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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Honors Program in Medical Education

Program Overview

Fostering flexibility. Encouraging creativity.

The HPME program will no longer be accepting applications.

The Honors Program in Medical Education (HPME) admits students simultaneously to one of the undergraduate colleges at Northwestern University in Evanston and Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. 


Undergraduate Years

As an undergraduate, an HPME student attends the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication, or the McCormick School of Engineering on the Northwestern Evanston campus. HPME students participate in a flexible, individualized undergraduate program that may be completed in three or four years prior to matriculation to Feinberg School of Medicine.  Though HPME requires specific science courses to ensure a strong foundation for medical school, each student’s course of study is different. Students work with faculty advisers to design a custom curriculum incorporating special academic and personal interests. HPME students must have a 3.7 cumulative GPA and a 3.55 science GPA at the time of graduation from the undergraduate program. 

HPME fosters flexibility and creativity in the undergraduate education while reducing the pressures related to gaining acceptance to medical school. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the reduced pressure by exploring and challenging themselves personally and professionally to prepare a solid foundation for success in medical school and for leadership roles in their careers in medicine. They are encouraged and assisted in pursuing unique opportunities as undergraduate students that can be further developed and incorporated into their medical education and beyond. These opportunities include:

  • Public and global health experiences
  • Advanced degree coursework
  • Research
  • Entrepreneurial experiences

Through various forums, past and current HPME students mentor each other and share their unique tracks and personal experiences within the program. These opportunities serve as tools to inspire ideas that lead to a customized educational plan.


Gap Year

HPME students are encouraged to consider taking a gap year between graduation from the undergraduate campus and matriculation to the medical school. A gap year is not required, but can be a very enriching opportunity. This time off can be utilized to pursue research, additional degrees, international opportunities, fellowship experiences or other areas of personal interest.  Students are counseled throughout their undergraduate careers about opportunities available to them.  Students considering a gap year meet with the HPME Director to discuss plans for time away from the program and for final approval.  Students on a gap year are not permitted to apply to other medical schools. 


Medical School Years

After successfully completing undergraduate studies and any gap year experiences, HPME students matriculate to medical school at Feinberg School of Medicine on the Chicago campus.

Upon matriculation to medical school, HPME students often continue their research experiences longitudinally. Students with undergraduate international health experiences may continue to participate in global opportunities, often serving in leadership roles in student run organizations. Students may build upon “pre-professional” coursework to pursue dual degrees. Programs such as the combined MD/MPH program allow both degrees to be conferred after four years of study by those students engaged in public health coursework during their undergraduate career.

More information on the curriculum at Feinberg can be found on the Feinberg School of Medicine Education website.

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