Exploring Post-Bacc Linkage Programs for Medical School Admission

Published on: Jun 1, 2024
Share Article


Lucas Moddrell

Dr. Baran Erdik


Dr. Baran Erdik

The application process for post-bacc premed students can be time-consuming. However, with the help of a post-bacc linkage program, students can expedite the med school admissions process after taking the MCAT test.

Throughout post bacc programs, students handle the MCAT test and their coursework by the time spring ends, preparing them for application review before the next school year in the fall. 

This article will highlight several post-bacc linkage programs and the key points to consider.

The Value of Post-Bacc Linkage Programs

Also known as med school linkages, these programs give post-bacc students preferential consideration, which has several unique benefits. For example, post-bacc students completing a linkage program could be prioritized. 

This pertains to interviews or direct admission with associated medical schools. Although the benefits of different linkage programs are bound to vary, here are a few common examples.

  • Skipping the glide year after taking the MCAT test

  • The ability to privately apply one cycle early, allowing students to navigate the application process on their own

  • Receiving provisional acceptance during the post-bacc program

  • Tours of schools with your career path in mind

  • Tailored school and career advisement through aligning academic and professional goals

Linkage programs benefit both sides of the coin. Students gain from additional opportunities to apply, and medical schools gain access to a reliable stream of highly qualified and dedicated applicants.

While linkage programs provide ample opportunity to the right students, it’s equally important to consider if the program is right for you. Evaluating the details behind what the program offers is a vital consideration for your medical career path.

While enrolling in a linkage program can be exciting, numerous factors play into its overall value. Only some linkage programs are beneficial for some students. Each linkage program has its list of associated medical schools, student success rates, and unique reputation.

It’s also commonly found that linkage programs require a minimum undergraduate GPA, medical science coursework, and strong MCAT scores. The nuances of these points will change a bit between schools, but they’re focal points nonetheless. Reviewing the requirements from one linkage program to the next, you’ll notice that each university handles them differently.

A quick search on the AAMC website reveals a seemingly never-ending list of post-bacc colleges that offer linkage programs. The pros and cons of each program could be debated endlessly. To help you start your research, we’ve curated a list of post-bacc linkage programs.

1. Johns Hopkins Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program

An academic brand name that speaks for itself, Johns Hopkins University is no stranger to linkage services, as it has a sizable list of partnerships. Better yet, students will have the chance to engage directly with representatives at medical school linkages and receive the help of the Johns Hopkins admissions team.1. 

This delivers the insights students need ahead of time so they can make the best decision possible. Currently, the Johns Hopkins linkage program works with nine participating universities.

These include the following:

  • Boston University School of Medicine

  • Brown University, Alpert Medical School

  • George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences

  • Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

  • New York Institute of Technology, College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

  • University of Michigan Medical School

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

  • Weill Cornell Medical School

Johns Hopkins has made the application process relatively straightforward. Students who have completed JHU’s post-bacc program can enroll in any associated schools through the linkage program. However, eligibility comes with a few caveats.

Eligible students must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete all pre-medical requirements by the end of the spring semester

  • If required, maintain a minimum GPA

  • Take the MCAT test in the spring and meet the minimum score requirements

  • Receive an invitation to interview

  • Be admitted by the selected school’s admissions committee

Johns Hopkins and the linkage program's associated colleges offer more than enough support for interested applicants. If you have any questions or concerns about JHU’s linkage programs, make sure to contact the official email for the Post-Bacc Pre-medical Program at Johns Hopkins University. 2

2. Columbia Postbac Premed Program

Students at Columbia School of General Studies have numerous linkage programs. Columbia has its own set of eligibility requirements. A significant upside is that Columbia's Post-Bacc Premed Program schedules visits to most of its linkage schools in the fall semester.

Some schools leave linkage visits up to the student, but Columbia organizes much of this for their post-bacc premed students. Although this list is subject to change, Columbia is currently associated with the following colleges for linkage programs.3

  • Columbia University College of Dental Medicine

  • Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons

  • Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • New York University School of Medicine

  • Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

  • Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

  • SUNY Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine

  • The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

  • University of Michigan Medical School

  • University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

  • Weill Cornell Medical College

  • Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel)

A common downside to linkages is that students can only apply to one of the colleges on the list. Regardless, students must do their due diligence, as each linkage has a unique set of requirements.

GPA requirements range from 3.3 to 3.7. Each program emphasizes science coursework. Some require no grades lower than a B or a C, and several require all pre-medical science coursework to be taken at Columbia. 

Columbia offers some interesting data. They put together a few data points focusing on the percentage of students who accepted the nomination for linkage and then proceeded to be accepted by their selected school. 

