Joint Bachelor’s/M.D. Program Frequently Asked Questions
Is my spot in the School of Medicine (SOM) guaranteed?
No, if you meet all the outlined requirements, you are guaranteed an interview with the School of Medicine during your fourth year of undergraduate study, but you are not guaranteed a spot in the SOM. Your performance during the interview and your academic record will be a primary factor in determining your admission to the SOM. For this reason, the Joint MD program cannot guarantee you admission to the SOM. However, you still have a tremendous advantage as all applicants to the SOM are required to have an interview but only a small percent of the applicants to the SOM will be called in for an interview whereas you are guaranteed the interview. Additionally, 25 percent of the seats in the SOM are reserved for qualified Seton Hall students. This means that as a Seton Hall student, you are in a very strong position to gain entrance to the SOM, but you must take your interview and your studies very seriously.
25 percent of the seats in the SOM are reserved exclusively for qualified SHU students, what does it mean to be a qualified SHU student?
While 25% of the seats in the SOM are reserved for Seton Hall graduates, these students are subject to the same admission standards as all other student and must meet the same high standards academically. This includes having a successful interview with the School of Medicine. Students must also be New Jersey residents. The Joint MD continuation requirements to maintain entrance to the SOM have been created to ensure you maintain a competitive level of academic performance in line with the expectations for the SOM. But you will still have to compete and be as qualified as other applicants and have a successful interview.
Many other universities that have a Joint Medical School program offer a guaranteed spot in the medical school, why don't you?
Many of the institutions that offer a program of this nature do offer a guaranteed seat in the medical School with which they partner but they usually only admit a handful of students each year, perhaps 4-5 students annually and maybe only one student a year makes it to the medical school in the end. Our Joint MD program is a different model, meant to provide greater opportunity to more students. The admission criteria are also a bit less strict than at these other institutions because we want to give more people a chance to enter medical school. We are able to do this because 25% of the seats in the SOM are reserved for qualified Seton Hall graduates. But it is essential that students in the Joint MD program maintain all of the continuation requirements and have a successful interview to gain entrance to the SOM. Another important distinction between this program and that offered by other institutions is that this program allows students to major in any subject, pursue a minor or double major, study abroad, etc. As long as the student takes all the required pre-requisite courses and maintains the continuation requirements they can remain in the Joint MD program and have their guaranteed interview.
What do I need to do to have a successful interview with the SOM?
Your performance during the interview will be a primary factor in determining your admission to the SOM. The School of Medicine seeks individuals with a commitment to serving the community. During the interview the School of Medicine will be specifically assessing the following attributes and skills:
Attributes: Emotional Intelligence, Resilience, Servant Leadership, Intellectual Pursuit, Integrity and Passion for the Field of Medicine
Skill sets: Self-motivated, Adaptable, Takes Initiative, Personal Responsibility and Accountability, Written and Oral communication and Team Management Aptitude.
Demonstrating these skills and attributes is not merely about how well you communicate but at its core it is about what have you done that can demonstrate these skills or attributes. This means during your time at Seton Hall, you will need to be developing a portfolio of activities, skills and experiences to which you can speak with confidence during your interview. For example, in order to demonstrate your passion for medicine, active engagement in relevant activities such as being an EMT, shadowing a doctor, being a medical scribe, etc. will be very valuable. This is in addition to the personal motivations or experiences that drive your interest in medicine. Another important part of your interview is servant leadership. To demonstrate this successfully in an interview, you would need to speak to valuable experiences that help you stand out such as volunteering in a hospital, clinic, nursing home, soup kitchen etc. It might also mean a mission trip or a medical brigade trip, etc.
Other extracurricular activities that help you shine during your interview are things such as internships in related fields, research with faculty, practicum or clinical exposure, leadership experiences, experiences working with diverse populations, etc. These things will make you stand out not only during your interview but also in your supplemental materials such as your essays and recommendations.
During your undergraduate study at Seton Hall you will meet regularly with your pre-medical advisor. Your advisor will provide you with workshops, guidance and counseling about all aspects of your studies including helping you understand the type of extracurricular activities you will need to have for a strong application which includes your essay, recommendations and interview preparation.
The pre-med advisor will also monitor your progress and ensure you meet the continuation requirements for the Joint MD program. If you do not meet these, she will also alert you that you have been dismissed from the program.
