The Medical Education Program is a 4-year program with emphasis in primary care and duration of 166 weeks. It grants a doctor of medicine degree (MD degree). The MD Program consists of two years of pre-clinical courses in the core disciplines of Gross Anatomy, Biochemistry, Histology and Cell Biology, Microbiology/Immunology, Neurosciences, Pathology, Pharmacology and Physiology. During the second year the organ-system approach is used to integrate the basic science curriculum content.
The pre-clinical years provide integration of clinical content and early clinical experiences through Introduction to Clinical Skills, Pathophysiology, Behavioral Sciences and Basic Psychiatry. In addition, longitudinal programs in Community Medicine, Problem-Based Learning, Geriatrics, and Medical Ethics are integrated in the educational program of the first two years.
The third year provides the core clinical clerkships: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Surgery. The fourth year complements these core clinical experiences with advanced rotations in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Radiology, Surgical Subspecialties and Primary Care Selectives. Five months of elective rotations provide additional clinical experiences in several subspecialty fields.
A five-year program may be available for students who need to proceed at a slower pace during the basic sciences. The first two years are extended to three.
The Medical Education Program is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and the Puerto Rico Council of Education (PR-CE)
Ordinarily, four years of undergraduate education are necessary to prepare for entrance into medical school; however, special programs (e.g., combined baccalaureate-M.D. programs) may allow this to be reduced. General education that includes the social sciences, history, arts, and languages is increasingly important for the development of physician competencies outside of the scientific knowledge domain. Ponce Health Sciences University strongly suggests that applicants apply with a BA/BS completed at a college level institution accredited by the Council of Education of PR or by a US accrediting organization. Candidates that have completed a bachelor’s degree will be given preference. Within the bachelor’s degree, all applicants are requested to have completed the pre-med courses to comply with the requisites of the Puerto Rico Medical Board of Physicians (“Junta de Licenciamiento y Disciplina Médica de Puerto Rico”) and six credits in mathematics. For these requisites, online courses are not accepted.s.
The courses required for admission are as follows (to be included in the bachelor’s degree):
|General Biology I & II with Labs||8|
|General Chemistry I & II with Labs||8|
|Organic Chemistry I & II with Labs||8|
|Physics I & II with Labs||8|
|Behavioral and Social Sciences*||6|
* Any of the following: Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Sciences, and/or Economics.
The English and Spanish requisites are direct language classes (grammar and/or literature). For the English requirement, classes from other departments described as “intensive writing” may be considered as substitute.
In addition to the above requirements, we strongly recommend course work in Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics, Microbiology, Liberal Arts and/or Humanities.
- Fully bilingual in English and Spanish (read, write, speak and understand)
- Minimum GPA of 2.7 on a four-point scale (as calculated by AMCAS) is required for applying; our average is 3.5.
- Minimum Science GPA of 2.7 on a four-point scale (as calculated by AMCAS) is required for applying; our average is 3.2.
- The completion of a graduate degree in science or health allied field may be used to substitute the GPA and Science GPA of the bachelor’s degree.
- Minimum MCAT score is 494 – No more than three attempts will be considered – MCAT scores no later than three years prior to applying to PHSU.
How To Apply
Ponce Health Sciences University participates in the centralized application service provided by the American Medical Colleges Application Service (AMCAS), a division of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The electronic web-based application is available at: www.aamc.org
The AMCAS application deadline is DECEMBER 15 of the year prior to the requested admission date. The Office of Admissions does not use a secondary application but the following documents will be requested after the AMCAS application is received.
- Three letters of recommendation (two from professors and one written by an individual familiar with the applicant’s skills and abilities) or a composite letter from a premedical committee. Must be submitted to AMCAS.
- Official transcripts from all universities attended.
- US$80 non-refundable application processing fee.
An AMCAS criminal background check will be conducted once the applicant is accepted. If a positive criminal record appears, the acceptance will be revoked.
Upon acceptance, all students are required to submit the following:
- Written confirmation of acceptance and a deposit of $100.00 to secure your seat in the entering class.
- Physical Exam results.
- Evidence of up to date immunization certificate.
- Other documents will be notified as pertinent.
Ponce Health Sciences University is pleased that you have selected our institution to continue with your academic and professional goals. The Office of Student Financial provides you with the information and tools to assist you in reaching educational goals. Please take your time to navigate through the various links we have provided and feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office if you need more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial Aid Application Process Links
Important Links (External):
- Financial Aid Education Portal (Inceptia): PSHU access code: bw4g33 to setup your account. PSHU will receive a report of those students accessing this site.
- Get your Financial Aid Pin Number – this is your electronic signature for federal documents.
- Fill-out your Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) Online
- View Your Loans History (if applicable to determine available funds)
- Manage your Federal Student Loans (Entrance & Exit Counseling, Master’s Promissory Note, etc.)