Here’s what the numbers look like between 2017 and 2021:

  • 2017: 36%

  • 2018: 61%

  • 2019: 60%

  • 2020: 46%

  • 2021: 46%

Some years are better than others, but it also shows how selective some admissions committees can be.4

3. Georgetown University Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate Program

Catered towards those looking for a career change, the post-baccalaureate program at Georgetown stands tall. Students can utilize either a full-time or part-time agreement with the program.

The school also offers shadowing opportunities through Georgetown University Medstar Hospital. Moreover, post-bacc students can receive a letter of recommendation from the post-bacc committee.5

Georgetown has linkages with a small yet solid group of colleges:

  • Georgetown Medical

  • George Washington University

  • New York University

  • Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

  • University of Pittsburgh

Most associated linkage programs require a GPA of 3.6 or above in every class taken. When it comes to the MCAT score, students must reside in at least the 85th percentile with a minimum score of 511.6

A thorough essay, resume, and recommendation letters are required. Applicants can apply in the fall and undergo an interview in the spring. Students must also show their time with clinical experiences, community service, and shadowing. 
Completing prerequisites and extracurricular activities is necessary before applying to a linkage school. For peace of mind, students can garner support from Georgetown and the associated linkage school they're applying to.

4. Agnes Scott College Post-Bacc Pre-Med Programs

With strong academic performance and proven success in volunteer work, post-bacc students can be eligible for Agnes Scott linkage programs. It’s important to remember that acceptance into a medical school through a linkage program is determined by the institution in question.

At Agnes Scott College, students are supported by health profession advisors regarding determining eligibility. This also comes with proper guidance for the application process. Like many other colleges, Agnes Scott has a few details about their linkage programs that are important to cover.

  • Students who are accepted must commit to their designated program

  • Each medical school sets its own GPA requirements

  • Invitations to apply are based on school performance and coursework, and some require final MCAT scores

  • While attending Agnes Scott, students can only apply to one linkage program

Agnes Scott College is partnered with four institutions through linkage programs. This includes Mercer University School of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy. Students have plenty to choose from that will help guide their career path toward the right field of medicine.14

5. Scripps College Post-Baccalaureate Linkage Program

With six medical schools as part of its linkage program, Scripps College offers students multiple avenues to pursue their medical careers. Those with volunteer placements and a strong academic background and qualification are eligible and can apply for the linkage.

While Scripps College offers plenty of support for its comprehensive program, it’s challenging to say the least. Only one-quarter of each class successfully enters medical school through the program.

The following institutions have linkage agreements with Scripps College:

  • Boston University, School of Medicine

  • George Washington University, School of Medicine and Health Sciences

  • Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

  • University of Michigan Medical School

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

  • Western University of Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine

Each has its prestigious history within the field of medicine. For students who need it, the schools provide one-on-one advising that’s customized to the individual's needs. Moreover, the schools also offer advising support during the glide year between post-baccalaureate graduation and the beginning of medical school. This can include help with medical school prep work, support for educational and research activities, and more.9

6. Case Western Reserve University Post-baccalaureate Linkage Program

A unique linkage agreement and post-bacc program, Case Western Reserve University stands out for several reasons. Also referred to as their PRIME program, post-bacc MD applicants are eligible for interviews for the linkage program.

It should be noted that this college only has one linkage partnership with CWRU School of Medicine. The university is actively working to build new partnerships with other medical schools, but this route has still proven quite helpful for many students.

MD applicants who meet the following criteria are eligible for the linkage program:

  • ​​AMCAS Calculated Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.4

  • AMCAS Calculated Undergraduate Science (*BCPM) GPA of at least 3.25

  • PRIME program GPA of at least 3.7

  • An MCAT score greater than 515

  • Highest levels of personal and professional conduct10

It’s a pretty straightforward program, and roughly ⅓ of students within the PRIME program tend to meet the criteria for the linkage.11 Case Western Reserve University may not have the most diverse linkage program, but it’s an effective avenue for those looking for academic enhancements or a career change.

7. Temple University College of Science and Technology

Students in Temple University's post-bacc program also have several linkages to explore. One aspect that makes the institution unique is that it only provides linkage requirements to students who are granted interviews. Moreover, this information is only offered on the day of the interview itself.

Aside from these key points, here are Temple University's current linkage agreements:

  • George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences

  • Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • State University of New York Downstate Medical Center College of Medicine

  • Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine12

This is another example of a relatively straightforward program, but some surface-level information can be sparse in this situation. On another note, those looking to enter the post-bacc program must apply via PostBacCAS.13 Nevertheless, don’t hesitate to contact the institution before applying if you have any pending questions.

