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Pre-Med Advising Program

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. Use the resources below as a guide to help you think about what courses would be best for you to take and work with a premedical advisor about to answer any questions about course choices.

Pre Med Advising

Before You Apply

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.  

MCAT-Related Courses
The MCAT, described in detail on the AAMC website, has four sections:
  1. a section that covers biology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry;
  2. a section that covers general chemistry and physics;
  3. a section that covers the behavioral sciences; and
  4. a critical reading section.
The following set of courses covers the content required for the MCAT. Linked lecture and lab courses are designated as lecture/lab: 
  • BIOL 203/BIOL 203L and BIOL 204/BIOL 204L
  • 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 W&M 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 and the AACOM Osteopathic Medical College Information Book (CIB) (available at 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 for a grade (no pass/fail or audits).

Additional Campus Resources

The Office of Career Development and Professional Engagement can help you find research, shadowing, and internship opportunities.

Premedical Advising

You should schedule an appointment with a premedical advisor sometime during your first year at W&M. You should also continue to meet regularly with them in subsequent years.

If you are interested in continuing on to dentist, veterinary, or pharmacy school, contact [[btsher, Prof. Beverly Sher, Health Careers Advisor]]. There are handouts available on the Health Professions Advising webpage.

Contacts for More Information About Pre-Medical Advising
[[btsher, Beverly Sher, Ph.D.]] [[sdhinton,Shantá D. Hinton, Ph.D.]] [[dyoung01,Doug Young, Ph.D.]]
Senior Lecturer, Chemistry
Health Professions Advisor
ISC-3, Room 2283
Professor, Biology
Pre-Med Advisor
ISC, Room 2285
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Pre-Med Advisor
ISC, Room 2037


Health Professions Advising Listserv