Important Links for PHSU application forms and manual
Click here to download your
– Student Financial Aid Manual
Federal Financial Aid Programs
- Direct Unsubsidized Loan: students who meet the requirements established by the US Department of Education may receive a Direct Loan, according to the academic program: graduate and professional students are eligible to receive up to $20,500 per academic year. As an institution that previously participated in the HEAL Programs our MD, Doctorate and PhD in Clinical Psychology, as well as certain Master Degree Programs might be eligible for additional amount of loan. The amount is established annually by Federal Regulations. The Financial Aid Office provides orientation about the application process for student loans, the student’s qualifying requirements and the specifics regarding interest rate, orientation fess, repayment process, etc. The student must submit an agreement form known as a Master Promissory Note, and complete electronic entrance counseling, both on-line: www.studentloans.gov.
- Direct Loan-Plus Graduate Loan: This is a federal fixed-interest loan for graduate and professional students, beyond the DL Unsubsidized award, to cover any additional cost of attendance. The interest rate and origination fee, which is annually fixed by the Federal Government, begins to accrue from the date of the first disbursement. The loan qualifying process requires a credit check verification, on-line entrance counseling and an on-line submission of a Master Promissory Note: www.studentloans.gov
- Private Loans (Alternative Loans). These are credit-based loans that may be used to supplement other types of financial aid programs. The loan amounts vary according to amount requested and approved for the student. The interest rate is variable, accrued while in school and usually based on the current “Prime Rate” plus a lender’s predetermined interest rate. Repayment may be up to 20 years. These Private Alternative Loans provide funds to complete the remaining need after the student is awarded other financial aid. Due to the high interest rate that these loans represent, the student should consider these loans as a last resource to their financial need. PHSU does not recommend any specific lender, the evaluation and selection is a student’s individualized decision.
- Historical Private Lender List
PHSU does not deny or otherwise impede the student’s choice of an alternative lender or cause unnecessary delay in loan certification of these loans. The following is a list of the three private loans that have been most commonly selected by our students during last two previous academic years, however, we reiterate that the student may select any other lender they esteem will meet their financial need.
- Discover: www.discover.com/student-loans
- Sallie Mae: www.salliemae.com
- Wells Fargo: www.wellsfargo.com/student/graduate-loans/med-school
Other Financial Aid Options:
Military Scholarship Programs: Students interested in a military career may consider apply for one of the scholarships programs for healthcare professions offered by the US Army, the US Air Force, Navy or the National Guard. The students must contact the desired program:
National Health Services Corps Scholarship Program: available for students in the primary health care specialties and committed to serving part or their entire career in federally designated health professional shortage area. Learn more about this program at: nhsc.bhpr.hrsa.gov
Financial Aid Application Process
There are research assistantships provided by faculty members for externally funded research projects. One of these programs is the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program (MBRS) that may be available for participation. The program provides student support that includes salary and fringe benefits. Additional information may be requested at the Offices of the Deans, Program Directors, and/or faculty.
Direct Loan Application Process
Students interested in applying for a Direct Loan must comply with the federal requirements and following requirements:
- Have financial need.
- Be an US Citizen or an Eligible Non-Citizen.
- Have a valid social security number.
- Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student working toward a degree.
- Meet satisfactory academic progress standards.
- Register (or have registered) with the Selective Service if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
- Certify that are not in default on a federal student loan and that do not owe money on a Federal student grant.
- Student cannot exceed the aggregate loan limit established by the Department of Education.
- Comply with the Entrance Interview/Counseling.
- Provide all the documents and information required by the Financial Aid.
Students must fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the corresponding academic year, in order to be evaluated to determine eligibility for federal and state funds. It must be submitted on line at www.fafsa.gov no later than last working day of April. The PHSU school code is G24824. Students need a pin number, which can be obtained at www.pin.ed.gov.
Once the student submits the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) to the school, which will be used for evaluation and analysis.
Students with a FAFSA application selected for verification by the Department of Education will be required to submit the following documents:
- Complete a Verification Worksheet (provided by the Financial Aid Office)
- Copy of the Tax Return (IRS or PR tax return form) or
- W-2 form(s)
- Evidence of wages, salaries, tips, etc., reported on the FAFSA
If the student (student’s parent or spouse) is not required to file income tax return, he/she will be required to complete and sign a Certification of Income, provided by the Financial Aid Office, among other documentation. Note: No loan will be process until the verification process is completed.
As part of the evaluation, the Financial Aid Office will take in consideration the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the amount that the student should contribute towards his/her cost of education, and it is determined by the Federal Government. The need analysis consists of the following basic calculation: Cost of Attendance minus EFC equals Financial Need. As part of the analysis, it will be considered any other expected financial aid (external funds such as Vocational Rehabilitation, Veteran Administration, military scholarships, and any other grant or scholarship). Note: A student cannot receive financial assistance in excess of the determined Financial Need.
Awarding and Notification
The next step is the awarding of financial aid amounts by PHSU and preparing the award notification for the student. Once the awarding process is completed, a Notification of Award is sent to each student.
