Pre-Medical Studies

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Students interested in applying to medical, physician assistant, or dental school sometimes major in biology, chemistry or pre-medical science as undergraduates. It is important to realize, however, that you may major in whatever college subject you wish, so long as you have the necessary minimum requirements for the medical schools in which you are interested.

The necessary minimum requirement for most medical schools is usually: Eight semester hours each in general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Some medical schools require one full year of calculus (Duke for example, and others), and one full year of English. Some schools require two semesters of psychology. Please check for the prerequisite requirements for the medical schools in which you are interested.

In addition: "Applicants are urged not to enroll in undergraduate or graduate courses which are likely to be repeated in the medical school curriculum." (ECU) Human anatomy and physiology (Bio 281, 282) is not recommended since this is a non-majors course (nursing, OT, physical education, etc.)--and the medical schools know it. "[Medical schools] value a pattern of preparation for medicine that shows serious and mature use of the undergraduate years. Course work in the humanities and social sciences as well as advanced work in the sciences and mathematics is preferred." (UNC)  "The student should plan college courses to achieve a broad educational background. Scholarly interest and achievement in both science and the humanities should be demonstrated." (Wake Forest)

Many medical schools have decided that prerequisite course work from community colleges will not be accepted. (Wake Forest)

Each applicant to medical school must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges.


Approximate Admission Timeline

April of Junior year: Take the MCAT
Summer before Senior year:  Decide where to apply by June
June 1:  AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) releases new applications
July to Nov: Medical schools send supplemental applications to qualified applicants
Sept. to Feb: Interviews

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