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Course Classification Guide Amcas Personal Statement

Calculating the BCPM GPA

What is the BCPM GPA?

Your BCPM (science-math) GPA includes all biology, chemistry, physics and math courses taken as an undergraduate. Because there are many sub-disciplines of science, courses listed in other disciplines may be counted as part of the BCPM.

Both the AMCAS (allopathic) and AACOMAS (osteopathic) applications require you to “classify” (or categorize) your courses when you list them in your application. The PDF Document: AMCAS instruction manual and the AACOMAS Instruction Manual each have pages dedicated to explaining how courses are often categorized for their applications (see the clip to the left from page 40 of the AMCAS instruction Manual). Each course must be assigned a course classification based strictly on the primary content of the course. For the AMCAS application, the course classifications listed on the Course Classification Guide are bolded and are titled as they appear in the course classification drop-down list. The items beneath each bolded heading are examples of courses for which you should select that bolded course classification. You are responsible for selecting the correct course classification, but AMCAS and AACOMAS reserve the right to change classifications if the assigned classification clearly does not apply. As a general rule, to determine how to categorize a course, you should consider what 60% or more of the course is based in. If 60% of a course is based in biology, then it would count toward your BCPM GPA.

What JHU Courses Apply to the BCPM GPA?

Below are JHU courses typically included in the calculation of the BCPM GPA. Please note that this is not an all-inclusive list:


020.123 Genetics, Genomics, and Evol (or other Bio seminars)
020.151 Gen Bio I (4 cr.) 020.153 Gen Bio Lab I (1 cr.)
020.152 Gen Bio II (4 cr.) 020.154 Gen Bio Lab II (1 cr.)
020.305 Biochem (4 cr.) 020.315 Biochem Lab (2 cr.)*
020.306 Cell Biology (4 cr.) 020.316 Cell Biology Lab (2 cr.)
020.330 Genetics (3 cr.) 020.340 Genetics Lab (2 cr.)
020.363 Dev Bio (3 cr.) 020.373 Dev Bio Lab (2 cr.)
250.315 Biochemistry I (4 cr.) 250.253 Protein Eng. & Biochem Lab (3 cr.)
250.316 Biochemistry II (3 cr.) 250.383 Molecular Biophysics Laboratory (3)
540.307 Cell Biology for Engineers (3 cr.)
580.421 Systems Bioeng I (4 cr.) 580.423 Systems Bioeng. Lab I (2 cr.)
580.422 Systems Bioeng II (3 cr.) 580.424 Systems Bioeng. Lab II (2 cr.)
580-221 Molecules and Cells (4 cr.) (no associated lab)*
(*note – Biochem can be classified as a Biology or a Chemistry)


030.101 Intro Chem I (3 cr.) 030.105 Intro Chem Lab I (1 cr.)
030.102 Intro Chem II (3 cr.) 030.106 Intro Chem Lab II (1 cr.)
030.103 Applied Chem. Equil. & React. (4 cr.)
030.204 Chemical Structure and Bonding (4 cr.)
020.305 Biochem (4 cr.) 020.315 Biochem Lab (2 cr.)*
580-221 Molecules and Cells (4 cr.), no associated lab
(*note – Biochem can be classified as a Biology or a Chemistry)
510.101 Intro to Materials Chem (3 cr.) 030.105 Intro. Chem. Lab I (1 cr.)
510.312 Thermodynamics/Materials, no associated lab (3 CR.)
030.205 Intro. Organic Chemistry I (4 cr.)
030.206 Intro. Organic Chemistry II (4 cr.)
030.225 Organic Chemistry Lab (3 cr.)


171.101/103 General Physics I (4 cr.) 173.111 Gen. Physics Lab I (1 cr.)
171.102/104 General Physics II (4 cr.) 173.112 Gen. Physics Lab II (1 cr.)
171.105 Classical Mechanics I—biophysics majors
173.115 Classical Mechanics lab—biophysics majors
(plus a number of upper-level physics courses)


110.106/107 Calculus I (4 cr.)
110.108/109 Calculus II (4 cr.)
230.205 /301 Introduction to Social Statistics (4 cr.)
280.345 Biostatistics in Public Health (4 cr.)
550.111/112 Statistical Analysis I (4 cr.) or Statistical Analysis II (4 cr.)
550.113 Statistics Through Case Study (4.5 cr.)
550.211 Probability and Statistics for the Life Sciences (3 cr.)
550.310/311 Probability and Statistics for the Bio/Med Sci & Eng (4 cr.)

How Do I Calculate my BCPM GPA?

In calculating your BCPM for AMCAS, AACOMAS, or AADSAS you will see that,

• For AMCAS, the BCPM GPA includes all courses taken within the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math; including both grades from repeated courses.

• For AACOMAS, the Science GPA includes courses taken within the departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics; only the last instance of a repeated course is included.

• For AADSAS, the Science GPA includes all courses taken within the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math; including both grades from repeated courses.

For a basic understanding of how the BCPM GPA is calculated, see the PDF Document: AMCAS Application Grade Conversion Guide.

