Orthopaedics 3+5 Accelerated MD Pathway

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Orthopaedics 3+5 Accelerated MD Pathway

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Building a Pathway to Orthopaedics

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The Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation has implemented a 3+5 accelerated pathway, combining three years of medical school with five years of orthopaedics residency.

Matriculating students who are interested in pursuing a career in orthopaedic surgery have the opportunity to apply to this pathway by submitting a secondary application to O-APPS.

After screening and interviewing with members of the department, the accepted student will be placed in an accelerated pathway.

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Pathway Overview

The Orthopaedics Accelerated Pathway at Penn State offers exceptional students many opportunities, including:

  • Reduction of the length of medical school by one year and earlier entry into a career in orthopaedics.
  • A scholarship equivalent to one year of tuition.
  • Focused mentorship in orthopaedics and early clinical exposure.
  • Residency training in the Penn State Health Orthopaedic Residency.

Students accepted into this pathway are consistently evaluated throughout their medical education, and their acceptance into the residency can be rescinded should they fail to maintain acceptable performance levels.


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Pathway Details

What are the advantages of choosing the 3+5 pathway?

There are many advantages this special opportunity offers to students, including:

  • The ability to complete medical school in three years instead of four.
  • The opportunity to save one year of tuition, housing and fees.
  • A continuum of undergraduate medical school and graduate residency training.
  • Residency training at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Orthopaedic Residency.
  • Access to mentors in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation.

What is the timing of the pathway?

Students matriculate with the incoming medical school class in the summer. The 3+5 accelerated coursework begins during the first year of medical school, with an early introduction of clinical rotations.

order to complete the graduation requirements in a compressed time frame, students in the 3+5 pathway do not get an eight-week summer break after the first year. Students are enrolled in a combination of rotations during this time and continue to work on their medical student research project.

Students participate in commencement from medical school in May of their third year. Participating 3+5 students will begin five years of residency training in June, at what would be the start of their fourth year in a traditional MD pathway.

When am I expected to take USMLE Step 1 and USMLE Step 2 exams?

You will be expected to take and pass USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 prior to graduation, which is a Penn State College of Medicine requirement. You will have preparation time during your third year to successfully complete these requirements.

Will I need to enter the National Resident Matching Program?

Yes. The Penn State Health Orthopaedic Residency can accept students through the match only. Therefore, you must enter the NRMP matching process.

Upon meeting the academic and professional standards for graduation from medical school, students are ranked to match into a Penn State Health Orthopaedic residency program through the National Resident Matching Program®. Should students choose to rank Penn State, they would match into an Orthopaedic residency position at Penn State Health Health.

Will my residency training be different?

Your five-year orthopaedic residency training at Penn State will not differ in curriculum from that of a non-O-APPS student. During medical school, you will have additional contact with the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation with attendance at orthopaedic conferences, motor-skills labs and journal clubs, as well as tailored rotations with structured shadowing with residents on call. You will build a relationship with faculty, residents and staff in the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, easing your transition to residency.

What if I change my mind and no longer want to pursue orthopaedics nor accelerate my training?

You would revert back to the traditional four-year program and enter the match as usual. Any scholarship granted will convert to a loan. Credits for partial courses may not carry over to the four-year pathway. For this reason, it’s important that you are certain about pursuing a career in orthopaedics before you apply to the pathway.

What if I do not make satisfactory progress in the pathway?

If you have academic difficulties or fail to progress as expected, you would revert to the traditional four-year program and enter the match as usual.

How much will tuition be?

If you complete the O-APPS pathway as designed, you will receive a scholarship equal to one year of tuition. Thus, you’ll pay the equivalent of three years’ tuition, saving a full year of tuition. If you revert out of the O-APPS pathway for any reason, any scholarship funds provided as a part of the pathway would convert to a loan.

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