right arrow
Informational Message Stay on top of the information you need to navigate the admissions process amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We've got articles, videos and forum discussions that provide answers to all of your test prep, admissions and college search questions.   Visit our COVID-19 resource page.

Introducing Kai!
Your College Confidential guide bot.


Kai can provide tips and support as you research and apply to colleges, and explore majors and careers.





Chat with Kai
here, 24/7!


or Skip Forever

Finding the right college for your unique situation can be challenging. Hear from other students who shared their admissions story. Download our FREE Student Voices - vol. 1, Student Voices - vol. 2, Student Voices - vol. 3, and Student Voices - vol. 4 eBooks NOW!
In an exclusive AMA for College Confidential, Gaelle Pierre-Louis, a former college admissions officer, reveals surprising insights on the elite college application process. ASK HER ANYTHING!
PARENTS4PARENTS: With the deadlines for ED/EA coming up shortly, thumper1 and happymomof1 will be answering questions and sharing their tips on how to build your college list. ASK THEM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our October Checklist for HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.

Physics calculus based?

trackmbe3trackmbe3 740 replies21 threads Member
Does anyone know if med schools prefer physics be calculus based instead of algebra based?
8 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Physics calculus based?

  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1275 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Are you trying to avoid calculus? If so, why?
    · Reply · Share
  • RefreshingGelRefreshingGel 28 replies0 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2018
    Most med schools don't have a preference. Only rare programs like Harvard HST requires calc based physics.
    edited December 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • trackmbe3trackmbe3 740 replies21 threads Member
    No. The reason I ask is that Physics is offered either based on algebra or calculus. Pre-med students need to choose which one? Is calculus based physics considered more rigorous and therefore med schools recommend that over algebra based physics? Is one an easier course than another? Pre-med students need to maintain high gpa so if med schools don’t care which physics is taken, it would seem that one should choose the easier of the two types of physics courses.
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 84965 replies758 threads Senior Member
    Pre-meds can choose a physics course suitable for biology majors. Depending on the college, this may have no calculus or light calculus, or (rarely) be the same as for physics and engineering majors with heavy calculus (usually multivariable calculus for E&M).

    If you know calculus well, physics may be easier to understand with calculus.
    · Reply · Share
  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 11119 replies239 threads Senior Member
    There are a handful of med schools that require calculus based physics— Harvard HST, JHU, UWash... but most med schools don’t specify a preference. You can take whatever course you choose.

    Calc based physics will be more “difficult” only because it requires a higher level of math competency. But Calc based physics may be easier and more accessible (make more sense) than algebra based physics assuming you have mastered the math involved.
    · Reply · Share
  • HamurtleHamurtle 2740 replies36 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    Depends on the undergraduate institution. Science majors at son’s school cannot take algebra based physics-they have to take calculus based. Although there is one sequence geared towards Engineering and Physics majors and another towards the other natural sciences (Biology and Chemistry) majors. However there is actually little difference between the 2 sequences and Physics majors can use the other sequence to fulfill their requirements.

    Definitely check the list of your prospective medical schools to see which version of Physics is required/accepted.
    edited December 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • retiredfarmerretiredfarmer 1275 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Physics and calculus are made for each other. If you are comfortable with math, I would take the calculus based physics course. I concur with "ucalumnus," but I know nothing about med school expectations.
    · Reply · Share
  • momocarlymomocarly 1066 replies12 threads Senior Member
    As others have said it depends on where you want to go and the requirements of your degree. S who is pre vet and gf who is pre-med both took algebra based and did great. Fine for their degrees and fine with schools they are applying to.
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity