How to Succeed as a Brown Premed

March 11, 2024
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 3/11/24

Looking to fast-track your journey to becoming a doctor? The Brown premed program, PLME, offers a direct path to a medical career. Let’s get into it. 

Lasting eight years, the PLME program is the only combined baccalaureate-MD program in the Ivy League. Students can choose from various undergraduate degrees, including sciences and humanities.

Brown's PLME is a fantastic opportunity for those passionate about medicine. With proper preparation, navigating the admissions process can lead to a fulfilling medical education. So, let’s take a look at the requirements, some expert tips, and more. 

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Requirements for Students in Brown's Premed Program

Brown's PLME program doesn't have strict requirements, but it's recommended that applicants take honors or AP courses in high school. They should also complete coursework in English, math (up to Calculus for STEM-bound students), science (with lab experience), history, and foreign language. 

Taking advanced courses in their intended major area is advised, and Brown values students who show academic curiosity and readiness for challenge. Though it isn’t one of the premed requirements at Brown, it’s also wise to maintain a high GPA - let’s take a look at some strategies to help you do just that. 

Strategies for Maintaining a High GPA

While Brown University doesn't calculate GPAs, maintaining high grades is crucial for the Brown PLME program. Here are some strategies for achieving and maintaining a high GPA:

  • Boost Your Competitiveness: Even though the program doesn’t have a GPA requirement, it’s wise to aim for an overall unweighted GPA of 3.5–3.8 or higher, especially in challenging courses. 
  • Choose Challenging Courses: Opt for rigorous classes like Advanced Placement (AP), honors, or dual enrollment courses to show that you’re ready for college-level work and enhance your academic profile.
  • Stay Organized: Rely on organization tools such as planners or digital apps to keep track of assignments, deadlines, and important dates. Consistency in organization will help prevent procrastination and ensure you stay on top of your academic responsibilities.
  • Manage Your Time Wisely: Balancing academic demands with extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, and personal commitments requires effective time management skills. Prioritize tasks, allocate time efficiently, and create a study schedule that allows for dedicated study sessions and breaks.
  • Develop Effective Study Habits: Experiment with various study techniques, such as active recall, spaced repetition, and summarization, to identify the methods that work best for you. Regular review of material and consistent study sessions are key to reinforcing learning and improving retention.
  • Seek Help When Necessary: Don't hesitate to seek assistance from teachers, tutors, or classmates when you encounter challenging material or have questions. Asking for help demonstrates initiative and a commitment to academic success.
  • Take Care of Yourself: Prioritize your physical and mental well-being by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress relief.
  • Minimize Distractions: Create a conducive study environment by eliminating distractions such as social media, mobile phones, and noisy surroundings. Find a quiet, comfortable space where you can focus fully on your studies.
  • Set Achievable Goals: Break down your academic goals into smaller, manageable tasks, and create a plan to achieve them. Celebrate your accomplishments along the way and adjust your goals as needed to stay motivated and on track.
  • Engage in Class: Actively participate in classroom discussions, ask questions, and take thorough notes to deepen your understanding of the material. Engaging with the material during lectures and participating in class activities demonstrates your commitment to academic excellence.
  • Reflect Regularly: Take time to reflect on your academic progress, identify areas for improvement, and adjust your study strategies accordingly. Regular self-assessment and reflection are essential for continuous growth and improvement.

By incorporating these strategies into your academic routine and striving for academic excellence, you will not only enhance your competitiveness for the Brown PLME program but also develop the skills and habits necessary for success in college and beyond.

