The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine is school focused on local and community-based healthcare, but is also a hub for medical and scientific research that has drawn billions in private and public funding on par with all the other medical schools in Michigan. The school recently opened a new medical simulation laboratory and it is also a partner in the Grand Rapids Innovation Park, a biomedical center that is home to two new research facilities that houses dozens of research projects. This article will detail more about the school’s mission, admission requirements and how you can get in.
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“Michigan State University College of Human Medicine is committed to educating exemplary physicians and scholars, discovering and disseminating new knowledge, and providing service at home and abroad. We enhance our communities by providing outstanding primary and specialty care, promoting the dignity and inclusion of all people, and responding to the needs of the medically underserved.”
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The idea of community and community-based health care figures prominently in everything about the MSU-CHM from its mission statement and curriculum to its several satellite campuses and affiliated hospitals located throughout the state. While the school does see its mission stretching well-beyond Michigan, it is still a state school and takes in more in-state applicants than out-of-state applicants.
Overall Acceptance Rate: 2.0%
In-State Acceptance Rate: 9.5%
Out-of-State Acceptance Rate: 0.3%
Average MCAT of Incoming Students: 511
Average GPA of Incoming Students: 3.75
Preference for master’s or PhD: No
Experience of Accepted Medical School Applicants
The MSU-CHM is a state-funded, public school so it has a legal obligation to admit a majority of Michigan residents over all other applicants. Every incoming class is composed of 80% Michigan residents, 20% out-of-state residents. However, the school accepts and admits out-of-state applicants regularly, even though the medical school acceptance rates suggest that it is extremely competitive for out-of-state students to enter. The school is also welcoming to Canadian applicants and counts them as out-of-state applicants.
Canadian students who wish to apply do not need to meet any additional requirements, as their degree and course work will all be recognized as long as they were taken from an accredited university in Canada. The school does accept international students, so long as they meet with the stated medical school requirements such as having a North American bachelor’s degree and being a US citizen or permanent resident or Canadian citizen.
Minimum MCAT to Apply (Recommended): 505
Minimum GPA to Apply (Recommended): 3.5
The MSU-CHM does not have an “official” medical school GPA requirement or an “official” MCAT score cut-off. The above figures are scores the school recommends to applicants, but applicants who are worried about how to get into medical school with a low GPA should take this suggestion seriously and try to improve their GPA or MCAT, if they are below the suggested minimum.
The school hosts one of the best post-bac programs for medical school. The Advanced Baccalaureate Learning Experience (ABLE) program is aimed specifically at those students who either wish to improve their GPA or deepen their basic science education before applying to medical school. The MSU-CHM also makes an accommodation for applicants who wish to retake the MCAT to improve their scores, as it will accept scores as old as four years.
MSU-CHM is also a medical school that requires CASPer and students must submit their CASPer score with their primary application to be considered. However, students also have the option to take the AAMC PREview exam, which examines and measures your pre-professional competencies in several areas, such as social skills, resilience, and teamwork.
Students must take one of the two tests, but not both. If students choose to take the CASPer test, they must take the full Altus Suite, which consists of the CASPer test, the Duet assessment and the Snapshot video interview. If you choose to take the AAMC PREview test, make sure you understand how the AAMC PREview is scored and see sample AAMC PREview questions and answers to get ready.
Coursework and Undergrad
The MSU-CHM has a very clear requirement for all applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college in the US or Canada. There are no exceptions and students who have a degree from a foreign college or university will not have their degrees or course work recognized by the Committee on Admissions.
Prerequisites and Recommended Courses
The MSU-CHM recently updated its entire curriculum to reflect the community around it rather than adhering to the traditional strictures of typical medical school education. As such, it has also chosen to allow applicants the option to fulfill the school’s medical school prerequisites requirement in several ways.
