What Degree Should I Get for Medical School? (2023)

If you want to be a physician or surgeon, there’s only one way to make your dream a reality: go to medical school. Neither medical school itself nor getting into an MD or DO program is easy.

Before you can start figuring out which medical specialty to pursue, you need to give some thought to the undergraduate degree that prepares you for taking on the challenge of going to med school.

The Undergraduate Degree Required for Getting Into Medical School

Medical schools award doctoral-level degrees (and, sometimes, graduate-level degrees like master’s degrees). Before you can begin your studies at this level, you need to complete your studies at the undergraduate level.

An associate’s degree from a community college won’t suffice. You need a baccalaureate or bachelor’s degree if you want to go to medical school.

This level of degree typically requires at least 120 credits of undergraduate college study and takes four years of full-time study. Some students begin their studies at community colleges, where they pursue an associate’s degree before transferring to a four-year school to finish their bachelor’s degree program.

Prospective medical students should make sure that they attend a school that has earned institutional accreditation from one of the regional, rather than national, accrediting bodies.

Medical School Prerequisite Courses

Developing a level of knowledge of a wide array of subjects is valuable, in and of itself, for becoming a well-educated individual (as a doctor should be). However, when it comes to preparing for medical school specifically, the most important aspect of earning an undergraduate degree is completing the prerequisite courses.

Prerequisites are courses that students must have already taken in order to enroll in a more advanced course or program of study.

Most of the prerequisite courses for medical school are laboratory science courses like biochemistry, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, anatomy and physiology. Physics and mathematics courses are also common med school prerequisites. Students may also be required to have completed courses in the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences.

The basic science coursework that medical school students complete during their first “didactic” years of study builds off of the foundational studies of natural and physical science completed during their undergraduate education.

Once students get into their clinical years of medical school and their residency training and clinical practice, they apply those scientific principles to the real world, diagnosing and treating patients’ medical conditions.

Pre-Medical Programs of Study

If you have been seriously considering medical school, there’s a good chance that you have heard of pre-med – pre-medicine or pre-medical – studies. Many students are surprised to find that there actually isn’t a pre-med major. Rather, pre-med students come from a variety of majors and complete an academic track that is specially designed to prepare students to meet their medical school prerequisites.

Common Courses in a Pre-Med Curriculum

What classes are commonly found in the curriculum of a pre-medical track? While each school’s pre-med track may vary somewhat, most pre-med sequences include laboratory courses in general biology, biochemistry, general chemistry, organic chemistry and physics, as well as math courses in calculus or statistics.

The courses students take to align with a pre-med academic track can also count toward their major coursework, their general education coursework, or their electives.

The Top Medical Majors in College

As long as they complete the prerequisite courses – typically by completing a pre-medicine track – an aspiring medical school student really can major in any subject.

Are Some Medicine Majors Better Than Others?

Conventional wisdom suggests that students intending to go to medical school should major in biology. However, the American Medical Association (AMA) has reported that no specific major gives medical school candidates a significantly better likelihood of getting accepted compared to other programs of study.

As long as you complete classes in fields like biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology, you should be prepared for the challenges of graduate school and a medical degree.

Still, some medical majors are more popular or simply more relevant to the health care field and patient care practices than others. If you’re interested in working in a clinical role in human health care, possible medical majors in college to consider include any of the following 15 programs of study.

1. Biology or Biological Sciences

Biological science, or the science concerned with the study of life and living things, is consistently the most popular major among students who matriculate into medical school. According to the American Medical Association [link], 12,845 of the 22,239 tracked students who enrolled in medical schools across the United States in 2020 were biological science majors as undergraduates.

(Video) The PreMed Tier List | Best Degrees To Take For MEDICAL SCHOOL

Do Medical School Applicants Have to Major in Biology?

The fact that more than half of medical school students have an undergraduate biology degree may put pressure on aspiring doctors to declare this major. However, the American Medical Association cautions that, statistically speaking, applicants with a biology background don’t have a competitive edge over other candidates.

More biology majors seem to apply to medical school than students from other backgrounds, but that doesn’t mean they get accepted.

Applicants with an undergraduate degree in biological science had a matriculation rate of 40% — not insignificant, but, as the American Medical Association noted, “lower than several other primary majors.”

