Medical School Requirements
Many medical schools will indicate a specific list of courses a student must complete before matriculating with annotations such as recommended or required. Other medical schools have distanced themselves from a prescribed list of prerequisites instead favoring a more inclusive common set of competencies that emphasize the holistic review of applicants. University of Michigan is a great example of this approach. You will need to balance both types of medical school requirements and carve your own path of prerequisites for medical school taking into account both approaches.
You may want to read a few medical school websites to see the variety of requirements (science and non-science) and see what language they use to describe those requirements (recommended, required, strongly suggested). Select a variety of state and private schools to research. Start by making a spreadsheet of prerequisites, recommended coursework and noteworthy qualities you find out about each medical school you research. This information will help shape your eventual list of medical schools but it will also help you learn about summer research and clinical opportunities that might interest you along the way. The AAMC has a comprehensive list of allopathic medical schools with links to their admissions pages to aid in your research.
So what do I take? Since you need to be prepared to take the MCATs plus satisfy 18+/- different school requirements, this list of prerequisites will cover most of what you need. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to be sure that you have met all applicable admission requirements taking into account AP and IB restrictions.
Basic Medical School Prerequisites
- 2 YEARS OF CHEMISTRY (INORGANIC AND ORGANIC CHEMISTRY) PLUS LABS
- ONE YEAR OF BIOLOGY PLUS LABS
- ONE YEAR OF PHYSICS PLUS LABS
- ONE COURSE IN BIOCHEMISTRY (no lab)
- 1-2 COURSES IN MATHEMATICS (CALCULUS OR STATISTICS)
- 2 ENGLISH/WRITING COURSES
Strongly Suggested Courses
- 1-2 ADDITIONAL UPPER LEVEL BIOLOGY CLASSES to solidify your basic biology foundation (not required but suggested)
- INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY and/or INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY
- Students should STRONGLY CONSIDER taking INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY and INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY (both reflected in the PSYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL, AND BIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF BEHAVIOR section of the MCAT.
- 1-2 Humanities classes such as Ethics, Medical Ethics, Public Health or Latin.
Math requirements vary widely among medical schools. You are going to get mixed answers when you ask advisors if you need math for medical school. Some are quick to say, you don't need it, but check again. It is true that only 40% of the allopathic medical schools have a "formal math requirement", but a knowledge of mathematical principles should be understood by all. Many will accept AP or IB, but if you are applying to California, be aware that not all California state medical schools accept them. These are matriculation requirements not application requirements so you can take math senior year and still be fine. Bryn Mawr maintains a list of math requirements by medical school as stated in the MSAR, but follow up with your own research on each medical school website since things can change. Plus other engineering or related classes might also fulfill this requirement so dig a bit deeper to find the answer.
Visit the MAJOR page for more specifics.