Medical School Admissions Guide

Download Medical School Admissions Guide as a printable PDF

For many, the pursuit of a career in medicine has been a longstanding aspiration. Some students enter college having known for many years of their desire to earn a medical degree. Other students come to the same realization much later in their academic careers. Whether the idea of becoming a physician is a new one to you or a goal you have sought for many years, the Health Professions Advising Office is here to facilitate your academic and co-curricular preparations for medical school. There are two types of medical training programs that you can complete in order to become a practicing physician: allopathic medicine (MD) and osteopathic medicine (DO). Medical schools evaluate its applicants on a range of competencies and assess their applicants holistically. These competencies fall into four groups: Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Thinking and Reasoning, and Science.


Below is a list of general prerequisite courses that most medical schools require for admission; however, there are several other courses that are not required but are highly recommended. Please check with the admissions websites of individual medical school programs to obtain a current listing of admissions course requirements. Please also take note of individual programs’ policies on acceptance of Advanced Placement (AP) credit.

All prerequisite courses must be completed with a grade “C-” or higher.

Subject Area Recommended Courses
General Biology BSC 114 and 115 (lab) and BSC 116 and 117 (lab) or honors equivalent
Biochemistry BSC 450 (prerequisites: BSC 300 and CH 232) or

CH 461 (prerequisites: CH 223, CH 232 and CH 237)

General Chemistry CH 101 and 102 or honors equivalent
Organic Chemistry CH 231, CH 232 and CH 237 (lab)
Physics PH 101 and PH 102 or PH 105 and PH 106 (or honors equivalent)
Mathematics 2 semesters Math; MATH 125 required by some schools
Statistics PY 211, BSC 380, or CHS 425 recommended
English EN 101 and EN 102 or Honors EN 103 or EN 104 or AP credit
Social and Behavioral Sciences PY 101 and SOC 101

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)

The Medical College Admission Test is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess your problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. The exam is divided into the following four sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. Our Health Professions Advising Office is here to help you identify resources that will help you prepare for this exam. For more information about the MCAT, please visit the AAMC’s Taking the MCAT page.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Minimum GPA requirements vary from program to program, but MOST competitive applicants have a minimum 3.5 GPA overall and in their science courses.


Freshman Year

  • Get to know your Health Professions Advisors Make an appointment
  • Visit your professors during office hours
  • Start taking basic sciences (See chart above)
  • Begin getting involved with volunteer opportunities (campus and community)
  • Look into getting involved in undergraduate research
  • Join student organizations (AED, SEM, etc.)
  • Apply for summer research and enrichment programs (scribe, EMT, internships, etc.)

Sophomore Year

  • Continue with next sequence of courses
  • Stay involved in extracurricular activities (shadowing, service, volunteer, etc.). Consider leadership positions in these groups
  • Visit your professors during office hours
  • Visit Health Professions Advising Office to begin to assess competitiveness
  • Identify MD/DO programs that you want to apply to. Develop MCAT preparation plan.
  • Apply for summer research and enrichment programs (scribe, EMT, internships, etc.)

Junior Year

  • Talk to Health Professions Advising Office about competitiveness and attend applicant meeting (Fall)
  • Register for the MCAT (Fall)
  • Work on your personal statement
  • Study for and take MCAT (Spring/Summer)
  • Obtain 3-5 Letters of Recommendation (Spring)
  • Interview with Health Professions Advising Committee (Spring)
  • Complete Application AMCAS and AACOMAS (Summer)
  • Continue engaging in activities

Senior Year

  • Submit Application (AMCAS) if you haven’t already (Fall) Work on secondary applications  Wait to be contacted for
  • Work on secondary applications Wait to be contacted for
  • Wait to be contacted for interview from medical schools
  • Continue with activities. Leave a legacy of service in your organizations.
  • Talk with HPAO about Plan B if necessary
  • Finish degree requirements and GRADUATE


Baffi-Dugan, C., Cannon, R. E., Bingham, R., & Corder, B. W. (2011). Health professions admissions guide: Strategy for success. Champaign, IL: National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.