Part 1: Introduction
Duke University School of Medicine: ranks high among American colleges. Duke has made a name for itself with its Human Genome Project, free-electron lasers, and nuclear magnetic resonance machines. No matter which field of science you’re interested in, Duke University School of Medicine: has you covered.
If you’re looking for a medical school that offers more than just medicine, Duke University is home to the Blue Devils basketball team. Duke also welcomes horticulturists, musicians and attorneys.
With its unique location in Durham, North Carolina, Duke Medical School might not be the first place you think of when considering a medical education. But don’t dismiss the school because of its location. Attending Duke Medical School would provide you with a world-class education, a diverse cultural experience and memories that last a lifetime.
In today’s definitive guide, IMA will show you the different programs that Duke offers its students. We’ll walk you through the curricular options and the criteria for acceptance, along with guides to answer the essay questions and insights on the interview process.
We create these guides as a resource for prospective medical students to help ease anxieties and to show that, while the process is long and sometimes complicated, it’s doable. And it’s worth it to fulfill your dream of becoming a doctor. We recommend applying to multiple medical schools to increase your odds of getting in. At the end of this article, we’ll provide you with a list of other worthy medical programs that we’ve written about here on our blog.
For now, let’s dive in and take a look at everything Duke Medical School has to offer.
Part 2: Medical Programs Offered at Duke University School of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine: offers the following programs.
Health Education Programs
- Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program
- Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/Ph.D.)
- Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
- Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD)
- Physician Assistant Program (MHS, PA-C)
- Biochemistry Program
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
- Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
- Immunology Program
- Integrated Toxicology & Environmental Health
- Medical Physics
- Molecular Cancer Biology
- Molecular Genetics & Microbiology
- Neurobiology Program
- Pathology Program
- Genetics and Genomics
Doctor of Medicine (MD) Program
The Doctor of Medicine program at Duke University School of Medicine: is designed to graduate doctors who are at the top of their game. Diversity, multiple career options, advancements in biomedical research, and improving public health are just a few of the goals that Duke University School of Medicine: has for its students.
The curriculum Duke Medical School uses is summed up in the acronym FIRST. These letters stand for:
Duke University School of Medicine: takes a unique approach to the medical school curriculum. Instead of two years of basic coursework and two years of clinicals, Duke Medical School crams all the curriculum into the first year. After that first year of coursework, there is a clinical year, a year of research and a final clinical year. The Foundations for Excellence Curriculum includes the following materials.
Year 1 (Basic Science)
- Intro to the Medical Profession and Clinical Skills Immersion
- Clinical Skills Foundation Year 1 (including Human Structure & Function and Body & Disease)
- Lead Foundation
- Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities I
Year 2 (Clinical Rotations)
- Lead Experiential
- Cultural Determinants of Health and Health Disparities 2
Year 3 (Scholarly Research)
- Scholarly Experience (including 4 weeks to study for STEP1)
- Clinical Skills Foundation Year 3
- Quantitative Medicine and Decision Making
Year 4 (Clinical Electives)
- Clinical Electives (six different electives, each lasting for four weeks)
- Capstone (3 weeks)
- Lead Capstone
The MD curriculum builds on itself each year, culminating in the capstone experiences.
Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/Ph.D.)
Duke University School of Medicine: was one of the first colleges in the nation to offer a joint MD/Ph.D. program. The MSTP program was founded in 1966. Only three other medical schools began their MSTP programs before Duke. The element of research is what sets the MD/Ph.D. degree program apart from the MD program. Instead of the MD program’s third-year curriculum, MSTP students transition into the Ph.D. portion of their education.
Students enrolled in the MD/Ph.D. program have the sky as their limit. Research opportunities include (but are not limited to) biochemistry, biostats, biology, biomedical engineering, cell biology, neurobiology and pathology. After earning their degree, these students can become educators, research scientists or physician-scientists, among other options.
This degree takes seven to nine years to complete.
