Dreamt about being a doctor since you’re kid? If so, then you need to know about Brown University’s PLME.
What is Brown’s PLME?
Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education, more commonly known as PLME, combines the undergraduate education and professional medical studies in a single 8-year program. Judging by the number of years, you should note that PLME is not an accelerated program. The purpose of the program is to give students the opportunity to gain admission to medical school without sacrificing the benefits of first receiving a liberal arts education.
Benefits of Brown’s PLME
1. Open Curriculum
Brown University is most well-known for its undergraduate open curriculum. There are no core requirements for enrolled students, so they have the freedom to choose what they wish to study. The only specific requirement for Brown students is to successfully finish at least 30 courses in 8 semesters, to complete at least one concentration program (a.k.a. major), and to demonstrate excellent written English skills by graduation.
Under Brown’s undergraduate open curriculum, students have the flexibility and options of studying anything from the Art History to Biology. While this is so also true for other pre-medical programs, there is less pressure for students to major in a hard science since they’ve already been accepted to the Warren Alpert Medical School.
2. No MCAT
Good news! Once you get accepted to PLME, you’re accepted to both the undergraduate program at Brown University and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. This means there’s no need for you to study for the dreaded MCAT.
3. Single Application
Since you’ve already been accepted to the Warren Alpert Medical School, you do not have to submit another medical school application! Typically, pre-med students would have to complete their medical school applications during senior year of college.
Applying to college?
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Application Requirements for PLME
1. Recommended Courses in HS
There aren’t high school prerequisites for students, but PLME are encouraged to take up honors and AP classes that are offered at their high school. Here are a few of the recommendations:
4 years of English, with significant emphasis on writing
3 years of college preparatory mathematics
3 years of foreign language
2 years of laboratory science above the freshman level
2 years of history, including American history
2. Standardized Testing Requirements
Brown University’s PLME allows students to take either the ACT or the SAT. If you choose to take the ACT, the ACT Writing portion is required.
The program also requires 2 SAT subject tests. PLME applicants are encouraged to take one of them in a science. Please note if you get a score over 750 for the Physics SAT Subject Test, you fulfill the PLME Physics Competency. Take it under consideration, as it may help you in the future!
3. Supplemental Essays
The application to Brown’s PLME is available on the Common Application. On top of the general Brown University application, students are also required to answer two additional supplemental essay prompts:
PLME Supplement Essay Prompt 1:
“Most high school seniors are unsure about eventual career choices. What experiences have led you to consider medicine as your future profession? Please describe specifically why you have chosen to apply to the Program in Liberal Medical Education in pursuit of your career in medicine. Also, be sure to indicate your rationale on how the PLME is a “good fit” for your personal, academic, and future professional goals. (Please limit your response to this question to 500 words.)”
PLME Supplement Essay Prompt 2:
“Since the Program in Liberal Medical Education espouses a broad-based liberal education, please describe your fields of interest in both the sciences and the liberal arts. Be specific about what courses and aspects of the program will be woven into a potential educational plan. (Please limit your response to this question to 500 words.)”
PLME Successful Essay Examples
Brown University ‘20
A few months ago, I came across a video called the “Brown Difference.” If I hadn’t seen that video, I would never have believed that another person had pursued the same esoteric double concentration that attracted me. Jennifer Tsai, class of 2014, spoke of not only her studies in Human and Health Biology and Ethnic Studies, but also of Brown’s PLME program that supported her to thrive in these two seemingly disparate fields. Her words echo not only the path I want to take, but also the community to thrive in. Keep reading.
The most attractive feature of the PLME program is the heavy emphasis on liberal arts education in order to fully achieve a medical doctorate. As a Latin scholar at a high school for science and technology, I have always made sacrifices to pursue the classics, and have been planning to do the same throughout college. However, because the PLME encourages and allows for a premedical student to fully indulge in a liberal arts education, this program would be a perfect fit for me. I would plan to take the necessary premedical courses as well as the related science courses that interest me, specifically to prepare me for a career in anesthesiology. These include Organic Chemistry, Biotechnology in Medicine, Tissue Engineering, and Synthetic Biological Systems. Continue reading.
What You Need to Know about PLME
1. Applicants and Acceptance Rates
This BS/MD program is highly selective, since it accepts students to both the undergraduate and graduate program at Brown. The school usually only accepts approximately 100 PLME students every graduating class. To put this into perspective, PLME’s acceptance rate was 3.67% in 2015, while Brown’s overall acceptance rate in 2015 was 9.5%.
2. Early & Regular Decision
PLME applicants can submit their application during both the Early Decision round and the Regular Decision round. Because you’re applying to both the university and the medical school, there are a few things you should know.
3. Transfer Opportunity
If you’re accepted to Brown’s PLME, you’re accepted to the college and the medical school. That’s pretty straightforward.
PLME applicants can be accepted early decision to the College only and not the PLME.
Early PLME applicants are bounded by the early decision agreement and are obligated to enroll regardless of the outcome of the PLME application.
Students rejected from the PLME early decision will be reconsidered for regular decision.
Applicants not admitted to the PLME will still be considered for admission to the College for their undergraduate degree.
The PLME is only offered to prospective freshmen students. It is not available for students who are transferring from other universities. No internal transfers are available to Brown students as well.