Return Policy and Requirement for Withdrawal and Return of Federal Financial Aid (see PHSU catalog refund policy section)
Suspension of Eligibility for Drug-Related Offenses
If convicted of any offense involving the possession of a controlled substance, a student’s eligibility for Title IV Financial Student Aid Program will be denied for:
- One year after the first conviction
- Two years after the second conviction
- Indefinitely after the third conviction
If convicted of any offense involving the sale of a controlled substance, a student’s eligibility for Title IV Financial Student Aid Program will denied for:
- Two years following the first conviction
- Indefinitely after the second conviction
Eligibility may be restored if the student partakes of an approved Federal Government Rehabilitation Program.
Please refer to the Student Financial Aid Manual for specific information regarding all the dynamics of financial aid as it applies to new and continuing students.
Financial Aid Contact Information:
Mrs. Rosalia Martinez, MS. Ed, Executive Director
Mrs. Myrian Gaud, BSS, Assistant Director
Mrs. Bertha I. Rivera, Executive Secretary
Monday to Thursday: 8:00-11:30 am – 1:00-4:30 pm
Friday: Administrative Work (By appointment only)
Phone Numbers: (787) 840-2575 ext. 2134, 2135 or 2136 Fax: (787) 842-3857
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 7004, Ponce. Puerto Rico 00731
- Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico at Ponce (PUCPR) – The program with PUCPR includes two years of pre-medical courses at PUCPR and four years of medicine at PHSU. You must contact their General Science Department at 787- 841-2000 for details.
- Interamerican University of PR at Ponce (UIA) – The program with UIA includes three years of pre-medical courses at UIA and four years of medicine at PHSU. You must contact their Science Department at 787-284-1912 for details.
Each university is responsible for the selection of the candidates to participate. They are selected among those who show outstanding performance in High School and College Board Exams. For PHSU, these candidates must comply with all requisites but are requested a minimum MCAT score of 20. Once the student meets all the admission requisites, will automatically be admitted to Ponce Health Sciences University. Applications are processed through AMCAS.
When evaluating the applicants, the Admissions Committee selects the best of all candidates applying. PHSU looks for students of integrity and maturity that show concern for others, leadership potential and a positive attitude for working with people. Preference will be given to local residents, but applicants from the US mainland are also invited to apply.
The Admissions Committee evaluates applications considering several factors which include:
- Academic performance
- MCAT scores
- Applicant’s essay
- Extracurricular activities
- Life experiences
- Experience in the health field (research, community work)
- Letters of recommendation
Accepted applicants that are still completing the degree, must successfully complete all courses in progress at the academic level they had been performing at the time of application.
Advanced Standing (Transfer)
The MD Advanced Standing Committee will consider applications for transfer from other medical schools to the second or third year of the MD Program. Applicants must be in good academic standing. Students with academic or disciplinary sanctions will not be considered for transfer. Students seeking transfer from LCME accredited schools may be accepted to the level for which they are applying provided that their curriculum is equivalent to that of PHSU.
The number of acceptances will always depend on the availability of vacant spaces. . Preference will be given to local residents.
Tuition: will be in accordance to the academic year to which the applicant will be enrolled in.
Advanced Standing Admission Requirements
- Present evidence of a bachelor’s degree from a college level institution accredited by the PR Council of Education or by a US accrediting organization and comply with the following courses:
Course Credits General Biology I + II with Labs 8 General Chemistry I + II w Labs 8 Organic Chemistry I + II w Labs 8 Physics I + II with Labs 8 Mathematics 6 Behavioral and Social Sciences* 6 Biochemistry Course 3 Spanish 3 English 3
* Any of the following: Psychology, Sociology, Political Sciences, Economics, or Anthropology
- Undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or higher (on a four-point scale)
- Fully bilingual in English and Spanish (read, write, speak and understand)
- Have taken the MCAT
- Be a bona fide student in good standing at his/her Medical School
- Have completed courses in medical school equivalent to PHSU’s curriculum prior to the year for which admission is requested.
- USMLE Step 1- approved preferably on the first attempt (to apply for admission to the third year)
- The student must submit the following:
- Official transcript from all institutions attended (undergraduate and graduate)
- Official transcript from the medical school from which the candidate is seeking transfer
- Letter of good standing from the dean of the medical school
- Submit two letters of recommendation from professors, academic advisors or clinical supervisors from the medical school which the student is attending, who can comment on his/her academic performance, character and interests.
- Letter explaining the reason(s) for seeking transfer to PHSU
- Certificate of No Penal Record (Police Clearance/Background Check)
- Application fee of US$75, non-refundable
Upon acceptance, all students are required to submit the following:
- Written confirmation of acceptance and a non-refundable deposit of $100.00 to secure the seat in the entering class.
- Physical Exam (using a form provided by the Admissions Office)
- Health Certificate from the Department of Health of PR
- Evidence of up to date immunization record (must include Varicella, Td Adult, MMR and three doses of Hepatitis B).
- Policy on Technical Standards
- Other documents will be notified as pertinent.
Classes and clinical rotations begin every July.
How to Apply
Application for Admission to MD Advanced Standing may also be obtained personally at the Admissions Office.
The deadline for submitting a complete application is MAY 15 of the same year admission is sought.