In fact, even though knowledge of biology is critical for achieving a good score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), biological science majors don’t perform exceptionally well on this standardized test, statistically speaking. The average MCAT score among biology majors was “in the middle of the group” of the different undergraduate majors for which the AMA has data.

In other words, biology is an excellent choice of major for aspiring doctors and the most popular major among students admitted to medical schools, but students shouldn’t view the program of study as the only choice worth considering.

Biology Degree Curriculum

When you major in biological science, you will devote a considerable amount of your studies to laboratory courses. Students majoring in biology take classes in general biology, cell biology, molecular biology, genes and genetics, organisms and ecosystems, ecology, evolutionary biology and biochemistry.

2. Physical Sciences

Among the majors distinguished in the report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), as cited by the American Medical Association, the second most popular field of study is physical science. Around 2,240 matriculated medical school students had an undergraduate background in the physical sciences, accounting for around 10% of medical students.

Rather than earning a degree with the title of physical science, you are likely to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in one of the specific disciplines that fall under the field of physical science. The field of physical science encompasses all of the natural sciences concerned with non-living systems, including physics, chemistry, astronomy and geology.

Physical Science Degree Curriculum

Physics and chemistry are both branches of science concerned with the study of matter. Physics focuses on motion, energy and force. Chemistry is concerned with the properties of the substances that make up matter and their interactions.

Physics majors should expect to take classes in experimental physics, computational physics and contemporary physics. Coursework in thermodynamics is important, as are courses in classical mechanics, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. By the end of their studies, physics students should be familiar with electricity and magnetism, electromagnetic fields, waves, vibrations and optics.

Chemistry majors commonly take courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry and biochemistry. Chemistry-specific courses may also pertain to methods of quantitative analysis and instrumental analysis used in the field.

Some schools offer specific majors in biochemistry, either through the chemistry department or the biology department. Biochemistry major courses include a mix of science courses in these two disciplines, including cell biology, genetics, physiology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry and biochemistry.

Astronomy and geology are related but opposing areas of study. Astronomy is the study of celestial bodies and objects, or objects outside the Earth’s atmosphere, like planets, stars and other objects in space. Geology is the discipline concerned with the study of the Earth, including its physical structure, the physical processes that occur on Earth and the history of its structure.

Students of astronomy take classes in planetary astronomy, solar systems astronomy, stellar astrophysics, galactic and extragalactic astrophysics, planetary science, habitable worlds and general physics. Geology majors can expect to take courses in geology fundamentals, structural geology, geophysics, geodynamics, mineralogy, sedimentology, paleontology, petrology and field geology.

What makes any of these majors that fit within the field of physical science a good choice for aspiring physicians is the focus on scientific thinking. Students in any of these fields learn the scientific method of inquiry upon which medical practices are based.

3. Health Sciences

Many schools offer undergraduate majors in the field of health sciences. Health sciences may seem like a major that is made for the medical field, but in fact, only 784 of the 22,239 medical school students tracked in the American Medical Association had majored in specialized health sciences. That amounts to only about 3.5% of medical school students who major in the health sciences.

Most health science majors do work in the field of health care, but they don’t hold doctor roles. Instead, these healthcare majors often work as technicians, administering tests, medications or other therapeutic interventions in a healthcare setting under the guidance of doctors and other highly trained medical professionals.

Health Science Degree Curriculum

The curriculum of a health science major includes coursework in health care systems administration and ethics, anatomy and physiology, health science issues and research, health assessment, statistics, epidemiology, health education promotion, disease prevention and pathophysiology.

(Video) The BEST PRE-MED MAJOR | Proven By Med School Acceptance Data

Students of health science should also expect to build a foundation of coursework in biology and chemistry.

4. Medical Technology

If you’re less interested in the administration side of the health care system and more interested in doing the hands-on technical work required in clinical practice, you might prefer undergraduate programs in medical technology.

Generally, these healthcare programs are more focused on preparing students to work in a medical technologist or technician role in clinical practice. Medical technologist and technician career paths include phlebotomist, radiologic technologist, surgical technologist and cardiovascular technologist.

A student who pursues an undergraduate degree in medical technology has the option of going straight into a medical technician or technologist role in the workforce or continuing their education by applying to med school.

