Prerequisite Courses for the Top 50 Medical Schools

Prerequisite Courses for the Top 50 Medical Schools

The grueling medical school admissions process demands years of dedication. As you strategize how to spend your time before medical school, there are many experiences you’ll want to get under your belt: research, patient interaction, volunteer hours, and more. But that’s just your work outside of the classroom! Let’s not forget about the prerequisite courses for medical school.

All medical schools have their own set prerequisite courses to ensure that you’ll arrive ready with the necessary background for their program. In order to get your foot in the door at medical schools, you need to maintain a strong GPA in these rigorous classes while juggling everything else. Prerequisites typically range from Biology to English, often including notoriously difficult courses (such as organic chemistry). These challenging classes are meant to “weed out” applicants who can’t handle the pre-med heat.

Surviving all of these courses throughout your undergraduate career is an accomplishment in itself! But covering your bases with the prerequisite courses for medical school requires advanced planning. Before you hit submit on your AMCAS, double check that you’ve truly done all of the prerequisite courses for medical school. At top medical schools, your application will go through a pre-screening process to verify that you’ve done the necessary prerequisite courses before even reading your application.

Don’t just assume that you’ve passed enough science courses, take the time to check! Requirements do vary from school to school, so here’s a chart of the prerequisite courses at the top 50 medical schools.

 