Identifying Key Academic Resources 

PLME students at Brown University have many academic opportunities like extra activities, research, and studying abroad, along with support for medical school applications and global health initiatives. Let’s take a closer look at these PLME academic resources

  • Enrichment Activities: PLME students can participate in extra activities like workshops and seminars to enhance their learning experience.
  • Advanced Scholarship: Opportunities for advanced studies beyond the regular curriculum are available, including research projects and specialized courses.
  • Community Health Advocacy Program (CHAP): Students can join programs focused on community health, where they volunteer and advocate for public health issues.
  • International Exchanges: PLME students can study abroad and collaborate with students from other countries to gain global perspectives.
  • Medicine in Action Program: This program offers hands-on experience in medical practice, like internships and medical missions.
  • Pre-Clerkship Electives: Before starting clinical training, students can choose specialized courses to explore specific areas of medicine.
  • Research: Students can get involved in research projects, working with professors or conducting their own studies to contribute to medical knowledge.
  • International Summer Travel/Study Abroad: PLME students can travel abroad during the summer for academic programs, research, and cultural experiences.
  • Fellowships: Financial support is available for students pursuing academic, research, or service projects
  • AMCAS Application: Seniors applying to medical school must complete the AMCAS application, with support available from the PLME Office and Admissions.
  • Exchange Programs: PLME students can study at partner universities abroad, and students from those universities can study at Brown. This fosters academic and cultural exchange.
  • Global Health Initiative: Brown University's initiative focuses on addressing global health issues through research, partnerships, and projects in various countries.
  • International Health Travel Scholarships (IHTS): Financial aid is provided to students traveling abroad for educational purposes like conferences or research.
  • Insurance Abroad: Students are advised to get health insurance for international travel, either through private providers or Brown University's resources.

Choosing the Optimal Major

Choosing the right major as a Brown University premed undergrad offers a unique advantage compared to traditional pre-med paths. While many pre-meds stick to majors like biology or psychology, PLME students have the freedom to explore diverse fields like political science or English without worrying about their med school prospects. 

Essentially, you can pursue your passions, whether it's becoming fluent in Italian or delving into Asian literature, without it impacting your future in medicine. This flexibility allows for a well-rounded education while still preparing for medical school.

Just remember, if you're seeking an accelerated path to becoming a doctor, the PLME program might not be the best fit. It's all about embracing a breadth of education and enjoying the journey toward your medical career.

MCAT Considerations

For PLME students, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is not mandatory for matriculation into The Warren Alpert Medical School if they are in good academic standing. 

However, if you apply to The Warren Alpert Medical School as a regular medical school applicant, it is required.

The MCAT is a prerequisite for all AMCAS applicants applying directly to The Warren Alpert Medical School. Scores from tests taken within the three-year period prior to matriculation are acceptable. For instance, applicants to the 2024 first-year entering class must present MCAT scores dated from January 1, 2021, onward.

It's highly recommended to take the MCAT exam as early as possible during the application year. For details regarding the MCAT test schedule and general instructions, refer to the AAMC website. The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University considers all applications completed by our deadline of November 1, 2023. All scores received prior to the deadline are considered for the current cycle.

There is no specific requirement for a minimum MCAT composite score. However, the median MCAT for the past three classes was 516, 516, and 515, respectively.

However, keep in mind that if you're applying to the PLME program, you typically do not need to take the MCAT. The requirement only applies to regular medical school applicants, not PLME candidates.

Extracurricular for Brown Premeds

Pre-med students at Brown University have a variety of extracurricular options, like volunteering with CHAP and Project Inspire or doing research through programs like Summer Research Assistantships and BrownConnect. These activities help students gain practical experience, get motivated, and prepare for medical school. Let’s take a look at them. 

Involvement in Volunteering Opportunities at Brown

Volunteering opportunities at Brown, such as CHAP, Child Health, and Project Inspire, allow PLME students to engage with their community, develop essential skills, and gain insights into healthcare beyond the classroom. Let’s take a look at each of these programs. 

