Linkage Program FAQ

Considering a Linkage Program?

A linkage is a special relationship between a post-baccalaureate premedical program and a medical school. Such arrangements are an excellent way to gain admission to a single medical school and reduce an applicant’s timeline to reaching medical schools by one year: our linkages allow students who have completed one year in the post-baccalaureate premedical school to apply to medical school during their second year with us, typically one cycle earlier than they would normally do so.

While a linkage typically eliminates the gap year (the year between finishing the post-bac program and starting medical schools traditionally used for the application process), many students enjoy the opportunities a gap year provides. Some students use that time to get more intensive clinical experience that allows greater responsibility in patient care. Others choose to take supplemental coursework (e.g., microbiology, immunology, anatomy and physiology) that can provide a firmer foundation for the first two years of medical school. For these reasons, applicants should carefully consider the pros and cons of a linkage.

What is your timeline to apply to medical school?

Linkages are best suited to students who plan a two-year post-baccalaureate program, and linkage eligibility is based in part on the student’s performance in their first year of post-baccalaureate work at Wash U. Linkages are binding, meaning that a student who pursues a linkage may only apply to that one medical school in that application year. Because of this, some students who may only need a year to be ready for application are better served by applying broadly rather than focusing on a single linkage opportunity.

What is your prior academic background?

Our linkage programs are open to both career changers and enhancement students. However, every applicant must meet the GPA requirements of the linkage program to which they are applying. The Case Western linkage specifies a combined undergraduate and post-baccalaureate GPA of 3.6. Some students may begin their post-baccalaureate work with an undergraduate GPA that is sufficiently below this requirement that it would be difficult or impossible to reach in the time allotted for the program. The University of Michigan linkage requires a 3.5 GPA in undergraduate work completed before entering a post-baccalaureate program.

Is one of our partner medical schools a good fit for you?

It is important to investigate the medical school you are interested in to determine whether it would be the right place for you to begin your career in medicine. Consider what kind of environment and opportunities you want in the context of the values, mission, and teaching styles of the linkage school. Do you have experience that they would value and appreciate? Would you be likely to meet other like-minded student there? Are they training the kinds of physicians that you aspire to be one day?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the linkage program?

Acceptance to one of our partner schools allows students to same time by avoiding a gap year. For the CWRU linkage, students can also skip the MCAT. Some students, however, may want to apply more broadly or may decide that the linkage schools are not the right fit for them.

When should you decide?

You’ll need to get settled in the post-baccalaureate program and establish a good record here before making firm plans, but we suggest you speak with your academic advisor early on about your interest in a linkage. Typically, students who plan to apply for the linkage will visit the medical campus in the summer or fall of their second year, prior to application. This allows prospective applicants a chance to tour the campus, meet current students, and get a good feel for both the culture and curriculum.

If I attend the post-baccalaureate premedical program at WUSTL, am I required to apply to a linkage program?

No.

If I am accepted to a partner medical school through the linkage program, am I required to attend?

Yes. Applicants to the linkage program sign a binding agreement.

What happens if I apply to a linkage program, but I’m not accepted?

Students would then apply to medical school after completing the PBPM program. For this reason, all students are encouraged to take the standard prerequisite courses including physics I and II and organic chemistry II.

Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Linkage Information

Since 1843, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (CWRU SOM), based in Cleveland, Ohio, has been dedicated to enhancing human health as a leader and innovator in the fields of medical education and biomedical research. Building upon this proud history, their mission is threefold: providing excellence in medical education, advancing discoveries from their laboratories to patients, and improving the health of their community.

Why Choose the Linkage Program with CWRU?

The University Program of the CWRU School of Medicine provides a world-class education in a supportive and collaborative environment. The four-year curriculum emphasizes the interplay between the biology of disease and the social and behavioral context of illness, with public health themes woven throughout.

The first two years of the curriculum utilize a combination of team-based learning and lecture, and are graded on a pass/fail basis. The curriculum also includes a dedicated four month research block that enables students to engage in intellectual discovery and exploration through a variety of different medical and medically-related fields.