School Biology Chemistry Physics Math Behavioral/Social Sciences Writing
Harvard University Biology: 1 year with laboratory work. Chemistry: 2 years with laboratory work, including inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry. Physics: 1 year (laboratory work is recommended). Math: 1 year, including 1 semester each of calculus and statistics (preferably biostatistics). Writing: 1 year.
Johns Hopkins University Biology: 1 year (8 semester hours) with laboratory work. Recommended: course devoted to principles of genetics, mammalian or molecular biology coursework. General chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 1 semester with laboratory work. Biochemistry: 3 or 4 semester hours are required. General physics: 1 year with laboratory work. Calculus and/or statistics: 1 year. Humanities and behavioral science: a minimum of 24 semester hours. Writing-intensives: 2 courses. These courses may be counted as part of the 24-semester hour requirement for the humanities and social sciences.
Stanford University Stanford Medicine does not have specific prerequisites, but guides applicants to read the recommendations from the following: Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians 2009 Report of the AAMC-HHMI Committee and the Behavioral and Social Sciences Foundations for Future Physicians 2011 Report of the AAMC Behavioral and Social Sciences Expert Panel.
New York University (Langone) NYU does not have perquisite coursework, but has proficiencies that they recommend.
UCSF General biology: 1 year with laboratory work; upper-level coursework is recommended. Biochemistry: at least 1 course. General chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: minimum of 2 quarters. Physics: 1 year with laboratory work.
Mayo Clinic School of Medicine Biology and/or zoology: 1 year with laboratory work. Inorganic chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Physics: 1 year with laboratory work.
University of Pennsylvania (Perelman) University of Pennsylvania (Perelman) has no specific prerequisite courses, but has admissions competencies that they recommend.
University of California—Los Angeles (Geffen) Biology: 1 year. Chemistry: 2 years of coursework including: quantitative analysis and both organic and inorganic chemistry. Physics: 1 year. Statistics and calculus: 1 year. English: 1 year. Humanities and Spanish: coursework is highly recommended.
Washington University in St. Louis Biology: 1 year. Chemistry: 1 year. Physics: 1 year. Calculus: 1 year.
Duke University Biology: 2 courses, both with 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours each. Microbiology: 3 semester hours or 4 quarter hours. Chemistry: 2 courses with laboratory work (4 semester or 5 quarter hours each). Statistics: 2 semester hours or 3 quarter hours.
Columbia University Biology: 1 year with laboratory work. Chemistry: 2 years with laboratory work, one of which must be organic chemistry. Physics: 1 year with laboratory work. English: 1 year.
University of Washington Chemistry and biology: 6 semesters or 9 quarters total. Biochemistry: coursework is strongly recommended. Chemistry and biology: 6 semesters or 9 quarters total. Biochemistry: coursework is strongly recommended. Physics: 2 semesters or 3 quarters; OR 1 semester or 2 quarters of physics with 1 semester or 2 quarters of calculus or linear algebra. Calculus or linear algebra: 1 semester or 2 quarters. Social sciences or humanities: 4 semesters or 6 quarters.
Yale University General biology or zoology: 2 semesters. General chemistry: 2 semesters. Organic chemistry: 1 semester. Biochemistry: 1 semester (laboratory work recommended). General physics: 2 semesters.
University of Pittsburgh Biology: 1 year with laboratory work (excluding Botany or Ecology). General/Inorganic chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Physics: 1 year with laboratory work. Statistics course: 1/2 year (preferably biostatistics). Intensive writing course: 1 year.
University of Michigan—Ann Arbor The University of Michigan Medical School has no specific prerequisite courses, but has admissions competencies that they recommend.
Baylor College of Medicine Advanced biology: 3-4 semester hours, laboratory work not required. Highly recommended coursework: genetics and cell/molecular biology. Organic chemistry: 2 semesters; 6-8 semester hours, laboratory work not required.
Biochemistry: 3-4 semester hours, laboratory work not required.
Math: 3-4 semester hours, biostatistics is preferred. Humanities-Social/Behavioral Sciences: 12 semester hours. Expository Writing: 3-4 semester hours.
Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt does not have prerequisite coursework, but has admissions proficiencies that they recommend.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Biology: 1 year. General chemistry: 1 year. Organic chemistry: 1 year OR 1 semester of organic chemistry and 1 semester of biochemistry. Physics: 1 year. Math: 1 year; 1 semester of statistics is preferred. Writing intensive coursework: 1 year.
University of Chicago (Pritzker) The Pritzker School of Medicine has no specific prerequisite courses, but recommends mastery in specific domains.
Northwestern University (Feinberg) Biology: 2 semesters of lecture and laboratory work. Biochemistry: coursework is highly recommended. Inorganic chemistry: 2 semesters of lecture and laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 2 semesters of lecture and laboratory work. Physics: 2 semesters of lecture and laboratory work. Statistics: coursework is highly recommended. English composition: coursework is highly recommended.
Cornell University (Weill) Biology: 2 semesters of introductory courses with laboratory work. Chemistry: 2 semesters of introductory courses with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 2 semesters is recommended. Will accept 1 semester of organic chemistry with laboratory, and 1 semester of upper-level biology or chemistry coursework. Physics: 2 semesters of introductory courses with laboratory work. Calculus and statistics: coursework is recommended. Humanities or social sciences: 1 semester. English-language literature: 1 semester.
University of California—San Diego Biology: 1 academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters). General chemistry: 1 academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters). Biochemistry: 1 term (1 semester or 1 quarter). Organic chemistry: 1 academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters). Physics: 1 academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters). Calculus or statistics: 1 academic year (2 semesters or 3 quarters).
Emory University Biology: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. General or inorganic chemistry: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Physical sciences: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Humanities and Social and/or Behavioral Sciences: 18 semester hours. English: 6 semester hours.
University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill General biology (Biology I and Biology II): 8 semester hours, at least one course with laboratory work. Strongly recommended: molecular biology, microbiology, physiology or genetics. General chemistry: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Biochemistry: strongly recommended. General physics (Gen Physics I and Gen Physics II): 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Behavioral or Social Sciences: 3 semester hours. English: Satisfy your undergraduate institution’s requirement for English and that will satisfy this requirement.
Case Western Reserve University Biochemistry (must include metabolism): 1 quarter, laboratory work not required. Recommended coursework: cellular biology, genetics, and biochemistry. General/inorganic chemistry: 2 semesters/3 quarters with 2 semesters of laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 1 semester with 1 semester of laboratory work. Physics: coursework is recommended. Biostatistics: coursework is recommended. Social and Behavioral Sciences: coursework is recommended. Writing/English: 1 semester.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Biology: 2 years of courses for science majors. 1 year must include laboratory work. If the applicant has 2 semesters of biochemistry, one of those semesters can help fulfill this requirement. General (Inorganic) chemistry: 1/2 year for science majors, including corresponding laboratory work.
