Pre-Health Preparation - Medicine

Medical Schools

Medical schools require a relatively small number of prerequisite courses as entry requirements. Medical schools do not care what your major is, so you should choose a major that you know you can do well in. Keep in mind that you still have to take all of the prerequisite courses, and that these are the minimum requirements. Many students feel they need more science courses, particularly upper division biology courses, to fully understand concepts that they will be tested over on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Pre-Requisite Course Work

Prequisites for application to medical schools MUST include the following courses as minimum requirements. Be aware that many of these courses require that you have had college level algebra (Math 113), and other prerequisites.

  • One year of General Chemistry with lab (Chem 150 and lab; Chem 151 and lab)
  • One year of Biology (for majors) with lab (Bio 106 and lab; Bio 113 and lab)
  • One year of Physics with lab (Phys 201 and lab, Phys 202 and lab OR Phys 217 and lab and Phys 218 and lab) Most medical schools do not require calculus-based physics, and the MCAT exam is not calculus-based physics.
  • One year of Organic Chemistry with lab (Chem 250 and lab; Chem 251 and lab)
  • A number of schools also recommend coursework in calculus or college-level math, behavioral science (psychology), the humanities (especially English composition), and computers.
  • Many schools recommend advanced-level science courses such as biochemistry, genetics, and cell and molecular biology, especially for students who meet basic requirements through high school advanced placement credits or who have chosen a major outside of the natural and physical sciences.
  • A baccalaureate degree or the equivalent in college credit hours (120 hours total; 45 hours of upper division work; general education requirements; requirements for major and/or minor).
  • Medical College Aptitude Test (MCAT)
    • The MCAT now covers basic psychosocial theory, so as a part of liberal education requirements we recommend enrolling for Introduction to Sociology (Soc 100) and Introduction to Psychology (Psych 157)

Other Experiences Medical Schools are Looking For:

  • Evidence of service.  Medicine is a service-oriented profession.  Medical schools like to see that applicants have been involved in community service as a long-standing practice.  Volunteering with clubs, organizations, church groups and other activities over an extended period of time, with evidence of eventual leadership, is of great interest to professional schools.
  • Work within the medical profession/work with patients.  While this work can be volunteer-based or paid, most schools look for long-term involvement in some capacity.
  • Research.  Since medicine is a research-based science, medical schools want applicants to understand and participate in the process of doing scientific research.  This might be as a part of a degree program, as a research-based internship, or via clinical trials.
  • The ability to undertake a rigorous academic program.  While a student can major in any discipline as long as they take the minimum science requirements, evidence of additional coursework that is universally considered to be rigorous, is also noted.  This might include higher level math such as Calculus, or upper division courses in any natural or physical science.

Application Procedures & Timeline

The time span for admission to medical school is approximately 16 months from start to end. If you apply after your senior year, it will be a year after you graduate before you know whether you've been admitted. If your plan is to attend the fall after graduation, you should plan on taking the MCAT and applying to medical school in the summer between your junior and senior years. That way you'll be finishing your degree and be ready to move directly into medical school when you're done.  As a note of interest, the average age of students starting medical school is rising (now age 27 for CU Medical School).  Medical schools are looking for applicants with some world experience outside of school, so think about this as you plan your application process.

  • January to September - take the MCAT exam.  You must register early.  See MCAT exam registration for more information.
  • June to October  - Medical Schools accept applications via AMCAS (see below) beginning June 1. Programs have rolling admissions, which means that they start to invite potential students for interviews starting in July, and begin filling their open slots. If you don't apply until September, the program you're applying to may have already accepted many students, and you will be vying for the last few spots on their roster. Be sure to apply early.  This is when you'll need to get your letters of recommendation lined up. Most medical schools request one recommendation from the pre-health professions committee. The committee at Fort Lewis College will write this letter following your "mock interview". You should also have a letter from one of your science professors and from a practicing physician who you have worked with.
  • July to December - Secondary applications are requested by schools who are interested in you. After reviewing your application file, the admissions committees at your med schools will either reject you or send you a secondary application. Some schools send all of their applicants a secondary. Others go through an initial cut that is usually based entirely on GPA and MCAT scores.
  • September to February  - Interview invitations are extended and interviews take place.
  • September to March  - Acceptance/rejection letters are sent.
  • August/September - Medical school begins.

Medical school applications are uniform and are submitted online through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). Transcripts, extracurricular activities, MCAT scores, and personal statement are all a part of this application. You choose the schools you want the application sent to, and it is all done online. For more information on the application process, talk with one of our advisors.