Part 1: The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University
If you’re submitting applications to medical schools and you want to attend one of the best ones out there, there’s a good chance you’re applying to the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University.
Brown University’s innovative program is broken down to make the most out of your time spent there. The first two years are spent studying Integrated Medical Sciences (IMS) and Doctoring, all while you work under the direction and mentorship of a local physician who works with the program.
The second/last two years are focused on clinical and elective courses, which will give you valuable, real-world experience and help you determine what part of medicine you want to specialize in.
During your time at the Warren Alpert Medical School, you can study to become:
- An MD
- An MD/ScM in Population Medicine
- An MD/PhD
- An MD/MPA
- An ScM in Medical Science
- ScM in Medical Physics
We’ll discuss these individual programs in detail in the next section.
As you can see, Brown Medical School has a lot to offer and has Ivy League clout. It won’t be easy to get in, but it will be worth your time to apply and do your best. If you get in, spending your scholastic years at Brown will help you become one of the best new doctors in your field.
Part 2: Programs at Brown Medical School
The Traditional, Four-Year MD Program
The MD program is split into Pre-Clerkship and Post-Clerkship curriculum.
The Pre-Clerkship side focuses on preliminary science classes and beginner-level interaction with real patients in a medical setting. Students will complete the Pre-Clerkship curriculum over the course of 17 months. During this time, they will go through the Integrated Medical Sciences (IMS), Doctoring and Clinical Skills Clerkship.
Additionally, students will be introduced to the Scholarly Concentrations Program, which is full of elective courses designed to give students experience outside of the core curriculum. While this can be personally enriching, it also helps students decide what branch of medicine they want to practice.
After completing the Pre-Clerkship and Clerkship requirements, MD students will fill their schedules with Elective Offerings and Away Rotations.
The program is versatile, allowing students to take courses at other universities and to participate in approved preceptorships. Students will take elective courses like…
- Medicine for Emergency Situations
- Point of Care Ultrasound
- Children’s Emergency Medicine
- Sex and Gender-Based Acute Care Medicine
- Medicine in Environmental and Wilderness Settings
- Healthcare for Homeless Communities
- Emergency Medicine for Families Living in Remote Areas
- Elective for Health for Mothers and Children
- Elective for Family Medicine
- Bilingual Free Clinic Preceptorship
- Public Health and Primary Care in Rural Honduras
- Infectious Disease
- Elective for Outpatient HIV
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine
- Palliative Care
- Hematology Oncology
- Allergy and Clinical Immunology
- Pulmonary Diseases
- Critical Care
- Rehabilitation for Concussions and Brain Injuries
- Men’s Health
- Medical Spanish
- EKG Interpretation
- Aging and Dementia
- Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
- Breast Cancer and Other Diseases
- Gynecology and Breast Pathology
- Family Planning
- Genetic Cancer
- Outpatient Management of Musculoskeletal Problems
Away rotations take place when students choose to go to another institution for part of their elective courses. This frequently takes place as part of the process for selecting residents. Three different, four-week away rotations are permitted for each student.
Primary Care Population Medicine (PC-PM), MD/MPA and MD/PhD Advanced Training Programs
The PC-PM program takes a different approach and ultimately awards students with two degrees: Medical Doctor and Master of Science in Population Medicine.
Students will take the MD curriculum course work that was discussed in the previous section, along with special classes that focus on population and clinical medicine and how these practices work in the United States. Students will also participate in a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship, in which they will treat patients in multiple healthcare settings.
The MD/MPA and MD/PhD programs both have unique opportunities to study in-depth to become physician-scientists. These doctors treat patients and take their findings to the lab for further study.
While all of these programs have benefits to them, this article will guide you through the process of applying for the traditional program that takes four years to complete and will earn you the title of MD.
Part 3: What It Takes to Get In
It will take a lot of effort over a long period of time to get into Brown Medical School. Less than three percent of applicants are accepted into the program. The following are recent statistics for the class of 2023.
- MCAT score: 516
- Science GPA: 3.79
- Total GPA: 3.83
In short, you’ll need to be at the top of your game if you want to get into any of Brown Medical School’s programs.
