Program Overview

What to Expect






How long will it take me to complete the program?

Your program will be individually tailored to meet your needs, taking into account the courses you have already completed as an undergraduate or graduate student. Most students finish the program in 12 to 24 months, with at least one academic year of full-time study.

In addition to the standard laboratory sciences required for medical school, we recommend that students take biochemistry and, if they have not already taken it, a psychology class.

Some students may wish to remain at the University of Rochester during the “glide” year between completing coursework and MCATs and entering medical school, using this time to take advanced classes, work in laboratories or in health-related placements, and experience some of the other academic opportunities available.

If you choose to take additional courses during this time, you would continue in the Post-bac program as either a full- or part-time student. The tuition for part-time students is calculated on a per-credit basis.

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What will my classes be like?

Your classes will be rigorous, challenging, and eye-opening. They are taught by full-time faculty who do not separate their love of teaching from their love for research.

You will take your classes with our full-time undergraduates; occasional labs and recitation sections are created specifically for post-baccalaureate students. Most medical schools require their applicants to have a full year of biology, chemistry, physics, and organic chemistry with labs, as well as a year of English. 

Some programs also require calculus, biochemistry, statistics, and/or social sciences. Your science courses will be accompanied by laboratory sections. Some courses offer concurrent workshops that have proven to be highly effective in supporting student success.

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What is the schedule like?

BIO 105: Introductory Biology Laboratory

The laboratory experiments complement lecture material in BIO 110, Principles of Biology I. Topics include protein and nucleic acid structure, enzyme activity, cell and tissue structure, and cell reproduction. The laboratory emphasizes experimental design and data analysis.

BIO 111: Principles of Biology II

The second semester of the introductory sequence designed for majors in biology. Topics include evolution, biodiversity, physiology, ecology and conservation biology. Concurrent enrollment in BIO 111P is strongly recommended for those intending to apply to medical school.

BIO 117: Introductory Biology Lab

Accompanies the lecture course Principles of Biology II, Perspectives in Biology II and Intro to Organismal Evolutionary Biology. Plant and animal diversity, biology of protista, animal behavior, bioinformatics, and physiology. Problem solving, critical thinking and experimental design.

BIO 250: Introduction to Biochemistry

This course will cover fundamental aspects of biochemistry, including bioenergetics, protein structure, kinetic analysis of enzyme action, and general intermediary metabolism. The text will be the 6th edition of Lehninger's "Principles of Biochemistry" by Nelson and Cox, with its accompanying website, which includes access to CHIME tutorials that explore structure-function relationships in biomolecules. (See BIO 151 for laboratory.)

CHM 131: Chemical Concepts, Systems and Practices I

This course is an introduction to the concepts of chemistry for science and engineering students, health professions students, and as a science course for students of the humanities and social sciences. Properties of chemical systems are discussed from a macroscopic and molecular perspective with examples developed from a wide range of disciplines. The topics covered include stoichiometry, atoms and molecules, properties of gases, thermochemistry, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases, solubility equilibria, and oxidation-reduction reactions. Lab fee: $108 (billed).

CHM 132: Chemical Concepts, Systems and Practices II, with Lab

A continuation of Chemical Concepts, Systems and Practices I, emphasizing molecular and macroscopic approaches to chemical systems with examples concerned with life sciences or energy and the environment. Topics covered include chemical kinetics, electrochemistry, thermodynamics, properties of atoms, atomic structure, and chemical bonding.

CHM 203: Organic Chemistry I

Introduction to organic chemistry focusing on chemical bonding, structure and stereochemistry, reactions and reaction mechanism of organic compounds. There are four two-hour lectures per week and one or two workshops in the evenings. The workshop is an informal interactive two-hour session in which groups of eight students work on specially designed problems under the guidance of a trained leader. The purpose of the workshop is to provide a mechanism for students to work actively with the material and with each other. The laboratory for CHM 203 is CHM 207; co-registration is recommended. Lab fee $100 (billed).

CHM 204: Organic Chemistry II

This is a continuation of a two-semester sequence in the study of organic chemistry. Topics include the reactivity of various functional groups, approaches to organic synthesis, reactivity of conjugated systems, and molecules of biological significance. There are four two-hour lectures per week and one or two workshops in the evenings. The laboratory for CHM 204 is CHM 208, which runs concurrently; co-registration is advised. Lab fee $100 (billed).

CHM 207: Organic Chemistry I: Laboratory

Introduction to the characterization and reactivity of organic molecules using modern laboratory techniques. Labs meet three afternoons per week. Lab lecture meets during those times, but not on any particular day. Co-registration in CHM 203 is required. Lab fee: $100 (billed).

CHM 208: Organic Chemistry II: Laboratory

A continuation of the organic laboratory sequence begun in CHM 207 with two components. Labs meet three afternoons/week. Lab lecture meets during those times, but not on any particular day. Co-registration in the requisite lecture course is CHM 204 if necessary. Lab fee: $100 (billed).

