Allopathic & Osteopathic Medicine (MD/DO)

Should I become a doctor?

“Think about what kind of future appeals to you. Do you like challenges? Are you interested in science and how the body works? Do you care deeply about other people, their problems, and their pain? Are you a good listener? Do you enjoy learning? Are you intrigued by the ways medicine can be used to improve life?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, chances are you have the right personality for a career in medicine. But, there’s more to consider. Pursuing a career as a doctor is a long and intense journey. Further explore whether being a doctor is the right choice for you…” – read more on the AAMC website

“Physicians support and manage the health care of people of all ages. They take medical histories, perform physical examinations, conduct diagnostic tests, recommend and provide treatment, conduct research, and advise patients on their overall health and well-being. While there are many different types of physicians, they can usually be divided into three broad categories:

  • Primary care physicians are the doctors patients usually visit most frequently. They treat a wide range of illnesses and regularly provide preventive care, and they also enjoy long-term relationships with their patients. Pediatricians, family practitioners and general internists are primary care physicians.
  • Surgeons perform operations to treat diseases and repair injuries.
  • Specialists have expertise related to specific diseases as well as body parts, organs, and systems. Cardiologists, oncologists, neurologists, and ophthalmologists are examples of specialists. The AAMC’s Careers in Medicine website contains information about various specialties in medicine”

(Association of American Medical Colleges)

AAMC’s Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR)

  • $28
  • Updated each year
  • View detailed statistics for US and Canadian MD programs

AACOM’s Choose DO Explorer

  • Free
  • Updated each year
  • View detailed statistics for US DO programs

Centralized Application Services

Personal Statement

  • Guidelines:
  • Preparation:
    • Brainstorming: A well-crafted personal statement takes time. Begin by brainstorming ideas for your statement, thinking about what you would like to share with the admissions committees. Consult with mentors, friends and family on topics.
    • Outline: Look for themes within your list of brainstorm ideas. Choose a few points from your list that seem especially salient, and develop them into an outline of your essay.
    • Working Draft(s): Once you have written a draft, have people read it and give you honest feedback. Incorporate feedback and come back to it in a couple weeks and see if you still feel that it conveys the impression that you meant to give, and make necessary edits. Consider making an appointment with the Writing Center. Make sure that you have a developed draft on MAP, to review during your Application Readiness Meeting.
    • Resources:

Secondary Applications

  • Secondary applications may be included within the primary application or sent directly to applicants by a school’s admissions office. In most cases, you will receive secondary applications after your primary application has been verified by the application service (4-6 weeks after submission).
  • Schools have varying criteria for who they invite to submit a secondary application. Some schools will send them to every candidate who applies to their program. Others will send them only to applicants who meet their GPA and entrance exam score requirements. Some schools will select only candidates who they are very interested in for secondaries. Your application is not considered to be complete until you have submitted your secondary application.
  • Secondary applications are designed by individual programs to learn more about applicants. It is important to realize that secondary applications are both labor intensive and expensive. They typically require answers to essay questions and a fee. Set aside time and money in preparation for writing your essays and paying for submission. Returning your secondary applications within a week or two of receipt demonstrates your continued interest in that program. Waiting longer may hurt your application.
  • When you formulate your list of schools to which you plan to apply, take these secondary applications into account. Don’t apply to so many schools that you won’t have the time or money for secondary applications.

General Timeline

  • January of year prior to matriculation – Begin Letter Packet process/Application Readiness Program (see below)
  • May – AMCAS opens for editing, AACOMAS opens for editing and submission
  • June – AMCAS opens for submission
  • Fall/early spring of year of matriculation – Interview invites/interviews
  • Fall- First acceptances to medical programs (beginning 10/15 – MD program, rolling – DO programs)
  • Spring – Last day to hold multiple deposits MD programs (4/30) & MD go to wait-lists for second round of accepts (beginning 5/1). Make final choice of school based on AAMC and AACOMAS traffic rules
  • Summer – Start medical program

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)  is the required entrance exam for medical (MD/DO) Programs

  • The MCAT® is offered on set dates from January through September, except February. The MCAT® has four test sections: 1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, 2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, 3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and 4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
  • The MCAT should be scheduled only after all prerequisite courses are successfully completed and the applicant has had 4-6 months to study. If the resulting date would be later than August for Pre-Podiatry, then deferral to the next year is highly recommended. Applicants cannot sit for the exam any later than August for Pre-Podiatry and receive a committee letter that cycle.

Medical applicants can begin to prepare for their application cycle by participating in the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Application Readiness Program. This includes completing a Qualtrics Self-Assessment survey in MAP, which encourages applicants to reflect on academic and experiential preparation for their designated health profession program.

After applicants complete their self-assessment, they will be invited to set up an Application Readiness Meeting (ARM). This 45-minute meeting will allow the applicant to meet with their advisor to discuss their self-assessment and plan for the upcoming application cycle. This will also be a great time to ask questions about the AMCAS and/or AACOMAS application, the MCAT, and other elements of the application process.    