Advantages of Linkage Programs

Although pursuing a linkage program isn’t the best choice for every aspiring medical professional, the advantages are hard to ignore. From tailored academic support to MCAT prep and early access to health and biomedical science courses, linkage programs can significantly benefit accelerating an individual’s medical career path.

Some colleges, such as Georgetown University, offer the benefit of guaranteed interviews for successful applications. If you apply on time, the university guarantees you'll at least get an interview in the spring.

Preparing for a Linkage Program

You need to prepare more for linkage programs, considering you can only apply to one college in many circumstances. Nevertheless, there are a few well-known suggestions that you can apply to your preparation.

  • Never lose sight of your academic performance

  • Focus on generating as much healthcare experience as possible

  • Spend ample time writing your personal statements

  • Be proactive about your studies for the MCAT test

In addition to the student’s efforts, it is vital to utilize the resources of school advisors and program resources. Not only can this offer clear guidance, but it can also help build relationships in health professions.

Financial and Strategic Considerations

While ambition, anxiousness, and excitement dominate the feelings around linkage applications, finances are equally important. Some key angles to consider pertain to traveling for in-person interviews. 

When you pursue a linkage program, you make a substantial commitment. That's why strategic thinking is important. Based on your current situation, any student should consider the school's location, what schools are associated with the programs, and more.

Success Stories and Program Outcomes

One of the best success stories comes from a philosophy major that turned to post-bacc pre-med to land his spot in medical school. His first-hand experience offers all kinds of tips and tricks for success, and how to navigate such programs with your interests in mind.

Andrew Scherffius handled his entire post-bacc program online and took full advantage of the services available to him. He pursued the post-bacc program at the University of Vermont, including benefits such as a customized curriculum, letters of endorsement, and linkage agreements.

Another great example would be Zach Linneman, who decided to change his trajectory by pursuing post-bacc with the benefit of linkages on the horizon. He spent years working with underprivileged communities worldwide before he decided to circle back and become a doctor. The resources, curriculum, and advantages of post-bacc programs and linkages helped him develop his medical career path.78

The bottom line

Linkage programs aren't a requirement but a chance for aspiring students to take a proactive leap forward toward their careers. However, this doesn't dilute the importance of linkage programs in modern medical education. 

Interested students are encouraged to conduct proactive research to help determine which linkage program best suits their needs.


  1. https://krieger.jhu.edu/postbac/acceptance-to-medical-school/medical-school-linkages/

  2. https://krieger.jhu.edu/postbac/acceptance-to-medical-school/medical-school-linkages/

  3. https://www.gs.columbia.edu/content/medical-school-linkage-admission

  4. https://www.gs.columbia.edu/content/linkage-specific-program-requirements

  5. https://premed.georgetown.edu/postbac/pb-prospective-students/

  6. https://premed.georgetown.edu/postbac/pb-prospective-students/postbac_faq/

  7. https://learn.uvm.edu/news/philosophy-major-turned-post-bacc-pre-med-student-shares-tips-for-success/

  8. https://postbaccpremed.wustl.edu/news/inspiring-story-about-midwest-pre-med-student-changing-his-trajectory

  9. https://www.scrippscollege.edu/postbac/applying_medical_school

  10. https://case.edu/medicine/prime/program-details/md-admissions-linkage

  11. https://case.edu/medicine/prime/program-details

  12. https://postbac.cst.temple.edu/linkage

  13. https://postbac.cst.temple.edu/medical

  14. https://www.agnesscott.edu/graduate-studies/graduate-programs/linkage-agreement.htm

Written by:

Lucas Moddrell

With over seven years of experience in writing technical content across numerous industries, Lucas has a knack for detailed information and storytelling. This is seen through his work as a medical writer. Between his experience in writing and history with research and development, Lucas is able to convey complex medical topics into reader-friendly content.

This technical approach stems from his time working in laboratory environments. Stemming from his education at CSAS and UCO, Lucas has always been interested in furthering his topical knowledge. Through his writing and genuine interest in research, he's able to deliver a consistent voice across many technical topics so that they're easier for the reader to digest.

Lucas Moddrell

Contributing Writer

Reviewed by:

Dr. Baran Erdik, MD, MHPA

Dr. Baran Erdik is an M.D. with specialized training in Internal Medicine/Cardiology. Dr. Erdik traveled the world, working as a physician in New Zealand, Germany and Washington State. Dr. Erdik completed a Master’s in Healthcare Administration and Policy from Washington State University, graduating summa cum laude and now consults with healthcare facilities. In his "spare time", Dr. Erdik is a professor at the American Vision University in California.

Dr. Baran Erdik

Dr. Baran Erdik, MD, MHPA

Internist and Cardiologist

Education: Doctor of Medicine (MD) - Yeditepe University

Knowledge: Internal medicine, cardiology, healthcare policy