PHY 113: General Physics I

First semester of a two-course sequence suitable for students in the life sciences. Newtonian particle mechanics, including Newton's laws and their applications to straight-line and circular motions, energy, linear momentum, angular momentum, harmonic motions, Kepler's laws, planetary and satellite motions. Students must register for a PHY-113 laboratory during course registration. Calculus as needed.

PHY 114: General Physics II

Second semester of a two-semester sequence suitable for students in the life of sciences. Electricity and magnetism, optics, electromagnetic waves, and modern physics (introduction to relativity, quantum physics, etc.). Students register for a laboratory and workshop during course registration. In addition to the two 75-minute lectures, one approximately three hour laboratory is held every other week. Workshop/recitation times are determined by the instructor.

MTH 141: Calculus I

Analysis of the elementary real functions: algebraic, trigonometric, exponentials and their inverses and composites. Their graphs, derivatives, and integrals. Mean value theorem, maxima and minima, curve plotting. MTH 141, 142, and 143 is a three-semester sequence that covers, at a slower pace, exactly the same material as the two-semester sequence, MTH 161 and 162. This course uses the Tuesday/Thursday 8 - 9:30 a.m. Common Exam time. This course cannot be taken for credit after completing any of MTH 141A, 142, 143, 161, or 162. Students who want to switch calculus sequence, for example from the 160s sequence to the 140s sequence, should first speak with Advising Services. Students who want to repeat a course for a grade need to secure the approval of the Dean by meeting with a professional adviser in Advising Services.

MTH 142: Calculus II

This course will consist of applications of the finite integrals, techniques of integration, calculus of the transcendental functions, improper integrals and the use of l'Hopital's rule. This course uses the Tuesday/Thursday 8 - 9:30 a.m. Common Exam time. This course cannot be taken for credit after completing MTH 143 or 162. Students who want to switch calculus sequence, for example from the 160s sequence to the 140s sequence, should first speak with Advising Services. Students who want to repeat a course for a grade need to secure the approval of the Dean by meeting with a professional adviser in Advising Services.

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What other courses are available?

We offer a wide range of courses and can accommodate students preparing for a variety of health professions. We will work with you to tailor a program to meet your particular needs.

Some courses that our students have found especially helpful are:

BCS 110: Neural Foundations of Behavior

Description: Introduces the structure and organization of the brain, and its role in perception, movement, thinking, and other behavior. Topics include the brain as a special kind of computer, localization of function, effects of brain damage and disorders, differences between human and animal brains, sex differences, perception and control of movement, sleep, regulation of body states and emotions, and development and aging.

Offered: Fall, Summer

BCS 111: Foundations of Cognitive Science

Description: Introduces the organization of mental processes underlying cognition and behavior. Topics include perception, language, learning, memory, and intelligence. This course integrates knowledge of cognition generated from the field of cognitive psychology with findings from artificial intelligence and cognitive neuroscience.

Offered: Fall, Spring

BIO 258: Human Anatomy

Restrictions: Instructor’s permission required

Course Work: The course includes both lectures and laboratory sessions, and provides a basis for further professional and clinical experience.

Prerequisites: BIO 110 or equivalent

Description: The detailed study of the human organism at the cellular, tissue and organ systems levels. The relationship between structure and function is covered with emphasis on structural relationships.

Offered: Spring

PH 103: Concepts of Epidemiology

Description: Fundamental concepts underlying health-related information and health policy. Basic methodological principles used to describe disease occurrence in populations and identify causes of disease.

Offered: Fall

BIO 190: Genetics and the Human Genome

Basics of Mendelian and molecular genetics with a focus on the structure, function and evolution of the human genome.

Offered: Fall

BIO 204: Mammalian Physiology

Normal function with an emphasis on humans. Topics include homeostatic regulation, various systems (endocrine, nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, and metabolic), and integration of function of those systems.

Offered: Fall

BIO 217: Mammalian Anatomy

Structures of the body with an emphasis on humans. Topics include the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, endocrine, nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, digestive, and reproductive systems. Students must register for lab (BIO217P).

Offered: Spring

STT 212: Applied Statistics for the Biological and Physical Sciences I

Descriptive statistics, statistical analysis, and statistical inference as used in the biological and physical sciences; including elements of correlation, regression, and analysis of variance. Excel, Minitab and similar programs. Please note that, because of the significant overlap between them, students may earn degree credit for only one of these courses: BCS 200, CSP/PSI 211, STT 211 and STT 212.

Offered: Fall Spring

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When do I take the MCAT exam? When do I apply to medical school?

The answer depends in part upon when you begin your Post-baccalaureate studies at the University of Rochester, and in part based upon when you feel comfortably prepared for the exam.

Most students will take the exam in May or June, after they have finished their coursework. MCAT scores generally take about a month to arrive. The medical school application process takes place in several stages:

The MCAT includes questions about biochemistry, psychology, sociology, and basic statistics.

We’ll work with you to create an individualized program that suits your needs, as well as the requirements for medical school.

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