Students who want to strengthen their application to medical school (or dental school, or physician associate school, or any other professional health program) usually have two main options to choose from: an undergraduate certificate program or a special master’s degree program, like our Master of Science in Medical Sciences (MSMS) programs.
This article looks at the difference between the two programs and lays out the advantages of pursuing a special master’s program.
How Undergraduate Certificates Work
Pre-med post-bacc certificate programs allow students to take pre-med prerequisite courses they may have missed during their bachelor’s degree program, or re-take courses in an attempt to achieve a higher GPA. The coursework is equivalent to what’s offered during the last two years of a bachelor’s degree.
There are formal certificate programs, but students can also take individual courses outside of a structured program.
After completing an undergraduate certificate program, students can apply (or re-apply) to medical school, but they will still only have a bachelor’s degree.
Reason #1 to Choose an MSMS: Show Real Progress
One of the main advantages of an MSMS is that it allows you to show medical school admissions committees you’re capable of doing more than re-taking bachelor’s-level classes to make incremental improvements in your GPA.
In a Tiber Health MSMS program, in fact, you will take courses that mirror the first year of medical school at an LCME-accredited institution. If your goal is to get into medical school, completing our MSMS can prove that you have what it takes to master the curriculum.
Reason #2 to Choose an MSMS: More Options After Graduation
However, maybe your ultimate goal isn’t to get into medical school. If you’re aiming to pursue dentistry, optometry, a physician associate program, or another health-related profession, completing an MSMS can help. Again, admissions committees may see a master’s degree as a stronger indicator of your ability to handle graduate-level health courses compared to an undergrad certificate. Also, several of the courses in our MSMS program, such as Anatomy and Physiology, are included in the curriculum for these other health professional programs, too.
There’s also a possibility that you may decide to take your master’s degree and do something completely different, such as pursuing a PhD or a career in medical device sales. Earning an MSMS establishes the foundation you’ll need to pursue those pathways, too.
Finally, having a master’s degree at all can help you stand out in the job market: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24.1 million Americans held a master’s degree as of 2021—only about 7.3% of the total population.
Reason #3 to Choose an MSMS: Expanded Financial Aid Borrowing Limits
If you earned your bachelor’s degree in the United States, you are likely to have interacted with the financial aid system. Even if you’re familiar with the FAFSA, financing a pre-med post-bacc certificate program can be trickier than you might expect. The federal government places borrowing limits on the amount of loans students can use to finance undergraduate-level programs. If you are already close to those borrowing limits, you may have to turn to higher-interest private loans or other options to afford your undergraduate post-bacc.
Earning an MSMS, however, means that students who apply and qualify for financial aid may be able to take advantage of the federal government’s higher borrowing limits for graduate programs. Note that eligibility requirements apply for all federal financial aid, so make sure you explore your options with an advisor before you enroll in any MSMS program.
Reason #4 to Choose an MSMS: More Online Options
Another reason to choose a Tiber Health MSMS program is that it’s possible to complete it 100% online. We offer fully online study through Ponce Health Sciences University St. Louis (PHSU), Jacksonville University, and Southern California University of Health Sciences.
You can complete the online MSMS in 11 months of full-time study or 20 months of part-time study from wherever you are. If you don’t live near one of our eight partner schools, or if you have to work while you earn your degree, online learning could be the right solution to help you keep your dreams on track.
Even More Advantages of a Tiber Health MSMS
Of course, earning your MSMS with a Tiber Health partner school confers additional advantages beyond the more challenging curriculum, additional post-graduation options, or expanded financial aid access if you qualify. Earning your MSMS with us also means:
- Choosing from eight distinctive partner schools across the country
- More engaging education, thanks to our dynamic classroom format
- Data-driven insights about your strengths and weaknesses, including a USMLE Step 1 pass or fail prediction
- Access to medical school linkage opportunities with PHSU and other institutions
You can complete your MSMS with Tiber Health in as few as 11 months of full-time study.
Find the Program That’s Right for You
Interested in pursuing an MSMS that can help you pursue medical school and many other exciting career paths? Find a Tiber Health MSMS program near you today!