Am I also considered Pre-med if I am in the Joint MD Program and What is the difference between being Pre-med and being in the Joint MD program?
All students in the Joint MD program are also considered Pre-med students at Seton Hall. Any student can be pre-med. Being pre-med means you have access to an academic advisor and special guidance and preparation for medical school but it does not necessarily mean that you are on track to attend medical school. The Joint MD program provides you with the same guidance and mentorship as all Pre-med students but with the added benefit of screening you for admission and monitoring your academic progress to ensure that you can apply the HMH SOM and have your guaranteed interview.
Will the requirements for admission to the Joint MD program and the continuation requirements to gain entrance to the SOM remain the same forever?
No, the requirements for admission and for continuation in the program are subject to change. The current stated admission criteria are for the incoming freshman entering in the upcoming fall semester. These criteria may change in future years to ensure that we are appropriately admitting qualified students and ensuring a pipeline of students in line with the projected available spots in the SOM. The continuation criteria required to remain in the Joint Degree program may also change over time. But these will never change for a student once they are admitted to the program.
Why is New Jersey residency a requirement?
The Hackensack Meridian Health Network is most interested in providing seats in the School of Medicine to students who are most likely to remain committed to their health network and seek employment at HMH upon completion of their M.D. program.
Am I obligated to enroll in the School of Medicine (SOM) once I am admitted to the joint-degree program?
No, if you are admitted to the SOM, you have no obligation to enroll, you are still welcome to apply to other medical schools and accept whatever offer best suits your interest and goals.
What if my standardized test scores or G.P.A. are just a bit lower than your admission requirements?
The requirements for admission into the Joint MD program are very strict. Students whose scores do not meet the minimum requirements cannot be admitted to the program.
What if I cannot maintain the continuation requirements necessary to remain in the Joint MD program?
These requirements are very strict. You must obtain all of the required grades and take all of the prerequisite courses. Even if your cumulative G.P.A. is just slightly below the minimum requirement, you cannot continue in the Joint MD program. You also cannot retake or repeat courses to improve your grades in a specific course or your cumulative G.P.A. During your undergraduate study, you will work closely with, the SHU academic advisor for the Joint MD program. She will meet with you throughout your undergraduate study and monitor your grades and progress to ensure you are meeting program requirements.
If you do not meet these at any point, you will be dismissed from the Joint MD program. However, you are still eligible to apply to the SOM; the main difference is that you will no longer be offered a guaranteed interview. You will have to apply and compete with all other applicants for an interview. However, if the 25% seat reservation is not filled with student from the Joint MD program, you will still benefit from the fact that the SOM will enroll at least 25 percent of each incoming class from qualified Seton Hall University students.
What is the best undergraduate academic major to pursue if I am enrolled in the Joint MD program?
Students can major in any subject during their undergraduate study as long as they take all required classes. However, majoring in biology or another science is best aligned with meeting the SOM prerequisite courses. However, majoring in a science is not required. Students with interest in other subjects will be able to pursue a degree in another discipline and still take the required prerequisites. Student can also have a minor or a double major or study abroad. This program is flexible to allow you to pursue your interests. Please be advised this may mean that it takes you four and half years to graduate or you may have to take course over the summer. You are not required to complete your undergraduate degree in four years to transition to the M.D. portion of the program but please keep in mind that you can only begin course at the SOM in July.
Can transfer students apply for the joint-degree program?
No, this program is not open to transfer students. Only students applying as incoming freshman are eligible to apply.
Can I apply to this program in the spring semester?
No, this program does not accept applications for the spring semester. Students admitted to the program also cannot defer their admission to the spring.
Can students in the Pre-Med/Pre-Dent Plus apply to this program?
Yes, students enrolled in the state-funded Pre-Med/Pre-Dent Plus program can also apply to the joint M.D. program. All admission requirements and program standards remain the same.
Can International Students enroll in this program?
No, international students cannot be admitted to this program. You must be a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident to enroll in the program and in the School of Medicine.
Are there scholarships available?
Significant scholarships are available for the undergraduate portion of the program during the first four years. Many of these scholarships are automatically awarded to students upon admission to Seton Hall University.
Students will not find out about scholarship offers from the School of Medicine until they are offered admission to the SOM. However, the SOM currently offers generous scholarships to many students. In fact, Hackensack Meridian Health has established a $100-million endowment fund to support scholarships for students attending the School of Medicine.
