CNU - BSMD Program

My child has applied for BSMD program with California North State University. Some of the comments we read on the internet are indicating some negativity and risk. Appreciate if anyone having some background/context on the topic provide more info.

Check out this discussion especially the information posted by WayoutWestMom

CNU’s first class graduated last year and the Match list was unimpressive-- with 15% of the class failing to match at all or matching only to preliminary programs (1 year non-renewable residency programs that do not qualify students for a medical license or further training.)

If you and your child are Ok with the risks and negatives associated with CNU, AND your could is 10,000% sure they want to pursue medicine (something like 1/3 or more of BA/Md students drop out other programs due to a change of interest during undergrad), then accept the CNU offer. But go into it with eyes wide open.


@WayOutWestMom how do you know so many details about CNU? We are also considering my daughter to go to CNU, is it not accredited MD degree? Did any one continue their residency? Kaiser never opened their medical college, is it still in the plans? How can Kaiser take those students if it’s not accredited?

All of this information is public record, though much of it is admittedly hard to find. (But finding information is what I do–I’m a biomedical research librarian.)

CNU offers an accredited MD degree, but the school is still only has provisional accreditation–which is concerning since it has already graduated it first class. Normally a medical school receives full LCME accreditation upon the successful graduation of its first class. In fact, CNU is the ONLY US MD program in the history of the LCME that has not received full accreditation upon graduation of its first class. This means there are still some serious concerns about the soundness and viability of CNU’s program.

Kaiser isn’t “taking” any students from CNU. CNU has paid fees to the Kaiser Permanente Healthcare Consortium to allow CNU 3rd and 4th year med students to do clinical rotations in some of its hospitals. This is a standard business practice that many hospitals engage in. A medical school does not have to be accredited to have its students do clinical rotations at a US hospital. Caribbean medical schools pay hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to hospitals in NYC, FL, IL (and other US sites) for clinical rotation placements for their students. The University of Queensland SOM (Australia) pays the Oschner Health System in Louisiana to allow UQ SOM students to rotate at its hospitals.

A CNU proposal to build its own hospital in Elk Grove has been turned down twice by both Sacramento County and the CA state government because CNU was unable to show: a) there is hospital bed shortage in that area of the county, and b) it had sufficient funding to pay for the cost of building the hospital.

Kaiser most certainly did open their MD school and their first class began their studies last August. Kaiser is the process of interviewing students for its next class right now.

@WayOutWestMom wow you did a lot of research, hope it is genuine with good intention of helping future students. The first class graduated last year, could it be possible that the paperwork is pending? Also, a lot of east medical colleges have Bs/md programs, why is California very strict about this pathway? I sent email to CNU admissions asking about their accreditation? I will update you when I hear from them.

It;s highly unlikely that paperwork for full accreditation is pending. The awarding of the full accreditation status upon graduating the first class is pretty much an automatic process. The committee vote to approve is merely a formality, provided that the school has met all the other criteria. The LCME accreditation committee meets multiple time each year so if the LCME was going to advanced CNU’s status to fully accredited, it would have happened by now.

And I just checked–CNU’s med school has now graduated TWO classes. One 2019 and another in 2020. And it still has not be granted fully accredited status.

As for contacting CNU about its accreditation status-- no need to do that. It’s right here on the LCME website for everyone to see–

The decision to offer a BS/MD is up to the individual undergrad & its partner medical school. The state of California has zero to do with it. And being on the West Coast has zero to do with it.

Generally speaking, BS/MD programs are mostly offered by low(er) ranking undergrads as an inducement to get Ivy-caliber student to enroll there. Since California’s universities with associated med schools have no shortage of highly qualified undergrads and CA med schools have no shortage of highly qualified applicants–they don’t need to offer these types of inducements.

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Can you shed some light on how to find this type of info?

I recommend starting with the official websites of medical education organizations–like the LCME, ACGME and AAMC–especially look at the bulletins and other communications. (A note–these organizations have public and private areas on their websites. Access to some materials are for authorized users and members only and may not be available to the general public.) The Council for Higher Education. The Sacramento area newspapers. Minutes of the Sacramento County Commission meetings. The proceedings of the California State Legislature. The Medical Board of California bulletins. California Secretary of State website.

