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Medical School Admission: Entrance Requirements for Medical School

Almost all medical schools require you to have a four year degree before applying. However, some schools offer premed program which provides students the opportunity to prepare for medical school without gaining a four year degree. This program often takes three year to complete.

Nowadays, medical schools look for individuals from diverse educational backgrounds. Therefore, you should take a breadth of courses from social science and humanities to natural science. Remember that undergraduate may be your last chance to touch on social science and humanities courses.

Although the choice of your major doesn't affect your acceptance at all, you must complete the following basic natural science courses in order to show your ability to handle heavy science course-load in medical school.

This table is based on statistic from AAMC(96-97):

Required Subjects  
Number of schools (over 110 schools) requiring these subjects
Physics with lab  
107
Inorganic Chemistry with lab  
105
Organic Chemistry with lab  
104
English (College composition)  
74
Biology or Zoology  
55
General Biology  
53
College Calculus (1 year)  
22
College mathematics  
21
Behavioral and/or social sciences  
16
Humanities  
15

Medical School Admissions Requirements

The following table provides the basic list of courses that are required by all medical schools in the United States. There are equivalent courses in all community colleges as well as four-year schools. If you have any questions regarding courses at other institutions, please consult with the pre-medical adviser.

Required Courses

General Chemistry (with lab)

Chemistry 1A-B-C (or 2A-B-C) plus 1AL-BL-CL

Organic Chemistry (with lab)

Chemistry 107A-B (plus either Chemistry 108 or MCDB 110)

or

Chemistry 130A-B-C

plus

Organic Lab: Chemistry 6A-B

General Physics (with lab)

Physics 6A-B-C plus 6AL-BL-CL

(calculus-based physics can be substituted as appropriate)

Biology (with lab)**

MCDB 5A-MCDB/EEMBB-EEMBC

plus the 5 series laboratories

**(some medical schools require as much as one year of additional biology)

Mathematics

One year, which should include introductory calculus

Math 3A-B-C or

Math 34A-B plus P/Stat 5A (or other variants)

English

Most schools require one year, which may include any or all of our

Writing 1-2-50 sequence (Writing 109 can be substituted for 3rd quarter). You might also consider an additional writing or literature course.

In addition to the above requirements, many former students comment that the following courses are particularly valuable:

Biochemistry (MCDB 108A-B-C or Chem 142 A-B-C)

Genetics (MCDB 101A-B)

Psychology courses

Courses in ethics (e.g. Philosophy 7, Biomedical Ethics)

Developmental Biology (MCDB 112)

Clinical Internships (MCDB 182 or MCDB 184)

The Early Decision Program

About half of the medical colleges in the United States participate in the Early Decision Program. Under this plan you choose one school and one school only to which you wish to apply. You must have a complete application including official transcripts on file with AMCAS no later than August 1. There is no two week grace period for tardy transcripts. You must take the MCAT test the spring prior to your application or earlier. You must agree to apply to no other medical school until you have heard from your chosen school, and if you are accepted, you are legally obligated to attend that school. The school agrees to notify you one way or the other by October 1.

If your chosen school rejects you, you may then apply to as many other schools as you wish. You will also be automatically reconsidered for acceptance under the regular decision program at the original school. The fact that you were rejected under the Early Decision Program in no way prejudices your chances for admission later.

Schools generally select ten to twenty percent of their total class under the Early Decision Program, and they naturally aim to admit the most outstanding students. If either your GPA or your MCAT scores are below par, you probably don't have a good chance at early admission. On the other hand, provided you are sure what your first choice medical school is, you don't have much to lose. If you are accepted, you will save considerable time and money. You can relax and enjoy your last year of college, secure in the knowledge that you are accepted. If you are rejected, you are no worse off than if you hadn't tried, and you may be somewhat the wiser for your experience during the first interview. If, however, there is any doubt in your mind as to what medical school you want most to attend, you should not commit yourself to the Early Decision Program.

You should be aware that many state-supported medical schools will consider non-state residents only under the Early Decision Program. If, despite the odds, you have your heart set on a state school other than your own, you should definitely plan to apply early.


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