2013-02-06

Pre-Medical Course Requirements

Before applying, almost all medical schools require that their applicants complete a pre-medical track at their undergraduate institution. While students can usually major (or concentrate) in any academic field, this is a set of courses (or their equivalents) that need to be taken during your college (as a part of your major or along with it - note that pre-medical track is usually not treated as a major or a concentration) specifically as a pre-requisite for applying to a medical school:

  • 2 semesters of general chemistry + 1 semester of chemistry laboratory
  • 2 semesters of physics + 1 semester of physics laboratory
  • 2 semesters of biology + 1 semester of biology laboratory
  • 2 semesters of organic chemistry + 1 semester of organic chemistry laboratory
  • 1 semester of calculus + 1 semester of statistics (not all medical schools have this requirement, some require up to 1 full year of calculus, though)
  • 1 semester of English
  • increasingly more schools require also at least 1 semester of biochemistry and, as the new MCAT draws nearer, schools start to require also 1 semester of psychology
In order to make sure that you fulfill all the requirements you need, you should check the websites of the respective schools you are planning to apply for.


Specifics for international students
The process above is common for all applicants - what sometimes differs, however, are the requirements for foreign students. In fact, about half of all the medical schools in the US do not consider applications of other than US or Canadian citizens at all (see which medical schools accept international applicants). Most of those, then, require that students either get their undergraduate degree in the United States, or spend at least one year at a US educational institution. It is very rare that a student that has never been schooled in the US (or Canada) would be accepted to an American medical school.

62 comments:

  1. In regards to pre-reqs.

    I would ideally take the pre-reqs during the year prior to matriculation, therefore these courses would not necessarily show up as complete on my application.

    Do you know whether this would impact my application in any way? Would it be better to take these courses the summer prior to/during application?

    Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Bart,

      You actually can apply with some outstanding courses, given that you will take all of them by the time you matriculate - more details in this interesting SDN post:
      http://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/dilemma-advice-needed-for-applying-this-summer.1056761/#post-14963305
      Just to be sure, I recommend you to to contact your pre-med advisor and the specific schools you would like to apply to for more details on this.
      Good luck!

      Delete
    2. can anyone tell me about:-
      1. fees structure for pre-medicine in usa?
      2. how many semesters for pre-medicine?
      3. how many years for pre med?

      Delete
  2. Hey,

    I'm from India and willing to go through Under Graduation courses in USA. I have studied Physics, Chemistry(Organic and Inorganic), Biology, English and Mathematics for two years with lab hours.

    Am I eligible for Pre-Medical there? And if I am can you please help me through my application process.

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Tanya,

      As stated above, most US medical schools require at least one or two years (usually more) of studying in the US (at undergraduate level) before applying. Depending on whether you have already finished your undergraduate education (=bachelor's degree) you could try either applying for an undergraduate college in the US, or a post-baccalaureate program.
      Pre-medical courses are fulfilled during either of these programs.
      If you have more questions, please, contact me through one of the options here: http://premedusa.blogspot.com/p/contact-me.html

      Delete
  3. E.M
    hiii
    im from Ghana and i wont to know if 1 didnt offer science in his or high school but later on wants to offer medicine can that person take a pre-med exams or course before entering into any med skul in US

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      Yes, it should not be a problem that you did not take science classes at high school!

      If you apply for and attend a US undergraduate college right after high school, during that time you would fulfill the pre-medical requirements, and after that you will be eligible to apply for medical schools in the US - their list can be found here: http://premedusa.blogspot.com/2014/06/US-Medical-Schools-for-Internationals-Updated.html

      Delete
  4. Hi!

    I am an undergraduate student in Europe, but want to study medicine in the US. Many of the schools I've been looking at require international students with a Bachelor's degree from a foreign institution to complete at least one year of pre-med course work at a US institution. I was wondering, would attending a US college as an exchange student for a year satisfy this requirement, or would I have to complete all pre-reqs after I get my degree?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!

      I would say that it would need to be the pre-med requirements to be taken at a US college, but I might be wrong. You are right, this is how the requirement is usually phrased, and so maybe even an exchange program would fulfill this - though my guess is that a post-baccalaureate program might be a better bet in your situation. It might also depend on where your current university is located - UK programs are usually preferred over other European ones.

      My best advice for you would be to contact the specific medical schools you are interested in and ask about your specific case. Let us know how it goes, I am curious what their answer is going to be! Thanks!

      Delete
  5. Hi!!
    i was just wondering, when i want to apply for the pre-med and i havent taken any science subjects, but i am willing to take both the SAT1 and SAT2 does that make me eligible for the pre-med courses?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!
      That is fine - you usually don't need to have any background in science in order to apply for US colleges, during which you would fulfill the pre-medical requirements. Good luck!

