The Pre-Health Student Glossary

The official SDN “Get Smart” Glossary! The SDN Glossary contains definitions of the most common terms you need to know as a pre-health student.

  • 0+6 Program: Pharmacy program accepting applicants directly after high school and are guaranteed a position in the professional phase of the program providing that certain criteria are met
  • 2+4 Program: Program allowing students with the opportunity of entering a pharmacy program after 2 years of undergraduate coursework provided that all pre-pharmacy requirements are met
  • 3+4 Program: Program allowing advanced students with the opportunity of entering a pharmacy program after 3 years of undergraduate coursework
  • AA: Affirmative action
  • AA: Anesthesiology assistant
  • ABP: Atlantic Bridge Program, a program for students from Canada and the United States applying to medical schools in Ireland.
  • AACOM: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
  • AACOMAS: American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service
  • AACP: American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
  • AAMC: Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Accredited School (Pharm): A school which has passed ACPE accreditation assuring and advancing the quality of pharmacy education
  • ACGME: Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, accredits residency programs
  • ACLS: Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • ADCOM: Admission Committee
  • AED: Automatic External Defibrillator
  • Affirmative Action: Programs designed to provide increased opportunities for historically under-represented minorities
  • AHMA: American Holistic Medical Association
  • AMA: American Medical Association
  • AMA-MSS: Medical Student Section of the AMA
  • AMCAS:American Medical College Application Service
  • AMSA: American Medical Student Association, publishes the New Physician
  • AMWA: American Medical Women’s Association
  • AO: All Others – Grade Point Average of all classes not included in BCMP
  • AOA: Alpha Omega Alpha – NationalMedicalSchool honor society
  • AOA: American Osteopathic Association
  • AP: Advanced Placement
  • APhA: American Pharmacists Association
  • ASHP: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
  • Attending: A physician who has completed residency and practices in a clinic, hospital, or private practice, in the specialty learned during residency and can supervise fellow residents and medical students.
  • AWPA: Acceptance when place available; used when a medical school or college desires to admit a student but lacks a spot to accommodate that student
  • BA/MD: A combined program where a Bachelors of Arts and Doctor of Medicine degree are conferred over 6-8 years depending on the program
  • BCPM: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics
  • BCNP: Board Certified Nuclear Pharmacist
  • BCNSP: Board Certified Nutrition Support Pharmacist
  • BCOP: Board Certified Oncology Pharmacist
  • BCPP: Board Certified Psychiatric Pharmacist
  • BCPS: Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist
  • BLS: Basic Life Support
  • Boards Bootcamp: Test preparation and review for COMLEX and USMLE
  • BOP: Board of Pharmacy
  • Burnett’s Law: As an SDN Forums discussion grows longer, the probability of being told, “you will be a terrible doctor” or, “I feel bad for your future patients” approaches 1.
  • BS/MD: A combined program where a Bachelors of Sciences and Doctor of Medicine degree are conferred over 6-8 years depending on the program
  • CAM: complementary and alternative medicine.
  • Carribean Med Schools: Popular alternative to those not attending school in the US
  • CC: Community college
  • Certified Pharmacy Technician: A technician who has passed the certification test provided by the PTCB
  • Chief Resident: a senior-level resident who has been assigned administrative and training responsibilities within the residency training program.
  • CNA: Certified nurse assistant
  • CNM: Certified Nurse-Midwife
  • COMLEX: Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (the Osteopathic equivalent of the USMLE), a 3 step medical licensing test all DO’s must take. Step I is taken after the 2nd year of medical school and is a major determining factor in residency placement, Step II is taken prior to graduation and Step III is taken following your first year of residency.
  • Committee Letter: composite letter of LOR’s which is submitted by the school’s pre-professional advising committee
  • CPJE: California Practice Standards and Jurisprudence Examination for Pharmacists
  • CPR: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, An emergency procedure employed after cardiac arrest and used to maintain the circulation of oxygenated blood to the brain.