There is the traditional method, which sees students complete stated course work in science-based subjects such as chemistry and biology – the complete list of traditional medical school prerequisites is:
- One year of Biology w/lab work (1 year)
- One year of General Chemistry w/lab work
- One year of Organic Chemistry w/lab work
- One year of Introductory Physics w/lab work
- One semester of Algebra or Statistics
- One semester of Biochemistry
- Advanced Cell Biology
- Molecular Biology
This list is the MCAT-Influence Preparation Model, which is used by medical schools in the US and beyond. But students can also choose to fulfill the requirements in other ways. First, two of the other Prerequisite Models, as the school calls them, require students attend an undergraduate school that has developed different educational pathways for students to attend medical school.
AMCAS Work and Activities
The MSU-CHM participates in the AMCAS application service, but it has its own online application portal to accept secondary applications. All students interested in attending the MSU-CHM must first apply via the AMCAS online portal where they can submit their initial application documentation such as:
- Official transcripts
- MCAT and Altus Suite or AAMC PREview scores
- GPA scores
- AMCAS personal statement
As the school has a community-based medicine ethos, interested applicants should focus on how they have improved or tried to improve their community through volunteer work, fundraising, raising awareness and participating in local projects. Students can write about these and more of their preparation for medical school in two sections on the AMCAS application; the AMCAS Work and Activities section and the AMCAS Most Meaningful Experiences section.
Sample AMCAS Work and Activities Entry
She walked in with dark circles under her bloodshot eyes carrying her wailing baby. It was during the height of the baby formula shortage and I was volunteering at a food bank. Our stores were low until they were empty, which was precisely when this mother came in looking for help. Her baby had an allergy to one of the ingredients in regular baby formula, so she needed hypoallergenic formula. I started calling food banks, clinics, pharmacies and daycares in the area to see if they had any. I sourced one of the last hypoallergenic baby formula canisters available but it was far away. So, I told her to get into my car and we drove all the way to get her the formula. Then, I drove her home.
The medical school personal statement is an important part of every medical school application, as it is one of the few chances where an applicant can speak in their own words about their motivations for wanting to become a physician. Aside from answering the question of “why do you want to be a doctor”, applicants must also detail what steps they have taken to actualize their desire to become a physician rather than only describing their motivations. Applicants are encouraged to write the personal comments essay (5300-character limit), as AMCAS refers to it, directly in the space provided on the online application.
The school sends everyone a secondary application as soon as they have received and verified receipt of their AMCAS application. Applicants must also pay an application fee to set up their account with the College of Human Medicine Applicant Portal where they can also check their application status at every stage. Part of the secondary application is writing medical school secondary essays, which are based around specific prompts the Committee on Admissions develops to gauge whether students fit into the school’s overall mission and embody its desired qualities in a medical student.
Another part of the secondary application for the MSU-CHM is indicating whether you want to participate in any of the specific tracks the school has as part of its curriculum. Students must indicate on their secondary application, whether they want to be considered for the
The MSU-CHM prompts are:
- Describe where you envision yourself and what you’ll be doing in 10 years. What do you realistically hope will be your most significant accomplishment by that time? (500 words)
- American society may be facing a watershed moment as it reckons with various systemic injustices. Use the space below to share your thoughts about this statement (500 words)
- Use the space below to reflect upon your COVID-19 public health crisis experiences, challenges, and/or insights. (500 words)
- If you could present yourself to the Committee on Admissions, what would you want to make sure they knew about you? (500 words)
Sample Essay to Prompt #1
In ten years, I think I will be finishing up my residency, hopefully here in Michigan, as my family is all here and I would prefer to stay close to them. I also hope to have passed the board exams and received my license. I’m still not sure what medical specialty I would want to choose but my top two choices would be family medicine or pediatrics, since they would both be an opportunity to work with people at various stage of life.
In ten years, I also hope to have started a family of my own, since being a mother is something, I’ve always wanted to be, as much as a doctor. I come from a big family (I’m the second oldest of six) so I developed a caretaker instinct early helping take care of my younger siblings. I’m still involved in their lives and enjoy being a mentor to them. It’s a privilege and I don’t take it lightly. I am an assistant coach for my little brother’s hockey team and I would still love to be involved in the sport as a coach or mentor in the future, preferably with my own kids.
