How to do medical school in three years

HERSHEY, Pa. -- While most of his peers will spend their last year of medical school applying and auditioning for residency programs, James Kent gets to skip what can be a stressful process. He’ll finish medical school in three years instead of four, not only saving a year of tuition, but also locking in his residency when he was accepted into the Family Medicine Accelerated Program at Penn State College of Medicine. As part of the program, Kent will stay in Hershey for six years as he finishes medical school and his family medicine residency in the same location.

“That it takes a lot of stress out of medical school as far as worrying about where you’re going to match after you graduate is appealing,” Kent, the first student admitted to the accelerated program, said. “It was nice for me to know I’d be in the same place for six years.”

The program, also known as a 3+3 program, is part of the College’s continuing efforts to meet the healthcare needs of the nation and to provide flexibility and individualized learning for students. It launched in 2014 and allows students who have already decided to be family physicians to move forward in their education faster and at less cost.

“A medical education is extremely costly, and if we can create ways for students who are already moving along a defined course to move forward more quickly it will be less costly, and that’s extremely appealing,” said Dr. Terry Wolpaw, vice dean for educational affairs.

While the hope is for the program to be expanded to include other specialties, Wolpaw said the current goal is to create primary care doctors, of which the country is facing a shortage.

Learn more about the Family Medicine Accelerated Program in this Penn State Medicine article.

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Last Updated July 22, 2016