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What should a premed major in?

bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
edited November 2013 in Pre-Med Topics
What kind of majors am I allowed to have? Do I have to major in pre-med?

Usually, in fact, it is impossible for you to major in "pre-med". Usually, premeds major in biology, but this is by no means required! In fact, you are allowed to major in whatever you like.

Wow, anything? But surely some majors have better admissions rates, right?

See for yourself:
From MSAR 2005:
Applicants:
Math and Statistics (<1%)
Specialized Health Sciences (<4%)
Humanities (<4%)
Social Sciences (11.2%)
Physical Sciences (11.7%)
Other (11.8%)
Biological Sciences (57.6%)

Accepted Applicants:
Math and Statistics (<1%)
Specialized Health Sciences (<4%)
Humanities (<5%)
Social Sciences (11.9%)
Physical Sciences (12.9%)
Other (10.7%)
Biological Sciences (56.8%)
Most people interpret this result to mean that "your major doesn't matter", and I agree with that interpretation. Still, decide for yourself.

I would urge you to remember two things:
1.) This is including variation in MCAT scores and GPA - that is, this does not control for those. In other words, if chem majors have lower GPAs than English majors, then that does not adversely affect either group.
2.) Now, medical schools overall may not prefer any major, but some specific medical schools - or even tiers of medical schools - might. There is no evidence available on this subject. I do not believe this to be the case, but I can't disprove it, and so I wanted to make that clear.

But don't some majors prepare me better for medical school? Won't an art major be behind, since he'll only know the basics of biology and chemistry?
bluedevilmike:The thing is that medical school only requires the basics in biology and chemistry. A little more - maybe three extra classes of biology - would be helpful, but a major is overkill.

schritzo:It doesn't really matter. You learn a lot of the stuff in med school.

Bigredmed: You will learn it all again... It should be readily apparent that bio is the most transferable major to medical school. However, a bio major is likely to require courses in zoology, botany, and biodiversity at a minimum. There will be many classes that have no correlation to human phys/bio/anatomy within most bio major course sets.

If you take a course in genetics, 2 semesters of biochem, and cell bio, then you will have covered any extra bio that might show up in med school. In my undergrad biochem course we had to know all the steps, intermediates and structure of molecules in glycolysis, the TCA cycle and oxidative phosphorylation, as well as the regulatory molecules for the important steps. For med school, we only had to know the regulatory steps, the molecules that served as part of the regulatory mechanism, and the overall purpose and goal of the entire process. No structures, no steps.

I would reccomend biochem, genetics and physiology as extra bio/other science courses to take beyond the general requirements.

If a bio major is excessive, then perhaps I should major in something like nursing or physical therapy - that would be most direct, right?
my$0.02: While any major, including art or architecture, can lead to medical school admission, a "serious" major will likely serve you better (for example, Biochemistry vs. exercise biology). Mean MCAT scores for various majors are reported at http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/e...ata/sum2005.pdf. Note that "Specialized Health Services" majors score, on average, the worst of all majors.

Quotes from http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=205486
Post edited by bluedevilmike on
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Replies to: What should a premed major in?

  • taekwondo39232taekwondo39232 Posts: 243Registered User Junior Member
    dude...nice post
  • taekwondo39232taekwondo39232 Posts: 243Registered User Junior Member
    the aamc.org link is awry.......
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    Try this one: (The "..." broke up the link when I copied and pasted.)
    http://www.aamc.org/students/mcat/examineedata/sum2005.pdf
  • my$0.02my$0.02 Posts: 902Registered User Member
    About 40% of medical schools have formal math requirements, though the specific requirements range from one semester of math to two semesters of calculus. Statistics or even computer science meet math requirements at some, but not all, medical schools.

    Medical School Admissions Requirements, published each spring by AAMC lists general and specific admissions requirements.

    See the MSAR 2007 math requirements table posted at the Bryn Mawr pre-med advising website.
    http://www.brynmawr.edu/healthpro/documents/MedSchoolList2007MathiReqs.pdf
  • ERI104ERI104 Posts: 35Registered User Junior Member
    do you know if harvard is one of those medical schools?
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    Dude, he put the link for you right there.
  • norcalguynorcalguy Posts: 7,548Registered User Senior Member
    The problem with being so helpful is that these pre-frosh have become so damn lazy. How many times do we have to answer these questions?

    "What classes do we have to take?"

    "Do we have to take math?"

    "When do you take the MCAT?"

    "What's the MCAT out of?"

    "What should I major in?"

    It's clear most of these people haven't spent more than 5 minutes researching.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    Bump thread.
  • theslowclaptheslowclap Posts: 551Registered User Member
    wow... nice post. I give you the honorary slow clap.
  • socalboysocalboy Posts: 19Registered User New Member
    nice thread. thanks guys. you may have to sticky this so people dont keep asking the same ol' questions.
  • bluedevilmikebluedevilmike Posts: 11,964Registered User Senior Member
    If only we had that authority...
  • shawn829shawn829 Posts: 174Registered User Junior Member
    i actually do
  • fooshyfooshy Posts: 373- Member
    You'll find that regardless, about the same percent of students get accepted from each major each year...

    - fooshy
  • chancemechanceme Posts: 57Registered User Junior Member
    What sort of majors are grouped under "Biological Sceinces?"

    I thought Biomedical Engineering might be one, but my dad does not think it is for some reason. help please?
  • garnetgarnet Posts: 48Registered User Junior Member
    I think I want to major in Spanish, but if bio will make med school easier to digest, I would definitely take that under consideration. My understanding is that med school bypasses undergrad so quickly, it's not really worth majoring in bio. How helpful would it be to major in human bio if you were able to take courses like these:

    BIBC 102. Metabolic Biochemistry (4)
    BICD 100. Genetics (4)
    BICD 110. Cell Biology (4)
    BICD 111. Cell Biology Laboratory (6)
    BICD 118. Pathways of Intracellular Protein Trafficking and Compartmentation (4)
    BICD 134. Human Reproduction and Development (4)
    BICD 136. AIDS Science and Society (4)
    BICD 140. Immunology (4)
    BICD 150. Endocrinology (4)
    BIMM 100. Molecular Biology (4)
    BIMM 110. Molecular Basis of Human Disease (4)
    BIMM 114. Virology (4)
    BIMM 118. Pharmacology (4)
    BIMM 120. Bacteriology (4)
    BIMM 124. Medical Microbiology (4)
    BIMM 130. Microbial Physiology (4)
    BIMM 132. Molecular Biology of Human Retroviruses (4)
    BIMM 134. Biology of Cancer (4)
    BIPN 100. Mammalian Physiology I (4)
    BIPN 102. Mammalian Physiology II (4)
    BIPN 105. Animal Physiology Lab (6)
    BIPN 140. Cellular Neurobiology (4)
    BIPN 142. Systems Neurobiology (4)
    BIPN 144. Developmental Neurobiology (4)
    BIPN 145. Neurobiology Laboratory (6)
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