Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons has a long proud history dating back to colonial times. It was originally founded in 1767 as the official medical department of Columbia University, when it was known as King’s College, and has the distinction of granting the very first Doctor of Medicine degree in the original thirteen colonies. Classes were interrupted during the American Revolution, but when this nation was established, the school reopened and once again medical studies were available.
Today the school, known as P&S, is a graduate school of Columbia University and is one of the several health sciences schools that are part of the Columbia University Medical Center. Instead of following the traditional program most medical schools offer, they recently adopted a new approach where students need to complete the following three segments: Fundamentals, Major Clinical Year, and Differentiation & Integration.
Medical school is challenging, and this graduate school has one of the top rated programs in the country, with partnerships with prestigious medical facilities. As innovation leaders, this school has adopted a flexible program in order to train its students, with three distinct segments plus a Scholarly Project needed for graduation.
Part One: Fundamentals
All students will attend traditional medical classes where they will learn the basics needed in preparation for the next segments. The following courses are required:
- Molecular Mechanisms and Disease
- Clinical Gross Anatomy
- Foundations of Clinical Medicine Seminars
- Foundations of Clinical Medicine Tutorials
- Body in Health and Disease
- Psychiatric Medicine
Part Two: Major Clinical Year
Here, students participate in clerkships in clinics to receive their hand-on practical experience. They will work with physicians and other students to develop their medical skills with patients.
Part Three: Differentiation and Integration
This segment consists of 14 months of electives plus the Scholarly Project. Here, students will focus on the branch of medicine they intend to specialize in, while combining their skills and knowledge already learned in the previous two segments.
Each student will receive four to ten months of protected time that is devoted to research with a faculty member. All students must complete this project prior to graduation. The exception includes students who are pursuing a dual-degree. They are allowed to claim that experience as their project.
The P&S Club was founded in 1894 and sponsors over 70 extracurricular activities for current medical students. It’s been lauded as the most extensive student activities organization in the American medical school community. Representing many diverse interests, it helps students stay engaged with their passions outside of medical school and gives them a chance to stay connected to the community and to life outside of medical school. Students can take a welcome break from intense studying and enjoy some of their passions.
The requirements for admission are quite extensive, since this is a very selective school. The first thing a potential student must do is submit their application through the American Medical College Application Service (AMACS). The deadline for this is Oct. 15. Once it is submitted and received, the student should submit the official application to P&S along with their non-refundable fee. This deadline is Nov. 15.
After the Admissions Office receives both applications, the student can complete the rest of the requirements. Undergraduate grades are heavily scrutinized, and the school is looking for students who excelled in their science classes. Three letters of recommendation are required, and one of them must be from a science faculty member. Also be sure to submit MCAT scores and evidence of extracurricular activities along with any previous jobs to prove that you are a well rounded individual.
Final applicants will be invited to attend an interview as the final step of acceptance. Plan for a full day because during the process, students will not only be interviewed but will be served lunch, receive a welcome from the Dean of Admissions, and will have the chance to take a tour of the campus.
For students interested in Financial Aid, please make an appointment with the Office of Student Financial Planning. Here, they will guide you through the steps needed to receive aid and will help put together a comprehensive package for your medical school education.
Scholarships from the school are not available, but they do encourage students to apply for outside scholarships.
Students can live on campus and partake in the meal plans. Bard Hall is the residence for men and
women, and there are a limited number of apartments for married students available at Bard Haven.
There are no sports teams here, but students can use the Bard Athletic Center, which contains a swimming pool, cardio equipment, gymnasium, aerobics room, and saunas. Also available are the Marcellus Hartley Dodge Physical Fitness Center and Baker Field.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.