Before you apply to medical school, you need to complete the coursework required for success on the MCAT. By the time you enter medical school, you should also demonstrate mastery of the competencies required of incoming medical students through clinical and other extracurricular experience. Handouts that detail the premed courses and the competencies are available here.
There are two categories of courses you should take before applying to medical school: those that cover the material on the MCAT, and those that fulfill the prerequisites for medical school entry. Here's an overview of the courses.
The MCAT, described in detail on the AAMC website, aamc.org , has four sections:
- a section that covers biology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry;
- a section that covers general chemistry and physics;
- a section that covers the behavioral sciences; and
- a critical reading section.
- BIOL 220/BIOL 221 and BIOL 225/BIOL 226
- CHEM 103/CHEM 103L and CHEM 208/254
- CHEM 206 /206L and either CHEM 209/253 or CHEM 207/CHEM 253
- CHEM 314 or the crosslisted BIOL 314
- 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)
- SOCL 250: Principles of Sociology or SOCL 362: Medical Sociology or SOCL 310: Wealth, Power and Inequality
- PSYC 202
You should also have a good familiarity with statistics as preparation for the MCAT. Helpful statistics courses at the College include, but are not limited to, MATH 106, PSYC 301, KINE 394, and Biostatistics (BIOL 327).
Please see the premedical advisor’s website for more details, including a handout on course selection for premedical students. You should complete all of the MCAT-related courses before taking the exam.
If you plan to go directly from college to medical school, without taking a gap year, you should complete the courses required for the MCAT by the end of junior year, and take the MCAT no later than June following your Junior year.
Medical School Prerequisite Courses:
Many medical schools specify certain courses that you must complete before starting at that school. Different medical schools have different requirements. You should consult the current versions of the AAMC’s Medical School Admission Requirements (the MSAR) (available at aamc.org) and the AACOM Osteopathic Medical College Information Book (CIB) (available at aacom.org) for specifics.
Many medical schools require
- two semesters of introductory biology with lab,
- two semesters of general chemistry with lab,
- two semesters of organic chemistry with lab,
- a semester of biochemistry, and
- two semesters of general physics with lab.
Other common requirements include two semesters of English and one or more semesters of mathematics (calculus, statistics.)
If you intend to apply to the Virginia medical schools, you should take all of the biology, chemistry, and physics courses required for the MCAT, along with
- BIOL 310: Molecular Cell Biology,
- two semesters of English (COLL 150 courses count),
- a semester of statistics, and
- at least one semester of calculus (some medical schools suggest two)
Note that many medical schools will not accept grades lower than a C in the prerequisite courses. You must take all medical school prerequisite courses must for a grade (no pass/fail or audits).
The Undergraduate Major
Premedical students may choose any undergraduate major. However, medicine is a science-based discipline. Prospective medical students must do well in the required science courses. If you choose a major outside the sciences, you should take additional upper-division science courses, particularly in the life sciences. Please consult the premedical advisor about appropriate course choices.
You should schedule an appointment with the premedical advisor sometime during your first year at W&M. You should also continue to meet regularly with her in subsequent years.
Additional Campus Resources
The Cohen Career Center can help you find research, shadowing, and internship opportunities. This handout describes the many services offered to pre-health students by the Cohen Career Center.
For more information, contact
[[btsher, Beverly Sher, Ph.D.]]
Senior Lecturer, Department of Biology
Health Professions Advisor
ISC-3, Room 2283
Health Professions Advising Listserv: firstname.lastname@example.org