MBS FAQs

COVID-19 QUESTIONS

Does MBS plan to be held in-person or virtually for the 2021-2022 Academic Year?

We are unable to confirm the method by which our courses will be delivered at this time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The MBS program will communicate promptly with incoming students regarding the status of an on-campus or virtual presence as decisions are made.

Will MBS take into consideration academic disruptions due to COVID-19?

MBS understands that many students have been affected by the pandemic. MBS will consider this along with students’ academic performance prior to the pandemic.

 

ADMISSIONS/ELIGIBILTY QUESTIONS

What are the criteria for admission?

Applicants who are a good fit for the MBS will already be good candidates for admission to a health professions school, therefore, a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and medical/ health professional school prerequisites must have been completed prior to matriculation. Applicants must have earned a minimum undergraduate cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2; strength and relevance of post- baccalaureate work is considered on an individual basis.

Prerequisite courses include, but are not limited to:

  • Biochemistry and ideally one of the following;
    • cell biology;
    • molecular biology or cell and molecular biology (combined course);
    • genetics;
  • and physics (through electromagnetism).

Note: Applicants are not required to take the GRE, MCAT, or any other standardized test to be considered for admission. The application does not have a place to record such scores. However, if you are applying for the Bridges to Excellence Pathway, there will be a place to record your score, though scores are not required for consideration of admission. We prefer students take the MCAT when they are ready. Our experience has confirmed that most of our students do better if they take MCATs, GREs, or other standardized tests AFTER completing the MBS program. Students who matriculate into the program are expected to provide all test scores they have taken as part of the advising process.

What percentage of applicants to your program are admitted?

Of “viable applications” - those applicants who submitted complete applications and paid the application fee, we have offered admission to approximately 20%. The rate of offer acceptance has been high every year – approximately 75%.

Am I eligible to apply if my undergraduate degree will be awarded from an institution outside of the United States?

The Duke MBS requires completion of a 4 year undergraduate degree from an accredited American college or University, or at a minimum, at least two years of university work, at an American-accredited university or college. These requirements are tied to the program’s curricular expectations and admission standards by which each candidate for admission is evaluated for their prior academic foundation.

Do you interview applicants?

We do not interview applicants for admission.

 

APPLICATION QUESTIONS

What is the deadline for submitting an application for the Fall 2021 entering class?

Priority Review deadline is January 8, 2021; Regular Review deadline is February 12, 2021.

What is the difference between Priority and Regular Review?

Priority Review: Applicants who meet the Priority Review deadline will be notified of their admission decision no later than March 5, 2021. We typically fill at least half of our class during Priority Review.

Regular Review: Applicants who meet the Regular Review deadline will be notified of their admission decision on a rolling basis between March 6, 2021 and April 9, 2021.

How much is the application fee?

The application fee is $50.

The application fee is waived for qualifying Bridges to Excellence candidates. Please read the eligibility for this pathway carefully. Only North Carolina or South Carolina residents, willing to apply and if accepted commit to attend a single medical school.

Can I submit my application before all of my recommendations or transcripts are received?

Yes.

However, your application will not be considered “complete” until all required application materials, including letters and transcripts are received. For admissions purposes, this means that both of the required letters must be entered in the on-line system before the deadline. An unofficial transcript from each postsecondary institution attended, including graduate and/or other professional schools must be uploaded directly to the application before the deadline.

Applications must be complete before the deadline in order to be considered for admission. For example, if you wish to be considered as a Priority Applicant, your application must be complete, including letters and transcripts, by the Priority Deadline or your application will be pushed to the Regular Pool. If your materials arrive after the Regular Review deadline, the application will not be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

Should I mail application materials or supplemental documents?

No, do not mail any application materials unless a specific request is made by the Duke MBS Admissions Committee that you do so.

Can I update my application after I submit it?

With the exception of replacing one recommender with another, changes may not be made to the application after it is submitted.

What do I do if I am having trouble uploading documents?

Contact the MBS program at dukembs@duke.edu or (919) 684-6351 for assistance.

Do I need to list and provide a transcript from every institution I have attended?

You should list and submit an unofficial transcript from each undergraduate or graduate institution you attended where you:

  • Earned (or will earn ) a degree;
  • Earned 12 or more hours of credit; or
  • Took classes that relate to your graduate study interests.

