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Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS)

About REMS

Medical school is one of the most challenging paths you can pursue. Typically, you would complete a four-year bachelor’s degree, study for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), wait anxiously to find out how you scored, apply to medical schools, wait to find out where you get accepted, and then complete at least four more years of schooling to earn your medical degree.

The Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) program helps to expedite this process. REMS is an eight-year BA/BS + MD program for outstanding undergraduates who are committed to pursuing a medical career. Established in 1991, it’s the most competitive combined degree program at Rochester. As a REMS student, you’re admitted to the University’s School of Medicine and Dentistry once you successfully complete your bachelor’s degree and pre-med core courses.

REMS students work closely with highly respected faculty members, attend special events, and gain hands-on experience in clinics and labs.

 

Members of the class of '22 leave Eastman quad after posing for a class photo following the ceremony.

University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

No medical school is better poised than Rochester to deliver a balanced, integrated, and flexible curriculum to meet the needs of students and society. The School of Medicine and Dentistry’s innovative approaches to medical education prepare you to integrate the healing power of the doctor-patient relationship with rapidly expanding developments in scientific knowledge, technology, clinical practice, and health care delivery systems.

The Double Helix Curriculum combines basic science and clinical work throughout all four years of medical school. Rochester is committed to medical education, medical science, and medical practice for the benefit of humanity.

Learn more

Applying to REMS

As a first-year applicant, you can apply (either regular decision or early decision) through the Common Application or the Coalition for College Application by indicating your interest in REMS on your application.

Early decision: You must apply by November 1 in order to be considered.

Regular decision:  You must apply by November 15 in order to be considered.

If you believe that your standardized test results help reinforce the strength of your overall application to REMS, you should submit them. Learn more about our testing policy.

International students: After you complete your undergraduate degree and enroll at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, you will be required to deposit sufficient funds in an escrow account to meet the full expenses of your four years there (tuition, fees, and living expenses). You will be required to do this by May 15 of the year you enroll at the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

REMS finalist interviews

You will be notified of your finalist/non-finalist status in January. Finalists must interview with the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Interviews take place in February. Your final REMS decision will be sent by April.

If you are not offered a finalist interview, you may still have your application reviewed for general admission to the College without REMS.

If you are admitted to the College through early decision, you will receive your admit letter in mid-December, but your REMS application will follow the regular decision process described here.

Accepting our early decision offer cannot be contingent upon your admission to REMS.

Program perks

You might be a good fit for REMS if you:

  • Are passionate about a career in medicine
  • Take challenging classes (honors, AP, IB, college-level classes, etc.)
  • Take an exceptionally rigorous high school math and science curriculum, including calculus, biology, and chemistry
  • Do well academically (strong REMS applicants typically have a 3.95 unweighted GPA and rank in the top three percent of their graduating class)
  • Have medical experience (e.g., shadowing physicians, volunteering at a hospital, working for an ambulance corps/EMT program, participating in premedical summer programs, conducting research)
  • Are also involved in non-medical activities (e.g., leadership, service in your community, music, athletics, etc.)

Meet the scholars

Ian Brodka

Ian Brodka

 

Class Year: 2019, 2023M (MD)
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Major: Chemistry
Minor: History
Cluster: Bioethics

The REMS program has become a much larger part of my life than I truthfully would have ever expected it to. Obviously avoiding the MCAT is a plus to getting into medical school, but the big things I have taken away from this program have been the opportunities I’ve made, the freedoms away from medicine I have been afforded, and the friends I have made along the way. These friends are likely to be lifelong and have been great resources and sources of strength when I haven’t possessed it myself.

In some ways, the REMS Program allowed me to explore every other option outside of medicine I could have possibly wanted to pursue and through that process I know medicine is the only thing I can see myself doing. It’s a wonderful program that allows you the freedom to become the best version of yourself and enjoy your college experience. At the end of it all, I think that freedom enables you to become a better doctor if you choose to, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Throughout my undergraduate experience on the River Campus, I chose to participate in activities and classes that genuinely interested me. I chose to be a chemistry major (I know, not everyone’s first choice, but to each their own) with a history minor and to study abroad for a semester in Stockholm, Sweden. I chose to get involved with the Judicial Branch of student government, the Quidditch Team, Greek Life, the on-campus EMS organization: RC MERT, and genuinely explored as many different interests as I could.

Priya Mandava

Class Year: 2024, 2028M (MD)
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Major: Health, Behavior, and Society
Clusters: Statistics and Spanish

When I first joined the REMS program, I was not only excited about the security this path offered on my journey to practicing medicine, but also about the opportunity to coalesce a variety of fields and interests to holistically shape the lens through which I practiced. The freedom to explore and engage in diverse opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom has allowed me to connect with remarkable people, learn from demanding environments, and cultivate enduring relationships. It is because of the intersection of all of these that I believe I have grown not only as a student, but also as a person.

 

The REMS program within the context of the undergraduate flexible curriculum and URMC’s biopsychosocial lens has truly encouraged and allowed me to grow more and more into not only the physician I aspire to be, but also the person I hope to become. This past year and a half has only fortified my conviction that medicine is the path through which I want to work for my community and support others. More than anything, I am grateful for the people I have had the pleasure of getting to know and the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to engage with that have helped nurture my evolution into the best version of myself.

 

Being a part of the REMS community allowed me to enter college with an established network that facilitated meeting new people, learning from others’ experiences, sharing my interests, and broadening my perspective. I chose to pursue a degree in Health, Behavior, and Society to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the psychosocial mechanisms underlying societal health-based behavior while taking accompanying concentrations in Spanish and statistics. I’ve gotten involved with the Breastfeeding and Lactation Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, and Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Departments at Golisano Children’s Hospital and Strong Memorial Hospital, began working with undergraduate admissions, joined the Residential Life team, engaged with organizations providing educational support and outreach for inner-city students, and simply explored a variety of interests.