CWRU SOM is affiliated with four large and nationally/internationally recognized hospital systems, which provide their medical students with unparalleled clinical and research opportunities. Washington University is the first post-baccalaureate program to link with CWRU SOM.

Linkage Program Requirements

  • This linkage allows applicants to bypass the MCAT exam. Students who have taken the MCAT previously are not eligible to apply to the linkage program with CWRU.
  • An overall GPA of 3.6 or better and post-baccalaureate program GPA of 3.8 or better are required by the time of application.
  • Any grade below a B in a math or science course (whether in undergraduate or post-baccalaureate work) will disqualify a student from this linkage program.
  • Any grade of D or F in any course (whether in undergraduate or post-baccalaureate work) will disqualify a student from this linkage program.

Please speak with an advisor to assess your qualifications.

Linkage Process

Students complete one year of course work in the post-baccalaureate premedical program and then apply to the linkage the following August. Applicants are evaluated while completing their second year of course work. Admitted students will matriculate into medical school for the summer semester immediately following completion of the post-baccalaureate program.

For more detailed information reach out to your advisor.

How are applications to the linkage program evaluated?

Each student’s entire record is evaluated by the WUSTL post-baccalaureate pre-health committee. Strong candidates are recommended to the office of admission at CWRU, and all final decisions regarding admission will be made by CWRU. While academics are key, successful applicants will have significant extracurricular experience as well.  

Why did WUSTL choose to partner with CWRU?

CWRU is an excellent school with a supportive learning environment and excellent opportunities in both research and community service outreach.

Is there a limit on the number of students who can be accepted through the linkage?

CWRU does not have linkages with any other schools. Currently, there is not a limit on the number of seats available through this linkage program.

Do I have to maintain a certain GPA in the post-baccalaureate program at WUSTL if admitted to CWRU through the linkage program?

Yes, 3.8 or better.

Is the MCAT required for admission to CWRU through the linkage program?

No. Since MCAT preparation usually demands a significant amount of time, CWRU expects that students will invest a comparable amount of time in a substantial service or research project instead. 

Does CWRU SOM require any course work beyond the core courses in the WUSTL post-baccalaureate program?

No. CWRU’s specific requirements include:

  • two semesters of general chemistry with labs
  • one semester of organic chemistry with lab
  • one semester of biochemistry
  • one semester of college writing

They recommend:

  • cellular biology
  • physics
  • statistics
  • social sciences

All of the recommended courses are available as electives in WUSTL’s program.

University of Michigan Medical School Linkage Information

University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS) is a top ranked school for both research and clinical care. The curriculum is dynamic and evolving, with input from students. It has a systems-based foundation but also incorporates small group learning and in-depth clinical training beginning early in the first year. A wide range of research opportunities are available in basic science research, clinical research, or translational research.

UMMS allows students to pursue research projects or clinical electives abroad through their Global REACH program. A student run free clinic provides hands-on experience working with uninsured patients and exposure to the administrative side of medicine. UMMS prepares students not only to transition seamlessly into residency after graduation, but to become leaders in their chosen field in the future.

Linkage Program Requirements

Grade Point Average

  •  WUSTL Post-Baccalaureate Pre-med GPA: 3.7
  • Cumulative Undergraduate GPA: 3.5 or better.

Any science or math grade below a C most likely will disqualify a student from this linkage program. Any grade of D or F anywhere in the academic record will disqualify a student from this linkage program.
 

MCAT

  • Provisionally accepted students must sit for the MCAT in the spring and earn a score in the 85th – 100th percentile range (currently 512 or above on the new scale).

Other, non-academic parameters, including professionalism, are taken into consideration, and final acceptance is at the discretion of UMMS.

Linkage Process

The linkage process primarily takes place over the course of the second year: students complete one year of course work in the post-baccalaureate premedical program and then apply to the linkage in December and submit in January. For more detailed information see the graphic below or reach out to your advisor.