  • CRNA: Certified registered nurse anesthetist
  • CSS: College Scholarship Service
  • DAW: ‘Dispense As Written’, A prescription with a DAW must be dispensed precisely as it is written. No substitutions or alterations permitted
  • DDS: Doctor of Dental Surgery
  • Deferral: Delayed Matriculation following acceptance, usually one year
  • DMD: Doctor of Dental Medicine
  • DNP: Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • DO: Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • DOP: Director of Pharmacy
  • DPM: Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
  • DPT: Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • Dr. Collins: PCAT review course
  • DVM: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
  • EC: Extra-curricular activities
  • ECFMG: Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
  • EDP: Early Decision Program
  • EK: ExamKrackers, test preparation course materials
  • ED: the Emergency Department (usually at a hospital)
  • EM: Emergency Medicine (medical specialty)
  • EMS: Emergency Medical Services
  • EMT: Emergency Medical Technician
  • EMT-B: Emergency Medical Technician-Basic
  • EMT-I: Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate
  • EMT-P: Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic
  • ENT: Otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat)
  • ERAS: Electronic Residency Application System for obtaining a residency position in the field of medicine in the United States.
  • FAF: Financial Aid Form
  • FAFSA: Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • Fellowship: Post residency training in specialized fields
  • FMG: Foreign Medical Graduate
  • GMAT: Graduated Management Admission Test
  • Gold Standard: Test preparation review course materials (The MCAT Store)
  • GPA: Grade Point Average; BCPM is the science GPA; AO is the GPA for all other courses
  • GRE: Graduate Record Examination
  • Gunner: slang for an anxious premed student who will do anything to get good grades.
  • HBCU: Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Hospitalist: a physician who specializes in treating hospitalized patients; a specialist in inpatient medicine.
  • HCP: Health Care Provider
  • House Staff: The physicians and surgeons in specialty training at a hospital who care for patients under the direction and responsibility of attending staff.
  • HPAC: Health Professions Advisory Committee
  • IMG: International Medical Graduate
  • Internship: First year of medical residency training for physicians
  • IM: Internal Medicine (medical specialty)
  • IRS: Internal Revenue Service
  • IS: In-state
  • JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Joint Commission: accredits and certifies more than 18,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States (formerly JCAHO)
  • Kaplan: Test preparation review materials and service
  • LCME: Liaison Committee on Medical Education, accredits medical schools
  • LCSW: Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Legacy: A student whose parents or grandparents have attended and/or heavily contributed to the school
  • Licensed Pharmacy Technician: A technician who possess a state specific license to work in a pharmacy
  • LOE: Letters of Evaluation
  • LOI: Letter of intent/interest
  • LOR: Letter of recommendation
  • LPN: Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Match: The electronic process where 4th year medical or pharmacy students are fitted to residency spots based on their preference rankings and preference rankings of the residency program.
  • MBA: Master of Business Administration, given in many disciplines.
  • MBChB or MBBS:UK model – Bachelor of Medicine and surgery
  • MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test, a computer based standardized test used to assess a medical school applicant’s aptitude in a variety of fields. Subject matter includes Chemistry, Physics, Verbal Reasoning, a Writing Sample, Biology and Organic Chemistry. It has 3 sections each scored on a bell curve from 1 to 15 (total possible points 45) and the writing section ranges from a J-T.
  • MD: Doctor of (allopathic) Medicine
  • MD/PHD: Combined Doctor of Medicine and PhD. program, 6-8 years
  • MDApplicants.com: Web site that allows students applying to medical schools to share their application stats and track their progress through the application process. Students can view others profiles and leave comments.
  • MHA: Masters of Healthcare Administration
  • MPH: Master of Public Health
  • MPJE: Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination
  • MS I, II, III or IV: medical student year 1,2,3 or 4
  • MSAR: Medical School Admission Requirements (published by AAMC)
  • MSTP: Medical Scientist Training Program
  • NAAHP: National Association of Advisers for the Health Professions
  • NABP: National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
  • NAPLEX: North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination
  • NBME: National Board of Medical Examiners, administers the USMLE
  • NBOME: National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners
  • NCPA: National Community Pharmacists Association
  • NICU: Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • NonTrad: Student who is applying to a professional program 2 or more years after completing his undergraduate program, often as a career change (non-traditional student)
  • NP: Nurse Practitioner
  • NRMP: National Resident Matching Program
  • OA: Overall – All inclusive Grade Point Average
  • OEC-T: Outdoor Emergency Care Technician
  • On-Hold: Application has been reviewed without decision
  • OOS: Out-of-state
  • OP: Original Poster
  • OR: the Operating Room (usually in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center)
  • Orgo: Organic Chemistry, and a common prerequisite for medical schools
  • OTD: Doctor of Occupational Therapy
  • PA: Physician Assistant / Associate
  • PA: Prior Authorization. Additional paperwork required by an insurance outlining the specifics of a patient’s medical condition to determine whether or not the medication will be paid for
  • PCAT: Pharmacy College Application Test; a standardized test used to assess a pharmacy school applicant’s aptitude in a variety of fields. The test is broken into 7 parts: 2 Writing Topics, Verbal Ability, Biology, Chemistry, Reading Comprehension, and Quantitative Ability. The writing scores range from 0-5. All other section scores are a percentile from 0-99.