Medical Technology Curriculum

Students in a medical technology degree program often begin their curriculum with a sequence of courses in both biology and chemistry. Classes in immunology, hematology, clinical microscopy, bioethics, healthcare management and the methods used in medical technology are an important part of the curriculum. Clinical experience is critical for students in this undergraduate degree program.

5. Nursing

Nurses and doctors approach clinical practice from very different models, but both of these healthcare professions involve patient care to some extent.

One benefit of being a nursing student is having the opportunity to explore the nursing model of providing care. Generally, the nursing model of care is more holistic, concerned with the well-being of the whole patient, while the medical model emphasizes disease, diagnosis and treatment. If you find that you like the nursing model, you can stick with it, becoming a registered nurse (RN) and, if desired, advancing to the role of nurse practitioner.

Alternatively, if you do decide to apply to medical school, your clinical nursing education provides valuable healthcare experience. You may also be better positioned to put patients at ease and meet their emotional as well as physical needs because of your training in the patient care practices found in the nursing model.

Nursing Degree Curriculum

Nursing students take classes in human anatomy and physiology, human development, health assessment, pharmacology, pathophysiology and nutrition. A foundation in science, including chemistry, general biology, microbiology and genetics, is necessary for preparing for a nursing career.

Much of a nursing degree program emphasizes practical skills for clinical work through courses in the essentials of nursing practice and clinical experience providing nursing care in specialties such as psychiatric health, women’s health and obstetrics, pediatrics and gerontology.

Coursework for nursing students might also include research methods in nursing practice, statistics for health care research, health policy and healthcare leadership.

6. Biomedical Engineering

Engineers use the principles of science and mathematics to solve problems, and biomedical engineers, specifically, apply these practices to the design of solutions pertaining to the medical field. The science courses required for engineers tend to align with medical school prerequisites.

If you choose to major in biomedical engineering as an undergraduate, you can explore the world of biomedical innovations. As you near the end of your bachelor’s degree curriculum, you can decide whether to pursue careers in engineering design or apply to medical school so you can treat patients in clinical practice.

Either way, you get to help people – the difference being whether you provide that help directly in clinical practice, as a physician, or indirectly as the inventor of medical devices, processes and therapies used to diagnose and treat health conditions.

Biomedical Engineering Curriculum

Students of biomedical engineering complete extensive studies in biology, including human physiology, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry. Major coursework will focus on the principles and practices of biomedical engineering design, including modeling in biomedical design, experimental design in biomedical research and biomedical ethics and law.

Students will also have the opportunity to complete courses in the areas of biocomputation, biomaterials, biomechanics and biosignals. Hands-on design experience is particularly important for biomedical engineering students, who will often complete studio design project courses in the later years of their undergraduate education.

7. Public Health

Most students attend medical school with the intention of working in clinical practice as a physician or a surgeon, but you can also use a medical school education to further public health efforts.

Pursuing a public health major is an increasingly popular move among pre-medical students, Oregon State University reported. In fact, some medical majors make an extra effort to complete a Master of Public Health degree alongside their medical doctorate degree during medical school.

(Video) So you wanna go to med school?

An undergraduate major in public health might appeal to you if you have an interest in community health, infectious disease outbreaks, disease prevention or preventive medicine. As a medical major, public health degree programs tend to include fewer laboratory science courses, but they do cover scientific research methods and provide valuable insight into public health issues and obstacles individuals may face in getting healthcare services.

Public Health Degree Curriculum

Some of the classes you might take in this undergraduate degree program include public health principles, public health law and ethics, health and human rights, environmental and occupational health and health disparities. Students should expect to develop a thorough understanding of the U.S. and global public health systems, now and throughout history. Courses in epidemiology are common, as are classes pertaining to leadership in the public health field.

8. Health Informatics or Medical Informatics

Computer technology is an important part of the medical field today. If you’re interested in the computer science side of medicine, consider pursuing an undergraduate degree in health informatics or, more specifically, medical informatics.

Medical informatics is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the use of information science and information technology principles and practices to better understand and improve the field of healthcare. You don’t need an extensive background in health informatics to apply to medical school, but these and similar college majors can help you be prepared to maintain patient records using electronic medical records or engage in clinical research efforts.

