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Preparing for Admission to Medical School

Admission to medical school requires course work aimed at preparation for the MCAT and at fulfilling the requirements for admission to U.S. medical schools. The courses that are highly recommended for preparation for the Medical College Admissions Test (the MCAT) are:

Biological Sciences: Principles of Biology BIOL110 and BIOL111; recommended:  upper level courses such as Human Physiology BIOL225, Microbiology BIOL251, Basic Genetics BIOL270, Cellular Biology BIOL322, Molecular Genetics BIOL360.

Chemistry: CHEM101 and 102; Organic Chemistry CHEM 201 and 202 (4 semesters).

Biochemistry: CHEM330

Physics: Principles of Physics PHYS 151 and 152 (2 semesters)

English or expository writing: 2 semesters. This requirement can often be fulfilled by Written Communication (WC) courses that emphasize composition and literature.

Mathematics: an advanced college mathematics course: MATH 130/131, 151

Statistics course: PSYC215, SOC210 (both have prerequisites), BIOL135.

Psychology: PSYC101

Sociology: SOC101

Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences: at least 4 courses, can include above listed psychology and sociology courses in addition to courses that encourage a greater appreciation for diversity and cultural competency (Simpson’s Engaged Citizenship Curriculum components such as DP, EV, GP, HP, AR, CE and IC; curriculum).

Take all prerequisite courses for a grade. You do not have to take all prerequisite courses at Simpson. Non-Simpson courses, however, must be taken at an accredited institution for a grade and you will later need to provide a transcript when you apply. These courses do not need to be transferred to Simpson.

Note: The courses listed above satisfy most of the admissions requirements at U.S. Medical Schools.  However, each school may not require all of these and schools may require additional courses. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the applicant to know the exact requirements and deadlines for each school to which they apply. It is to your advantage to major in a specific discipline. Majoring in one of the natural sciences is not necessary since the medical schools recognize the value of a diverse, broadly educated student body. If you choose not to major in one of the natural sciences, you may wish to include one or two additional science electives in your program of study if your schedule permits.

The MCAT is based on the biology, chemistry, physics courses psychology and sociology listed above. Consequently, you will probably be best prepared for the MCAT shortly after you have completed the course work. Work with your advisor on a 4 year plan that includes a timeline for completion of courses that cover content tested on MCAT as well as significant time to formally prepare for (https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/taking-mcat-exam/prepare-mcat-exam/ ) and take MCAT exam. The MCAT is computer-based and is administered approximately 20 times per year. Results of the MCAT are not available until approximately 30 days after it is taken. One schedule is to plan to take the MCAT during the spring term of the junior year, planning to enter medical school in the fall following graduation. However, it is perfectly acceptable, as far as the medical schools are concerned, to apply for admission for later years and therefore take the MCAT spring term of the senior year or later. This may permit you to arrange your courses in a more logical manner if you are not a science major, to take advantage of off-campus programs, or to take part in other uniquely undergraduate opportunities.

When you apply to medical schools, your GPA in the science and mathematics courses will be computed separately from your overall GPA.  It is therefore important to produce excellent work in each course taken.

For further information consult the book entitled MEDICAL SCHOOL ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS (commonly referred to as “The MSAR”) for purchase online from the AAMC at https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/requirements/msar/

Course Preparation for Admission to Other Pre Health Professions

Careers in Dentistry, Physician Assistant, Optometry, Pharmacy, Public Health, Podiatry, Physical Therapy, Athletic Training, Occupational Therapy, Veterinary and Chiropractic Medicine all require advanced degrees. Each of these programs have unique admission requirements and/or entrance exams (GRE, OAT, DAT, PCAT etc.). Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the applicant to know the exact requirements and deadlines for each school to which they apply.