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Duke-NUS Application Guide

Duke-NUS is Singapore’s first and only US-style graduate medical school; a partnership between Duke University School of Medicine and the National University of Singapore (NUS). Duke-NUS prepares doctors, scientists and clinician-scientists to practice and improve the practice of medicine through the MD, MD-PhD and PhD programs.

Duke-NUS is known for its signature TeamLEAD framework, which is an advanced form of problem-based learning. In addition to their unique curriculum, Duke-NUS also has a research component that spans one year for all MD students.

Duke-NUS seeks to produce more than just clinicians – it operates on the core tenet of training ‘Clinicians First, Clinicians Plus’. This approach aims to nurture outstanding clinicians who, at the same time, possess the skills needed to branch out in a number of directions from clinician scientist to educator, innovator or even entrepreneur.

Duke-NUS resides on the main campus of the largest healthcare group in the country, Singapore Health Services (SingHealth). This group collectively delivers multi-disciplinary care among 42 clinical specialties across a large network of hospitals, national specialty centres and polyclinics. Duke-NUS and SingHealth have embarked on an ambitious Academic Medicine partnership, which strives to embody the tripartite of patient care, education and research.

Duke-NUS Application Guide

MD & MD-PhD Admissions Requirements

1. MCAT or GAMSAT scores

They are a critical component of the Duke-NUS Medical School’s admissions process and there is absolutely no added advantage in taking one test over the other. One thing’s for sure, you should definitely start planning to sit for either of these tests at least a year before you intend to apply to medical school. This gives you enough time to prepare for the other components of your application. The average MCAT score for the class of 2020 was 513/528. However a below average score can be compensated for with other attributes as applications are reviewed holistically.


2. Grades

All applicants must have completed, or be in the final year of, a bachelor or honours degree. The average GPA for the class of 2020 was 3.62/4.00. According to their website, there are no pre-set cutoffs for GPA but they should reflect an academic background that is able to withstand the rigours of a fast-paced medical education at Duke-NUS. Be sure to collect transcripts from all previously attended schools early on so that the documents are ready by the application deadline.


3. Recommendation letters

Duke-NUS requires 3 – 5 recommendation letters, typically from professors, mentors and/or employers. Students are required to provide at least 3 referee reports. References should be carefully chosen from faculty or others (e.g. job supervisors) who know you and your character well. If you have undertaken research projects, try to include a letter from your research supervisor.


4. Personal statement and other essays

You will be required to write a 1-page essay detailing your motivations to pursue a career in medicine. Your personal statement should illustrate your high academic ability and relevant work experience, together with your passion and determination for your prospective medical career. There may also be supplemental essay prompts to choose from on topics such as overcoming adversity or facing ethical dilemmas. If you are applying to the MD-PhD program, you will also be required to submit an additional personal statement that highlights why you wish to pursue both degrees.


5. Applicant Day

If your application has been shortlisted, you will receive an invite for ‘Applicant Day’. Lasting one whole day, you will experience a mock-TeamLEAD session, go through the interview process, take a situational judgement test and attend a few talks. There are typically 2 interviews held for MD applicants and 4 interviews for MD-PhD applicants. The interviews are conversational and your interviewers might be medical consultants, professors or translational researchers. The questions may include a mix of personal questions, ethical dilemmas, and key medical issues and policies.

Applications to medical school are increasingly competitive, so you can distinguish yourself through these other experiences.

Leadership Experience

Healthcare is delivered through teams in which a physician is often at the center and so leadership is a very important skill to cultivate for aspiring physicians. Learning to manage personalities, delegate work, and maximizing efficiencies are important skills to develop for in and out of clinical practice. Some ways in which you can demonstrate this by taking on leadership roles in a student or community organization, starting your own initiatives, or leading research projects.


Volunteering

Service lies at the core of the medical profession and it is important to demonstrate a commitment to serving the community. Volunteer work would also demonstrate the type of soft skills and interpersonal attributes that are essential for one’s future success as a physician and that of their patients. It is better to prioritize quality over quantity since it is more impressive to see an individual who has maintained a long-term commitment to an organization.


Research Experience

Of course, if you’re applying for the MD-PhD program, research experience is necessary. However, even if you’re applying for the MD, Duke-NUS’ medical curriculum places a huge emphasis on research. It would be advantageous to have had some experiences with scientific research projects, and posters and publications would be an added advantage. The research project does not have to be in a biomedical area as it is more important for the admissions committee to see that you can follow through with a project and demonstrate critical thinking skills.


Innovation Experience

In line with Duke-NUS’ philosophy of ‘Clinician First, Clinicians Plus’, they seek candidates who are multi-faceted and committed to pushing the frontiers of medicine. You can demonstrate this by undertaking internships at startups, such as digital health, medtech and therapeutics companies or perhaps, you can dabble with app development to develop creative solutions to problems.

Duke-NUS MCAT Webinar

Tuesday, 26 October 2021, 3:00PM – 4:30PM (GMT+8)

Join us & Duke-NUS for this webinar and learn how to prepare effectively for your MCAT. Duke-NUS’s current MD student, Zhang Yue, will share her experience in Duke-NUS and share useful tips in preparing for the MCAT. We will also be sharing on various resources available for MCAT.

Free to register & attend.

More Information & Register

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