So much of my identity is wrapped up in being a Michigander that I can’t see myself living anywhere else. I still see myself going ice-fishing with my brothers on Lake Michigan in the old fishing shed our grandpa used and left to us. I still see myself going to Wings and Tigers’ games also with my brothers. In ten years, I hope I will finally have patient experiences that will make all of this work and effort worthwhile.
In ten years, I hope to have delivered a baby. In ten years, I hope to have told someone that their loved one is going to be OK. In ten years, I will mourn with someone who’s lost a loved one. I hope in ten years, I will be someone different. I hope my priorities will be different and updated to reflect the person I will be in ten years. I hope in ten years that I embody all the qualities that I am now trying to develop.
All applicants must submit at least three medical school recommendation letters and a maximum of five. The school has several requirements for who should write these letters and they offer students several different combinations of letter writers and letter packets that can fulfill the requirements.
For example, applicants may submit a pre-medical advisory committee letter, but, unlike at other schools, this one letter will not fulfill the requirements. Students must submit one pre-medical advisory letter along with two supporting letters from a variety of sources (academic, professional, clinical).
Given this requirement, students are encouraged to submit a letter packet from their pre-medical committee consisting of the panel-written letter, along with three supporting letters from individual members of the committee, which will fulfill the requirement. For students who cannot obtain or submit a pre-medical committee letter packet, the school proposes the following options to fulfill the requirements:
- One letter from a previous science faculty member pointing out your specific academic achievements (required)
- One letter from a someone who knows you well (excluding friends and family members) and can attest to your suitability for the medical profession through your proven history of exemplifying qualities such as empathy, maturity and character (required)
One more option is for graduate or post-bac students, who must submit a letter from the program director or faculty member with experience teaching or mentoring you. The school also allows students to submit letters from community service supervisors, research project managers, or preferably, someone who has seen your abilities in a clinical setting, whether via how many clinical hours for medical school you have or shadowing.
The MSU-CHM uses the MMI format to interview its candidates. All interviews are held virtually but the school may be reinstating in-person, on-campus interviews in the future. The interview format consists of two separate interviews: one 30-minute MMI portion; a one-on-one interview with a current medical student.
- “What led to you wanting to pursue medicine?”
- “Which part or parts of our mission do you connect with the most?”
- “You've done so much in research, why MD over PhD?”
- “Are you more interested in the science side of medicine or the people side of medicine?”
Sample Answer Question #4
Am I interested in the science side of medicine or the people side of medicine? That’s a great question because I have thought about this myself many times. But my answer is always people. I love science and it is something that I’m passionate about but interacting with people is something that makes medicine worth pursuing. Medical research and scientific medical discoveries are all done in the service of improving health, quality of life and well-being, but rather than be recognized for an important discovery, I would rather be the one seeing a patient improve or telling a parent that their child’s life is about to get better because of some new medication. I remember seeing a young patient with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome during my shadowing hours. The patient and her family had only recently started taking Epidiolex, which is derived from cannabidiol in hemp plants and is the first FDA-approved medication to contain cannabis. The patient and their entire family were near tears describing how drastically this medication had reduced the patient’s seizures, both their frequency and severity. Seeing this display of joy, I also remembered thinking that the creators of this drug would never see this. I was the one fortunate enough to see how medical science had lifted this family up and that experience is something I would never trade for all the Nobel prizes in the world.
Acceptance and Waitlist Information
The school begins sending out acceptances starting October 15 after the interviews are complete and notifications are sent out on a rolling admissions basis, even though the school may not always reach applicants who submitted or interviewed first. Because of the number of applications (over to 9,000 the last cycle) it receives the school does not review applications in any particular order.
The Committee on Admissions will review every completed application (MCAT, GPA, Altus Suite or PREview, MMI, primary and secondary essays) to make a final decision on who is admitted. Up to 600 students are placed on the medical school waitlist, as “alternates” who may be offered a seat in the upcoming class if one becomes available or if there are seats still remaining at the end of the cycle.