Health Informatics Degree Curriculum

In a degree program in health informatics, the courses most closely related to a medical major include medical terminology, medical coding and classification, the foundations of pharmacology, human anatomy and physiology, healthcare enterprise systems, healthcare data systems architecture and concepts and practices of healthcare informatics.

Other coursework in the program focuses more on the computer science and information technology side, with classes like system analysis and design, information security, database management systems, human-computer interactions, application programming and hardware and software in information science. Business courses, such as financial principles and the principles of macroeconomics, may also be part of the curriculum.

Students who choose this undergraduate major to prepare for medical school should make sure that they are also taking enough laboratory science courses to meet medical school prerequisites.

9. Psychology

Unless their interests lie in the field of psychiatry, medical school applicants may be tempted to write off a major like psychology. However, there is a great deal of value in studying what drives thought and behavior – in any career and, in particular, in a medical career.

Psychology can be considered both a natural science and a social science. Studying psychology can help students develop their understanding of the scientific method, which is the foundation for medical research.

Being familiar with how people think and act can help you better communicate with patients effectively. Majoring in psychology can be a particularly smart move if you are interested in a medical specialty related to mental health, like psychiatry, or to the brain, like neurology.

Psychology Degree Curriculum

In an undergraduate degree program in psychology, students should expect to study the introductory foundations of psychology, research methods in psychology, methods of psychological testing and the principles of developmental psychology, social psychology, abnormal psychology, clinical psychology, biological psychology and cognitive psychology.

Many courses in psychology are beneficial to future doctors in a variety of specialties. For example, if you want to be a neurologist, the study of human neuropsychology is particularly relevant. Studying the psychology behind drug and alcohol abuse is valuable if you intend to help patients with substance abuse disorder.

Knowledge of child psychology is beneficial for aspiring pediatricians. You might benefit from studying behavior modification if you want to work with patients who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

10. Social Sciences

Nearly 9% of matriculated medical school students – 1,991 out of 22,239 students – majored in the social sciences, according to the American Medical Association. Although social science majors might not seem ideal for a medical career, researchers have concluded that medical school applicants with this background (or a degree in the humanities) “may be more effective at communicating with patients,” the American Medical Association reported.

Social Science Majors

Aside from psychology, the social science majors include sociology, anthropology, history, geography, economics and linguistics.

11. Dental Hygiene

A degree in dental hygiene can prepare you to work as a dental hygienist, but you could also use this background to prepare for further schooling. Dental school may seem like a better fit than medical school for those with a dental hygiene background, but getting into dental school with this undergraduate degree is still possible, provided that you meet medical school prerequisites.

Students considering this background should choose a bachelor’s, rather than associate’s, degree program and incorporate extra coursework in science.

Dental Hygiene Degree Curriculum

In a dental hygiene program, students take classes in human physiology, dental anatomy, periodontics, radiology, pharmacology and community health, as well as clinical experience in dental hygiene.

(Video) How I Got Into Medical School Without A Science Degree

12. Environmental Science

Environmental science is a good medical major to consider when you want an undergraduate degree in something slightly different from biology. A background in environmental science is particularly valuable if you have an interest in clinical research in the area of environmental health.

Environmental Science Curriculum

An undergraduate degree program in environmental science will consist of an interdisciplinary curriculum that includes studies in biology, chemistry, geology and physics.

Major-specific coursework for an undergraduate degree in environmental science includes the foundations of environmental science, ecology, biological life diversity, soil science, pollution, geology, air and water in environmental systems and environmental ethics and policy.

13. Exercise Science

Aspiring sports medicine doctors should consider a degree in exercise science/kinesiology as a potential medical major.

Sports medicine is the medical specialty concerned with physical fitness and the treatment of sports-related injuries. Exercise science, the study of physical movement, is a particularly relevant undergraduate degree for sports medicine doctors.

Exercise Science Degree Curriculum

An undergraduate exercise science program includes coursework in human anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, emergency care practices, basic motor learning and exercise physiology. Exercise science students learn both theory and application through courses in exercise assessment, theories in strength and conditioning and leadership in aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

14. Athletic Training

Like exercise science, athletic training is one of the healthcare majors that appeal particularly to aspiring sports medicine doctors. Practitioners in the field of athletic training are not doctors, but they are health care professionals involved in examining, diagnosing, treating, rehabilitating and – ideally – preventing health conditions arising out of physical activity.

