Gap Year

A large majority of applicants are electing to take time between completion of their undergraduate degree and matriculation to health professional programs to prepare for their programs and strengthen their applications.At NU, about 84% of accepted candidates to a health graduate program have taken at least one gap year!​ Many future applicants are hesitant to take a gap year not because they think it’s a bad idea, but because they aren’t sure what they will do.

Explore options and learn how to make the most of your gap year experience by reviewing our Leveraging Your Gap Year Workshop below:

Leveraging Your Gap Year PowerPoint Presentation

You may also review the following resources in planning for your gap year:

Experiential Preparation

Ensuring that you are committed to your intended healthcare program requires first hand experiential preparation in areas related to your future profession. Having robust experiences in clinical, research, and community engagement settings demonstrates your readiness for a rigorous health professional program and confirms your desire to pursue a healthcare career. Thus, it is common for people to engage in additional experiential preparation after completion of an undergraduate degree in order to be a competitive applicant. Areas for additional experiential preparation and opportunities are listed below.

Academic Preparation

Being admitted to a professional healthcare program takes years of preparation and mastery of difficult science coursework. Thus, it is common for people to pursue additional education after completion of an undergraduate degree in order to be a competitive applicant. The two most common forms of additional education are either a Special Master’s program or a post-baccalaureate program. Both are described in detail below.

Special Master’s Program

Completion of a special/medical master’s program signals to professional schools an applicant’s capability to excel in rigorous advanced science coursework akin to that of a terminal degree program. It serves as an advantageous pathway for individuals who have fulfilled the prerequisites for their health graduate program but seek to bolster their readiness through further coursework and improved grades.

A special master’s degree is an effective form of additional education for many reasons. Upon completion of the program, students will earn an advanced degree. Having an advanced degree will help applicants stand out during the admissions process for a professional healthcare program. Furthermore, good grades (typically As and Bs) in graduate-level courses can enhance an applicant’s GPA and demonstrate a positive upward trend in academics.

You can search from a database of special master’s programs designed for people going into health professions:

Additionally, attending a special master’s program at a university with a terminal degree program in your intended health profession (MD, DO, Dental, etc.) can provide a directed pathway to that program. Examples include:

Post-Baccalaureate (Post-Bacc) Programs

A post-baccalaureate program is tailored for individuals who need to fulfill or reinforce their prerequisite coursework required for admission to a health graduate program. These programs offer a structured curriculum designed to cover essential subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, ensuring students are adequately prepared for the rigorous academic demands of their desired health profession. 

Northeastern University has a Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Certificate Program in the College of Professional Studies.

Aside from the Northeastern Post-Bacc program, there are several other Post-Bacc programs across the country. You can also search from databases of Post-Bacc programs designed for people going into health professions:

PlusOne programs allow current Northeastern students the opportunity to pursue both a bachelor’s and master’s degree successively in a condensed period of time.

Many PreMed and PreHealth students have academics interests that are related to their intended career path where obtaining a Master’s Degree before beginning their health professional program can benefit their future career aspirations. PlusOne programs can refine and deepen an individual’s knowledge and skills in a specific area of interest, without necessarily focusing on the academic competencies for health graduate programs. These programs offer a comprehensive exploration of the chosen field, providing advanced coursework and learning opportunities tailored to enhance expertise and proficiency, within an accelerated timeframe.