Physician Assistant (PA) Program
The Duke Family Medicine and Community Health Department at Duke University School of Medicine: administers the Physician Assistant program. You’ll earn a Master of Health Sciences degree. The primary difference between the PA program and the MD program is the amount of time spent earning your education. You’ll go through Didactic (Preclinical) and Clinical coursework.
These are the courses you’ll take during your preclinical year.
- Basic Medical Sciences
- Introduction to Prevention and Population Health
- Diagnostic Methods I, II, III
- Clinical Medicine I, II, III
- Fundamentals of Surgery
- Patient Assessment and Counseling I, II, III
- Practice and the Health System I
- Evidence-Based Practice I
You’ll take the following courses during your clinical year.
- Bridge: The Path to Patient Care
- Primary Care 1 & 2
- Evidence-Based Practice II
- Behavioral Medicine
- Internal Medicine 1 & 2
- Women’s Health
- General Surgery
- Emergency Medicine
- Senior Seminar
You can choose from the following electives.
- Primary Care
– Family Medicine or Urgent Care
- Occupational Medicine
- Global Health
- Prevention and Health Promotion
- Integrative Medicine
- Medical Informatics
- Public Health & Healthcare in Cuba
- Behavioral Medicine
– General Behavioral Medicine
– Pediatric Behavioral Medicine
- Clinical Research
- Community Health
- LGBTQ Health
- Internal Medicine
– Inpatient Internal Medicine
– Outpatient Internal Medicine
- General Surgery
- Emergency Medicine
- Pediatrics (Inpatient or Outpatient)
- Women’s Health
- Maternal/Fetal Medicine
- Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility
- Pain Medicine
– General Hematology-oncology
– Gynecologic oncology
– Breast oncology
– Bone marrow transplant
- Infectious Diseases
– General Infectious Disease
- Palliative Care
- Pulmonary Medicine
- Coronary Care Unit
– General radiology
– Interventional radiology
– Healthy Lifestyle Program
– Surgery/Cardiothoracic Surgery
– Infectious Disease
– Intensive Care Nursery
— Neonatal intensive care unit
— Pediatric intensive care unit
Upon graduation, PA students will be prepared to practice medicine in a clinical or hospital setting, provided that they work under the supervision of an MD or DO.
While Duke Medical School offers a plethora of programs, the rest are linked to their respective pages on the Duke University website. Please click the links to view information on specific programs.
Duke University School of Medicine: isn’t cheap, but it’s not the most expensive school, either. Considering its Ivy League status, a yearly tuition of $47,556 isn’t bad. Financial aid is available for students who qualify. Duke Medical School also offers scholarships.
Keep in mind, though, that the tuition costs don’t cover living expenses, university fees or other necessary materials. You’ll average around $75,000 per year when you add all that in.
Part 3: Getting Into Duke University School of Medicine:
So, just how hard is it to get into Duke University School of Medicine:? We can’t fully answer that question because Duke doesn’t provide that information on their website. What we can tell you is Duke’s acceptance rate and the percentiles for SAT and ACT scores.
- Acceptance rates:
– Early Decision: 21%
– Regular Decision: 6%
– Overall Acceptance Rate: 7.7%
- ACT 25th percentile: 33
- ACT 75th percentile: 35
- SAT 25th percentile: 1500
- SAT 75th percentile: 1560
Duke University School of Medicine: strongly encourages students to take the following:
- English: 4 Years
- Math: 3 Years
- Natural Sciences: 3 Years
- Foreign Language: 3 Years
- Social Studies: 3 Years
Other requirements include:
- Common App Essay or Coalition App Essay
- ACT/SAT scores (optional for 2020-21 cycle)
- Two letters of recommendations from teachers
Duke University School of Medicine: has two admissions processes: early decision vs. regular decision. In this sub-section, we’ll look at the differences between early decisions and regular decisions.
Submitting your application for early decision comes with the commitment to attend Duke University School of Medicine: if you are accepted. If you don’t commit to Duke when you are offered admission, you could be denied or deferred. Deferment means that you are reconsidered at a later time, but there is no guarantee that you’ll be accepted again.