Traditional AMCAS Route
Approximately 50-60% of prospective students apply using the American Medical College Application Service, which is the most popular way of applying to medical school. Up to 90 spots are available for these students.
Bachelor of Science/Medical Doctor Program, the Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME)
This route of application serves two purposes. If you’re accepted into Brown Medical School, you’re also accepted into Brown’s undergrad program. Nearly 40% of each year’s new students are accepted via the PLME program.
Post-Baccalaureate Programs Associated with Brown Medical School
If you graduated from one of the following programs, talk to your advisor about being recommended to Brown Medical School. (P.S. It’s okay if your undergrad was in the arts instead of the sciences.)
- Bryn Mawr
- John Hopkins
Rhode Island and Mississippi
Graduates of Tougaloo College in Mississippi and applicants of the Early Identification Program also have the opportunity to get into Brown Medical School.
Having several ways of getting admitted into Brown Medical School shows the university’s diversity in accepting applicants from all walks of life.
Part 4: Requirements for Warren Alpert Medical School
Brown requires multiple courses in Quantitative Reasoning, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Writing.
- Quantitative Reasoning: Biostatistics is highly recommended to fulfill this course requirement. Courses in calculus are also accepted.
- Biology: Having lab experience is a major plus here. The requirements are courses focused on cell biology and genetics. Both courses must be passed with a B. The higher the grade, the better.
- Chemistry: Four total courses are required: two in general chemistry, one in organic chemistry and one in biochemistry.
- Physics: These courses are to be taken in order, two semesters in a row and must cover mechanics, heat, electricity, optics and radiation physics.
Courses in English and the humanities should be taken at the undergraduate level since medical students are expected to be excellent writers. Your focus should be on expository writing.
If you submit your application via AMCAS, your GPA must be at least a 3.0.
In addition to coursework and grades, Brown Medical School cares about the person behind the application. Becoming a doctor is a serious responsibility that requires intellect, critical thinking skills, integrity, care, passion and research or clinical experience.
Cost of Attendance
It’s costly to attend a prestigious university and Brown Medical School is no exception. Tuition alone costs $32,487 per semester, totalling $64,974. And that doesn’t even cover coursework materials, textbooks, dorm-room or apartment living and other costs. Brown Medical School students are looking at close to a hundred grand each year.
Financial aid can help you attend Brown Medical School if you are accepted. Need-based and merit-based scholarshipsare doled out to students each year, averaging $33,730 per student per year. About half of all medical students receive some form of financial aid.
Brown Medical School Application Timeline
Step 1: AMCAS
It’s important to apply for medical school as early as possible. If you apply through AMCAS, your deadline is November 1st. However, the application opens in July, which is when you should apply. Getting your application in as early as possible is important because it’s a long process. By starting as soon as you can, you’ll be giving yourself enough time to complete the application carefully, thoroughly and completely.
Step 2: Secondary Application
Once your AMCAS application has been verified, it’s time for your secondary application. Where the AMCAS is a generalized application for various medical schools, your secondary application is specific to Brown. Every student receives a secondary application because the Brown admissions department doesn’t review AMCAS applications before secondary applications.
Your application must be submitted by December 1st, along with your letters of recommendation. So, again, the earlier you start the application process, the better.
Step 3: Interview
First, we should note that you’ll receive a response to your application no later than March. This response will come whether your application is accepted or rejected.
If your application is accepted, the next step is the interview process. These interviews take place between September and February. It takes so long to go through all the applications because there are a lot of applicants and Brown utilizes the rolling admissions system.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, all interviews are taking place virtually. The admissions department conducts these interviews on Thursdays and most Fridays. If you are interviewed, you’ll receive an invitation to interview on a specific date. The admissions department expects you to respond to the invitation as soon as possible by selecting the time that works best for you.
The interview process is intense. On your selected day, you will go through the following steps.
- A virtual group session explaining:
-the admissions process
-specific information about Brown Medical School
- A virtual session with students who are enrolled in the medical program
- Two, 30-minute virtual meetings with members of the MD Admissions Committee. This committee is comprised of current MD students, faculty and some administrative staff.
If you are hoping to be admitted to the MD-ScM program, you’ll interview alongside applicants who are applying to the traditional program first. This is because eligibility for the traditional program is a pre-requisite to being admitted to the MD-ScM program.