  • Whole Patient and Whole Physician Programs: These programs focus on developing a holistic understanding of medicine by emphasizing the doctor-patient relationship and life as a medical student or physician. Participants engage with peers and alumni, gaining valuable insights into the profession and balancing life in medicine.
  • Community Health Advocacy Program (CHAP): CHAP partners with Providence organizations to tackle health issues in underserved communities. PLME students volunteer to create and run programs promoting physical, mental, and emotional well-being. They make a real difference through CHAP, gaining valuable public health advocacy experience.
  • Child Health: This program focuses on promoting healthy habits and STEM education among children in Providence. Volunteers teach engaging health lessons to preschool and elementary school children, fostering a passion for health and wellness from a young age.
  • Creative Connections in Medicine (CCM): CCM provides opportunities for students to integrate arts practice into medical interactions. Volunteers participate in initiatives such as the Healing Arts Program at Rhode Island Hospital, creating art projects for the community, and exploring the role of arts in healing and connection in medicine.
  • Healing Through Harmony: This group allows instrumentalists, singers, dancers, and other performers to use their talents to bring joy and comfort to healthcare facilities and communities in Rhode Island through performances and teaching sessions.
  • Project Inspire: Project Inspire mentors Providence students, supporting their interests and academic growth. Volunteers act as role models, advocating higher education and assisting in career exploration and future planning.
  • PLME Senate: The PLME Senate serves as the official student representative organization of the PLME program. Through the Senate, students have the opportunity to contribute to the PLME community, advocate for student interests, and enhance the undergraduate and medical school experience at Brown University.

These volunteering opportunities not only allow PLME students to give back to their community but also help them develop leadership, communication, and empathy skills essential for their future careers in medicine.

It’s also important to consider taking a gap year to pursue extracurriculars that would elevate your professional and personal experience in the medical field. Some students even decide to extend the eight-year PLME program to allow them to take a gap year job or pursue other initiatives outside of the program. 

Participation in Research Endeavors at Brown

PLME students at Brown University can join research programs like Summer Research Assistantships, focusing on topics like infectious diseases and global health, while also accessing internship opportunities through BrownConnect. These experiences allow students to work closely with faculty mentors and contribute to various fields of study. Let’s get into them. 

  • Summer Research Assistantships (SRAs): PLME students can apply for SRAs in emergency medicine, social/behavioral science, clinical medicine, or biomedical sciences, providing hands-on research experience under the mentorship of Brown faculty. These assistantships typically take place between June and August.
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases Scholars Program: PLME students interested in infectious diseases can participate in the SRA-EIDS, collaborating with the Emerging Infectious Diseases Scholars Program to conduct research in this field.
  • Framework in Global Health Scholarship: This program offers PLME students the chance to address critical global health issues in low or middle-income countries through research projects linked to Brown University faculty.
  • Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award Program (UTRA): The UTRA supports collaborative research and teaching activities between faculty members and students in all academic disciplines, providing opportunities for summer or semester-long research experiences.
  • BrownConnect: BrownConnect connects students with high-quality internships and research opportunities, allowing them to explore various fields and geographical locations while providing financial support for low-paid or unpaid internships.
  • Office of Biology Undergraduate Education: The office maintains a searchable database of research opportunities for undergraduates at Brown, listing faculty names, research interests, and available projects for students to explore.
  • Directory of Research and Researchers: Produced by Brown's Office of the Vice President for Research, this directory helps students identify ongoing research activities and potential mentors across different departments and research centers at Brown.

These resources offer PLME students the chance to engage in meaningful research experiences, develop important skills, and contribute to advancements in various fields of study.

Acquiring Valuable Experience through Shadowing at Brown

The Medicine in Action Program (MIAP) at Brown University offers a valuable opportunity for both medical students and undergraduate PLME students to shadow physicians. Participants can explore various clinical settings, observe physician-patient interactions, join medical teams on rounds, and gain insights into different medical careers. 

To participate, students can send an email indicating their specialties of interest and preferred shadowing period. Physicians can sign up through a dedicated form and once matched with a student, they coordinate the visit directly with the student.

Expert Advice for Medical School Admissions at Brown

To get into the Brown premed program, knowing your application options, preparing well for virtual interviews, and emphasizing your passions and leadership are important. Discussing your research or clinical work, meeting coursework requirements, staying organized, and exploring financial aid are also wise. Let’s take a closer look at each of these tips. 