There are serious pros to applying early. If you’re in high school and have excellent grades, the acceptance rate is in your favor. It’s actually significantly higher than the regular decision route. So, if you know you want to go to Duke Medical School, apply for early decision.
If you’re not sure where you want to attend school, or if your grades aren’t where you want them to be, you should apply for Duke’s regular decision admissions timeline. The acceptance rate is far lower and you won’t know if you’ve been accepted until late March, but you aren’t bound to the same level of commitment.
Primary and Secondary Applications
Whether you apply for early decision or regular decision acceptance to Duke University School of Medicine:, you’ll need to fill out two applications. These applications are known as your primary and secondary applications. Your primary application will be submitted through the American Medical College Application Service. Better known as AMCAS in the medical world, this application is almost universal. All medical schools will have access to this application. Your secondary applications are sent to each medical school you apply to, and the content you send to each school should be unique to that school. We have a comprehensive guide on AMCAS if you’d like more information.
Part 4: Writing Your Essays
For your secondary application to Duke Medical School, you’ll have essay questions to answer. These essay questions are unique to Duke Medical School. While other schools might ask similar questions, you’ll want to tailor your essays to Duke. Write about things that help connect you to the school. This is your chance to convince Duke Medical School that you are a perfect fit.
Why do you think Duke University School of Medicine is a good fit for you? Please share specific reasons if you have them. (maximum 200 words)
Do your best to relate your answer to what makes Duke University a unique place. For example, you might be a social butterfly. Going to basketball games might be your idea of a study break. Or perhaps the free-electron lasers in the laboratory make you giddy with excitement. Maybe you’ve always lived in the North and want to spend some time in the South. Attending a university is primarily about academics, but your experience matters, too. If you only ever studied, you’d be miserable.
Don’t be afraid to talk about how attending Duke University would excite you. Share what experiences you hope to have here. This will help the admissions committee connect with you. It will up your chances of scoring that ever-so-evasive interview.
Duke University strives to maintain a diverse student body. We want our students to shine in their studies and to be engaged in extracurricular activities. If your cultural, familial or political background contributes to why you want to attend Duke, please share that here. We want you to be real because we’re all real people. (maximum 250 words)
This essay prompt is straightforward. Duke is committed to diversity, and they want to hear diverse stories from their applicants. Proceed with caution, though. If you aren’t comfortable with the entire medical community knowing your story, don’t share it with the admissions committee. While they won’t share your essay outside of their committee, it’s a good rule of thumb regarding what is appropriate to share.
Here is an example.
I grew up in a travel trailer park where most parents worked two or three different jobs to make ends meet. For meals, we ate eggs, rice and beans, and lots of ramen noodles. Most of our clothes were hand-me-downs. We went to thrift stores instead of department stores. This used to embarrass me because most of my classmates lived in nice houses with staircases, fireplaces and large kitchen islands. But it doesn’t embarrass me anymore.
Now, it makes me proud because my upbringing taught me that I can be anyone I want to be and accomplish everything I set my mind to. When I told my parents I wanted to be a doctor, they pointed me towards scholarships and grants. They pushed me to have excellent grades. Never once did they point out their lack of funds to put me through school. Never once did they tell me that I couldn’t be a doctor because it would be hard.
Instead, they taught me by their example to never give up and to always push forward. I’m proud of my roots, and I hope that my experience can encourage others to keep going, even when things get tough.
This essay comes in at 198 words, so it makes the cut. Poverty is a struggle related to diversity, so this essay is appropriate. It also works because it’s not too personal. Nothing graphic or disturbing is relayed. It’s simply a story about being poor and having to work through difficult circumstances.
Sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression matter to us. It’s part of our committment to diversity. In this optional essay, we want to provide an opportunity to share your story. Please share whatever you feel is appropriate. (maximum 250 words)
We usually recommend writing an essay response to every question. This gives you the best opportunity to show who you are to the admissions committee. You want to demonstrate how you are an exceptional candidate and why Duke University School of Medicine should accept you.