If you are applying for the MD/PhD program, this system works a bit differently. You’ll receive your notification to interview between September and January (a slightly smaller window of time) and interviews happen between December and February (a much smaller time frame). More information on the MD/PhD program is available here.
Step 4: Submitting Your Application
You’ll need your…
- Verified AMCAS application
- Transcripts sent to AMCAS
- Secondary application submitted to the Warren Alpert Medical School with $110 fee
- MCAT scores
- Letters of recommendation sent to AMCAS. Choose between:
-One composite letter from the university where you earned your bachelor’s degree
(or are currently attending)
-Three to six individual letters of recommendation
Starting as early as possible is key to ensuring that your application is complete and ready to be submitted by the application deadline.
Part 5: Secondary Application Essays to the Warren Alpert Medical School
Submitting your personal essays can be kind of scary because it’s the part of your application that you can make your own. It’s where your voice can be heard.
Question 1: Your interview will take place on a Thursday or Friday (potentially both) between mid-September and February. Please inform us of any scheduling restrictions you might have. If you are traveling out of the country, have work responsibilities or classes that would interfere with us interviewing you on a specific date, please make note of them. (500 characters)
This question shows Brown’s respect for your schedule while also informing you of when you need to be available to be considered for acceptance into the program. It’s fairly simple to answer. If being accepted into medical school is a high priority (which we assume, since you’re reading this very in-depth article about getting in), avoid scheduling anything non-essential on Thursdays or Fridays. The more availability you have, the better.
Here is a sample answer:
The only time I will be unavailable is from November 24th-28th, as I will be spending Thanksgiving at a cabin with my family. I would be thrilled to interview at any other time.
You don’t have to state why you’re unavailable if you don’t want to, but providing a reason that shows that you will truly be unavailable might relieve your anxiety while showing the interview committee that you scheduled as few things as possible during the interview window. It shows your commitment to medical school.
Question 2: Briefly explain how you have spent the 2020-2021 academic year, paying specific attention to activities that are preparing you for our program. (2000 characters)
This question can feel a little daunting because it tests your work ethic, character, and time management skills, and how your overall lifestyle reflects your academic pursuits.
But fear not! You have the experience to appropriately and adequately answer this question. Start by looking at all the materials you’ve submitted as part of your application, specifically your CV and AMCAS Work and Activities List. If you’re reading this article years before your application, check out our Pre-Medicine Internship Program and see if we can provide the experience you’re looking for on your path to medical school.
Additionally, this is an opportunity to show your ability to follow directions by only answering the question for the 2020-2021 year. Even if you have a great experience from 2018 or 2019, don’t include it as part of your answer unlessyou are still actively engaged/participating in this activity. In short, follow the instructions carefully, and answer the question to the best of your ability.
You can either answer this in list form or as an essay. We advise against using bullet points, as this can seem like a resume. We recommend avoiding words like additionally and however since they will quickly take up your word limit.
Here is an example of the type of essay we recommend writing.
Sign Language Volunteer Interpreter, Family First Pediatrics Care, Oct. 2019 – present: FFPC is a pediatric clinic with multiple deaf or hard-of-hearing patients who prefer communicating through sign language. My time spent here, paired with my time learning American Sign Language to help these children, has taught me how individualized health care should be. Every patient should receive the care they need, no matter how much additional help might be required. I want to be that kind of health care provider.
This is concise while still being in essay format. It gets the point across without a lot of extraneous words to make it more profound or elaborate. Here is an example of the same essay, only with a lot more words.
Sign Language Volunteer Interpreter at Family First Pediatrics from October 2019-present: Family First Pediatrics Care is a pediatric clinic that treats children ages 0-18, some of whom are deaf or hard-of-hearing, and whose preferred method of communication is American Sign Language. My time spent here, volunteering as an interpreter for these children, has taught me how individualized health care should be. Each and every patient should be able to receive the care they need, regardless of how much additional help might be required. That is the kind of health care provider I want to be so that my patients will trust me with their child’s care throughout their childhood.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this essay, it uses more words than is necessary. A pediatric clinic is for children, making it unnecessary to include this information. There are a lot of prepositions and clauses that make it niceto read, but the medical community is all about brevity. Additionally, the admissions committee has a lot of applications to go through, and they appreciate essays that they can quickly read through.
