University of Colorado Medical Scholars Program

We are pleased to announce that the Medical Scholars Program, a collaboration between CU Boulder and CU School of Medicine, will be accepting applications in summer of 2014. After reading the website, if you have questions you may contact: Dr. Penelope Bennett,

The Medical Scholars program at CU Boulder is designed for students who have completed their second year of college (usually sophomores, but may have junior standing due to AP or IB credits), who have demonstrated a high level of success in their academic coursework and are keenly interested in attending the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Provided all the requirements are met, selected students will matriculate into the School of Medicine at the end of their senior year or one year later.

Students selected for the Medical Scholars program will participate in a curriculum designed to enhance their growth toward being a leader in a future medical school class. This small cohort of students will also be given significant opportunities to interact with the Faculty at the School of Medicine to determine if there is a good “fit” between the student and the school.

The purpose of this program is three-fold:

  1. To encourage excellent students to do highly advanced work in their final two-to-three years of college and/or postgraduate study.
  2. To encourage students to step outside of their comfort zone and engage in experiences which challenge their values or broaden their views in areas outside of science.
  3. To recruit outstanding undergraduates to the SOM.

Medical Scholar Admissions Committee

After an initial screening of applications by the PreProfessional Advising Office at CU Boulder, the selection of students will be performed by a joint Medical Scholar Admissions Committee consisting of members of the Admissions Committee at CU School of Medicine, the Director of the Medical Scholars program at CU Boulder, the head of the PreProfessional Advising Office and additional designated members from each campus.

Medical Scholars Program Overview

Students in the Medical Scholars program may select any major, and are encouraged to obtain a broad liberal arts education and to participate in the wide range of opportunities available on their undergraduate campus. They will also participate in medically related seminars, research programs, and other clinical and community service activities.

Students will complete a bachelor’s (or joint bachelor's/master's degree) in two to three years after selection. They may also, with the approval of CU School of Medicine, delay entrance into medical school for one to two years after graduation in order to take advantage of special opportunities such as a Fulbright Fellowship, Peace Corps, Teach for America, a Research Fellowship or other unique activities that expand the scholar’s preparation for becoming an exceptional physician.


Each Medical Scholar will be paired with a faculty member, often a research mentor on the Boulder campus, plus a clinical mentor in their final year. These may be drawn from former Medical Scholars currently attending CU School of Medicine, residents, or academic or community physicians.

Research Opportunities

Medical Scholars are expected to develop exceptional problem-solving and critical thinking skills by engaging in one of many varieties of research. To document these skills, a Creative Project will be completed by each Scholar before matriculation into the School of Medicine, and each year before matriculation, a poster will be presented at the Medical Scholars Poster Day on the Anschutz campus. Research activities may include engaging in laboratory research, completing an honors thesis in their major department, or participating in summer research programs. Medical Scholars are strongly encouraged to take the Applied Clinical Research course (IPHY 3500) offered through CU Boulder in either their third or fourth year. This course introduces the elements of clinical research and includes opportunities to assist with on-going clinical studies at Denver Health, University of Colorado Hospital, or Children's Hospital.

Some Medical Scholars may choose to complete one of the BA/MA or BA/MS programs currently available in some departments on the Boulder campus, providing students the opportunity to pursue a research topic in depth.

Summer Fellowship Programs

Medical Scholars are strongly encouraged to participate in community-based or clinically relevant projects that allow them to work closely with patients and providers. One example of this would be the University of Colorado’s Cancer Research Summer Fellowships offered at Anschutz Medical Center, the Salud Clinical Research Internship, or other similar projects. Special emphasis is placed on projects or experiences that teach students about the health care needs of underserved areas or populations.

Required Curriculum

Perspectives in Health and Medicine (IPHY 2500): This one-credit course introduces important and controversial issues in healthcare through background readings, speaker presentations, discussions, and reflection essays. Medical Scholars are expected to take this course before graduation. It is offered only in the spring semester.

Medical Scholars Seminar

Medical Scholars are required to participate in a two-year non-credit semi-weekly seminar series. This seminar explores issues linking current developments in clinical research, ethics and healthcare delivery and the curriculum for this seminar is based upon the Personal Competencies identified by the American Association of Medical Colleges as valuable for those preparing to become a physician. Emphasis will be placed on student participation in a relatively unstructured and informal format with the goal of developing a critical and inquiring approach to exploring complex issue in health care.

Twice each year, after consulting with members of the CU School of Medicine Admissions Committee, Medical Scholars will submit a Plan which highlights the accomplishments of the past semester and identifies specific goals for the future. Sections on academics, clinical experience, research, community service, and other extracurricular activities will be included. Each Plan will be evaluated by the Committee with the aim of helping the Scholars to meet their goals and to get the most out of their time as undergraduates.

Application Process

Eligibility Requirements:

Must be in second year of college, and must plan to attend CU Boulder for a minimum of four additional semesters before graduation. CU transcripts submitted with the application should have a minimum of 45 credit hours completed. Unofficial CU transcripts are acceptable.

Minimum CU GPA of 3.7. If a transfer student, the cumulative GPA must be a minimum of 3.7, and transcripts from all universities or colleges attended must be included with the preliminary application.

Coursework completed by May must include General Biology (two semesters with labs), General Chemistry (two semesters with labs), one semester of Organic Chemistry, plus one of the following courses: Calculus I, Physics I (with lab), or Organic Chemistry II (with lab). AP/IB credit is acceptable to meet the above requirements; however, at least four courses in science or math must have been completed at a college or university for a grade.

SAT/ACT scores:

  • Minimum SAT = 1300 for Critical Reading plus Mathematics -OR-
  • Minimum composite ACT = 29.

These will require documentation not available on the CU transcript. If necessary, the PreProfessional Advising Office may be able to assist with documenting these scores.

Applications to the Medical Scholars Program are accepted in a two-step process:

1. Preliminary Application: Requested from Dr. Penelope Bennett ( and submitted to by June 9th. The information on this document confirms that you have met the minimum criteria to proceed to the formal application. Since the timeline this year is very tight, if you are reasonably sure that you will meet the criteria as set out above, please consider talking to your potential recommenders now. The deadline for receipt of two letters of recommendation is July 2, 2014. Information for letter writers can be found on the website.

2. Formal (Secondary) Applications will be by invitation only.

The three parts of the Formal (Secondary) Application are as follows:

  • A Personal Essay
  • A Resume with details on non-academic preparation such as clinical or research experiences, community service activities, and any other important information about a student’s interests.
  • Two letters of recommendation from University of Colorado faculty members. Should be sent or delivered to the PreProfessional Advising Office, University Club 111.
  • All parts of the formal application must be received in the Preprofessional Advising office by Wednesday, July 2, 2014. You may email them to

4. Interview

Students selected for interview will meet with the full Selection Committee in early July. Evaluation of each applicant will mirror the process utilized by the Admissions Committee during the regular admissions cycle. Acceptance into the Medical Scholars program includes an assurance with the School of Medicine that the Scholar will be offered acceptance into a medical school class in two or three years, if all program requirements are met.

Matriculation to CU School of Medicine 

After selection into the Medical Scholars program, matriculation into CU School of Medicine is contingent upon the following:

  • Continued highly successful academic work with a GPA of 3.7 or higher in any remaining coursework.
  • A score of 32 or higher on the MCAT exam. Two attempts are allowed.
  • A continuing record of outstanding research, community and health care service since admission into the program, as evidenced at each progress review.
  • Completion of a Scholarly Project,

Note that the Medical Scholars program does not confer in-state residency on out-of-state applicants.