4. Withdrawal or Other Medical Schools
Once you’re accepted to the PLME, you will have to complete the requirements of all PLME students. There are specific PLME courses students have to take and are more rigorous than the general pre-medical studies. PLME students also have a grade level they must maintain throughout their 4 undergraduate years at Brown.
PLME students are free to apply out of PLME, which means they are free to apply to other medical schools. In order to do so, they must notify the university by September 15th of their senior year. If you choose to apply out, you will forfeit your reserved spot at the Warren Alpet Medical School. You’ll be required to follow traditional medical school application path, including taking the MCAT. You are welcome to re-apply to Warren Alpet, along with other medical schools you wish to apply to.
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About The Author
Frances was born in Hong Kong and received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. She loves super sad drama television, cooking, and reading. Her favorite person on Earth isn’t actually a member of the AdmitSee team - it’s her dog Cooper.
These two essays are mandatory for the medical program. It is the Program in Liberal Medical Education. I think they sorta sound the same, but hopefully that's alright!
Thanks for you feedback!
The essays prompts are:
1. Most high school seniors are unsure about eventual career choices. What experiences have led you to consider medicine as your future profession? Please describe specifically why you have chosen to apply to the Program in Liberal Medical Education in pursuit of your career in medicine. Also, be sure to indicate your rationale on how the PLME is a "good fit" for your personal, academic and future professional goals.
2. Since the Program in Liberal Medical Education espouses a broad-based liberal education, please describe your fields of interest in both the sciences and the liberal arts. Be specific about what courses and aspects of the program will be woven into a potential educational plan.
PLME Specific Essays
Essay No. 1
I have wanted to be a doctor ever since I was in elementary school. With my dad being a software engineer at Boston Scientific, programming medical devices, and my mother being a nurse, I've seen how the treatment can work, as well as the personal care patients receive. I believe that nothing is as important, not wealth, power, or class, as a healthy society. But inevitably some people have long term illnesses, people I've talked to at the nursing home my mom works in. Most of them have multiple neurological disorders. They live with these, aided by new advances in medicine, but they shouldn't have to. If technology and breakthroughs in this field are occurring so rapidly, why aren't there more cures to ensure the prevention of the disease? Every week, I go to volunteer at a large hospital in my area. Every section of the building I go to, from one end of the second floor where babies are born, to the other end, where the heart unit is located, all the way to the top floor, where cancer patients are treated, there is just more medicine being prescribed. After seeing all of this, I realized that medicine is what I had to study.
The Program in Liberal Medical Education is an extremely good fit for me. I can major in whatever field I want to, finish the prerequisites for the medical school, and then go on to neurology. My second passion is music. My parents and I firmly believe that while education is important in life, music makes it better. I am perfectly healthy and music makes me feel even better. After researching this, I found out that music helps those with neurological disorders to live happier and healthier lives. I can clearly see that since I want to combine music with neuroscience, two very different disciplines, the PLME program would let me do just that. In this program studying music and biology during my undergraduate years, and then moving on to neurology in the medical school.
Personally, I would get a chance to study the art of music and enjoy it. Academically, I can study neuroscience both during my undergraduate years and expand on that in the medical school. And in the future, I can combine these two, to find better treatment for patients through music, and to ultimately try to cure these diseases. Because I am a native Mongolian, I want to go back to my native country and help the people there that don't have a lot of knowledge about neurological diseases. It's what I want to do for people, to give back the knowledge that I will have learned in the PLME program, in music and science, in order to make a difference and do my part for humanity.
Essay No. 2
A broad-based liberal arts education is very important to me. While neurology and science is what I will study, it's important to have languages, arts, and histories to make a well-rounded education. I love all of my classes in high school, and I have taken Advanced Placement courses in all the different areas. My foreign language in school in Spanish and having lived in Texas for two years, I had a basic knowledge of it. It is truly a great language to study. I speak four languages, and three of them are the most spoken languages in the world. They are English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. However, my native language is Mongolian, a very unique language that no one learns in school. My favorite non-science subject is music. I have been playing piano for ten years and the violin for six. Academically, I received a score of 5 on the AP Music Theory exam and participated in the Minnesota High School League Music Listening Contest. This led me to do more research of music history and connect that to history and science, since music is such a reflective and yet progressive art. As for science, I have taken chemistry, biology, and physics. Biology is my favorite science and physics is also quite interesting. My father used to be a physics professor, and that piqued my interest in it. After a few chapters of studying the brain in biology and learning that music is used a type of therapy for people with neurological disorders, I researched it more. Everything I learned built up to my ultimate desire to study the two subjects in college.
The types of courses I would take as an undergraduate student would be ranging from basic classes like "The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience" to historical classes like "Historical Foundations of Neurosciences." Music courses like "Death and Dying" and "Opera, Politics, History, Gender" would be interesting to connect to medicine. To tie in my Spanish classes, I would take the class that teaches medical terms and usage in Spanish. Also, since I want to do research in protein conformation and DNA repair to help prevent neurological diseases, I would take "DNA Replication, Recombination and Repair." These classes would span my undergraduate years in The College and my medical school years at The Warren Alpert Medical School. It would culminate in a bachelor's degree in neuroscience and a concentration in music. In the medical school, I would study proteins and DNA more in depth to become a neurologist and hopefully participate in a dual-degree program to receive my PhD as well. My career would be a as a neurologist as well as a researcher for the rest of my career, in the United States as well as abroad in my native country of Mongolia.