Academic Preparation

THE PREPARING GUIDE

For detailed information on requirements for health professional schools, coursework timelines, and other advice to get started on the prehealth path, read Preparing for a Career in the Health Professions.

Basic Requirements for Medical (MD/DO) Schools

General Chemistry:  CHM 201 (or 207) + CHM 202 or CHM 215 (if AP 1 Unit)
Organic Chemistry:  CHM 301 + CHM 302/304
Biology:  EEB 211 + MOL 214 or 215
General Physics:  PHY 101/103 + PHY 102/104/108
Math:  1 semester calc or AP + 1 semester stats (see notes about math below)
Literature/English:  2 semesters English literature/writing (WRI counts as one of these)
Biochemistry:  MOL 345

  • All requirements must be taken for a grade, not PDF (with some exceptions during the pandemic).
  • Alternative sequences (e.g., ISC, EGR) that are accepted as equivalent by departments may be used to fulfill prehealth prerequisites.
  • Taking advanced Biology courses is valued. Consider courses with medical relevance, such as Genetics (MOL 342), Immune Systems (EEB 327), Microbiology (MOL 380).
  • Some schools have additional prerequisites: research schools of interest to check their prerequisites
    • Professional schools may list their prerequisites by required credit hours. One Princeton course = four credit hours (each college/university has its own credit hour system).
  • Schools with no specific course requirements (google doc) focus on expectations for your content knowledge and scientific preparation but leave it to the applicant to choose how to meet these expectations. 
  • About 70% of students attend medical school in their home state of residence. We recommend that you fulfill any requirements for your public state schools.
  • Use the Medical School Admission Requirements, published annually by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to explore admission to various medical schools. Online access is available in our office, or you can purchase your own access directly from the AAMC.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT

Different schools have different policies regarding credit earned through advanced placement (e.g., AP, IB, A-Levels, departmental examinations). Most schools will accept advanced level courses that supplement advanced placement to satisfy requirements. Generally, expect to take at least one advanced course to supplement advanced placement in each discipline except calculus. Read more ...

CALCULUS & STATISTICS

  • If you have AP credit in math, you do not need to take further calculus; your AP in this subject, without more advanced coursework in college, will be accepted. 
  • We strongly encourage all premed students to take one semester of statistics (regardless of AP credit). 
    • About 22 schools now require statistics and basic knowledge of statistics will be needed for the MCAT. 
    • The following statistics courses would be acceptable choices: EEB/MOL 355, ECO 202, ORF 245, POL 345, PSY 251, SML 201, SOC 301, SPI 200, SPI 332.
  • HPA Medical School Math Requirements (google doc)

BIOCHEMISTRY

PSYCHOLOGY AND SOCIOLOGY

Concepts related to the Psychological and Social Foundations of Behavior will be tested on the MCAT. No specific course will align perfectly with the subject matter on the exam. Basic familiarity with concepts in psychology and sociology will be helpful but could be studied outside of formal course work.

ALTERNATIVE INTRODUCTORY SEQUENCES

Integrated Science Curriculum

A few premed students every year--especially those with a strong interest in research--enroll in the Integrated Science Curriculum (ISC). Taking the full year of ISC will fulfill the General Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus requirements for medical school, and part of the Biology requirement. We recommend premed students who complete ISC take at least one (and preferably more) Biology courses, as well as Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Statistics.

EGR 151/153

Since EGR 151/153 are considered equivalent to PHY 103/104, medical schools will accept them as fulfillment of the Physics requirement.

PHY 109/110

Since these courses taken together are considered equivalent to the second semester of Physics, medical schools will accept them in partial fulfillment of the Physics requirement.

HEALTH-RELATED COURSES

Every semester, HPA curates a list of Health-Related & Medically Relevant Courses offered. These courses could broaden your perspective as a future health professional.