Having said that, if your sexual orientation and gender identity are the same as you were assigned at birth, you might not feel like you have anything to share. If this is the case, or if you don’t feel like it’s appropriate to share, go ahead and skip this essay.
However, you can also discuss how you relate to the LGBTQIA+ community if that resonates with you. Here’s an example.
My sister was assigned male at birth. There wasn’t a lot of awareness surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community, so my parents initially thought that her girly tendencies were part of a stage she would outgrow. However, as time went on, we learned more and accepted Caleb for who she was. Caleb became Callie, and her world became a much brighter, happier place. Callie is happily married with two children of her own and an amazing husband who accepts her for who she is. Growing up with Caleb and then Callie taught me that everyone is unique and goes through different things in life. It’s very important to me to stand by everyone, no matter who they identify as. Personal identity should always be respected.
This simple response comes in at 123 words. It’s okay to be under the word count. What matters is fully answering the question and not exceeding the word count. This applicant meets the requirements.
Part 5: The Interview
Now that you’ve made it past the essays, it’s time to think about the interview. If the essays are what convince the admissions committee to interview you, then the interview is what convinces them to admit you. This makes the interview a very important step in the process.
But before you get psyched out, know that you can do it. Every single medical school applicant has been through this process. It’s challenging, but it’s doable. Duke University School of Medicine uses the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format. While tradition calls for two, 30-minute interviews, the MMI format breaks the interview up into mini stations. Instead of being asked multiple questions that you answer on the spot, you’ll know each question before you step into each mini interview.
The questions are designed to analyze your ability in several categories.
- Can you empathize with others, especially your patients?
- Do you have the initiative and resilience that a doctor needs?
- How are you with communication and problem-solving?
- How well do you work with others in a team setting?
While our brains are trained to look for the “right answer,” there is no such thing. Your answers will show the admissions committee where you’re at in your medical school journey. Go here for more detailed information on the MMI process at Duke University.
While this might disappoint some students, you won’t need to worry about flying to Duke for your interview. The COVID-19 pandemic caused Duke to move everything to a virtual format. Your interview will take place via Zoom or an other videoconferencing tool. Even though you won’t be meeting with the admissions committee in person, prepare as if you were. Dress professionally and pick a neutral, clean, professional background for your interview. Also, make sure that your camera and microphone are working properly before the interview. With that in place, you’ll be prepared for your interview.
Duke is also offering virtual campus tours.
Part 6: International Medical Aid
International Medical Aid is staffed with experts in the medical field including seasoned medical school admissions consultants and pre-med advisors. Simply put, we’re here to help you succeed. We also offer global internship opportunities in places like South America, East Africa and the Caribbean.
We offer medical school admissions consulting for prospective medical students who need a little help on their application journey. Whether you come from a family of doctors or you’re the first generation, International Medical Aid is here to help.
- Primary and secondary application review
- Personal medical statement critique
- Help with secondary essays
- Mock interviews
- Advice for non-traditional students
Finally, we’re working to compile an exhaustive list of medical schools. These definitive guides give you the inside scoop on how each school runs. We provide tips and tricks on writing A+ secondary essays, and we teach you how to nail your interviews.
- Baylor College of Medicine
- St. George’s University School of Medicine
- Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
- George Washington University School of Medicine
- Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University
- Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (PA)
- Western University of Health Sciences (CA)
- Wake Forest University School of Medicine
- Drexel University College of Medicine
- Stritch School of Medicine at Loyola University Chicago
- Yale School of Medicine
- Georgetown University School of Medicine
- Perelman School of Medicine
- UCLA Medical School
- NYU Medical School
- Washington University School of Medicine
- Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- Brown Medical School
- Harvard Medical School
- Mayo Medical School
International Medical Aid is here to help whenever you need us. Visit our website to book medical school admissions consulting with us. Medical school is in reach. You’re part of a community of people who are trying to make the world a better place. And with the right resources, you’ll be on your way to success.