      Delete
  6. Hi,
    I was just wondering, I have an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from outside the US. Currently I'm doing a 2yr Science associate degree which covers all the prereqs most university need. I'm a permanent resident. Considering this info, do I stand a chance of being accepted to some of the universities that accept international students?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      You are in a somewhat different category - while you would be considered for most US medical schools (unlike international students) as a permanent resident in terms of citizenship, you still need to fulfill the pre-medical requirements and attend a US undergraduate school. I would contact the medical schools you are interested in attending for further information, but this is what I would expect. I hope this makes sense!

      Delete
    2. Hi Marek,
      If I am a Canadian citizen, is my opportunity for residency positions the same as American citizens given that I attend medical school at US? Thanks.

      Delete
    3. Hello,
      Your chances are more or less the same, I would say. The only obstacle is that a residency program would have to sponsor your H1-B visa in order for you to be able to work as a medical resident in the US - which can effectively increase the competition among the international students, as spots like that are somewhat limited.

      Delete
  7. Hello I am from Nigeria and just recently graduated as Physician Assistant from a school in Ghana, what are my chances of getting into med school in USA?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello!
      You would most likely need to fulfill the pre-medical requirements (at least via a post-baccalaureate program, if not a bachelors' degree) and take the MCAT. I would definitely recommend that you contact the schools you are interested in, maybe you could get an exception!
      It is hard to estimate your chances, but if you fulfill the requirements, I do not see why you would not be eligible.

      Delete
  8. Hello! I graduated from high school 2 years ago and I got 86% ( UAE high school ) and I wondering if I have a chance in Pre Midicine school :(

    ReplyDelete
  9. is it compulsory to take pre med courses before getting into a med school? how long are pre med courses? i'm a student from nepal and recently completed my high school.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi, does studying medicine in the USA increase my chances of getting into a medical residency program in the USA? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I (along with many others) truly appreciate what you're doing on here! Thank you.

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  12. Hi,
    I just wanted to know the pre- requisites for getting into a university in the US for a pre-med program/course, after completing which, I would be eligible to enter a medical school.

    ReplyDelete
  13. i am doing master in physiotherapy in UK,i am looking for MD courses like medicine in usa.may i know that is it possible to get admission in USA

    ReplyDelete
  14. i am doing master in physiotherapy in UK,i am looking for MD courses like medicine in usa.may i know that is it possible to get admission in USA

    ReplyDelete
  15. hello,
    I am currently Home schooled and I am taking Anatomy and physiology, English 3, Algebra 2 for my grade 12 and I was wondering if that is enough to apply to college. I already took chemistry,biology and physics in my lower grades. I want to apply to the USA for pre med. I was wondering if you could also give me advice about what to apply for/ declare in college. I want to apply to med school in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi,
    I'm from Dubai and I'm studying IBDP in a British School . I have taken Biology, Chemistry and Maths, all at a higher level. However, I'm not doing Physics (you can only take 2 sciences in IB), although I did do it for my GCSE's. Is it possible for me to get admission in the USA?

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
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  20. i was just wondering, when i want to apply for the pre-med and i havent taken any science subjects, but i am willing to take both the SAT1 and SAT2 does that make me eligible for the pre-med courses?


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    ReplyDelete
  21. can you take some of these requirements over the summer, or do med schools want it to be during a full semester?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hello, i am from India.
    I am about to complete 2nd year MBBS ( Bachelor of medicine and surgery ) in india.I will be recieving green card in a month under F4 Visa. Will i get any credits for my 2 and half years study of MBBS in my 4-year premedicine program in USA? What is best for me, should I complete my MBBS and then apply for USMLE and get residency or shulould i leave MBBS and restart with premedicine in USA?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello, I am from Jamaica.
    this is my last year of high school and I didn't take any science class whatsoever and want to pursue medicine. I am confused as to what to do ant advise?

    ReplyDelete
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  25. Thank you for all this information. I am doing my undergrad in Canada. I have a specific question about the English requirement at most of the US medical schools. What type of English course(s) qualify? Can it be taken outside in the summer at a different university than the one I am doing my bachelor at?

    ReplyDelete
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  30. Hello Mark,

    Your blog is amazing and its very helpful.

    I have graduated with Economics degree with high GPA from SU at upstate and took a whole year at English institution. A total of 5 years have been spent at US education system. My issue is that the only sciences courses I have encountered are Mathematics, Nutrition and intro to public health. My question to you if you have any idea, should I take the listed courses you mentioned in this blog? OR just take the MCAT! And if I had to take the listed courses it will be mostly online since I have already left US. Could you give me your input on this if you have encountered such issue with someone else before.

    Thank you again for the hard work in the blog, it will be my guide throughout my med-school process.

    Regards,
    Najla

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  36. Hello! I'm a student from India currently studying in 12th grade. I have taken physics, chemistry and biology with lab years in 11th & 12th grade, but not maths, I have taken 2 years of psychology instead. I wish to pursue my premedical course from one of the colleges in USA. Am I eligible to apply for any? What will be the criteria?

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