Frequently Asked Questions about PRIME

Who is the PRIME program designed to help?

The PRIME program is designed for two types of students. The first are "career changers", or students who have not completed the course requirements for medical school admission. The second type are "academic enhancers", or students who have completed most, if not all, of the course requirements for medical school admission by would like to take additional upper level undergraduate science coursework to raise their undergraduate and science GPA to be more competitive for admission to the medical school of their choice. 

What are the application requirements to apply to the PRIME program?

  • Successful completion of a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university that has been conferred prior to matriculation
  • A personal statement
  • Demonstrated commitment to understanding and serving the needs of others through volunteer activities and/or through community service.
  • Demonstrated interest in medicine through past or current activities.
  • Official transcripts from each institution attended
  • Three letters of recommendation (or two if one is a committee letter)
  • A standardized test: MCAT or GRE (school code is 1105)

Competitive applications will have a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher and an undergraduate science GPA of 3.25 or higher and test scores around the 50th percentile. However, applications are reviewed holistically and there are no strict cutoffs for any metric.

Can I start the program in any semester, or only in the Fall?

Students can begin the PRIME program in any semester -- Fall, Spring or Summer. A majority of students would begin in the Fall semester, but you can also take advantage of our summer semester reduced tuition and start in the summer semester to accelerate your completion of the program. As many of the general pre-med requirements are offered in the Summer semester, it is a good option for those on the career changer path to start in the Summer semester.

When is the deadline to apply?

Applications received by July 15 will be given priority consideration for Summer or Fall start. Applications received after this date will be accepted on a rolling basis per availability in the program. There is no deadline for priority applications to start in the spring semester.

How competitive is admission to the program?

The admissions process is highly selective. We are looking for applicants who have demonstrated academic success, as well as demonstrated their dedication to and motivation for the field of medicine, a strong work ethic and professionalism. We typically accept about one-third of applicants to the program.

How long will it take me to complete the program?

The length of the program may vary depending on whether you enter as a career changer or an academic enhancer. Typically, an academic enhancer would complete the program in one year, and a career changer may take up to two years to complete the program, depending on the number of courses needed for medical school. The program requires each student to complete a minimum of 24 credit hours. 

What is the cost to attend the program?

See our page on tuition and financial aid for complete details. Note that tuition rates are reduced in the summer semester and this helps reduce the overall cost of attending the program if courses are taken over the summer semester.

Does the PRIME program offer any sort of financial assistance or funding to help with tuition costs?

Financial aid for this program is limited and is in the form of federal and/or private loans. The PRIME program offers a limited number of merit-based scholarships of up to $5000 at the time of admission into the program. No additional application is needed. These scholarships are awarded to highly competitive students for the full academic year and can be applied to the summer semester(s). For most consideration, submit your application earlier in the cycle.

Is an essay required?

Yes, a personal statement is required. The statement should include why you chose the PRIME program and how your background and experiences will help you be successful in the program.

Is PRIME available online?

No. The program's courses and advising sessions take place on the campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

What are the requirements for recommendation letters and official transcripts?

We require that you submit at least three letters of recommendation (or two if one is a committee letter). Official transcripts are required if you are officially offered admission to the program. Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for us to review your application and can be uploaded to your application or copies sent to

What if my GPA is under 3.4? Can I still apply?

We believe that students with a 3.4 GPA or better have the best chance to succeed in the program in improving their credentials for admission to medical school. However, we do not have specific cutoffs for MCAT or GPA. We, like most medical schools, review your application holistically. The admissions committee will look at your application to see if we feel that this program, with a combination of coursework, research/volunteer experiences, etc., can help you become a competitive applicant for medical school.

Can I apply to the PRIME program if I have already taken the science courses required for medical school?

Yes, as you would be considered part of our "academic enhancer" track and would complete our required Clinical Inquiry courses, as well as other electives, while creating an individualized, tailored program of study in consultation with your adviser.

Can the PRIME program prepare me for admission to health professions schools other than medical schools?

At this time, our program is geared solely for those wishing to go to medical school; thus, we do not accept applicants whose aim is to enroll in other health programs such as veterinary or dental school.

What specific courses are required to complete the program?

Our program requires that all students complete two courses: Introduction to Clinical Inquiry I and II. These courses are taught in small groups in an interactive, student-directed learning mode. The courses review and reinforce MCAT core content and introduce key topics such as public health, bioethics, and clinical research. The Clinical Inquiry courses will also help develop presentation, leadership and teamwork skills.

How do I know which courses I would take in the PRIME program?

The courses you take will depend on the general pre-med requirements you completed during your undergraduate career. An individual course of study will be jointly developed with you and your adviser in detail once you are admitted to the program, taking into account gaps in your current application.

Will I receive a degree at the end of the program?

The PRIME program is a non-degree certificate program. A certificate, not a degree, is awarded upon completion of the program.

Does this program offer more than prerequisite courses?

Yes! We offer a range of elective courses that span many subject areas. A list of electives is available on our Electives page.

Does the PRIME program have any linkage agreements with any medical schools?

We have a linkage agreement with the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine for students who meet certain criteria. Please contact the program director (reachable at for more information. We are continually working to develop relationships with other medical schools and may offer more linkage agreements in the future.

What types of advising and support does the PRIME program provide?

The PRIME program has a dedicated director who has experience advising for medical school admissions and who meets regularly with students one-on-one and in group advising sessions.

What kind of MCAT preparation does the PRIME program provide?

The PRIME program offers a specialized Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) prep course (IHSC 300) designed to comprehensively review all MCAT content areas, as well as testing methods. The course is team-taught by CWRU faculty and is offered in May.

What makes the PRIME program different from other post-bacc programs?

  • Highly flexible and individually tailored program of study providing each student the preparation that they need to have the best MD or DO application moving forward.
  • A dedicated program director who has experience advising for medical school admissions and who meets regularly with students one-on-one, and in a group-advising format, for support and guidance throughout the program.
  • Small group, interactive and student-directed Clinical Inquiry (IQ) coursework designed to give students exposure to medical terminology and clinical reasoning and develop professional growth via self-reflection.
  • A specialized Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) preparatory course taught by CWRU faculty and designed to comprehensively review all MCAT content areas, as well as testing methods.
  • The PRIME program is offered by a top-40, tier-I research university and housed in a top-24 medical school with a rich history of research and education.
  • Diverse opportunities for shadowing, volunteering and research in affiliation with four top medical systems (Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, VA Medical Center and MetroHealth Medical Center). Our students can choose to be partnered with one of our PRIME clinical mentors for shadowing and/or career advice.
  • Committee letter provided for students upon completion of the program.

How can I find out more information before I apply?

We'd welcome the chance to talk to you! Contact us via phone at 216-368-5296 or email We are happy to meet via videoconference or in person if you are traveling to the Cleveland area.

Fill out a request for information to get updates on the program.