The Pros & Cons of 3-Year Medical School Programs

New programs look to change medical education.

Medical School in Three Years

three year medical school programs Texas Tech medical school 3 year programMany major news organizations, including The New York Times, have been writing about three year medical school programs at institutions such as New York University, Texas Tech, and LECOM. Such programs are ideally suited for very focused and directed students – those who have a crystal clear idea of what specialty they would like to pursue before starting medical school.

Examples of three year medical programs:

Texas Tech medical school 3 year program

NYU medical school 3 year program

Lake Erie College of Medicine, LECOM 3 year medical school

3 year medical school programs list post bacc pre med

Similar to accelerated medical programs

In many ways, such programs are similar to accelerated medical programs that allow students to get both their undergraduate and medical degrees in a shorter time than they would by pursuing the two degrees separately. But three year medical school programs have a downside. Students who take accelerated paths to residency must be exceptionally mature and clear about what they want. For many medical students, medical school offers time to explore career options; for these individuals, being forced to choose a specialty in the second year of medical school would be detrimental since they would have less time to consider deeply the specialty that might be the best fit for them.

advice for medical school reapplicants

Accelerated Medical Programs

With student debt on the rise over the recent years, the opportunity to finish med school early has been attracting more and more attention from prospective students in the US and Canada.

What is a fast-track or accelerated medical program?

Fast-track or accelerated medical programs combine the Bachelor in Science (B.Sc.) degree with the Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree.

Accelerated medical studies take around 3 to 4 years to complete, depending on the school. This often allows students to save a year of tuition, housing and other fees.

What about career choices?

While a three year pathway would save students time and money and “speed up” the transit of physicians through the pipeline, it might also produce physicians who are not happy with their career choices.

See my earlier article that relates to this topic and was published on KevinMD, 4 Bad Reasons Why Students Choose a Specialty.


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