Athletic Training Degree Curriculum

Students in an athletic training program take classes in human anatomy, exercise physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics of movement, injury care and prevention, therapeutic modalities and techniques, clinical evaluation of injuries and strength coaching.

Not all athletic training programs include enough science coursework to meet medical school prerequisites, so prospective med school applicants should take extra courses in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics.

15. Humanities

The humanities – subjects like a foreign language, communication, English and writing – haven’t historically been considered the best medical majors in college. These undergraduate majors don’t have obvious ties to science or the health care field.

However, humanities majors, like social sciences majors, tend to have stronger communication skills than students from more conventional medical field majors. Knowledge of a foreign language, in particular, can help you communicate with patients who don’t speak English fluently.

Studying the Humanities as a Medical School Applicant

If you are majoring in the humanities with the intention of submitting a medical school application, make sure you take the science and math courses that align with medical school requirements.

What Do You Need to Attend Medical School Besides a Bachelor’s Degree?

Getting into medical school isn’t easy. Medical school applications are notoriously competitive, and success requires a combination of outstanding grades, high scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and compelling letters of recommendation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

To improve their likelihood of acceptance, medical school applicants should also consider seeking out opportunities in clinical research, volunteering at community health organizations and developing skills in a foreign language.

Additional Resources

Which Degree Do You Need to Become a Doctor?

What College Degree Is Needed to Be a Pediatrician?

What Degree Do I Need to Become a Dermatologist?

(Video) DO NOT go to MEDICAL SCHOOL (If This is You)

What Degree Do You Need to Be a Biomedical Engineer?

What Are the 5 Best Careers in Environmental Science?


What degree looks best for med school? ›

If you are still unsure of the path you should choose, this guide will help you decide where to turn from here.
  • Biology. When a medical career is in your future, a degree in biology is a fantastic place to start. ...
  • Human Physiology. ...
  • Biochemistry. ...
  • Psychology. ...
  • Nursing. ...
  • English. ...
  • Biomedical Engineering. ...
  • Economics.

What is the easiest major for medical school? ›

According to the latest data released by AAMC, the top 3 majors with the highest acceptance rates are Physical Sciences, Math and Statistics, and Humanities.

How important is a 4.0 GPA for medical school? ›

"However...they don't need to have a 4.0.” While perfect grades are not required for medical school admission, premeds "would want to be in the mid-3.0 range and higher to feel relatively competitive," Grabowski says. Still, it is possible to get into med school with a mediocre or low GPA.

What GPA is good enough for med school? ›

What is considered a competitive GPA for medical school? A GPA of 3.5 is the “average” for medical school so any GPA of 3.6 or above would be above average and hence, competitive.

What do most doctors major in? ›

Biology. Biology is one of the most common majors for those who want to pursue a medical career, especially aspiring physicians and surgeons. According to the BLS, 48.7 percent of all physicians and surgeons employed in 2015 chose biology as their undergraduate major [1].

What undergraduate degree do most doctors have? ›

The most common majors were:
  • Biological sciences—12,845 total matriculants.
  • Physical sciences—2,240.
  • Social sciences—1,991.
  • Humanities—832.
  • Specialized health sciences—784.
  • Math and statistics—156.
27 May 2021

What is the hardest pre-med major? ›

Organic Chemistry:

It shouldn't surprise you that organic chemistry takes the No. 1 spot as the hardest college course. This course is often referred to as the “pre-med killer” because it actually has caused many pre-med majors to switch their major.

Is nursing a good pre-med major? ›

Nurses can make terrific candidates for medical school. If you're working as a nurse or completing a nursing degree, you already have several strong advantages in preparing for a transition to medicine. You don't have to wonder whether or not you like patient care.

What major is best for MCAT? ›

Majors in Math and Statistics can include Applied Mathematics, General Mathematics, or Statistics. Math and Statistics majors have the highest average GPA and the highest MCAT scores across all majors.

How many C's are acceptable for med school? ›

In general, pre-med students are advised to retake courses in which they have earned a 'C. ' In reality, one or two 'C's will not rule out medical school for anyone, especially for otherwise high-achieving students.