The waitlist is not ranked and alternates are encouraged to update their application file via the College of Human Medicine Applicant Portal, but must refrain from contacting the school directly for updates or information. The Committee on Admission may also recommend some applicants for their post-bac program rather than the MD program if the applicant shows promise, but has not meet the required academic standards. All decisions are final and there is no appeals process. However, rejected applicants can ask the Office of Student Affairs for advice and guidance on how to improve their applications, if they wish to re-apply to the MSU-CHM.
Primary AMCAS Application Deadline: November 1
Secondary Application Deadline: November 31st
The school has several timelines for the different programs it offers. For example, students interested in the MD/PhD dual-degree program have different deadlines than those who want to enter the standard MD program. The same goes for applicants who have applied through the Early Assurance program.
Tuition and Debt
In-State Tuition: $15,758
Out-of-State Tuition: $ 29,135
Average Yearly Cost-of-Living Expenses (in-state and out-of-state): $13,780
Average Debt of Graduating Students: $ 258,957
The school provides applicants and all incoming students many opportunities to gain funding for how to pay for medical school. The usual methods are federal student loans, which close to 90% of all students use to pay for costs such as medical school tuition or medical school housing. Applying for federal student loans requires applicants to complete a FAFSA application, which is also necessary for the school to consider whether you are eligible to receive additional financial assistance directly from them.
The MSU-CHM has several internal medical school scholarships that it awards to qualified students, but the list of scholarships is available only to accepted and current students. Students can also pay for medical school through the Health Professions Scholarships Program, which is a scholarship program only available to active or veteran members of the armed forces of the United States.
Residency Match Rates
The MSU-CHM can legitimately claim it is one of the medical schools with the best match rates, as 100% of all graduates matched into their preferred program. The school’s mission to help serve residents of Michigan was reinforced by the 44% of graduates who chose to remain in the state to complete their residency training.
MSU-CHM Residency Match Rate
The top residencies for MSU-CHM were localized in primary care specialties, which is a trend among many allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. Graduates choose an internal medicine residency (20%) or a family medicine residency (15%) as their top choices followed by other specialties such as emergency medicine and pediatrics.
Top Residency Choices for MSU-CHM Graduates
Review of Available Programs
1. Four Year MD Program
The four-year MD curriculum is distinct in many ways than the typical four-year medical school curriculum. The Shared Discovery Curriculum (SDC) was developed to incorporate new, evidence-based teaching methods designed to maximize a student’s education. The curriculum has adopted case-based learning and longitudinal experiences as the basis for how students are introduced, interpret, absorb and apply all the necessary knowledge to become exemplary physicians.
As the SDC was designed to be patient-centered, it introduces clinical experiences in a student’s first year, which is one of the three different longitudinal threads that run throughout all four years of the program: early clinical experiences (ECE), middle clinical experience (MCE), and late clinical experience (LCE). The ECE section of the curriculum lasts 24 weeks and begins in first year. It is where students are introduced to a combination of basic and advanced science and clinical training.
They are also taught more practical skills and knowledge, such as how to properly run a primary care clinic. But the novel part of the curriculum is that students spend time in real primary care clinics across the state – which is why having a valid Canadian or American driver’s license and a working car are admission requirements. In a more interactive version of shadowing a doctor, students participate in patient examinations either by observing or assisting a nurse or physician’s assistant.
Much of the learning in this module, as well as the other two, is done collaboratively, meaning students learn from physicians, experts, and other health care professionals, but from each other as well. Students gather in small peer-groups to discuss their clinical knowledge and share their experiences, always with the participation of a faculty member or post-doctoral fellow to help guide students.
In the MCE portion of the curriculum, students continue learning in groups, but also have more clinical experiences, as they apply the knowledge gained in the ECE. Students continue having their days split up between inpatient clinical study and learning modules with either their student-led study groups or small seminars with a faculty member. They also learn how to prepare for clinical rotations in the upcoming two years.