You do not have to provide a separate transcript for study abroad credits, as long as the credits are listed on the transcript from your home educational institution.

Note: If you took classes at a college or university while in high school, do not list the college or university as a separate school in your application unless the credits you earned applied to your bachelor’s or associate’s degree.

My transcript is not in English. Do I need to provide a translation?

Yes. Please provide both the original transcript and a translation from either the school issuing the transcript or a professional translation service.

How can I report grades I have received since submitting my application?

Updated grade reports cannot be submitted unless asked to do so by the Duke MBS Admissions Committee. If you are offered admission to the MBS program, you will be required to submit a final transcript updating any degrees or other studies that were incomplete at the time of your application.

How does the online recommendation process work?

In the Letter of Recommendations section of the online application, enter the contact information for each of your recommenders, including their e-mail addresses. “Save” the information, then click “Send request” for each of your recommenders. Each recommender will then receive an e-mail with instructions and a link to an online recommendation form. Your recommenders can enter the recommendation directly into the form or upload an electronic file of a letter.

You should graciously follow up with your recommenders to make sure that they submit their recommendations in a timely manner in advance of our stated deadlines. Note that you can change one of your recommenders after your portion of the application has been submitted.

How can I check the status of my application?

You may audit your own application for completeness by visiting your application Dashboard to see what items are complete and which remain. You may also view your Application History up to submission by clicking on the drop down menu next to your name in the upper right corner of the Dashboard.

Due to the volume of applications received and reviewed, it is not possible to advise each applicant regarding the position of an individual application in the review process until the final decision is reported to the applicant.

Why have I not received the official decision letter in the mail?

Applicants are notified of an admission decision by email, not through the United States Postal Service.

Can I defer admission to a different semester?

No; required courses are offered only once per year in sequence. The sequence begins with the fall semester on the date noted in the program academic calendar. Accepted applicants can request a deferral to the following academic year that begins in July.

Whom can I contact about why I was denied admission?

Notifications to applicants who are denied admission receive an information sheet with their notification describing the most common reasons why applicants are not successful. Most frequently, the Admissions Committee believes we are not the right program to support your success. We are unable to discuss individual decisions with applicants.

I have accepted the offer of admission. What should I do next?

Attend to all of the email communications sent to you by the MBS program and other offices of Duke University and follow the instructions given. Failure to do so may result in delays in your matriculation as a MBS student or an inability to participate in Orientation or classes.

Is it possible to speak to a faculty member about the Duke MBS program?

The best way to speak to individual faculty members is to attend one of our Q&A Sessions. See our website for posted dates of our upcoming information session events.

 

FINANCIAL AID/SCHOLARSHIPS

How will students manage the additional financial burden?

In keeping with existing School of Medicine practice, the program will direct a portion of its revenues to scholarship support, both academic and need-based, for selected students. An applicant’s application to MBS serves as the scholarship application. Applicants interested in receiving need-based aid must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Duke University/School of Medicine Title IV School Code is 00292.

Does the MBS program offer assistantships or fellowships?

No, MBS does not offer any assistantships or fellowships.

Can I work while in the MBS program?

Due to the rigorous combination of multidisciplinary graduate level coursework, immersive patient-centered service, it is generally advisable NOT to be employed while in the MBS program.

Does the MBS program offer financial counseling for debt management?

MBS students will have the opportunity to attend debt management workshops held yearly on campus. They will also have access to an educational listserv run by a consultant who previously worked with the AAMC in student financial services. They have the option of one-on-one consultation.

The School of Medicine currently provides these resources for all MD, PA, and PT students; residents and fellows.

Additional Financial Aid information:

Please refer to the Duke School of Medicine Office of Financial Aid website for additional inquiries. 

 

GENERAL/MISCELLANEOUS

What is the Duke Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) degree program?

The MBS is a 10.5-month professional master’s degree awarded by the Duke University School of Medicine (SOM). It enhances the scientific and professional preparation of students aspiring to a career in the health professions, biomedical sciences, or in a related field requiring a background in integrated biomedical sciences. This is accomplished by providing a combination of graduate level scientific coursework, immersive patient- centered service learning, advising, and professional skill development. Students who successfully complete the program of study earn a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree from the School of Medicine.