Question 3: What makes you unique? And how will your uniqueness contribute to the diversity which we strive to achieve here at Alpert Medical School? (2000 characters)
This type of essay question is classic for any university, not just a medical school. This question should be answered carefully and cleverly by finding a connection between your background and Alpert Medical School.
I grew up in a very loud family with a deaf sister. We shared a room growing up, so I could see the stark contrast between my siblings yelling at each other and calling for our parents, and my sister, who had to physically go to them to get their attention. Instead of calling out for help when she was sick in bed, Daisy would ring a bell. Instead of asking Daisy if she wanted seconds at dinner, my mother would sign this question. Seeing how my sister communicated differently but effectively inspired me to use American Sign Language to help other deaf individuals have the voice they need.
I started by taking dual-credit courses in high school at my local community college. These classes introduced me to a larger group of deaf and hard-of-hearing people. The friendships I formed impacted me as I saw the socioeconomic problems that deaf families dealt with. One of my classmates had an older brother who wasn’t able to receive adequate health care because the free clinic he went to didn’t have an interpreter. She was learning sign language so she could go to his appointments with him and be his interpreter.
I know that Brown Medical School has a diverse student population, including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. This will further expand my horizons as I pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. My ultimate dream is to receive the quality of education that Brown provides while being able to communicate with my patients as their doctor without needing an interpreter.
How does this response benefit the applicant? Her focus is on people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. She has a personal connection to her little sister that she is connecting to the medical care she wants to provide to patients. This matters to her both personally and professionally. She includes Brown Medical School as the element that will link her passion to her career, showing a need and desire to be admitted to Brown. She put thought and care into this essay, showing that she isn’t a sloppy applicant.
Question 4: What goals do you have for your medical career? Think ahead. Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
The main point of this question is to see if you’ve thought about your future. Because it takes so long to get through medical school, it’s important to have long-term career goals. During long days with difficult rotations, keeping your sight on the goals you’re accomplishing will help you keep going.
While it’s important to be honest, don’t panic over every word of your essay. If you’re a planner and know where you want to be in 15 years, great. But if not (like many of us!), give it some thought. It’s okay to write about an ideal, even if you’re not 100% positive that this is your ideal. It might sound great to you right now, but the admissions committee is aware that everyone grows, changes and evolves over time. They understand that this answer could still be applicable in 15 years, or it could evolve into something completely different.
I want to be a general internist and incorporate pediatric care into primary care. I want to treat children and help them grow up healthy and strong. I also want to cater to children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
With my fluency in American Sign Language, I will be able to offer the unique service of communicating directly with my deaf patients without needing an interpreter. I believe this will help my patients trust me enough to honestly communicate with me. An interpreter they don’t know could make them feel uncomfortable and cause them to leave out valuable information that would help me treat their concerns more effectively.
Additionally, I want to build an excellent reputation via word of mouth. I want deaf patients to travel to see me because they know they can trust me with their care.
Paired with my fluency in American Sign Language, Brown Medical School will provide me with the kind of top-notch education I need to provide that level of care. If this where I am in 15 years, I know that I will owe a debt of gratitude to Brown.
This applicant does a good job answering this question because their goal could take quite a few years to accomplish. It’s very realistic and attainable, and it shows how they are working toward their goals with a great vision in mind.
If you’re struggling with any part of your application, we invite you to visit our website and check out our program. Through our program, we can help you gain the kind of experience you’re looking to write about it in your essay questions.
Part 6: Brown Medical School Interviews
Congratulations if you’ve made it this far into your medical school application process. You’ve made it to the highest tier, which is a huge compliment.
Remember to breathe on the day of your interview. Every medical school applicant is a person with emotions. We recommend keeping your essay questions, CV and AMCAS information readily available. If you freeze up from nerves during the interview, you can refer to these to help center yourself and get back on track before they even realize how nervous you are.
Brown Medical School is hard to get into. Out of all the applicants who spend hours slaving over their applications, less than 7% ever get an invitation to interview, and even fewer (3%) are admitted. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be making yourself stand out as a strong applicant. Shoot for the stars and hope that you get accepted into Brown Medical School!