chemical properties. Analysis of the metal content of substances by atomic absorption. One laboratory lecture per week. One afternoon of laboratory per week. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Dolnik

CHEM 18b General Chemistry Laboratory II
Prerequisites: A satisfactory grade (C- or better) in CHEM 18a and CHEM 11a. Corequisite: CHEM 11b. Dropping CHEM 11b necessitates written permission from the lab instructor to continue with this course. May yield half-course credit toward rate of work and graduation. Two semester-hour credits. Laboratory fee: $100 per semester. This course may not be taken for credit by students who have passed CHEM 19b in previous years.
The second semester of the general chemistry laboratory program. Continued use of probes interfaced with computers to monitor pH and electrical conductivity changes in titrating weak monoprotic and polyprotic amino acids, to monitor pressure changes as part of a kinetics study, and to monitor voltage changes of electrochemical cells with temperature so as to establish thermodynamic parameters for redox reactions. Also included is identification of unknowns based on selective precipitation. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Dolnik

CHEM 25a Organic Chemistry, Lectures
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Prerequisite: A satisfactory grade (C- or better) in CHEM 11b or 15b or the equivalent. CHEM 25a honors option involves a separate recitation and permission of the instructor to enroll. Students in the honors section will receive a note on their transcript designating the class "Honors Organic Chemistry." Three class hours and one ninety-minute recitation per week.
Structure, reactions, preparations, and uses of the compounds of carbon. Usually offered every year.
Staff

CHEM 25b Organic Chemistry, Lectures
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Prerequisite: A satisfactory grade (C- or better) in CHEM 25a or its equivalent. CHEM 25b honors option involves a separate recitation and permission of the instructor to enroll. Students in the honors section will receive a note on their transcript designating the class "Honors Organic Chemistry." Three class hours and one ninety-minute recitation per week.
A continuation of CHEM 25a. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Krauss

CHEM 29a Organic Chemistry Laboratory I
Prerequisite: A satisfactory grade (C- or better) in CHEM 18b or 19b or the equivalent. Corequisite: CHEM 25a. Dropping CHEM 25a necessitates written permission from lab instructor to continue with this course. May yield half-course credit toward rate of work and graduation. Two semester-hour credits. Laboratory fee: $125 per semester.
Gives experience in the important techniques of organic chemical laboratory practice of isolation and purification of organic compounds by crystallization, distillation, and chromatography, and their characterization using analytical and instrumental methods. One afternoon of laboratory per week. One ninety-minute laboratory lecture per week. Usually offered every year.
Staff

CHEM 29b Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
Prerequisite: A satisfactory grade (C- or better) in CHEM 29a or the equivalent. Corequisite: CHEM 25b. Dropping CHEM 25b necessitates written permission from lab instructor to continue with this course. May yield half-course credit toward rate of work and graduation. Two semester-hour credits. Laboratory fee: $125 per semester.
A continuation of CHEM 29a with an emphasis on the synthesis of typical organic compounds. One afternoon of laboratory per week. One ninety-minute laboratory lecture per week. Usually offered every year.
Staff

HS 104b American Health Care
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Examines and critically analyzes the United States health care system, emphasizing the major trends and issues that have led to the current sense of "crisis." In addition to providing a historical perspective, this course will establish a context for analyzing the current, varied approaches to health care reform. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Altman

HSSP 114b Racial/Ethnic and Gender Inequalities in Health and Health Care
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An examination of the epidemiological patterns of health status by race/ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic status. Addresses current theories and critiques explaining disparities in health status, access, quality, and conceptual models, frameworks, and interventions for eliminating inequalities. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Jefferson

PHYS 10a Introduction to Physical Laws and Phenomena I
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Corequisite: MATH 10a or equivalent. Usually taken with PHYS 18a.
An introduction to Newtonian mechanics, kinetic theory, and thermodynamics. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Samadani

PHYS 10b Introduction to Physical Laws and Phenomena II
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Prerequisite: PHYS 10a. Usually taken with PHYS 18b.
An introduction to electricity and magnetism, optics, special theory of relativity, and the structure of the atom. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Samadani

PHYS 18a Introductory Laboratory I
Corequisite: PHYS 10a. May yield half-course credit toward rate-of-work and graduation. Two semester-hour credits.
Laboratory course consisting of basic physics experiments designed to accompany PHYS 10a. One two-and-a-half-hour laboratory per week. One one-hour lecture per week. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Wellenstein

PHYS 18b Introductory Laboratory II
Corequisite: PHYS 10b. May yield half-course credit toward rate-of-work and graduation. Two semester-hour credits.
Laboratory course consisting of basic physics experiments designed to accompany PHYS 10b. One two-and-a-half-hour laboratory per week. One one-hour lecture per week. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Wellenstein

PMED 201a Postbaccalaureate Premedical Clinical Seminar
Open only to Postbaccalaureate Premedical students. Yields half-course credit.
Focuses on critical dimensions of medical practice as seen from the perspectives of health care practitioners. Physician guest speakers at each seminar will represent a range of medical expertise and will include an emphasis on collaborations in delivering care. Usually offered every semester.
Staff

Track 2: Project Laboratory

BIOL 155a Project Laboratory in Genetics and Genomics
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Prerequisites: BIOL 18a and b, BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b. Course fee: $150.
This small, laboratory-based course provides an opportunity for students to pursue a genuine research project. Each semester, we focus on a specific topic, such as DNA mutation and repair, epigenetics, or plant biology, and design and carry out original experiments. Students learn basic molecular biology techniques, genetic and genomic analysis, experimental design, and the fundamentals of reading and writing research papers. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Morris