Partnership Opens Medical School Opportunities to Non-Science Students

Created: September 6, 2016  |  Last Updated: January 4, 2022  |  Category:   |  Tagged:

WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 6, 2016) - A new partnership between Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) and Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University will give liberal arts students greater opportunities to shine as medical doctors.

Thomas Jefferson University initiated the partnership, known at W&J as the Integrated Program in Human Health, as part of the University’s effort to bring more liberal arts students into the Medical College.

“Medicine needs physicians who are whole people. It takes a whole person to care for a whole person,” said Dr. Peter Scoles of Sidney Kimmel Medical College. “Some people acquire it through traditional pre-med courses, some through arts. This is an opportunity for people who think outside the box in dealing with people.”

W&J sophomores and incoming students are eligible to apply for the W&J Integrated Program in Human Health. Students will complete their first three undergraduate years at W&J, then move to Thomas Jefferson University for a blended fourth year. During the fourth year, they will finish their undergraduate work while beginning medical school.

The program is for students majoring in something other than the natural sciences. Students must complete a major, most of the required pre-health courses, and most of W&J’s Foundation and Breadth requirements during their first three years at W&J. They can complete W&J’s Artistic requirement at Thomas Jefferson University through the institution’s Medical Humanities Track. To receive an undergraduate degree, they must transfer 32 credit hours of electives to W&J from Thomas Jefferson in the fourth year. Members of the Pre-Health Professions Committee at W&J will work closely with W&J Fellows to plan schedules.

“Jefferson is absolutely committed to the notion that a doctor needs to be a healer of humans, not only a healer of disease,” said Steven Malinak, Ph.D., a W&J professor of chemistry. “One of the things that drew us to them is our strong philosophy on education and our liberal arts focus. It is rare to find a medical school that focuses so much on the human part of medicine and actually seeks students with solid backgrounds in areas outside of the natural sciences.”

Many W&J graduates have attended medical school at Jefferson, and Malinak looks forward to working with the university to get more students with non-traditional majors into the medical program. Coming from a strong liberal arts background, W&J students are poised to do well both in the program, and as practicing doctors, he said.

W&J professors will identify student candidates for the program as early as their first year at the College. Because the program's demands result in a heavy workload for undergrads, W&J will fund up to two summer courses to help students complete their degree on time.

There’s also nothing binding about the program. If a student decides to stay at W&J for their fourth year and apply to medical school later, they can do that.

“When you have a complex problem or situation – an unhealthy human is an example – the ability to think about that from many different perspectives leads to a better, more informed solution,” Malinak said. “Liberal arts asks people to think about things from multiple perspectives. Empathy might not necessarily come from studying biology alone, but it absolutely comes from studying in the arts.”


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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