Som BCPM Calculators

Afouro.Com College GPA Calculator

NYU College of Arts and Sciences

College GPA Calculator.Net (Very, very easy to use, grade/credit only and pull down menu)

First, be sure to review the “Coursework” section of Completing the AMCAS 2018 Application.

Q: How do I classify a course in AMCAS?

A: Many Harvard courses do not fit perfectly into AMCAS course classifications, so you will need to use your best judgment. Classify according to the primary content or disciplinary approach of the course. So, biostatistics would be classified as math/stats, not biology. For further explanation, please see the 2018 AMCAS Instruction Manual. The OCS premedical advisers cannot make this determination for you; AMCAS is the final arbiter of all course classifications. Your Science (“BCPM”) GPA is made up of your Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math (Statistics = Math) grades. For more information about how to classify your courses, see the AMCAS Course Classification Guide.

If AMCAS changes a classification you made, and you disagree with the change, you can appeal the change via the Academic Change request option (available within the AMCAS application). You only have a limited time to appeal this decision, so review your application carefully as soon as it is verified by AMCAS.

Q: I am not Advanced Standing but want to indicate to med schools that I have taken AP Calculus. How do I do this in the coursework section?

A: AMCAS has asked that students not list AP calculus on their AMCAS application if it is not on that student’s Harvard transcript. You will have other opportunities to tell medical schools how you are fulfilling their requirements, either on the secondary application, on the interview day or later after acceptance. The Harvard Registrar will not validate the APs, but you may be asked at some point to have the official AP score sent from the testing service to particular medical schools.

Q: Do I have to list future coursework?

A: No. Some applicants may want to indicate to med schools that they plan to (for example) take more science courses. But most applicants do not fill this out. You are not under any obligation to enroll in courses you indicate you plan to take.

Q: What should I list as the Course Number?

A: The course number is generally the number that follows the department name (e.g., Chemistry 17, Math 21a, etc.). If the department is not intuitive (e.g., FRSEMR), you can modify it so it makes sense to someone outside of Harvard.

Q: Should I list the Course Name exactly as it appears on my transcript? (e.g., "Frank Lloyd Wright and the")

A: What you list for Course Name does not need to correspond exactly to what is listed on your transcript. But make sure it is similar enough, so that AMCAS can easily match up your course with the one on your transcript. Med schools need to be able easily to discern what kind of course it was. It is fine to abbreviate course names.

Q: For a SAT/UNSAT course, do I select “Pass/Fail” for course type?

A: Yes, AMCAS only has one option for pass/fail, so you select this regardless of whether the course was required pass/fail or optional pass/fail. The grade you enter should be the grade that appears on your transcript (e.g., “SAT”).

Q: If I did a Harvard Summer School (HSS) abroad program, do I indicate that this was a study abroad program in AMCAS?

A. Yes. If you took courses abroad through a Harvard Summer School (HSS) program, you must first add a second entry for “Harvard University” in the “Schools attended” section of your AMCAS (in addition to your main entry of your “Harvard University” undergraduate degree program).

In the box called “School Name,” in which “Harvard University” appears as an option, please type into the box to add “—Study abroad” so that it will say “Harvard University—Study Abroad.”

Next, assign “undergraduate credit,” enter the dates of your HSS summer program, and for “Other options,” check the box “Study Abroad Program.”

When you get to the “TRANSCRIPT REQUEST” page, you will be prompted to answer the question “Does AMCAS require an official transcript from Harvard University-Study Abroad?;” answer “No,” and select “Foreign Institution or Study abroad program sponsored by U.S., U.S. territorial or Canadian institution- Credits transferred” as your “Transcript Request Exception Reason.”

Next, answer “Yes” to the question “Was credit for Harvard University-Study Abroad transferred to another institution?.” As “School where transfer credits appear,” select “Harvard University” (which refers to your first entry of “Harvard University” under schools attended, where you recorded your undergraduate degree and major, and for which you should make a transcript request for your Harvard College transcript; your HSS Study Abroad summer course/s appear on this transcript).

Note that courses taken in the summer are entered as part of the upcoming academic year (e.g., a course taken in the summer of 2016 should be entered as part of the 2016-2017 academic year, along with the year in school status (e.g., SO, JR, or SR).

For all Study Abroad-related questions about course work and institutions attended: See the “Foreign Coursework” and other relevant sections of the 2018 AMCAS Instruction Manual. If your question is not answered by these instructions, please contact the AMCAS Help Line at 202.828.0600.

Q: I took organic chemistry, CHEM S-20, in the Harvard Summer School. / Q: I took an intensive semester-long language course (e.g., French Bab), for which I received a full year’s worth of Harvard credit (8 credits). How do I indicate that these courses were equivalent to a full year’s worth of credits? How do I make sure that the full weight of these grades is entered into my GPA calculation?

A: Your transcript will indicate the amount of credit you received. But do make sure that you double check that these courses were coded and calculated correctly when your verified AMCAS is returned to you. Do not code these courses as “Full Year” courses. For all summer courses, assign the upcoming year’s status (e.g., courses between FR & SO year will be listed as SO status). For an intensive term-long 8-credit course, assign the term’s status (e.g., for junior year spring, JR/ 2016/ S2).

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