Mercyhurst University has recently established a new medical affiliation with the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), making it the fifth medical institution that Mercyhurst has partnered with.
For those who are familiar with Mercyhurst’s connections with the pharmacy and medical schools of Lake Erie
College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine or the New York Chiropractic College, this new affiliation is similar.
Incoming Mercyhurst biology majors will have two options with the new program.
The first is a 3+4 program, which would allow students to complete three years of schooling at Mercyhurst and then start their four years of medical school in what would normally be their senior year. By undertaking this option, students will save time and money. Students will be awarded their bachelor’s degree in biology after the completion of their freshman year at PCOM.
The second option is the traditional 4+4 program, which includes four years at Mercyhurst and four years of medical school at PCOM.
The additional affiliation is seen as a positive step for the university since the pre-health program continues to grow, as well as the number of students majoring in biology.
The head of Mercyhurst’s pre-health advising office and Biology Department Chair Steve Mauro, Ph.D., recognized the significance of the new affiliation and its opportunities.
“This will greatly benefit Mercyhurst University students as it basically gives them a guaranteed slot in med school, as long as they fulfill the prerequisites for the program,” said Mauro. “This also helps Mercyhurst and its students by now affiliating with another well-known graduate program.”
In order to be accepted into the program, students must possess a 3.5 GPA out of high school with at least a 1170 (out of 1600) on the SAT and maintain at least a 3.4 GPA at Mercyhurst while obtaining at least a 24 on the MCAT.
Students in this new program will not have to go through the regular admission process with PCOM, which will save them time during their junior and senior years.
“I think it is a really great opportunity for biology students and something people should definitely look into,” junior biology major Ryan Fragapane said.
Student reaction, especially among those interviewed in the biology department, was positive about the new program.
Amber Stilwell, a junior biology major, said, “I think it’s great. The more medical schools that Mercyhurst can team up with, the more student placement there will be. It’s also a great opportunity for Mercyhurst to expand its pre-medical program.”
Sophomore biology major Emily Mashuda agreed.
“The new affiliation will open a lot of doors for pre-med students. It will also help Mercyhurst improve the program, and it can become more well known for its pre-med program.”
Junior biology major Christina Vojtek was pleasantly surprised by the new medical school affiliation.
“I’m a little jealous,” she said, “but it would definitely be nice to have an accelerated program like that for med school.”
Junior biology major Larae Tymochko was a little more hesitant about its actual application but still thought it was helpful to the biology department.
“The transition into medical school as a junior would certainly be challenging, since there has only been one student to take on that same endeavor at LECOM for pharmacy. However, if Mercyhurst has multiple affiliations, that would be advantageous and appealing to incoming students.”