Pre-health Majors, Minors, and Coursework

Majors

It is a common misconception that a science major is the best or only choice for pre-health studies (see here for data about medical school acceptances and you might be surprised).  In fact, most all medical training programs (MD, DO, DPT, PA, DDS, etc.) don't care what your major is as long as you have the minimum course work that they require (each program and school may be slightly different so it is important that you educate yourself on the requirements of your chosen path). What they care about the most is that you do very well in all your coursework no matter your major. This hold particularly true to the prerequisite coursework.  So, pick a major that interests you the most because there is nothing harder than getting up the energy to study for something that you just don't like. Why take all of the upper-level requirements for a major when you don't like them and they are not required for entry into your graduate program?  If your chosen major does not include the required courses for admission, make sure that you still get those classes in addition to your major and general education requirements.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  1. If you plan to be a non-science major, medical schools prefer that most of the prerequisite science classes (especially organic chemistry) are taken at a four-year institution.
  2. Not all medical training programs will accept AP credit as completing the prerequisite course requirement.

Minors

You are not required to have a minor to get into a medical training program, but schools are looking for well-rounded individuals not just scientists. So, having a non-natural science field of expertise is helpful. Possible minors could include Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. If you plan on running your own practice (MD, DDS, DPT), a Business minor could help immensely.  If you plan on obtaining a minor, make your life easier and make sure that some of your minor courses count for General Education credits.

Finally, as the world's populations become more heterogeneous it is a strength to have a second language (a U.S. physician may encounter people that speak Spanish or an Asian language depending on where they practice). American Sign Language also counts as a second language.

Additional Courses to Strengthen Your Background

Below is a list of courses that you might be interested in and would increase your breadth of knowledge. Critical thinking, communication, and writing skills are vital and will come into play on the standardized tests (MCAT, GRE, DAT, PCAT, OAT) and in admissions interviews. Of course, you would not take all of these course but samples from different disciplines would be helpful.  General Education categories, if applicable, are listed next to the course.

ANT 111 - Archaeology and Human Evolution (Social and Behavioral)
ANT 112 - Cultural Anthropology (Social and Behavioral)
CHE 461 - Biochemistry
COM 210 - Critical Thinking and Public Speaking
ECO 101 - Principles of Microeconomics (Social and Behavioral)
ENG 203 - Writing, Rhetoric, and Critical Analysis
ENG 204 - Writing About Literature
ENG 265 - Sophomore Seminar: Studies in Genre
ENG 302 - Advanced Composition
ENG 304 - Literary Criticism
ENG 365 - Junior Seminar: Author
GRT 385 - Research in Applied Gerontology
HDV 120 - Fundamentals of Gerontology (Tolerance and Intolerance)
HIS 100 - The West and the World to 1500 (Western Civilization)
HIS 101 - The West and the World, 1500-1900 (Western Civilization)
HIS 102 - World History in the Twentieth Century
HIS 368 - Issues in American Medicine (Cultures and Civilizations)
HSC 300 - Emergency Medical Technician
PBJ 102 - Introduction to Human Services
PHL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy (Humanities)
PHL 111 - Valid Reasoning I
PHL 205 - Ethics I (Humanities)
PHL 220 - Theory of Knowledge (Humanities)
PHL 308 - Medical Ethics (Self and Society)
PHY 303 - Beginnings of Science (Explorations in the Natural Sciences)
POL 100 - Introduction to Politics (Social and Behavioral Science)
POL 120 - Race & Gender in the US (Tolerance and Intolerance)
POL 205 - American Gov't & Politics (Social and Behavioral Science)
PST 200 - Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
PSY 100 - Principles of Human Behavior (Social and Behavioral Science)
PSY 340 - Social Psychology
PSY 350 - Abnormal Psychology
SOC 100 - Introductory Sociology (Social and Behavioral Science)
SOC 250 - Structures of American Society (Tolerance and Intolerance)
SOC 280 - Social Problems
SOC 367 - The World's Modern Poor (Self and Society)
SOC 383 - Sociology of Aging (Tolerance and Intolerance)