Princeton has a pretty stellar reputation for being a top-tier school. But unlike the other Ivy League colleges you see applying for medicine, you never see anything about Princeton.
So, Does Princeton have a medical school?
No. Princeton doesn’t have a medical school. It’s the only American Ivy League school not to have one. Because of that, it has no large teaching hospital either. So med students interested should definitely look elsewhere!
Obviously, that explains why you’ve probably never heard of Princeton Medical School. For those of you still interested though, there’s more. We’ll dive into the reasons why it doesn’t inside this article.
Here’s what else you’ll learn:
- If you can be a pre-med at Princeton (and if it’s worth it)
- If Princeton has a Medical Department
- If Princeton Review has any relation to a med school (both past or present)
As a med student who spends an unhealthy amount of time studying all the possible schools, the admissions process, and more, I’m curious to find out why Princeton is an exception!
Ready to find out? Let’s go.
Why Princeton doesn’t have a medical school
The major reason Princeton has no medical school is because it’s traditionally focused on undergraduate study.
Medicine, especially in the United States, is considered a post-graduate subject. It’s something you typically decide to study after you complete your undergraduate studies.
Princeton, on the whole, has few graduate programs. Focusing on offering medicine as a subject could possibly go against the ethos of the school.
Because it’s focused on retaining that number one spot (or close to it) when it comes to best undergraduate colleges, it could see offering a post-graduate course like medicine as a distraction.
What about a teaching hospital?
Another reason why Princeton doesn’t have a medical school is because it has no teaching hospital.
Teaching hospitals are a fundamental part of the medical student experience. They are where students practice clinical skills and see medicine performed in action.
One possible reason why the school has no affiliation with any hospital or healthcare provider is that there’s no real financial reason for it.
Here’s two possible theories why:
- Princeton is already well funded by donations, tuition fees, and other sources of income.
- The research grants that could come with partnering with a hospital may be of little interest.
Interestingly, Princeton was interested in offering law as a post-graduate subject (something it indeed did offer in the 1800s) but later abandoned the idea. They cited expensive reconstruction costs as being a prime reason (Source).
There could be similar reasons preventing the formation of a medical school.
Note: One of the biggest operating hospitals to Princeton is Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center. This is actually where a lot of keen Princeton pre-meds also score shadowing and hospital volunteering opportunities too (more on this later).
Does Princeton have a Department of Medicine?
Princeton does have a Department of Medicine (despite not having a medical school). Its headquarters is at Penn Medicine Princeton (PMC), a building closeby to the main college campus.
Here’s how Princeton Health describes itself via their official website…
Princeton Health is proud to be among the most comprehensive healthcare systems in New Jersey. Our full continuum of care includes acute care hospital services, behavioral healthcare, acute rehabilitation, home care, hospice care, ambulatory surgery, and fitness and wellness services.(Source)
Although students at Princeton can’t officially get a medical degree bearing the school’s name, they can receive valuable training at Princeton’s Department of Medicine.
The Medical Center serves as a training site for medical students and physician assistant students as well as residents in Internal Medicine.
Pre-med at Princeton
Where you can’t be a medical student at Princeton, you can definitely be a pre-med.
Although there’s no definitive “pre-med major”, there is a Health Professions Advisory (HPA) organization that has a lot of experience helping the school’s student population prepare (and successfully) go on to careers in medicine.
The HPA even lists the preferred majors of pre-meds studying at Princeton:
- Molecular Biology
- Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
- Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
- Chemical & Biological Engineering
Computer Science (tie)
This data is from 2016-19 (Source).
Princeton’s HPA provides relevant information about local volunteering opportunities, especially in the surrounding community with the Pace Center, as well as valuable research projects via the Princeton Senior Thesis and the ReMatch center.
Because of Princeton’s standing at undergrad (#1 according to US News), a high GPA, coupled with impressive extracurriculars, would make for an outstanding application for medical school.
The Princeton Review has no relation to a Princeton Medical School. Its a college admissions services company, commonly used by pre-meds as help preparing for the MCAT.
Attending a Princeton Review preparatory course (for any academic endeavor) should not be confused for attending Princeton University.
Medical school admissions committees (Adcoms) will obviously know the difference too!
Other Ivy League med schools
Besides Princeton, all other Ivy League schools offer medicine as a field of study.
- Harvard Medical School
- Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
- Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
- Geisel School of Medicine (Dartmouth College)
- Yale School of Medicine
- Warren Alpert Medical School (Brown University)
- Weill Cornell Medicine (Cornell University)
These are some of the oldest and most reputable med schools in America.
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.