In the final two years, students enter their clinical rotations, some of which are required, such as four weeks in psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, and family pediatrics, and six weeks of internal medicine, and eight weeks in general surgery. They can also complete 18 weeks of medical school electives, while also participating in medical science seminars designed to bolster their training and medical knowledge, known as the Advanced Skills and Knowledge (ASK) course.
2. Advanced Baccalaureate Learning Experience
The Advanced Baccalaureate Learning Experience is the school’s post-baccalaureate preparatory program for medical school applicants the Committee on Admissions feels could use more exposure to upper-level science courses. There is no application process, as students are selected from among the thousands of applications the MSU-CHM receives each year. Eligible students are notified of their eligibility for the ABLE program instead of being accepted, rejected, or waitlisted. If they accept, they will spend one year taking advanced science courses and if they complete the program, they are offered admission into the medical school.
3. Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved
This non-certificate program is an additional track within the larger SDC that students can participate in to enhance their training in community-based medicine. The program takes students out of the campus so they can spend time performing community service such as a working at a food bank or soup kitchen and learn more about the needs of the underserved population of Flint, Michigan. Students can indicate on their secondary application that they are interested in this track, which also gives enrolled students the opportunity to take an international elective in El Salvador, India or Uganda or a local/urban elective for four weeks each.
4. Leadership in Rural Medicine
This particular track offered by the MSU-CHM takes advantage of the school’s wide expanse, as students enrolled in this program spend most of their four years traversing between the school’s rural campuses in Marquette, Traverse City and Midland. This track has two sub-tracks one of which is a certificate program (Rural Community Health Program), while the Rural Physician Program inserts rural-specific seminars into the standard four-year Shared Discovery Curriculum.
5. Medical Partners in Public Health
This certificate program is available to all incoming medical students who indicated their interest on their secondary application and have a particular interest in learning more about public health. This program is designed to shore up the public health elements of the regular curriculum, while also giving students more in-depth knowledge about how to care for entire populations.
This dual-degree program offered by the MSU-CHM and the MSU Graduate School lasts seven years and gives applicants interested in a medical degree and a doctorate degree in advanced medical science the chance to study and work in new, world-class research facilities in the Grand Rapids Innovation Center. Applicants indicate in their primary application their interest in the program and have to meet all the same requirements for the medical school and graduate school.
This dual-degree program is gives students a more intensive education on public health policy and implementation than the public health certificate program. This program focuses students on important public health matters and prepares them to approach medicine on a different scale than typical family or emergency room physicians. The MPH portion of the degree consist of 43 credits divided over several blocks and combining both compulsory and elective courses.
Students have two options to complete the degree. They can take Option A, which situates the MPH course in the year before medical school or they can take Option B, which also begins the summer before medical school, but finishes in a student’s third year, when they take a break from the medical school curriculum to finish the rest of their MPH credit requirements.
This business-centered dual-degree program combines a medical school education with advanced courses in business management and administration from the Eli Broad College of Business also at MSU. Students learn about the “business of health care”, and how business decisions can impact health and medicine in various ways. The program adds 60 credits for the MBA portion, which students can either take MBA courses during their first year, take a break and continue with the MD program and complete the MBA in the final two years. Conversely, students can also choose to take all their MBA coursework beginning the third year of medical school and continue until they earn both degrees.
9. CHM Mission SMART Initiative
This program is part of the MSU-CHM's initiative to admit and train disadvantaged students from around the state who are current students at feeder schools who are also partners of MSU. The program aims to accept students from disadvantaged backgrounds or whose parents and other family members have never attended college or university. Michigan residents are shown preference but it is not mandatory. All applicants apply in any of the final two years of undergraduate school and must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a minimum MCAT of 500 to successfully be admitted to the medical school.