Understanding Application Routes

When applying to The Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University, it's crucial to understand the various admission routes available. 

Whether you opt for the standard AMCAS route or the unique PLME route designed for high school seniors, each pathway has its specific requirements and deadlines. Take the time to research and familiarize yourself with these routes to ensure you choose the one that aligns best with your academic and career goals.

Thorough Interview Preparation

Make sure to thoroughly prepare for those virtual interviews. Practice the usual questions and make sure your answers show off your love for medicine, your leadership skills, and your dedication to helping others. Interviews are your chance to shine and show why you're a top candidate for med school.

Evaluation Criteria

Highlight your intellectual curiosity, research or clinical experience, and dedication to serving others during the application process. 

The admissions committee at Brown values diversity, so emphasize how your unique background and experiences contribute to a diverse medical student body. By aligning with the evaluation criteria and emphasizing your strengths, you'll enhance your chances of acceptance.

Fulfilling Application Requirements

Ensure you meet the minimum coursework requirements, including prerequisites in quantitative reasoning, biology, chemistry, physics, and writing. Pay attention to details and provide accurate information to demonstrate your competency in foundational sciences. Adhering to these requirements showcases your readiness for medical school.

Technical Standards and Accommodations

Do your best to transparently communicate any accommodation needs. The admissions office is there to support you throughout the process, so don't hesitate to seek guidance if you require accommodations. By being proactive and transparent, you ensure a smooth application experience.

Application Timeline Management

Stay organized and manage your application timeline effectively. Adhere to deadlines for submission, secondary application completion, and interview scheduling to avoid any delays. Utilize available resources, such as workshops and webinars, to navigate the application process smoothly and maximize your chances of success.

Financial Considerations and Support

Check out financial aid options like scholarships, grants, and loans to support your medical education, and don't hesitate to ask for guidance. Whether you're an international applicant or a DACA candidate, there are resources to help ease financial burdens, so make sure to seize these opportunities to pursue your medical education without worrying too much about money.

Reach out for Help

You don’t have to go it alone. If you’re eager to get into Brown’s PLME program, reach out for help. Our medical school admissions consulting services can support you as you navigate the challenging admissions process. 

With start-to-finish consulting, you'll receive expert insights and support for every stage, from primaries and secondary essays to interviews, giving you a competitive edge and maximizing your chances of acceptance into medical school.

Navigating the Admission Process for Medical School as a Brown Premed

If you are admitted to the Brown University PLME program, you do not need to apply separately to medical school. The PLME program is an eight-year combined baccalaureate/MD program where students are accepted into both undergraduate and medical school simultaneously. 

As long as PLME students maintain good academic standing and fulfill program requirements, they are guaranteed a spot in the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University without the need for a separate medical school application process.


The Brown premed acceptance rate is approximately 2%. This makes gaining admission to the PLME program more competitive than gaining admission to the general student body of many prestigious colleges, including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale.

For the Class of 2027, out of 4,192 applicants, only 74 were admitted to the PLME program, while the majority, 4,118 applicants, were denied admission. These figures underscore the selectivity of the program.

Looking back, the Class of 2019 saw 61 students entering the PLME program. The average SAT scores for matriculants over the past three years were 742 for ERW (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing) and 770 for Mathematics. Additionally, the average ACT composite score was 34.

These statistics highlight the rigorous standards and academic excellence expected of students admitted to the PLME program. Applicants should be prepared for a highly competitive admissions process and demonstrate outstanding academic achievements to maximize their chances of acceptance.

Final Thoughts

For those considering a career in medicine, exploring opportunities like the Brown premed program can provide a direct path to achieving their goals. 

Getting through the admissions process for medical school takes some serious planning and prep work. It can be stressful and overwhelming, but the payoff of a guaranteed spot in medical school makes it all worthwhile. If you're aiming for a career in healthcare, you need to tackle this journey head-on, showing your dedication and love for medicine every step of the way.

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