Pre-Health Pre-Medical Coursework
Each medical school will have its own specific set of course prerequisites, which varies to some degree between schools. Thus, it is very important to check with the particular school in which you are interested.
See a summary sheet (pdf) that includes this information and can be easily printed.
Standard Course Requirements
The courses that are generally required for admission into any medical school are listed below with the corresponding classes at Westmont that satisfy each requirement.
General Biology (1 year)
- BIO 5 with BIO 5L (1 semester)
- BIO 6 with BIO 6L (1 semester)
General Chemistry (1 year)
- CHM 5 with CHM 5L OR CHM 5H with CHM 5HL (1 semester)
- CHM 6 with CHM 6L OR CHM 6H with CHM 6HL (1 semester)
Organic Chemistry (1 year)
- CHM 101 with CHM 101L (1 semester)
- CHM 102 with CHM 102L (1 semester)
General Physics (1 year)
- PH 11 OR PH 22 with PH 23 (1 semester)
- PH 13 with PH 14 OR PH 23 with PH 24 (1 semester)
Biochemistry (1 semester)
- BIO or CHM 113 with BIO 113L or CHM 113L (1 semester)
Other Common Requirements
Many medical schools have additional prerequisites, most commonly one year of English (often including composition) and one year of mathematics (which may include calculus, statistics and/or computer science). Some allopathic and all osteopathic medical schools also require several social/behavioral science classes.
The MCAT has sections on social and behavioral science. Therefore you need to take courses in sociology (SOC-001) and psychology (PSY-001).
It is strongly recommend that you take biochemistry. It is frequently recommended by medical schools and is occasionally even required for admission. Also consider taking genetics and physiology. Though many schools do not require these classes, they have been known to help students prepare for the MCAT and for medical school.
Choice of major
While the prerequisite courses can easily lead to a major in biology, chemistry or kinesiology, there is no requirement to major in any of these fields. Medical schools give no preference to any particular major, so choose a major that you enjoy. This is to your advantage because you are more likely to excel in your preferred major and you will find more enjoyment in your studies.
To be prepared for the MCAT, you need to at least complete all of the course listed under the standard course requirements. Most students take the MCAT in the spring of their Junior year, so it is best to have those classes completed by the end of your Sophomore year if possible.
Many medical schools limit or exclude the use of AP, IB and CLEP credit towards completion of the pre-medical and pre-dental requirements. Be sure to find out if the school in which you are interested will allow your AP or CLEP credits to count for prerequisite courses.
Yes, your grades matter. It is necessary to maintain a strong academic record for admissions into medical schools; in fact, it is considered the most important predictor of admission. Medical schools will look at your science GPA, overall GPA, grades in each class, and trends in performance.