Campus and Faculty
There are eight separate campuses within the MSU network each of them situated in a unique area of the state. The school likes to say that the “state of Michigan is our campus” and it rings true given the number of different campuses. The main campus is the Grand Rapids branch, which is also home to the school’s new research facilities and training centers such as the $90 million Secchia Center, where half of all medical students begin their medical training (first and second year). The other half of incoming medical students begin classes at the Lansing campus, also first and second year.
The satellite campuses all serve different functions, but most medical school students will have to commute between them, especially if they are on any of the specialized tracks such as the rural or underserved programs. It’s not for nothing that the school states clearly that all students must have a valid driver’s license and car to be able to travel long distances to reach all these disparate campuses.
Affiliated Teaching Hospitals
- Advantage Health/St. Mary's Medical Group
- Aria Nursing and Rehabilitation
- Bronson Methodist Hospital
- Building Trades National Medical Screening Program
- Burham Hills Retirement Center II
- Central Michigan District Health Department
- Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham Counties
- Community Mental Health Services of Livingston County
- Compass Healthcare, PLLC
- Dimondale Nursing Care Center, LLC
- DLP Marquette Physician Practices, Inc.
- East Beltline Imaging
- Eaton County Family Court
- Edward W. Sparrow Hospital Association
- Emergency Physicians Medical Group, P.C.
- Gratiot Integrated Health Network
- Great Lakes Bay Health Centers
- Great Lakes Center of Rheumatology West
- Harbor Beach Community Hospital
- Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital
- Henry Ford Allegiance Occupational Health
- Holt Senior Care and Rehabilitation Center
- Holy Cross Children's Services (St. Vincent Home)
- Hope Network
- Hurley Medical Center
- Huron Valley House Peds, PLLC
- Ingham County Health Department
- Ingham County Medical Care Facility & Rehabilitation Services
- Pediatric neurology
- Women’s health
- Reproductive medicine
- Richard Leach, MD, Department Chair - Professor and Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
- B. Keith English, MD, Department Chair - Professor and Chair of Pediatrics and Human Development
- Jeremy Prokop, PhD - Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Human Development
- Andre S. Bachmann, PhD, Department of Pediatrics & Human Development
15 Michigan St. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
1. What is the mission of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine?
The mission of the MSU-CHM is to provide its students with a community-based medical school education based in science, professionalism and service. The school’s footprint stretches across the entire state and its commitment to serving the residents of Michigan come first, although it does have a world-class reputation and facilities and receives over $60 million in research funding annually.
2. Do I need to take the MCAT and submit my scores?
Yes, all applicants to the MSU-CHM must take and submit their most recent MCAT scores, which the school recommends be at 505 or higher, although that figure is not an official cut-off. The school will also accept MCAT scores as old as four years.
3. What is the minimum GPA requirement?
The school does not have an official minimum GPA to apply, but it suggests all students aim to have their GPA at 3.5 or higher to be a competitive candidate.
4. What kind of degree do I need to get into the MSU-CHM
You need a full bachelor’s degree from a licensed American or Canadian college or university.
5. Are there prerequisite courses I have to take?
The school has several options for how candidates can fulfill the required courses, but the standard prerequisites are in the sciences and include biology, physics, statistics or algebra, chemistry and biochemistry.
6. How can I apply to MSU-CHM?
The school participates in the AMCAS application service, so all primary applications are submitted online. All applicants are sent a secondary application once the primary has been verified.
7. How much does one year at MSU-CHM cost?
The MSU-CHM is a state school so it charges tuition based on residency. One full year of medical school for a Michigan resident is $29,538. One full year of medical school for non-Maryland residents is $42,915
8. Is it hard to get into MSU-CHM?
As with most state schools, it is harder to get into the MSU-CHM for non-residents than it is for Michigan residents. If you don’t want the added pressure of being an out-of-state applicant, then you should think about another school. But the challenge of applying as an out-of-state applicant means you need to stand out in all the ways an applicant can stand out, including stats (MCAT, GPA, and CASPer), extracurriculars, clinical experience and strong letters and essays.
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