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Pre-Med Coursework

Medical schools in the United States admit students with a variety of backgrounds who demonstrate scientific aptitude, evidence that they have the commitment, ability, and maturity to successfully complete the rigorous program, and who have demonstrated their true interest in the field by either volunteering in a healthcare or other service-oriented institution or program and/or by doing laboratory research with a medically-relevant application. MD/PhD applicants are expected to have done research, although any field or topic area is acceptable. Although most MD/PhD programs are in biomedical sciences, several in the social sciences and humanities are available as well. The particular undergraduate major of the medical school applicant is not restricted to the sciences. In fact, most medical schools want to see a broad range of course work in addition to the required courses necessary to apply to a particular school.

The courses necessary for application to medical school will usually include the following. However, a particular school may have additional requirements or, less frequently, fewer requirements. Once you have an idea for where you are likely to apply, look at the individual schools to be sure to know what they require.

  • 1 year of Biological Sciences, with laboratory
  • 1 year of General Chemistry, with laboratory
  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry, with laboratory
  • 1 year of General Physics, with laboratory (non-Calculus-based)
  • 1 year of English
  • A Math requirement. This varies widely. Some schools require two semesters of Calculus, some require one or possibly a Statistics course, and some schools have no math requirement. It is best to check the math requirements at a number of medical schools you are interested in applying to.
  • Currently a few medical schools also require Biochemistry, but this is not common. Biochemistry is covered on the MCAT and is strongly encouraged.
  • One section of the MCAT covers Sociology and Psychology concepts. It is recommended that you take these courses also even though most medical schools do not require them.

SEE OUR PRE-HEALTH COURSE CHART for REQUIRED and RECOMMENDED courses for Pre-Med with corresponding UD course numbers.

NOTE: Most medical schools will not accept advanced placement credits as a substitute for the above. If you have them, you should take another more advanced course in the field to fulfill the requirement or repeat the course for college credit at a bachelor’s granting institution. Similarly, those with dual enrollment credit in the sciences should consider whether to retake the course or whether they’re ready to start more advanced content at UD (e.g. Organic Chemistry).

Science majors usually fulfill the science requirements during the undergraduate years as part of their major. If you are not majoring in a science, you will need to incorporate the requirements into your schedule. Remember that you will need to take the Medical College Acceptance Test (MCAT) which is required by most medical schools and which contains questions related to all of the science requirements. As you continue to read this site you will see that the science GPA is one of the major influences on medical school acceptance. All students, including science majors, should also include courses in many of the liberal arts such as sociology and psychology, history, anthropology, philosophy, etc. A good guide to possible courses is the list of courses available to you for completion of the University and the College of Arts and Sciences breadth requirements. Remember, you are interested in a people-oriented profession that requires scientific aptitude as well. It is a complex blend, and the medical school admissions teams are trying to find people who have both characteristics.

NOTE: Before evaluation by the Health Professions Evaluation Committee, students are expected to have completed at least half of the required science courses here at the University of Delaware. If a student has taken some of the required science courses at another college and has had the credits approved here, they must take additional science courses here before being evaluated. This does not apply to special linkage programs such as the Bridges program with Delaware Technical Community College.

Course work is only part of the application. See AAMC’s page on Holistic Review and the Experiences-Attributes-Metrics model for more detail on this. Students must be engaged in additional activities and obtain letters of recommendation. Visit Applying to Medical School for more information.