This 30 hour degree program is designed to provide some of the tools necessary for future rural Alabama physicians and other rural health care providers to become community health leaders.  It will help prepare them to lead in the development and maintenance of community health center practices and other health care practices.

  • Rural Medical Scholars (RMS) established in 1996 by The University of Alabama School of Medicine (UASOM) to recruit students who grew up in rural Alabama who desire to practice primary care medicine in rural Alabama. RMS apply to UASOM, go through a special interview/selection process and enter a RMS 5-year track of study leading to the MD degree. For the first year, RMS spend a year on the Tuscaloosa campus in the MS in Rural Community Health program with a set of courses related to rural community health.  Following this year, RMS then complete two years of pre-clinical study at UASOM in Birmingham. RMS then return to Tuscaloosa for two years of clinical medicine training in the College of Community Health Sciences (CCHS) (UASOM – Tuscaloosa Campus).  After completing the MD degree, RMS enter residency training in the specialty of their choice.
  • Rural Community Health Scholars (RCHS), students who exhibit a desire to be rural health care providers (not necessarily physicians), but are not eligible for the RMS program.  Most of these students use the Master of Science degree as a bridge to a health professional school (medical, osteopathic, physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, public health, doctor of philosophy, etc.) by demonstrating their ability to handle graduate-level studies and improving admission test scores. 

This program directly contributes to The University of Alabama’s mission “To advance the … social condition of the people of the State …”  by helping prepare health professionals for the underserved rural areas of Alabama.

The academic requirement for admission as Rural Medical Scholars is an MCAT score of 495 and an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or higher.  For Rural Community Health Scholars the undergraduate GPA must be 3.0 or higher and a qualifying GRE score is required.  The non-thesis research takes the place of a comprehensive exam.  Graduate GPA requirements are set by the UA Graduate School.  

The program includes two student classifications: the Rural Medical Scholars and Rural Community Health Scholars. The program provides some of the tools necessary for future rural Alabama physicians (Rural Medical Scholars) and other rural health care providers (Rural Community Health Scholars). The courses prepare students to lead in the development and maintenance of community health center practices and other health care practices.

Graduation Requirements (see Degree Requirements section of Graduate Catalog)

Students will complete degree requirements following Plan II (without thesis).  Each student must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better for all graduate courses undertaken at UA.  Grades below “C” are counted in computing GPA, but they do not carry credit toward a degree.  At least 75 percent of the hours taken must have been completed with grades of “A” or “B” at UA. 

Required for ALL Rural Community Health Students

CHS 500Rural Envir/Occup Health (Fall Semester)3
CHS 522Community Clinical Proc3
CHS 527Health Policy & Planning (Spring Semester)3
CHS 532Comm Clinical Process II3
Total Hours12

Rural Medical Scholars Concentration

CHS 520 or Basic Epidemiology (Spring Semester)3
BSC 551 Bch/Molecular Biology II
CHS 525 or Biostatistics (paired with CHS 523, Fall Semester)3
BSC 535 Immunology
CHS 523Indep Stdy Community Med (Fall Semester)1
CHS 591Clin Corr and Study Strat I (Fall Semester)2
CHS 592Clin Corr & Study Strat II (Spring Semester)2
BSC 524Human Physiology (Fall Semester)3
BSC 569Histology Of Vertebrates (Spring Semester)4
Total Hours18

Rural Community Health Scholars Concentration

Required Courses
CHS 520Basic Epidemiology (Spring Semester)3
CHS 525Biostatistics (Fall Semester)3
CHS 530Stress Management (Fall Semester)3
BSC 550Fundamentals of Biochemistry (Fall or Spring Semesters)3
Credit Hours Subtotal: 12
Electives (6 hrs)6
Human Physiology
General Virology
Bch/Molecular Biology II
Histology Of Vertebrates
Adv. Vitamins and Minerals
Metabolism of Energy Nutrients
Total Hours18