SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. -- Clark's Lucas Cloppse was recently accepted into a prestigious Joint Bachelor’s/M.D. program at Seton Hall University.

“I’m very excited, because I am pretty much guaranteed medical school and it will take me less time,'' said Cloppse, who shadowed a doctor last year at Rahway Hospital. "This program would take me seven years instead of eight years.''

An innovative joint-degree offering, the Joint Bachelor’s/M.D. program allows students to transition seamlessly from a bachelor’s degree in any major at Seton Hall University to the M.D. program at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University.

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During the first four years, a student can complete a bachelor’s degree at Seton Hall in any subject of their choosing, as long as they take all of the prerequisite courses required for the School of Medicine.  Once a student completes their bachelor’s degree, they will continue to the next phase of the program. The School of Medicine has designed an innovative curriculum that may allow students to complete an M.D. in three years.

After this point, students may begin residency throughout the Hackensack Meridian Health system. Residency spots in the Hackensack Meridian system are guaranteed for all graduates of the School of Medicine (subject to specializations offered by the system). Alternatively, at the end of the three years, many students may choose to pursue other options such as intensive research, a global health immersion, an intensive community health immersion, an intensive clinical experience or the pursuit of a joint degree, in areas ranging from Business to Engineering.

This joint-degree offering with the School of Medicine is exclusive to Seton Hall University. If a student meets all of the outlined requirements, you are guaranteed an interview with the School of Medicine during your fourth year of undergraduate study. This is a tremendous advantage as only about 10 percent of the applicants to the School of Medicine will be called in for an interview.

Cloppse is strongly considering becoming a heart surgeon.  “I like the idea of performing surgery and helping someone,’’ said Cloppse, who is leaning toward becoming a heart surgeon.

Cloppse said he feels Union Catholic High School has prepared him well for his future.

“I took AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Physics here, so I already have such a good understanding of what college classes will be like,’’ said Cloppse.