Can I get into med school with BS? ›

What degree do you need to get into medical school? Every U.S. medical school requires the completion of a four-year degree from an accredited college or university. It doesn't matter whether your degree is a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

What is the lowest GPA medical schools will accept? ›

Most medical schools set a cap at a 3.0 GPA. Generally, a low GPA is less than a school's 75th or 80th percentile. You can also review your chosen school's average GPA for accepted students. If your GPA is more than 0.3 points below that average, you can assume the school will consider it low.

Do medical schools accept C? ›

Medical schools do not accept a grade of C- or below in required courses. If you do retake a class both grades will appear on your transcript. Medical schools recommend that instead of repeating a course you take upper division science courses in the same area to increase your knowledge and boost your GPA.

What's the lowest MCAT score accepted? ›

Each school has its own MCAT expectations: some schools will not consider an applicant with a score lower than 511, while others may be happy to accept students with lower scores.

Does having a master's degree help for med school? ›

Some medical schools give applicants with graduate degrees additional ranking points. But these points are not enough to overshadow weak application elements, such as a low GPA or MCAT. Typically, graduate degrees are not significant advantages when it comes to medical school acceptance.

Is it better to major in biology or chemistry for medical school? ›

In sum, there is no general “best major” for pre-med students. Studying biology does not appear to translate into the highest across-the-board MCAT score, nor do admissions committees desire to fill their incoming classes purely with biology majors. That being said, biology will certainly be the best major for some.

What major has the highest acceptance rate to medical school? ›

Medical school acceptance rates by major are as follows:
  • Biological Sciences - 41.5%
  • Humanities - 47.9%
  • Math and Statistics - 45.6%
  • Other - 39.8%
  • Physical Sciences - 47.9%
  • Social Sciences - 41.4%
  • Specialized Health Sciences - 38.9%
14 Jul 2022

What degree do surgeons need? ›

To become a surgeon you'll need to complete: a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council. a 2-year foundation programme of general training. 2 years of core surgical training in a hospital.

What percent of pre meds become doctors? ›

“With respect to Doyen Rainey, only about 17% of US Freshman pre meds earn admission to med school.

Which is the toughest degree in world? ›

It is believed that a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or BSN is the toughest course in the world as per the Guinness Book of World Records along with courses like MBBS, BCom, IAS, IPS and Engineering, etc.

What is the most failed course in high school? ›

Algebra is the single most failed course in high school, the most failed course in community college, and, along with English language for nonnative speakers, the single biggest academic reason that community colleges have a high dropout rate.

Is pre-med harder than nursing? ›

Yes, the four years of premed undergrad might be easier than the nursing program - but remember if you don't get good grades you won't get into medical school.

What pre-med course should I take if I want to be a surgeon? ›

Taking BS Biology as a pre-med course can help students looking for a general approach to medicine. In this, they learn about basic sciences, including different body structures and their functions.

Does BA or BS matter for med school? ›

Ultimately, a BA student is still a strong competitor against a BS student when applying to med school. While students pursuing a BA lack the medical specialization that comes with a BS degree, this can be countered with the additional electives, majors, or minors BA students can pursue during undergrad.

Is BS biology a good pre-med? ›

Yes, biology is a great major for pre-med. Biology is the study of life and all living organisms. By looking into the chemical makeup of humans, animals, plants and all environments, biology majors will be prepared for a graduate degree or career in medicine.

Does it matter what you major in for medical school? ›

There's a misconception that students should major in biology or another science if they want to get into medical school. In fact, there's no required or even preferred majors that medical schools are looking for. Consider majoring in whatever interests you and will keep you engaged and motivated during undergrad.

Is a 3.7 GPA good for med school? ›

Many medical schools require that you have at least a 3.0 minimum GPA to even apply to medical school. However, you probably need at least a 3.5 GPA to be competitive for most (if not all) medical schools.

Can I still get into med school if I failed a class? ›

Do people get accepted into medical school even though they have failed a course or two in the past? Yes. It's all about demonstrating improvement. The most important thing you can do is to learn from the experience and improve.

