MEDICAL SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS

If you think you will be applying to medical school, you need to familiarize yourself with the course requirements. Generally, three or more years are needed to complete these required courses as an undergraduate:

  • 1 year of biology with laboratory
  • 1 year of general chemistry with laboratory*
  • 1 year of organic chemistry with laboratory*
  • 1 semester of biochemistry (CHEM 383 or MB&B 228)  
  • 1 year of physics with laboratory
  • 1 year of English
  • 1 year of college math (we recommend one semester of statistics and one of calculus or linear algebra)

*NOTE: Most medical schools are aware that Wesleyan offers two semesters of general chemistry lab, CHEM 152 (.25 credit) and CHEM 257 (.50 credit), and only one semester of organic chemistry lab, CHEM 258 (.50 credit). Together, these three laboratory courses meet the chemistry lab requirements for medical, dental and veterinary schools, optometry, etc. All courses need to be completed with a grade of C or higher. Students should repeat any pre-requisite course with a grade of C- or lower.  

The math requirement varies widely from school to school; many schools require no math at all, while a few require a full year of calculus, and others require statistics. In order to keep all options open, we recommend taking a year of college math -- one semester of calculus and one of statistics. Some schools have other specific requirements, such as biochemistry. The newly revised MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) now includes questions that require a knowledge of biochemistry and statistics, while some school do not specifically require biochemistry, they do highly recommend foundational knowledge in the area of biochemistry.

Check the requirements of every school that interests you. The Association of American Medical College (AAMC)'s Medical School Admissions Requirements is the best online resource to consult.

In scheduling courses, we recommend that first year students take at most two science courses in their first semester. The first year is a transitional year and involves new ways of learning and studying. College-level science courses, especially those with a laboratory, can be unexpectedly time-consuming and demanding, particularly for students who have not had a strong science preparation in high school. Be sure to consult your academic advisor and the health professions advisor if you have questions or concerns and would like to plan a tentative four-year plan.

Besides avoiding overloading on courses and engaging in too many extracurricular activities, health professions students should also avoid dropping below the expected four courses per semester. To be competitive for the health professional school you are considering, applicants should demonstrate an ability to handle a science-intensive curriculum and a love of learning through in-depth study of a particular area or areas of interest.

Creating a tentative four-year plan will allow you to prepare for a semester abroad or for your application to your health professions program after your third year if that is your current goal. Besides the sciences and the required courses for the major the student has chosen, we encourage students to incorporate coursework that will prepare them for the ‘Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior’ section of the MCAT. This would entail courses in Psychology, Sociology, Science in Society, and possibly Anthropology. Take a look at the Health Studies Cluster to examine the number of health related courses offered on campus. Additionally, students will need to complete a year of English for most health professional programs. Medical Schools classify acceptable ENGL courses as those that encompass Composition and Rhetoric, Creative Writing and Literature.

Included here are some sample schedules for different academic plans. Use them as a model and modify them to fit your goals for your four years here at Wesleyan.

Schedule 1 is a sample schedule [PDF] showing the possible positioning of science pre-requisite courses in a four-year plan for a student that is considering studying abroad in their third year and applying to medical school after their THIRD year of college. This schedule would prepare the student for the MCAT for a late spring test date in the third year. Schedule 2 is a sample schedule [PDF] showing the possible positioning of science pre-requisite courses in a four-year plan for a student that is considering applying to medical school after their THIRD year of college. This schedule would prepare the student for the MCAT for a late spring test date in the third year. Schedule 3 is a sample for a student that is considering studying abroad and applying to medical school after their FOURTH year of college [PDF]. This schedule would prepare the student for the MCAT for a late spring test date in their fourth year. Schedule 4 is a sample for a student that is considering applying to medical school after their FOURTH year of college [PDF]. This schedule would prepare the student for the MCAT for a late spring test date in their fourth year. This schedule can also be used by students who plan to pursue two years of growth and professional development (GAP), however, the MCAT test date for these applicants can be delayed until the end of that first summer or to the spring of their first year.

At most medical schools, Advanced Placement or departmental exemption will not excuse you from the requirements. Hence, if you have placed out of the first introductory science course of a two-part series and that department here at Wesleyan has allowed the student to enroll in the part 2 course, the medical school will still expect the student to take at least one higher level course in that particular discipline. AP Calculus is an exception. If you took AP Calculus in high school and scored a 4 or 5 on the AP exam, and then take "Vectors and Matrices," or an even higher level math class, earning a grade of C or better, you may request that the AP credit appear on your Wesleyan transcript. If your AP calculus credits are on your Wesleyan transcript, they will be accepted by the medical schools requiring calculus that accept AP credits towards pre-requisite course work. When starting at Wesleyan having completed AP credits, visit the academic department that matches the AP courses you are hoping to include on your transcript the course. Please see the relevant pages on the Registrar’s website.

Be aware that there are many myths about medical school requirements. If you are unsure, or hear something unusual about a particular school that you are interested in, talk to the Health Professions Advisor or contact the medical school admissions office directly. The Health Professions Advisor is available to assist you in creating a plan by which you may complete the admission requirements.

For those of you who began considering medicine well into or beyond your undergraduate years, there are Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Programs throughout the country. These programs allow you to complete medical school requirements in one or two years of intense study. These required courses may also be taken while enrolled as a non-degree student at most four-year, US institutions that offer them. There are also post-bac programs that prepare post-grads for other health professions such as physician assistant and dental. For preparation for nursing schools, there are accelerated nursing programs that prepare students for the BSN degree or that of nurse practitioner.