MEDICAL APPLICATION READINESS Program TIMELINE*

January 31:  Self-Assessment survey due (accessible via MAP). (First Time Applicants ONLY)

May 1: Self-Assessment survey due (accessible via MAP). (Re-Applicants ONLY)

May 15: Deadline to complete required Application Readiness Meeting with your individual PreMed/PreHealth Advisor

*To be completed in your application year

Note: The Application Readiness Program is an included and required part of the Letter Packet process. Please refer to the PreMed/PreHealth Letter Process information below for additional Letter Packet deadlines and requirements.

LETTER PACKET Processes

A Letter Packet is a composite letter that includes full content of all required evaluator letters (requested via your Medical Applicant Portal) plus an institutional cover sheet from the PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program.

While do not restrict our Letter Packet service based on grades or exam scores, applicants and re-applicants* must meet all the deadlines and requirements below in order to be eligible to request a Letter Packet.

Students and alumni of the Northeastern University Pre-Medical Studies, Post-Baccalaureate Undergraduate Certificate program must complete the program, earning a minimum grade of C in all courses, by the conclusion of the Summer 1 semester of the application year to qualify for a Letter Packet.

If you graduated/completed your post-bacc pre-medical studies three or more years ago, it is recommended that you apply with individual letters of evaluation following the instructions in the common application for your profession, or the directions of the specific schools if they have a different application process. If you choose to send individual Letters of Evaluation, please do not request them through MAP.

Applicants who are accepted to a medical school and decline matriculation are not eligible for future Letter Packets. The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program has a three-time limit for Letter Packets. The PreMed and PreHealth Advising Program cannot forward Letter Packets or individual letters submitted to MAP to any program other than what was designated on the original request. Thus, we are unable to send letters to medical masters or post-baccalaureate programs. Please contact your evaluators directly to request that letters be tailored to the program to which you are applying.

Requirements and Deadlines**

First Time Applicants
  • January 31: Self-Assessment survey due (accessible via MAP).
  • May 1: All required and optional letters of evaluation due in MAP.
  • May 15: Deadline to complete required Application Readiness Meeting (ARM) with your individual PreMed/PreHealth Advisor
  • May 31: Deadline to take MCAT.
  • June 30: Deadline to complete MAP & submit primary application.
  • June 30: Deadline to request Letter Packet (only after all above requirements are met).
Re-Applicants*
  • May 1: Self-Assessment survey due (accessible via MAP).
  • May 1: All updated letters of evaluation due in MAP.
  • May 15: Deadline to complete required Application Readiness Meeting (ARM) with your individual PreMed/PreHealth Advisor
  • May 31: Deadline to retake MCAT.
  • June 30: Deadline to update MAP & submit primary application.
  • June 30: Deadline to request Letter Packet (only after all above requirements are met)

*Re-applicants refers to Northeastern University students and alumni who have already completed the PreMed/PreHealth Letter Process for a previous cycle and are requesting a Letter Packet to re-apply to their programs.

**To be completed in your application year. Requirements and deadlines are subject to change. 

Required letters

The following letters of evaluation are required and must be requested through MAP to be eligible to request a Letter Packet.

3 Internal, Faculty Letters
  • Letters must be from a graded course (at least 3-credit lecture or 1-credit lab). Evaluations can be requested from in-progress courses.
  • Two of the three required internal letters must be from Northeastern University Biology, Chemistry, Math, or Physics (BCMP) faculty (current, former, or retired) OR from Northeastern University faculty instructors on the approved list of Internal Science Letters.
  • One letter may be from Northeastern University faculty (current, former, or retired) in any discipline, though we recommend a non-science letter.
1 External, Clinical Letter
  • This letter must come from a practitioner in the health profession to which you are applying (i.e., MD or DO). Applicants applying to MD and/or DO programs may have a clinical letter from either an MD or DO.
  • The letter must represent a college-level patient-facing experience (strongly recommended in-person) with a U.S. licensed physician. The experience must be within the United States or, if abroad, with a State Department, US university/hospital sponsored, or recognized U.S. organization. Letters from family friends, even if they are physicians, are not encouraged. Letters from family members are prohibited.
2 External, Optional Letters
  • Up to two additional external letters may be requested from supervisors, research PIs, clinicians, coaches, etc.
  • Applicants may NOT use optional letter slots for additional internal academic letters unless there is a relationship with the faculty member outside of your academic coursework (i.e., research supervisor).
  • Applicants applying to MD and DO programs are strongly encouraged to obtain a clinical letter from BOTH an MD and a DO, utilizing one of their optional letter slots.

**It is the applicant’s responsibility to review individual school’s requirements, as requirements for letters of recommendation vary from school to school. 

Centralized Application Services

NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY APPLICATION GUIDES