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Partnership with med school lets pre-meds pursue art, as well as science

The first five Northeastern students have been accepted into an early decision medical school program through a partnership with Tufts University.

Northeastern is one of four schools partnering with the Tufts University School of Medicine and its Early Assurance Program, which offers undergraduates at select institutions the unusual chance to bypass the time-consuming and costly medical school application process and the four-to-six month preparation for the Medical College Admission Test.

Liberated from medical school’s labor-intensive processes, students more freely engage with Northeastern’s vast array of experiential and academic opportunities.

Instead of spending the summer studying for the MCAT’s, behavioral neuroscience major Chelsey Mitchell, who hopes to study psychiatry and adolescent drug rehabilitation, will travel to Italy to study photography. Biology major John Daggett will serve as a teaching assistant and travel across the East Coast playing the bagpipes at various highland festivals and solo competitions.

“People forget that medicine is an art as well as a science,” says Gail Begley, chief premedical advisor and associate academic specialist in the Biology Department at Northeastern. “In addition to understanding anatomy and physiology, students must learn how to interact with and understand people so that they can gain a cultural awareness and more effectively do their job.”

Students eligible to apply to the program include academically qualified sophomores participating in Northeastern’s four-year bachelor program and middlers participating in its five-year program, as well as sophomores at Tufts, Brandeis University, Boston College and Holy Cross. Students—such as Daggett and Mitchell—who applied and were accepted in 2008 will matriculate into the program in 2010.

Applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher in all coursework and complete two semesters of biology and general chemistry, and at least one semester of organic chemistry with a combined GPA of at least 3.5 by the end of the academic year in which they apply. Students must finish the rest of their medical school requirements one year before entry into the program and maintain a similar record of academic performance in the two years prior to enrollment.

The wide range of program offerings compelled Daggett to apply. “As I began to investigate Tufts, I found many unique characteristics, including the early incorporation of clinical rotations, a dedication to active and highly involved learning and a strong commitment to the community,” says Daggett. “To be offered to participate in such a program at a highly respected institution, I am extremely humbled and honored.”
Other students accepted into the class of 2010 include biology major Jeffrey Cumplido, behavioral neuroscience major Marissa Pinksten and biochemistry major Kale Whalen.

The application deadline to apply for entrance into the program in 2011 is Feb. 15. For more information, please visit

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