How many W's are too many for med school? ›

As a general rule of thumb, having one “W” should not be too big of a deal. However, if you continue to get them, medical schools will see this as a red flag in your potential to do well at medical school. Myth 2: You should always take a bad grade over a “W.”

Is a B+ OK for med school? ›

Many students would be happy with a B-, B or B+. But when premeds see that daunting combination of letters and symbols, they panic and start thinking about the rest of their lives. It is somewhat understandable since even a B+ average is very low for someone who wants to get into medical school.

What is the average GPA of a doctor? ›

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) reported an average GPA for medical school of 3.60 across all applicants for the 2021-2022 application cycle.

Is a 3.8 GPA good for medical school? ›

The AAMC's top band of GPAs is defined as 3.8 or higher, which is an excellent GPA for students looking to be competitive in the medical school admissions process. According to AAMC data, two-thirds of applicants with a GPA higher than 3.79 are accepted to medical school.

What happens if your GPA isn't high enough for medical school? ›

How to get into medical school with a low GPA: Do a postbac to show an upward trend in grades. Get a high MCAT score to show academic competency. Have consistent, meaningful clinical experience.

How difficult is MCAT? ›

It's a long test.

There are only 230 questions in this test but with their complexity, test-takers are given 7 hours and 30 minutes to answer it. This makes the MCAT one of the longest tests out there and makes it hard for test takers to score high.

What are my chances medical school? ›

The average chance of getting accepted is about 50-60%. However, this chance can vary greatly depending on your GPA and MCAT score. For example, if you have a high GPA and low MCAT score, your chance of getting into medical school will be much lower than someone with a low GPA and high MCAT score.

Do AP credits count for med school? ›

Generally no, you may not use AP credit to fulfill requirements for medical school. Even if your undergraduate institution allows it, most medical schools will not accept it.

Is Biochem required for med school? ›

Course Requirements for Medical School

One year of General Chemistry with lab. One year of Organic Chemistry with lab. One semester of Biochemistry. One year of Physics with lab.

Is sociology required for med school? ›

Some schools make it a prerequisite, while others simply assume you have the knowledge if you studied for the MCAT. Psychology and Sociology: Like biochemistry, psychology and sociology have increased in popularity as medical school prerequisites since their inclusion on the MCAT.

Should I retake a 515 MCAT? ›

Retaking a 515 and not scoring 520+, which is relatively unlikely, period, will cause them to question your judgment, whether you score 518, 512, or 515 on the retake. It's very difficult, although certainly not impossible, to win retaking a 515, which is why the advice is overwhelmingly against it.

Can a high GPA make up for low MCAT? ›

The most traditional strategy for outweighing a low MCAT is having a very high GPA. These two application elements are often considered in relation to each other. So having a high GPA can truly save a lower MCAT score!

What percentage of people retake the MCAT? ›

Almost 20% of students retake the MCAT exam. According to AAMC, most test re-takers get a higher score on their second attempt.

What masters degree is best for medical school? ›

Comparing One-Year Master's Degree Programs for Medical School Preparation
  • Master of Science in Physiology. ...
  • Master of Science in Medical Science. ...
  • Master of Biomedical Science. ...
  • Master of Science in Nutrition. ...
  • Master of Science in Biotechnology. ...
  • Master of Science in Bioethics.

Can you get into med school with a 3.0 GPA? ›

It's difficult but not impossible to get into a top medical school with a GPA of 3.0 or lower if the med school has no GPA requirement. Data from the AAMC shows that acing the MCAT ( a score above 517) and having a GPA between 2.8 and 2.99 results in a 46.7% chance of admission.

What should I do in my gap year before medical school? ›

What to do during a gap year(s)
  • Take additional coursework. ...
  • Get more clinical experience. ...
  • Prepare and take the MCAT exam. ...
  • Reflect on “why medicine.” Take time to think about why you're pursuing a career in medicine and write down your thoughts. ...
  • Build healthy habits. ...
  • Learn to budget. ...
  • Do something unrelated to medicine.

What majors have the highest acceptance rate to medical school? ›

According to this data, there are three major groups—humanities, math and statistics, and physical sciences—that enjoy higher admissions rates than others. In fact, these are the only three groups that get into medical school at a rate greater than 40 percent.