Will AP courses or college credits earned during high school be accepted?
Students who have earned a 4 or 5 on an AP exam and/or higher-level IB scores of grade 6 or higher will receive credit at Seton Hall for these courses. Similarly, students who took college credits during high school can submit college transcripts for these courses and earn credit if they earned a C or better. While you may earn credit for these courses, they may not necessarily waive the course requirements for your degree. This will depend on which academic major you choose and the rules of this specific academic department.
How can I establish NJ residence if I am not currently a NJ resident?
It is very important to the Hackensack Meridian Health Network that students enrolled in the SOM are committed to New Jersey and hope to pursue a medical career in the state and within the HMH network. If you are not a NJ resident and you want to become one, you must keep this level of commitment in mind. To establish residency in New Jersey you will need to obtain a New Jersey driver,s license or State ID and complying with the State requirements needed to issue this credential. You must do this before you apply to the School of Medicine.
25 percent of the seats in the School of Medicine are reserved for Seton Hall graduates, will this entire 25 percent come from the Joint MD program?
It is anticipated that the majority of the students who fill the 25 percent reservation of seats for Seton Hall will come directly from the Joint MD program. However, other Seton Hall graduates who were not initially enrolled at Seton Hall through the Joint MD program may also compete for these seats. However, it is only the students in the Joint MD program that are guaranteed an interview, other Seton Hall students are not guaranteed an interview.
What if I complete my undergraduate degree in 3 ½ years or 4 ½ years or take a medical leave of absence?
You are not required to graduate in four years or maintain continuous enrollment to enter the M.D. portion of the program, you are only required to meet the GPA, pre-requisite course requirements and other requirements indicated. Some students may be able to graduate in 3 ½ years due to AP credits or college credits. Some students may take 4 ½ years or longer to graduate if they added a double major or a minor, studied abroad for a semester or majored in a non-science intensive major that required more credits to attain the pre-requisite courses. But please be advised that the SOM only begins courses in July. Therefore, if a student completes the undergraduate degree in December he/she will have to wait until July to begin classes at the School of Medicine.
How many High School students can be admitted to the Joint MD program?
There is no cap or limit on the number of students who can be admitted to the Joint MD program. All Applicants will be admitted if they meet the requirements of applying to SHU by Dec 15 of senior year of High School, having a 3.6 GPA or higher (unweighted) and at least an ACT composite of 30 or 2-part SAT of 1400 (minimum of 650 on each section). Recommendations and essay must also be commensurate with academic performance and there should be no record of serious conduct issues or suspensions.
You may wonder how this is possible, so this narrative serves to illustrate this point:
- When the SOM is at full capacity there will be 150-160 students in each incoming class (2021).
- This means approx. 40 seats are reserved for qualified SHU students (25%). The majority of these will likely be filled with students from the Joint MD program.
- Based on what we know about similar joint degree programs (PT & PA) we anticipate that only about half of those who enter the Joint MD program will move on to the MD portion of the program (either through natural attrition or inability to meet requirements).
- In 2019 we enrolled 73 students in the Joint MD program from a pool of 300 admitted students. Keep in mind not all admitted students enroll as they have been admitted to other institutions.
- So, if we have 73 enrolled students and only half of them will meet all the continuation requirements, this means 37 students will have a guaranteed interview with the SOM. As stated above about 40 seats are reserved for SHU students. This means there is space for all 37 students. Keep in mind that not all 37 of these will be admitted to the School of Medicine based on performance on the interview and that these 37 students will also likely be applying to and get admitted to other medical schools which they choose to attend.
- This illustrates that there is sufficient projected space for the Joint MD pipeline. But it also illustrates that there will also likely be space left to accommodate some SHU students who do not come through the Joint MD pipeline, such as students who were not admitted to the program or who failed to maintain program continuation requirements, etc. These students are not guaranteed an interview. They will have to compete against all applicants for an interview.
- We will closely monitor and evaluate the applications, trends and enrollment each year. As a result, we may adjust our admission requirements for incoming high school students or the continuation requirements needed to remain in the Joint MD program. This continual reevaluation will allow us to ensure that our pipeline of Joint MD students remains in line with the projected available slots in the SOM.