Organic Chemistry: 1 year for science majors, including corresponding laboratory work
Biochemistry: 1/2 year.
Physics: 1 year for science majors, including corresponding laboratory work. Calculus or Statistics: 1/2 year. English: 1 year.
University of Virginia The University of Virginia has no specific prerequisite courses, but it is recommended that applicants have coursework in Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Human Behavior and Statistics.
University of Wisconsin—Madison Biology: 2 semesters, including laboratory work. General chemistry: 2 semesters with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 1 semester. Biochemistry: 1 semester. Physics: 2 semesters with laboratory work. Statistics: 1 course. Humanities or social sciences course with intensive writing requirement: 1 semester.
Boston University Biological sciences: 1 year with laboratory work. Chemistry sequences: Applicants may meet this chemistry requirement in multiple ways. Physics: 1 year Humanities: 1 year. English Composition or Literature: 1 year.
Oregon Health and Science University General biology: 1 year, including 1 genetics course. Laboratory work in these courses is recommended.
Anatomy coursework is strongly recommended.
General chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry: 1 course for each. Laboratory work in these courses is recommended. General physics: 1 year, laboratory work is recommended. Mathematics (not including statistics): 1 course. Statistics: 1 course is strongly recommended. Humanities and/or Social Sciences: 2 years of coursework, including 1 course in English composition.
University of Maryland Biological sciences: 8 hours with laboratory work. Inorganic chemistry: 8 hours with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 8 hours with laboratory work. Physics: 8 hours with laboratory work. English: 6 hours.
Brown University (Alpert) Biology: 2 courses with a grade of a B or higher; laboratory work is highly recommended. General (Inorganic) chemistry: 2 courses. Organic chemistry: 1 course. Biochemistry: 1 course. Physics: 2 courses. Calculus or statistics: 1 course; biostatistics is recommended.
Ohio State University Biology: 1 year. General chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Biochemistry: 1 course. Organic chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Physics: 1 year with laboratory work. Social Sciences: coursework is recommended. Writing/Speech: coursework is recommended.
University of Alabama—Birmingham General biology: 8 semester hours. Chemistry:
biochemistry coursework or 8 semester hours of organic chemistry with laboratory work.
General physics: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Mathematics: 6 semester hours; biostatistics is expected. Behavioral and Social Sciences: coursework is recommended. English: 6 semester hours.
University of Colorado Biology: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. General chemistry: 8 semester hours with laboratory work.
Organic chemistry: 8 semester hours with laboratory work.
General physics: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Mathematics: 6 semester hours. English literature/composition: 6 semester hours.
University of Iowa (Carver) Biology: 2 introductory courses with laboratory work, as well as 1 advanced course. Chemistry: 4 semesters of introductory courses, including general and organic chemistry with laboratory work. A biochemistry course may be used in exchange for 1 semester of organic chemistry. Physics: 1 year of introductory courses with laboratory work. Mathematics: 1 advanced level course or 1 statistics course. Behavioral and Social Sciences: 4 courses. English: 2 courses.
University of Rochester Biology: 1 year with laboratory work (excluding biochemistry or botany). Chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work – either 1 year of organic chemistry, or 1 semester of organic chemistry and 1 semester of biochemistry. Physics: 1 year with laboratory work. Humanities and/or Social or Behavioral Science courses: 12 – 16 credit hours. Expository writing: 1 year.
University of Southern California (Keck) The USC Keck School of Medicine has no specific prerequisite coursework.
University of California—Davis Biological sciences: 1 year. General and organic chemistry: 2 years. Physics: 1 year.
Yeshiva University (Einstein) Yeshevia University (Einstein) has no specific prerequisite courses, but has admissions competencies that they recommend.
University of Florida Biology: 2 semesters with laboratory work. General chemistry: 2 semesters with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 1 semester with laboratory work.
Biochemistry: 1 semester.
Physics: 2 semesters with laboratory work. Calculus and statistics: coursework is strongly recommended.
University of Hawaii – Manoa (Burns) Biology: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Cell and molecular biology: 3 semester hours. General chemistry: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 8 semester hours with laboratory work. Biochemistry: 3 semester hours. General physics: 8 semester hours with laboratory work.
University of Utah Biology: 4 semester credits with laboratory work. Microbiology: coursework is strongly recommended. Chemistry: 8 semester credits with laboratory work. Statistics: coursework is recommended. Writing: coursework is recommended.
Dartmouth College (Geisel) General biology: 1 year. Chemistry: 2 years, including 1 semester of organic chemistry and 1 semester of biochemistry. General physics: 1 year. Mathematics: 1/2 year.
University of Cincinnati Biology: 1 year. General and organic chemistry: 1 year. Physics: 1 year. Mathematics: 1 year. Behavioral and Social Sciences: coursework is highly recommended.
Georgetown University General biology: 1 year with laboratory work. General chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Biochemistry (without lab) may be used in exchange for the second semester of organic chemistry. Physics: 1 year with laboratory work. Mathematics: 1 semester.
University of California—Irvine Biology: 1.5 years, including 1 upper-division biology course. Chemistry: 2 years, including general/inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. Physics: 1 Year. Biostatistics and calculus: coursework is recommended. Psychology: coursework is recommended. English composition: coursework is recommended.
University of Massachusetts – Worcester General biology or zoology: 1 year with laboratory work. General chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 1 year with laboratory work. Biochemistry: 1 semester recommended. General physics: 1 year with laboratory work Calculus or statistics: 1 semester. Sociology or psychology: 1-2 semesters recommended. English: 1 year.
University of Minnesota Biology: 1 semester with laboratory work. General or organic chemistry: 1 semester. 4 additional science courses, 2 should be upper-level.
Indiana University—Indianapolis Biology: 1 year, minimum of 2-hour lab. General and organic chemistry: 1 year, minimum of 2-hour lab. Biochemistry: 1 semester. Physics: 1 year, minimum of 2-hour lab. Social Sciences: 1 course. Behavioral Sciences: 1 course.
University of Miami (Miller) Biology: 2 semesters with laboratory work. Chemistry: 2 semesters with laboratory work. Organic chemistry: 2 semesters with laboratory work. Biochemistry: 1 semester. Physics: 2 semesters with laboratory work. Behavioral Sciences: 2 semesters. English: 2 semesters.

Checking off these prerequisite courses for medical school is huge! But the three main phases of the medical school application process lie ahead. Buckle down and start preparing your application!

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