Undergraduate Courses that Prepare You for Medical School

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Perhaps it goes without saying that getting into medical school is challenging. With about 90,000 applicants each year and an acceptance rate of 44%, you cannot afford to slack on any entry requirements. It becomes even more challenging gaining admission to medical school when you are applying to the top 100 schools in the U.S., whose acceptance rate is a mere 6.9 percent in 2015. 

One very simple prerequisite for entry to med school is completing all the required courses necessary to apply. These courses are nonnegotiable because they are required by the Association of American Medical Schools (AAMC), the organization that accredits medical schools. Make sure you have all of the following courses completed (or in the process of being completed) when you apply to medical school.

Required Courses

Since the medical field is heavy in sciences that concern the body and its environment, one would be right to assume a full year (two semesters) of biology and physics are needed to meet the AAMC prerequisites for applicants. Some schools may also require a semester of genetics and to ensure the applicant receives a well-rounded education and has the skills necessary to communicate well, a full year of English is also required. 

Additionally, the AAMC requires applicants to complete one year each of organic and inorganic chemistry. These specific fields of study improve applicant's understanding of the fundamentals of science as it relates to the medical field, be it for the chemicals needed in aesthetic treatment or for the chemical components of living matter. 

Although that's all of the required courses specific to applying to medical schools, you also have to abide by your college's curriculum guidelines in order to earn your degree. Be sure to consult your counselor about which courses are required for your degree and how best to integrate the required courses into your schedule. 

Recommended Courses

You should also discuss courses that your counselor recommends that will give you a competitive advantage in your admission to medical school. Although these courses are not required, they could greatly help simplify your graduate-level studies. Taking Calculus—which many schools do require—could, for instance, lend to simplifying later chemistry equations you'll need to use to pass advanced classes. 

Many of the recommended courses also help prepare the potential med school student for being a doctor. Molecular biology, neuroscience, and upper-level psychology are often recommended to help the hopeful doctorate better understand more advanced lessons detailing the body and the brain. Statistics or epidemiology and ethics will help the doctor to understand the variety of patients and potential outcomes he or she may face in his or her career.

These recommended courses illustrate the basic educational themes that med schools look for in applicants: the capacity and interest for understanding science, logical thinking, good communication skills, and high ethical standards.  You don’t need to be a premed major to complete these courses and meet the prerequisites for medical school, but make no mistake that a premed major certainly helps.

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Kuther, Tara, Ph.D. "Undergraduate Courses that Prepare You for Medical School." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/college-classes-required-before-medical-school-1686316. Kuther, Tara, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). Undergraduate Courses that Prepare You for Medical School. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/college-classes-required-before-medical-school-1686316 Kuther, Tara, Ph.D. "Undergraduate Courses that Prepare You for Medical School." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/college-classes-required-before-medical-school-1686316 (accessed March 31, 2023).