Can you go to med school with any degree? ›

"No. Students with university education in any discipline are encouraged to apply. Medicine requires individuals with strong backgrounds in the social sciences, humanities, physical sciences and life sciences. All programs are treated equally in the evaluation process."

What major should I choose to be a pediatrician? ›

What degree do I need to be a pediatrician? Aspiring pediatricians must first earn bachelor's degrees. While many types of bachelor's degrees can help a learner become a pediatrician, many students on this path choose majors such as pre-med, human anatomy, or biology. Then, a candidate must earn a medical degree.

Do minors look good for med school? ›

A minor can be a nice addition to a medical school application, but it is unlikely to make or break an acceptance. Before committing to a minor, decide whether you have time in your schedule to complete the involved coursework.

Does BA or BS matter for med school? ›

Ultimately, a BA student is still a strong competitor against a BS student when applying to med school. While students pursuing a BA lack the medical specialization that comes with a BS degree, this can be countered with the additional electives, majors, or minors BA students can pursue during undergrad.

Is nursing a good pre-med major? ›

Nurses can make terrific candidates for medical school. If you're working as a nurse or completing a nursing degree, you already have several strong advantages in preparing for a transition to medicine. You don't have to wonder whether or not you like patient care.

What major performs best on the MCAT? ›

Matriculants with math and statistics, physical science and humanities majors scored the highest on the MCAT, with scores of 514.8, 513.1 and 512.9 respectively. The average accepted GPA between majors is close across the board with math and statistics and physical sciences majors tied with a 3.61.

What major is the hardest? ›

What Are the 10 Most Difficult College Majors?
  • Economics – 2.95.
  • Biology – 3.02.
  • Geology – 3.03.
  • Philosophy – 3.08.
  • Finance – 3.08.
  • Physics – 3.10.
  • Computer Science – 3.13.
  • Mechanical Engineering – 3.17.
17 Sept 2022

What courses lead to medicine? ›

Typically chemistry and biology A level are required, with some schools preferring a third related science subject. It is important to check individual requirements with each university. Pharmacology related degrees generally require A level chemistry and normally one other subject from biology, physics or maths.

What degree do you need to be called a doctor? ›

A doctoral degree (PhD) is a degree that one earns after a master's degree. A PhD entitles a person to use the title doctor.

How hard is it to become a pediatrician? ›

Pediatricians must attend at least nine years of schooling. That includes four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school (or six years at a combined university), plus three years of a pediatric residency. Some pediatricians spend another two to six years training in a subspecialty.

Can I major in chemistry to become a pediatrician? ›

Bachelor's Degree

Some students may enter a pre-med program to become a pediatrician, however others get prerequisites by taking courses such as physics, biology, and chemistry (inorganic and organic).

Is anatomy a major? ›

As an anatomy major, you'll study the all the nitty-gritty intricacies of the structures and functions of the human body. Cells, tissues, muscles, and bones? They're your new best friends. You'll study the major systems of the body too—the nervous system, endocrine system, and musculoskeletal system.

How many hours do you study in med school? ›

Some medical students study anywhere between 8-11 hours a day during their exam period, with most students hovering around the 3-5 hour mark on a normal day. However, it often depends on which year they are in (first year vs. final year), how far away exams are, and the individual's motivation to study.

What do Premeds do if they don't get into med school? ›

  • First, it's important to remember that you can try again – in fact, most schools recommend applying at least once or twice more. Take a close look at your application and see what you can improve. ...
  • Attend Medical School Abroad.
  • Get a Science Degree.
  • Stay in General Medicine.
  • Go into Research.
5 Dec 2015

Do med schools care if you graduate early? ›

As long as you fulfill all the necessary coursework/exams required for medical school and can graduate with a degree, you can apply to medical school whenever.


1. 5 Reasons Premeds FAIL To Get Into Medical School
(Med School Insiders)
2. How to Choose a Medical School
(Med School Insiders)
3. Applying to Medical School with an International Degree | OldPreMeds Podcast Ep. 258
(Medical School HQ)
4. How to CHOOSE A SPECIALTY | 6 Steps
(Med School Insiders)
5. First Week Of FINAL YEAR In Medical School | Week In The Life Of A Final Year Medical Student Vlog
6. Could you get an MD online?
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