Questions About Other Prehealth Requirements

Will MAT 100 satisfy premed math requirements?

it depends on the school and how strict they are in their interpretation of prerequisites. For starters, many schools with a math requirement simply want "two semesters of math" (not necessarily calc), so for those schools, MAT 100 + stats will suffice. For the handful of schools that still require calculus, if any of those schools are your public state school or a school of interest, you could reach out to them directly, provide a copy of the course description, and see if the course will suffice.

Is it okay to forego taking Calculus and just apply to schools where there’s no math prerequisite?

As long as you’re comfortable with the limitations, then it’s fine to focus on the schools where you’d meet the prerequisites. In fact, you could even apply to some schools that do have a math requirement and, if you were accepted, you’d be expected to take the math course before enrolling—schools are generally willing to consider your application if you have one or two prerequisite courses that you haven’t taken yet as long as you have a plan to take them prior to enrolling. This comes up from time to time with schools with strict AP credit policies, or that require extra advanced biology courses (like the Texas system) or non-science courses (like Johns Hopkins), which requires six courses in humanities/social sciences). We do recommend that you ensure that you’re eligible for your public state medical schools, but beyond that, it’s fine to make plans that will still allow you to craft a reasonable school list without taking a certain prerequisite.

I placed out of MAT 103. Will it look bad to medical schools if I don't take advanced math classes at Princeton?

There is no evidence to suggest that medical schools favor applicants who have done more calculus, nor that they “view negatively” those who have not done so. We do recommend a statistics class because medical students and physicians sometimes report that background in statistics is useful, statistical reasoning is part of the MCAT, and more and more schools are requiring or recommending stats.

If you had a serious interest in math, or you're considering a concentration that requires more math, then you should continue pursuing it. Otherwise, enjoy the extra space in your schedule and explore another interest!­

I was placed in MAT 104, but I’m not sure that my high school prepared me well enough for the course and I’d like to take MAT 103. Will this look bad for medical schools?

It’s important during the next few days to think critically about all of your courses, especially those based on placement recommendations, and be sure that you’re comfortable with them before the add/drop deadline. If you have any doubts, don’t hesitate to check in with your Director of Studies or any of your other advisers (including HPA advisers)!

If you have AP credit for MAT 103 and confirmation from the placement test, there’s really no need to take MAT 104 unless you know that you’ll need more calculus for other courses you plan to take or for potential concentrations. At most, medical schools will require a combination of calculus and statistics, so we’d recommend that you stick with your AP Calc credit plus a semester of statistics later on. If there are math concepts that you’d like to review because they apply to other classes, like Chemistry or Physics, be sure to check out the options offered through the McGraw Center (especially Group Study Hall), and don’t be afraid to approach your faculty during office hours to see if they have other suggestions for you.  

Are there any medical schools that require Calc II or higher math?

Over recent years, medical schools have moved away from requiring Calculus 2 (MAT 104 at Princeton) and have been encouraging statistics. Statistical reasoning skills are required for the MCAT, and we only know of one track within one MD program that requires additional math (the HST curriculum at Harvard, which also requires calculus-based physics and is quantitatively focused; the Pathways program is the more traditional curriculum). Carle Illinois College of Medicine is specifically an engineering-focused medical school and they have an advanced math requirement, but you can also work around it (and you may not be that interested in Carle if you're not already BSE and therefore taking advanced math)

While we recommend that students take additional advanced courses in preparation for medical school if they place out of Biology, Chemistry, and/or Physics, we have never seen a medical school that expected students to supplement AP Calculus credit beyond taking the statistics course that we encourage. You can always check with schools individually (especially your public state schools, since we encourage you to stay eligible for those schools), but you shouldn’t have a problem with AP Calc + Stats.

Can MAT 175 satisfy the premed math requirement?

Since the course has a calculus (MAT 103) prerequisite, if you have AP credit or have taken MAT 103, that will satisfy the med school calculus requirement. If you opt to take MAT 175 without transcript credit for another calculus course, we would still expect that a medical school would accept the course. The course name doesn't reference calculus, so a medical school with a calculus prerequisite may not recognize the course content. If a school tells you that you haven't met their requirements based on this course, we can help you craft an appeal. Since the course description mentions that it's a survey of multivariable calculus and you use a calculus text book for the course, that should suffice.

Is there a specific statistics course that HPA recommends for premed requirements?

Nope! Take whatever stats course makes sense based on your concentration and interests. We haven't had any trouble with medical schools accepting any of our stats courses.

Is it okay to take my premed stats class in my first year? I know HPA usually puts it in sophomore year on their suggested timelines.

The one drawback to taking stats on the early side is that you may take one stats course, then later fall in love with a department that requires a different stats course. There's nothing wrong with taking two stats courses, of course, but you also only have a limited number of classes to take, so we tend to recommend holding off on stats until you're fairly sure about your concentration to avoid duplication of efforts.

I'm applying to some schools that have a Psychology requirement Are there any courses you'd recommend that would also help with MCAT prep?

No specific class will cover all of the topics that will be tested in this section of the exam, nor are you required to take classes to prepare for it. Whether or not you take psychology classes, you'll study the specific material via self-studying and/or a prep course. In addition to the many commercial test prep companies, the AAMC has teamed with Khan Academy to create free test materials, which include psyc/soc topics.

So, the short answer to your question is: any psychology or sociology course will give you familiarity with some of the concepts that will be tested on the MCAT and if you’re interested in the course topics, they are fine courses to take.  

I heard that more schools are requiring psychology, sociology, and even humanities courses. is this true?

As of Fall 2021, about 30 schools require courses in the social/behavioral sciences and/or humanities, which you will most likely fulfill with your distribution requirements. Usually, schools with this requirement will ask for one or two courses in these areas; the most that we have seen required is four courses at Johns Hopkins (plus the two semesters of English that you are already taking for other schools’ requirements) and five at Emory. We've compiled a spreadsheet where we've outlined unusual requirements linked from our prerequisites webpage.