The real trick is knowing what questions to ask…

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Can students with doctor degree from a college with provisional LCME accreditation get their practice license after completing residency requirements?

Yes. So long as a school is LCME accredited when the student graduates, the student meets all graduation requirements for that school, completes an accredited US medical residency, passes their 4 USMLE exams and pass their specialty board exams, they can practice medicine in the US.

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I think the city of Elk Grove approved for the hospital to be built. Don’t they have two graduating classes? I thought their website published the list 2019 Match Day and 2020 Match Day.

We live close to CNU and S21 could get into their 3+4 program and a good shot at their 2+4 program but I wanted him to have a normal college life. There are risks, as you shared.

I think the solid graduates from CNU got into quality residency program. The GPA few for CNU isn’t as high as most med school, so I think it’s natural to get some who only got prelim matches with their residency programs.

What concerns me the most is the new USMLE Step scoring changes. I believe Step 1 is pass/fail now. For school that isn’t as widely known, pass USMLE without a score could hurt you if a program had to decide between you and a more known school. If your kid has aspirations to practice and work in academia, CNU isn’t the school to attend.

While CNU has announced its hospital will open in 2022–it has not yet received all the necessary approvals to go ahead with the project.
It’s still in the Environmental Review stage w/ the Elk Grove City Council. The last public hearing was 9/16/2020.

Yes, CNU has graduated 2 classes, so the fact they’re still not fully accredited is even more unusual and disturbing.

Step 1 goes P/F starting next January 2021. So school reputation and other factors will take on greater importance for matching.

Define “quality residency.”
All US medical residencies are accredited through ACGME so there are basic standards every residency must meet. However, there is significant differences in prestige and reputation of different programs, as well as their graduation and board pass rates.

looks like a setback for CNU’s teaching hospital.

The Elk Grove Planning Commission has rejected CNU’s hospital plans.

Hello everyone, this is an urgent message to all incoming students and parents! I am a CNU BS/MD student in my second year. Multiple students are being rejected after receiving a 510+ MCAT and 3.5+ GPA. This is no longer a guaranteed, reserved spot at the CNU medical school. For reference, there were 22 students who got the 510+ MCAT and 3.5+ GPA. 4 students were rejected, 2 were waitlisted, 4 were accepted, and the other 14 students have been completely ignored (no decision after their interview or no interview invite). So many student’s futures were ruined, and this is an urgent call to everyone to please spread the word. The older students are saying that possible legal action may occur, and that the BS/MD program was a complete sham from the beginning. Many of the current freshmen are trying to either transfer or planning to apply out

But don’t they just guarantee you an interview if stat criteria is met? I didn’t think they were a guarantee slot. I would imagine they would want their med school program to have a better mix of students from all colleges as possible

When we all joined the school, we were told the interview was a “formality” if we met the 510+ MCAT and 3.5+ GPA. We were told that every student would have a reserved spot in the medical school and from 2018-2020, every single BS/MD student was accepted. For some reason this year, CNUCOM has begun rejecting us. It seems like a bait-and-switch tactic. We were all under that impression when we joined the school because that’s what we were told by administrators at CNU and we saw that in the previous BS/MD classes

From the CNU website:

"Students in these programs who meet the following criteria while taking prerequisites at the College of Health Sciences will be admitted to the College of Medicine (COM) at CNU:

  • Successfully complete the COM pre-requisite coursework
  • Maintain a 3.50 GPA in the undergraduate program and be in good standing each semester
  • Participate in at least one volunteer activity per year with COM
  • Score 510 or higher on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  • Submit an application through the American Medical College Application Services (AMCAS) and a supplemental application to CNUCOM
  • Satisfy COM’s Technical Standards
  • Successfully complete the COM interview"

Based on the website,

  1. Interview probably is NOT just a formality.
  2. Volunteer activity probably is NOT optional.
  3. Good standing with the school / staff probably is encouraged and highly not “optional”
  4. Satisfy COM’s Technical Standards probably is NOT optional