The following information is prepared primarily as a planning guide for the first year premedical student. Premedical students must consider two categories of courses, those required for medical school entry and those that cover the material for the MCAT.
Medical School Prerequisite Courses:
Most medical schools specify prerequisite courses that students must complete before starting medical school, and even the medical schools that have no formal prerequisites often recommend particular undergraduate courses to their applicants. Note that many medical schools are currently reconsidering their prerequisite courses, and that the 2016 application cycle, which begins in May 2015, may see particularly large changes. For this reason, students should pay close attention to the websites of the medical schools that interest them. The AAMC’s publication, “Medical School Admissions Requirements” (MSAR) is a particular useful guide to these requirements. Briefly, in order to be prepared to apply to the Virginia medical schools, a William & Mary student should plan to take all of the science courses needed for the 2015 MCAT plus two semesters of calculus, two semesters of English, and taking BIOL 310: Molecular Cell Biology is strongly recommended.
PLEASE NOTE: At many medical schools all courses taken to satisfy admissions prerequisites must be passed with a grade of C or better. Pass/fail grades cannot be used.
MCAT related Courses at William & Mary:
Applicants to medical school must take the MCAT, the nationally administered admissions test. This is normally done at the end of the third academic year, when students usually begin the medical school application process. Students should complete all of the courses that cover the material on the MCAT before taking the exam.
The William & Mary courses that cover the science and social science concepts to be tested on the new version of the MCAT are the following, in which linked lecture and lab courses are designated as lecture/lab:
Introductory biology: BIOL 220/BIOL 221 and BIOL 225/BIOL 226; BIOL 302 covers the physiology concepts that will be tested on the new exam; so does KINE 304.
General chemistry: CHEM 103/CHEM 103L and either CHEM 308/354 or CHEM 305/356
Organic chemistry: CHEM 206/206L and either CHEM 209/353 or CHEM 307/353
Biochemistry: CHEM 414 (this can also be taken as the cross-listed BIOL 414)
Introductory physics: PHYS 101/101L and 102/102L or PHYS 107/107L and 108/108L (Note that Chemistry and Physics majors must take Physics 101/101L and 102/102L)
Introductory sociology: SOCL 250 or SOCL 362
Introductory social psychology: PSYC 202
Statistics: according to the AAMC, the statistics content that is usually covered in introductory biology, chemistry and physics courses will be tested by the new MCAT. Students who want to be certain that their statistics background is strong should take a statistics course before taking the exam. Either MATH 106, PSYC 301, KINE 394, or BIOL 425 would be fine.
For further details see the Premedical Advisor’s Handouts
The Undergraduate Major:
Feel free to develop any major area of interest, while recognizing that medical schools are most concerned with the quality of work accomplished. All premedical students must take the courses that are required by the individual medical schools to which they will apply, and in addition, all premedical students must master the material that is tested on the MCAT. However, medicine is taught as a scientific discipline, and prospective medical students must prove that they have ability in science, especially the life sciences. Therefore, students who major in a discipline outside of the sciences are encouraged to take additional upper-division science courses (please consult the premed advisor, [[btsher, Dr. Beverly Sher]] about appropriate course choices).
You are urged to schedule an appointment with the undersigned sometime during your first semester. This meeting will allow you and your premed advisor to review your career goals and academic interests. You should also plan to visit the Career Services Library (Sherman & Gloria H. Cohen Career Center) to review the extensive career information found there, including information on summer internships and Williamsburg area medical externships.
[[btsher, Dr. Beverly Sher]]
Health Professions Advisor
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology
Handouts for pre-medical students are available here.