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When people imagine a doctor, they are usually thinking of a physician trained in allopathic medicine (MD). Allopathic physician responsibilities usually include diagnosing disease, supervising the care of patients, and prescribing treatments. MDs complete a four-year academic program before pursuing an internship and residency. A residency may take three to nine additional years of medical education.

Osteopathic doctors (DOs) carry out the same responsibilities as allopathic doctors but with a bit different philosophy, sometimes described as “total body medicine.” More specifically, they use additional treatments, like manipulative therapy, in addition to more traditional allopathic treatments. This degree involves four years of study and a subsequent one-year internship. If an individual desires a specialty, she or he pursues a two- to six-year residency. The majority of osteopathic doctors practice in a primary-care setting, especially family practice.

Preparation for medical school requires taking particular courses, sitting for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and choosing a degree. Here you will find information on these components of pre-medicine as well as other helpful websites related to the field of medicine.

Following a “pre-med” route means meeting particular course requirements that prepare you for the MCAT and being a medical student. Pre-medicine is not a major!

You do not have to major in the sciences to be admitted to medical school. Check out the Association of American Medical Colleges' Aspiring Docs program for more information and resources on becoming a doctor.


Many medical schools require the following coursework for admission. However, different schools may have different pre-requisite coursework so be sure to check with individual schools about their admission requirements.


Biological Sciences


Some medical schools require at least 8 credits of introductory biology and at least 4 additional intermediate or advanced biology credits. At Edgewood, we recommend the following Biological Sciences courses for a pre-med route:

  • Bio 151 General Biology: Cell Biology and Ecology (or)
  • Bio 181 Honors General Biology: Cell Biology and Ecology
  • Bio 152 General Biology: Genetics and Evolution (or)
  • Bio 182 Information Flow in Living Systems – Honors
  • Bio 210 Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Bio 211 Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Bio 312 Microbiology
  • Bio 401 Genetics

Additional 400-level Biological Sciences courses may be useful for admission to and success in medical school. These include but are not limited to:

  • Bio 402 Cell and Molecular Biology (offered even falls)
  • Bio 406 Medical Microbiology (offered odd springs)
  • Bio 408 Immunology
  • Bio 410 Pathology


Behavioral Sciences


In alignment with the changes to the 2015 MCAT, we recommend taking an introductory psychology and sociology course. At Edgewood, these courses are:

  • Psy 101 General Psychology
  • Soc 201 Introduction to Sociology




Some medical schools require at least one semester of biochemistry in addition to general and organic chemistry coursework. At Edgewood College, students must complete one year of general chemistry and one year of organic chemistry before enrolling in biochemistry. Here is the sequence of courses at Edgewood:

  • Chem 120 General Chemistry I
  • Chem 121 General Chemistry II
  • Chem 321 Organic Chemistry I
  • Chem 323 Organic Chemistry II
  • Chem 340 Biochemistry




Most medical schools require mathematics and/or statistics. Most medical schools do NOT require Calculus, but we highly recommend you successfully complete a Calculus course. We advise that you take at least one math course and one course in statistics, such as:

  • Math 114A Precalculus A: Algebra
  • Math 114B Precalculus B: Trigonometry
  • Math 231 Calculus I
  • Math 121 Statistics




Most medical schools require 6 credits of English, or literature taught in English, and emphasize composition.




Many medical schools require a one-year physics sequence with labs. At Edgewood we recommend either of the following two sequences (the second-sequence, Phys 201 and 202, is calculus-based):

  • Phys 130 and 131 General Physics I and II
  • Phys 201 and 202 College Physics I and II

The UW-Madison’s MD Degree Program Admissions Guide states that the average science GPA for the entering class of 2012 was a 3.67 for science courses, and 3.71 overall.

Please remember, at Edgewood College, the Biological Sciences major requires courses in botany, zoology, and ecology in addition to human biology course requirements.

Relevant tests

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is required by all medical schools. It tests knowledge of physical science, biological science, and verbal reasoning, including a writing sample. A fee assistance program is available.

Students often take the test between April and August of their junior year to apply to medical schools for admission in the fall after graduation.

The MCAT will be changing in 2015. More information on the new MCAT for students is available here.