What are the components of the MBS?

The academic program of study entails:

  • Courses in the human biomedical sciences integrated with Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training;
  • Graduate level study incorporating emerging areas of emphasis in medical education;
  • A skills-based professional development curriculum centered around communication, collaborative problem-solving, and teamwork; and
  • Individualized selectives.

The concurrent co-curriculum consists of:

  • Customized advising,
  • mentoring, and career exploration;
  • Guided preparation of applications to medical or other health professions schools; and
  • Opportunities to develop relationships with students and faculty in a variety of health professions and related careers.

Program goals are modeled and reinforced through teaching methods shown to promote academic achievement, critical thinking, scientific inquiry, team skills, capacity for improvement, and cultural competence. These include team-based learning, co-mentored small group seminars, experiential learning, simulation, critical reflection, and narrative writing.

What are the degree requirements and length of study?

The degree requires a total of 38 credits; of these, thirteen courses comprise a required core curriculum of 34 credits.

Students are full-time; program completion requires a minimum of two consecutive semesters (Fall and Spring semesters) starting in early July and ending the following May.

The student time commitment is estimated to be, on average, 20-22 hours per week of “programmed” activity and 38-40 hours per week of preparation and study for a total effort for success in the program of approximately 60-70 hours per week.

The students’ program of study follows this sequence:

FALL SEMESTER

July – August

  • Human Structure
  • Enhanced EMT-Basic Training Course
  • Essentials of Health Practice and Professional Development I

September - December

  • Cellular Sciences
  • EMT Clinical Shifts
  • Essentials of Health Practice and Professional Development I
  • Evidence Based Clinical Practice
  • Medical Statistics
  • Health Systems

SPRING SEMESTER

January – May

  • Health Systems
  • EMT Clinicals Essentials of Health Practice and Professional Development II
  • Evidence Based Clinical Practice
  • Organ Systems
  • Selective(s)

What are the features the distinguish the Duke MBS program from other programs?

Features of Duke’s MBS that distinguish it from other programs include:

  • Gross anatomy with human cadaveric dissection laboratory, integrated with other biological sciences and the EMT curriculum;
  • EMT training, certification, and clinical experiences in areas such as, Duke University Hospital Emergency Department and Duke Urgent Care Clinics;
  • Graduate-level, medical school-caliber courses designed specifically for and dedicated to MBS students;
  • Located within the Duke University School of Medicine in a major academic medical center adjacent to Duke University’s West Campus;
  • Team-based learning and small group seminars;
  • Program-based scholarships;
  • Diverse selective opportunities to explore topics and pursue experiential learning of special interest to individual students;
  • Assistance with securing employment in the Duke University Medical Center or Duke University Health Systems (mainly research and clinical jobs) after successful completion of the MBS program; Support for a future health professions school application; Access to weekly seminars and grand rounds, and occasional workshops, conferences and symposia in the Duke University Medical Center and in academic units with Duke University;
  • Strategic academic and professional advising by a team of faculty and student services staff.

Who would benefit most from this program?

This program would most benefit students with a growth mindset who have completed premedical/prehealth curricula at the baccalaureate level and seek additional structured opportunity: (1) explore potential careers in healthcare and careers in biomedical sciences; (2) to be guided through an application process to health professions schools; and/or (3) to strengthen academic achievement and professional credentials for admission to health professions schools or entry into the workforce, including:

  • Aspirants to careers in healthcare who have not yet applied to health professions programs, such as medical school, dental school or physician assistant programs (among others);
  • Aspirants to careers in healthcare who wish to enhance their application;
  • Those interested in health-related careers who are early in career exploration and unsure of which direction to pursue;
  • Those interested in health-related careers in teaching, business, journalism, entrepreneurship, venture capital, regulatory, policy, emerging disciplines;
  • Prospective doctoral (PhD) students seeking to enhance the breadth of their knowledge of human biomedical science and gain an immersive clinical experience to better understand how to connect their science to patients.

What is the class size?

We began the program in 2015-16 with ~ 30 students; our class size in AY 2021-2022 is 48. We anticipate keeping our class size ~48 students for the foreseeable future.

