Linkage Program FAQ

Are You Considering a Linkage Program?

At WashU, we have established special connections, known as Linkage Programs, with prestigious medical schools such as Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the University of Michigan Medical School. These collaborations provide a unique opportunity for aspiring medical students to gain admission to a specific medical school while reducing their timeline by one year. 

With our linkages, students who have completed one year in our post-baccalaureate premedical program can apply to medical school during their second year with us. This enables them to start their medical education a cycle earlier than the traditional timeline. 

While a linkage program generally eliminates the need for a gap year, traditionally used for the application process between completing the post-baccalaureate program and starting medical school, we recognize that some students appreciate the benefits and opportunities a gap year can offer. During this time, students can engage in more intensive clinical experiences, taking on greater responsibility in patient care. Additionally, they may pursue supplemental coursework in subjects like microbiology, immunology, anatomy, and physiology to strengthen their foundation for the first two years of medical school. 

We encourage applicants to carefully consider a linkage program's pros and cons. If you want to learn more about linkages and have questions, keep reading as we address the most frequently asked questions about our Linkage Programs. 

What should I consider when deciding whether to pursue a linkage program?

Linkages are most suitable for students who are planning a two-year post-baccalaureate program. Eligibility for a linkage is partially determined by the student's performance in their first year of post-baccalaureate work at Wash U. It's important to note that linkages are binding, which means that if a student pursues a linkage, they can only apply to that specific medical school in that application year. However, it's worth considering that some students who only need one more year to prepare for their application may benefit more from applying broadly, rather than focusing solely on a single linkage opportunity. 

What are the GPA requirements for the WashU, Case Western, and University of Michigan linkage programs?

At WashU, our linkage programs welcome both career changers and enhancement students. However, it's important to note that each applicant must meet the GPA requirements specific to their chosen linkage program. 

The Case Western linkage, requires a combined undergraduate and post-baccalaureate GPA of 3.6 is required. We understand that some students may start their post-baccalaureate work with an undergraduate GPA below this requirement. In such cases, it may be challenging or even impossible to reach the required GPA within the program's designated timeframe. 

The University of Michigan linkage mandates a 3.5 GPA in undergraduate coursework completed before entering a post-baccalaureate program. 

What factors should I consider to determine if any of the WashU linkage program relationships would be a good fit for me?

It is important to thoroughly investigate the medical school you are interested in to determine if any of the WashU linkage program relationships would be a good fit for you. Consider factors such as the school's mission and teaching styles, as well as the kind of environment and opportunities you desire. Additionally, assess whether your experiences align with the school’s values and if you would have the chance to connect with like-minded students. Lastly, evaluate if the school is training the type of physician you aspire to become. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of linkage programs?

Linkage programs offer certain advantages to students. Acceptance to a partner school can save time by avoiding a gap year, and in some cases, students can skip standardized tests like the MCAT. However, it's important to note that linkage schools may not be the right fit for everyone. Applying more broadly allows students to explore a wider range of options. It's also important to understand that linkages do not guarantee acceptance into medical school. There is no guarantee of an interview or admittance with a linkage. Students who apply broadly to multiple schools can potentially receive multiple offers to choose from, whereas a linkage program limits students to one choice. Considering these factors and the associated risks is important when deciding whether to pursue a linkage program. 

When should I decide on applying to a linkage program?

Before making concrete plans, it is important to first settle into the post-baccalaureate program and establish a strong academic record. We recommend speaking with your academic advisor early on to express your interest in a linkage program. Typically, students who intend to apply for the linkage visit the medical campus during their second year, either in the summer or fall, before submitting their application. This visit allows prospective applicants to explore the campus, interact with current students, and gain a comprehensive understanding of the culture and curriculum. 

If I attend the PBPM Program at WashU, do I have to apply to a linkage program?

Attending the post-baccalaureate premedical program at WashU does not obligate you to apply to a linkage program. 

Am I required to attend if I get accepted to a partner medical school through the linkage program?

Yes, if you are accepted to a partner medical school through the linkage program, attending is mandatory, as applicants are required to sign a binding agreement. 

What happens if I am not accepted into a linkage program?

If you apply to a linkage program, but you're not accepted, you can still apply to medical school after completing the PBPM program

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.


  • 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.