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Math Major in Medical School

cameronLarsoncameronLarson Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
I am currently a math major, but recently I've decided that I would like to apply to medical school one day. I have read that all majors are OK when applying to medical school, but how would you suggest a math major study for the MCAT when he isn't taking any science related courses? Should he minor in a science such as chemistry or biology, or perhaps double major?

Replies to: Math Major in Medical School

  • bodanglesbodangles Registered User Posts: 8,246 Senior Member
    You need to take the required "premed track" courses alongside your major. For example: http://admissions.med.ufl.edu/admission-requirements/regular-admission-requirements/ These courses include biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, calculus, statistics... Look into it.

    There are some very knowledgeable people here with children who have gone through the process of becoming a doctor and I'm sure they'll weigh in soon, but you can do your own research while you wait.
  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 Registered User Posts: 1,157 Senior Member
    The required premed courses provide the background material for the MCAT. You should have completed these courses prior to MCAT. When it comes to actually prepping for MCAT, students generally either obtain study materials and study on their own, or take a more formalized review course (Princeton review, Kaplan, etc). You shouldn’t expect premed reqs to actually prepare you for MCAT as these courses are just garden variety courses taught at most colleges available to any student. You don't have to minor in any science or double major, just fit in the premed courses into your schedule. If that means waiting to apply at end of senior year as opposed to more "traditional" applying at end of junior year, then wait. Good luck.
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom Registered User Posts: 8,811 Senior Member
    edited June 4
    Had not one, but TWO math major daughters go to med school.

    (One is now a 3rd year resident;the other is now a 4th year med student.)

    Students need to broaden their science & non-science backgrounds if they want to be competitive medical school applicant--coursework in chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, cellular biology, humanities, English, social sciences...

    All medical schools have admission requirements. Those used to be a defined set of courses, but now it's more a set of competencies.

    Here are some examples of the expected competencies:

    UChicago (https://pritzker.uchicago.edu/page/entrance-requirements)
    Biology Competencies
    Gene expression, Cell Structure & Organization, Metabolism, Membrane Receptors, Signal Transduction & Signaling Pathways, Reproduction, Differentiation, Basic Physiology, Immunology
    The Biology Competencies will typically be satisfied through a one-year college biology course with lab. Advanced biology coursework will also satisfy these requirements where an applicant has tested out of first-year college biology.

    Chemistry Competencies
    Applicants must have a familiarity with biochemistry, which in turn requires a background in general and organic chemistry.
    Applicants will typically satisfy this requirement after completing one semester of organic chemistry and one semester of biochemistry, or a year-long integrated organic/biochemistry course, including one semester of lab.

    Physics Competencies
    Mechanics, Electricity, Magnetism, Optics, Thermodynamics, Quantum Theory, Nuclear Theory
    The Physics Competencies will typically be satisfied through a one-year college physics with lab sequence. Interdisciplinary courses with biological relevance are encouraged when available. Advanced placement may also satisfy these competencies.

    Mathematics Competencies
    The ability to organize, analyze, and evaluate data is vital to medical and scientific education and investigation.
    The Mathematics Competencies will typically be satisfied through a college course in statistics or biomathematics. Coursework integrating biology, statistics and epidemiology with an emphasis on data analysis is encouraged.

    Humanities Competencies
    Applicants should develop general cultural competence and showevidence of liberal arts exploration.
    The Humanities Competencies will typically be satisfied through 6 semester hours of college coursework in the arts, humanities, social sciences or language. Some fluency in a foreign language is encouraged, but not required.

    Writing & Analysis Competencies
    Applicants should be able to analyze sources of evidence,develop a thesis, and support an argument logically with appropriate attribution.
    The Writing & Analysis Competencies will typically be satisfied through one year of coursework emphasizing writing and analysis,which may be in applied or basic sciences or humanities. Where appropriate,writing coursework may also satisfy the Humanities competencies.

    Duke (https://medschool.duke.edu/education/student-services/office-admissions/admissions-process/academic-expectations)
    Biochemistry: May be fulfilled by a single course in Biochemistry, or through coursework which incorporates principles of Biochemistry as part of an interdisciplinary course in Cell and/or Molecular Biology and/or Genetics.

    Cellular Biology: May be fulfilled by a single course in Cell and/or Molecular Biology and/or Genetics.

    Statistics/Biostatistics: An understanding of the application of statistical methods in the analysis of data is expected given the increasing reliance on current biomedical and healthcare research as part of the curriculum.

    Physics: An understanding of the correlation of basic physics to human physiology and anatomy (e.g. physics and/or biophysics) should be completed. Labs are optional.

    Sociology: An introduction to the principles of social organization, with particular emphasis on the social determinants of healthcare is expected

    Psychology: An introduction to the basic principles of psychology with emphasis on the biological basis of behavior are recommended.

    Expository Writing: Experience in expository writing across the humanities, including but not limited to formal courses in English, is a fundamental expectation in the preparation for medicine. This may be accomplished through coursework in a number of disciplines, including but not limited to Philosophy, History, Public Policy, Political Science, Religion, etc. and may be accomplished through an Honors Thesis or completion of a major research paper.


    Jugulator is correct. Justing having the coursework won't prepare your child for the MCAT. He needs to know the background material (physics, chem, biochem, psych, soc, stats, cell bio, genetics, etc) AND how the exam is structured. (He'll prepare on his own for the latter by doing practice exam section and practice full length exams.)

    While your son can certainly double major or minor in bio or chem, it's not necessary to do. One D doubled major in a biology field + math. (And BTW--she had 3 or 4 of job offers when she graduated from college. Very nice plan B options!) One D doubled majored in physics & math (w/ chem minor) and picked up 2 (3 maybe?) upper level bio classes to fulfill bio requirements for med school. (human anatomy, cellular bio)

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