Pre-med Track with a Creative Twist

By Mary Sparacello

SLA senior Jonathan Rizner, Tulane University
SLA senior Jonathan Rizner studies the trumpet and its influence on jazz culture in New Orleans as part of his senior thesis as a member of the Creative Premedical Scholars Program.
Photo by Ryan Rivet

The Creative Premedical Scholars Program gives talented School of Liberal Arts undergraduates a unique opportunity for early admission into the Tulane School of Medicine.

The Creative Premedical Scholars Program requires that undergraduates pursue a liberal arts major, have a 3.6 GPA and over, and complete their pre-med requirements during their first two years at Tulane. One benefit of the program is that students are not required to take the challenging Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

“That frees up all kinds of time and pressure in your life to pursue other passions,” said Mary Clark, Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the School of Liberal Arts. “This program is for people who want to choose a non-traditional path.”

Once admitted, students have the opportunity to pursue their interests in liberal arts fields for the remainder of college.

The program allowed Jonathan Rizner, a senior premedical creative scholar majoring in Spanish and music, to study abroad and join the local musical community, he told Tulane New Wave. “Just doing science all your life, you miss out on other aspects of life," Rizner remarked in New Wave. “When you are a doctor, it’s not just a body, but a person you have to deal with.”

Scholars must receive a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Tulane School of Liberal Arts. Students in the humanities, social sciences and fine arts have all been drawn to the program.

Students apply in their fourth semester at Tulane. A committee reviews each application and conducts a panel interview to determine whether each student’s nontraditional path to medical school will prepare him or her to become a medical doctor.

Program officials have found that the active and wide-ranging intellectual curiosity encouraged through a liberal arts background prepares students to be well-rounded doctors.

At a recent information session about the program, Professor Cindy Morris, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and a research scientist, told students that the creative premedical scholars typically perform very well in Tulane Medical School, and are able to relate to and communicate well with patients.

For more information on the program, see the School of Liberal Arts page or pre-health advising