Antoinette Nguyen

Class Year: 2021, 2025M (MD)
Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA
Major: Sociocultural Anthropology and English Literature
Cluster: Chemistry

I began dreaming of becoming a doctor ever since I was a child. And yet, my favorite thing about the REMS program has always been the space it gave me to pursue my other interests, with my core goal intact. It enabled me to have experiences I never would have had – experiences which I have later found to be vital to becoming a better doctor and more capable activist.

As an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, I took advantage of the flexible curriculum to double major in Sociocultural Anthropology and English Literature. Through my REMS mentors, I became drawn to narrative medicine, in which I learned that every person has a unique combination of social, family, and medical histories – which were all stories necessitating close-reading and in-depth analysis. I wrote my senior honors thesis in anthropology on “Shaping Việt Kiều Motherhood in America,” a rumination on Vietnamese American placemaking, refugee politics, and kinship. The cultural-cognizance and ethnographic skillset I gained during this project were formative.

Thus, I am forever grateful to the freedom REMS gave me to pursue my passions. As I enter medical school, all of these past experiences have not only deeply shaped me, but will also enable me to embark on a holistic career in medicine at the intersection of community, healing, and the humanities.

I got the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford for the whole of my junior year, where I worked as a digital researcher with the Multaka Oxford project at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Here, I was prompted to think critically about art, consumption, and the gaze. I generated research and creative writing pieces based on various Southeast Asian historical artefacts, which are now featured in the museum. It gave new meaning to the art of observation that is heavily emphasized in our medical school curriculum. At Oxford, I also studied human ecology and English literature, engaging with global perspectives on health, wellness, and the biopsychosocial model.

Amidst my studies, I also organized a coalition of students oriented towards anti-racism and using abolitionist perspectives to imagine new, equitable futures. We formed a book club, dedicated to unlearning our inherent biases, highlighting the works of Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Angela Davis, Cathy Park Hong, Mariame Kaba and more. Here, I delved deeper into the history of medicine and was appalled at the lack of self-reflexiveness the field has regarding its roots in structural racism. I solidified that one of my most important learning goals is to always advocate for the decolonizing of medicine.

Denes Szekeres

Class Year: 2020, 2024M (MD)
Hometown: Syosset, NY
Major: Microbiology
Cluster:
Bioethics & Psychology

What first pushed me, and many of my peers, to apply to REMS was the ability to experience an undergraduate education without the stress of applying to medical school. The REMS program gave me the opportunity to branch out and explore some of my other interests including photography, art, philosophy, and music. Often, medicine seems like a daunting endeavor and, certainly, it takes a lot to be a physician – making it very easy to get lost in studying and research. But, medicine is more than just knowing physiology and treatments. It is inextricably linked with the humanities. We are healing people. People bring the whole person to the table, not just an illness. What REMS made me realize is that it is so important to keep up with the activities that make you, you. These will help ground you and keep the humanity in medicine, ultimately making you a better future physician!

Education is a difficult balancing act of learning and finding time for yourself and friends. The REMS program, the University, and my friends taught me some of the tools to make that balancing act a bit easier. This brings me to my next point – the great people within REMS. My peers in the program have been there to support me and shape me into the future physician that I hope to be. These friends have been some of the most caring, motivated, and outstanding students I’ve had the pleasure of working with. And the whole REMS experience is bettered by faculty that care about the success of their students. Of note, the first-year REMS seminar gives students the opportunity to connect with physicians and leaders in the field of medicine. I found this to be a critical part in my education because it showed me the countless possibilities within the field of medicine. Did you know there are more than 135 specialties and subspecialties (I did not)? The seminar introduced us to some of the big ones and the questions these physicians are often faced with.

 

Aside from giving you the freedom to explore, REMS helps jumpstart your unique journey within medicine. Practicing medicine calls for a curious mind and is a continuous cycle of learning and personal development. If you had asked me six years ago what I had pictured myself doing, it would be drastically different than where I am now (and I say this in the best of ways). REMS and its people have been an important part of my personal development and I hope we can also make a positive impact on your own journey.

Shalaka Natu

Class Year: 2023, 2027M (MD)
Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO
Major: Biochemistry
Minor: Ethics
Clusters: Public Health & American Sign Language

I believe that medicine is as much an art as it is a science – that being a good physician takes far more than memorizing biological facts. The REMS program has given me the flexibility and guidance to practice this philosophy – to approach learning with an open, balanced, “ever-better” mindset. Through courses in ethics, public health, and American Sign Language, I’ve explored the arts of argumentation, communication, and leadership, all while pursuing my deep-rooted passion for the natural sciences.

Whether it’s through research, leadership, community outreach, or academics, the REMS program encourages students to pursue their diverse interests, both within and outside of medicine, wholeheartedly. The people I’ve met at Rochester – peers, instructors, and mentors alike – have helped me become a better version of myself, believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. This support from the REMS community (or rather, ‘family’) has inspired me to take on challenges and find ways to grow as a person, student, scientist, and artist – not just during my undergraduate and medical school years, but for the rest of my life.

On campus, I’m involved in several student organizations including Toy Adaptation Program (which rewires toys to make them more accessible for children with disabilities) and Rochester Rangoli (our Bollywood dance team). I am also a volunteer at URMC/Strong Memorial Hospital, a member of UR’s iGEM 2022 team, and have been a teaching assistant for the biology and chemistry departments.


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