  • PCT: patient care technician
  • PGY1: intern year
  • PharmApplicants.com: Web site that allows students applying to pharmacy schools to share their application stats and track their progress through the application process. Students can view others profiles and leave comments.
  • PharmCAS: Pharmacy College Application Service, the service a pre-pharmacy student uses to apply to most pharmacy schools in the United States
  • PharmD: Doctor of Pharmacy (6 years – 2+4 or direct entry)
  • PharmD/MBA: Combined Doctor of Pharmacy and Masters of Business Administration Program
  • PharmD/PhD: Combined Doctor of Pharmacy and Ph.D. program
  • Pharmacy Protocol: The ability to dispense medication by writing a legal prescription without the consent of a doctor. Only applicable in some states.
  • PhD: Doctor of Philosophy
  • PI: principal investigator (of a lab)
  • PIC: Pharmacist In Charge
  • PICU: Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • PM: Private Message
  • Post-bac: Coursework taken (typically after earning a bachelor’s degree) to allow applicants to meet medical school admission requirements. May be useful for students with degrees in non-science fields; can be formal or informal; short for post-baccalaureate program
  • Pre-Candidate School: A pharmacy school which has begun the process of becoming accredited, but has not yet done so
  • Pre-req: Undergraduate course listed as minimum requirement for entry into medical school (e.g. general chemistry)
  • Primary Application: single initial medical school application submitted online via AMCAS (MD) or AAMCOMAS (DO) or TMDAS (Texas schools) for verification and forwarding to individual schools.
  • Primary Care: Typically the specialties of Family Practice, Pediatrics and general Internal Medicine
  • PRN: As needed
  • PS: Personal Statement
  • PsyD: Doctor of psychology
  • PTCB: Pharmacy Technician Certification Board
  • QFT: Quoted For Truth
  • RD: Resident Director
  • Re-Applicant: Applicant who has also applied during a previous cycle
  • Reciprocity: An agreement between states to issue practice licenses to applicants licensed in other states
  • Residency: A period of time after completing school during which a physician or pharmacist receives intensive training in a particular healthcare specialty
  • RN: Registered Nurse
  • ROAD: Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology, Dermatology – medical specialties considered by some to afford a good mix of income and quality of life
  • RRC: Residency Review Committee – verifies residency programs meet minimum training requirements for a specialty
  • Secondary Application: additional follow-up application for individual schools, which is submitted directly to the school. Content, fees, and methods of selecting applicants for distribution vary widely.
  • STAT: Immediate, said when something needs to be done immediately.
  • SDN: Student Doctor Network
  • SICU: Surgical Intensive Care Unit
  • Sig Codes: Short hand abbreviations used to describe the directions of a medication therapy. Examples include, but are not limited to: BID, TID, OU, AD, PRN….
  • SMDEP: Summer Medical and Dental Education Program
  • SMP: One-year masters degree programs (usually) that allow you to earn an MS in biomedical sciences or a related field. They are usually done by people who have a science background and are looking to make their application more competitive, for GPA or other reasons.
  • TBR: The Berkeley Review, test preparation review materials and service
  • TMDSAS: Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service
  • TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language
  • TPR: The Princeton Review, test preparation review materials and service
  • URM: Under-represented Minority
  • USMLE: United States Medical Licensing Examination, a 3 step medical licensing test all MD’s must take. Step I is taken after the 2nd year of medical school and is a major determining factor in residency placement, Step II is taken prior to graduation and Step III is taken following your first year of residency. In the future, a combined Step I and Step II exam in the third year will likely be used
  • US News Rankings: Annual ranking of colleges and professional schools by U.S. News and World Report (magazine)
  • Waitlist: List of students who will be offered acceptance if seats become available at a given medical school
  • WAMC: “What Are My Chances” threads – designated posting area for all questions related an applicant’s chances for admission
  • WICHE: Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. WICHE provides a program for medical students from Alaska, Montana and Wyoming
  • WWAMI: A program for medical students from Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho