It is necessary to complete the prerequisite coursework prior to entering medical school. These courses are most commonly completed during acquisition of an undergraduate degree, but individuals already in possession of a four-year degree but lacking some or all of the prerequisites can return to a college or university to take additional courses. Medical schools in the United States tend to require the following:
Pursuit of a degree in biology or chemistry is the most common means by which undergraduates prepare for entry into a medical program, but practically any four-year degree can be used as a pre-medical major as long as the degree program includes or is supplemented with the courses medical programs consider to be prerequisites. Surprisingly, the degrees that seem to be the least suitable for those hoping to enter medical school are in nursing and allied health. These degrees tend not to require the math and science courses required for entry into medical school, and the time-consuming nature of the degree programs leaves little opportunity for the inclusion of these classes.
The following course schedule incorporates UAA course numbers and leads to the Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. Courses that serve as prerequisites for medical school (as well as most dental and veterinary medicine programs) are indicated, and these courses could be included in schedules that lead to alternate degrees. It is suggested that entry-level students arrange their first-year schedule around general biology and general chemistry (at UAA, these two-semester series are labeled BIOL 115/116 and CHEM 105/106, respectively). It is strongly recommended that pre-medical students complete general biology, general chemistry, physics, college algebra, trigonometry, and organic chemistry prior to taking the MCAT.
Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences
A total of 120 credits are required for acquisition of a baccalaureate degree, and 42 of these must be upper division credits. A minimum of 30 upper division biology credits is necessary for the B.S. in Biological Sciences.
Professional programs other than those that lead to the MD degree can differ in regard to the prerequisites, and there is less uniformity in comparison to that displayed by medical programs. In order to become suitable applicants to numerous programs, it is important that students examine information provided by each professional school of interest to ensure that the entry requirements of each program are being satisfied by undergraduate coursework.
Undergraduate research experiences-as part of assigned coursework or as independent study-are highly recommended for students interested in careers in the health field. For more information about undergraduate research opportunities at UAA, visit the Opportunities section of this website.
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