Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions Inquiries 

Who’s your ideal candidate for Columbia-Bassett? 

We are looking for students who are deeply committed to the quality of their patients’ care and interested in building a community of learning with peers, mentors and patients. Additionally, we seek students who are ready to actively participate in an in depth curriculum that meaningfully explores how to better understand and respond to the impacts of trauma and life experiences with a focus on learning through peer and mentor relationships. Further, using the group employed model of health care delivery in a rural environment, combined with an innovative curriculum in health care management, we seek students who are capable of leading such systems focused on evidence, quality, safety, efficiency and the learning of intensive tools of performance improvement.  

I notice Columbia-Bassett is located in a rural area.  Is it only for future rural physicians?  

A person considering future practice in a rural setting will be strongly advantaged by attending Columbia-Bassett as the experience will give insight into high quality rural practice, and will likely open students’ eyes to the enjoyments of rural life. At the same time, Columbia-Bassett is not designed exclusively to train future rural physicians. It is more intentionally for people who want to both understand patient-physician interactions at a deep level, wish to have a grasp of how health systems might ideally work, and perhaps see themselves as future leaders of evolving the American health system to a better place. 

If I apply to Columbia-Bassett and am not accepted, am I still considered for the VP&S main campus program? 

Columbia-Bassett students share objective admission standards with their New York City campus classmates, and students who are not accepted to the Columbia-Bassett Program are still considered for admission by Columbia on the New York City main campus.  

Interviewing Inquiries 

When will I know if I am invited for an interview? 

We begin extending invitations for interviews, via email, mid-October through November. 

Will the interview be in person or virtual? 

All interviews are currently held virtually. 

What does an interview day look like? 

Our goal is to ensure the virtual interview day mimics an in person interview day as much as possible. The evening before the scheduled interview, applicants will meet with current 4th year Columbia-Bassett students for a virtual tour of Cooperstown and the Columbia-Bassett Program. On interview day, applicants begin their day with a brief welcome with the interviewing team. After the welcome, applicants will have a total of two interviews, meet with a current 3rd year Columbia-Bassett student and the day will conclude with a brief wrap-up session with the deans of the program. On the evening of interview day, applicants will meet with current 2nd year Columbia-Bassett students. 

Who should I contact if I would like to send a thank-you note to my interviewer or the admissions staff? 

We are very welcoming of any thank-you notes. You may send any thank-you notes to our email address, and our Columbia-Bassett Program Coordinator will be sure to forward them to your interviewer:  

In following Columbia VP&S protocol, please also upload any notes via the Secondary Application Portal as an Applicant Update (in PDF). 

How do I go about reiterating my interest in Columbia-Bassett?

You may send your letter of interest to our email address, and our Columbia-Bassett Program Coordinator will be sure to forward the letter to our Admissions team:  

In following Columbia VP&S protocol, please also upload your letter of interest through the Secondary Application Portal (as a PDF). 

I have completed my interview day with Columbia-Bassett.  When will I hear back regarding my admission decision? 

All of our applicants will receive their admission decisions in early March from the Columbia VP&S Admissions office. 

General Inquiries 

Will my diploma be different than if I spent all four years in New York City? 

No. Columbia-Bassett students receive their degree from Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians.

Is the MD-MPH & MD-MBA dual degree program available for students who are in the Columbia-Bassett Program? 

Yes. The MPH year begins September each year, so Columbia-Bassett students would complete their MPH between 3rd and 4th years of medical school. Students in the MPH program pay tuition to the Mailman School of Public Health; this component of the program is not subsidized by the grants provided for the other four years of medical school.  

Is Columbia-Bassett particularly focused on primary care? 

No. We provide training and exposure within all core specialties and access to subspecialty training in addition to comprehensive primary care clinical experiences. Graduates of our program pursue residency training cross many specialties, in a similar split to other medical school graduating classes.  

Admitted Student Inquiries 

How do I determine the best career path? 

The Columbia-Bassett curriculum is designed to support students in nimbly experiencing varied disciplines, allowing them to select the field most compatible with their interests and goals. No aspect of medical school is more important that students discovering a wonderful fit as a career. We support path-finding as follows: 

Firstly, there are excellent career advising components with Columbia-Bassett students’ access on the main campus in the same way as their classmates. 

Students have frequent contact with Columbia-Bassett deans, a thoughtfully matched major mentor during MCY, longitudinal contact with preceptors during and after MCY and the opportunity to engage meaningfully with Life Experiences Curriculum faculty in increasing understanding of oneself and the medical system to guide important career decisions that are supportive of student flourishing. 

If I have been admitted to the Columbia-Bassett Program and would now like to withdraw, who should I contact? 

If you would like to decline our offer of admission, please contact our Columbia-Bassett Program Coordinator via email (  In addition, the coordinator will forward your notification to the Columbia VP&S Admissions office.  

Student Life Inquiries 

Is it necessary or required to have a car? 

No, cars are not required by any means, but they are highly advisable.  Students have found that having a car is helpful for traveling to clinical responsibilities at Bassett Regional Centers, day-to-day errands (like groceries), visiting local or regional places of interest, or getting away for a weekend.