What is the plan for advising the students?

Each student is assigned to a primary faculty advisor who will participate in the student’s onboarding activities and intake assessment process, guide the development of the student’s individual plan, and in partnership with the other advisors and learning specialist, provide academic guidance throughout the program, including approval of the student’s options for the elective component of the program.

  • Students receive strategic academic and professional advising from their primary faculty advisor; students also benefit from direction provided by student services staff and informal opportunities to reach out to other program faculty.
  • The advising team includes faculty who are physicians, physician assistants, physical therapists, dieticians and nutrition scientists, and the biomedical scientists, as well as individuals with substantial experience in career services, health professions advising and student learning differences.
  • In addition, the MBS program strongly encourages its students to select the course, HLTHSCI 533: Planning for Health Professions Education. Through a series of workshops, this elective course provides students with a “deep dive” into the preparation of a competitive professional school application.

What are the benefits for those students who do not go on to medical/health professions schools?

Students learn the language of human medicine (e.g. anatomy and biological systems) as well as the context of clinical care (e.g. the providers’ perspective, health delivery systems). The vocabulary, perspectives, and first-hand experiences will be essential for a biomedical scientist pursuing excellence in translational science. Further, knowledge and experience gained in the Duke MBS program will be formative for anyone pursuing careers in health systems research, law, journalism, regulatory affairs, pharmaceuticals, medical writing, performance improvement, health professions teaching, etc. as well as careers emerging during continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Does MBS have any linkages with the Duke M.D. program or other medical schools?

Successful students will have thrived working with Duke SOM faculty in our setting with similar course demands. However, students who complete MBS are not given a direct linkage to the Duke Doctor of Medicine program or any other medical or professional school.

NC and SC residents selected for the Bridges to Excellence (BTE) pathway are given conditional acceptance to ECU Brody or UofSC-Greenville, respectively, based on their performance in MBS. See the “MBS Programs Pathways” section of our website for more information regarding BTE.

What Schools of Medicine have graduates of the Duke MBS program been accepted to?

A number of our graduates have demonstrated that they are excellent candidates at Duke and at other schools as well as, but not limited to, Case Western, Creighton, Edward Via, Howard, Lerner College of Medicine, Philadelphia COM, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Rochester, University of South Carolina (Columbia and Greenville programs), and dental schools at Tufts University, University of Tennessee and Virginia Commonwealth.

Does MBS have a course dedicated to MCAT preparation?

We do not have a separate course dedicated to MCAT preparation. Mastery of material learned in certain courses may prove helpful in terms of learning concepts that are covered on the MCAT. Students are encouraged to work with the doctorally trained learning specialist on the MBS faculty to establish study plans in preparation for the MCAT. Except for students admitted to the Bridges to Excellence (BTE) pathway, we strongly recommend taking the MCAT mid-to-late June following MBS graduation.

How will MBS contribute to diversify the biomedical workforce?

One of the visions we have for our MBS program is to contribute to diversification of the nation’s health care and scientific workforce. We have been successful building upon the successes of our MD and PA Programs by recruiting 34% of our incoming classes from underrepresented minority populations (including American Indian and Alaskan Native, Black/African American, Hispanic and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) in our first five entering cohorts. Our Senior Advisor has longstanding relationships with diverse organizations and institutions built upon years of outreach, networking and pathway programs for the School of Medicine.

What “evidence based educational practices” are utilized in the MBS degree program?

Evidence based educational practices are teaching, learning and assessment practices shown through research to improve value, efficacy, and outcomes. The Duke MBS curriculum intentionally incorporates a number of such strategies.

  • Flipped classroom techniques increase engagement with materials and faculty.
  • Team-based learning improves learning outcomes.
  • Gross anatomy with human cadaveric dissection enhances subsequent academic performance.
  • Experiential learning enhances the development of cognitive skills.
  • Professionalism is best taught explicitly and situated in the context in which it is practiced.
  • EMT training early in professional education increases confidence and professional formation.
  • Early clinical immersion improves integration of skills and knowledge.
  • Using questions to learn improves learning beyond the use of questions in testing and assessment.

Do you offer guided tours of the campus?

No, we do not offer guided tours of our campus.