A decision to pursue a career in medicine requires determination, hard work, and personal sacrifice. Students need to commit a great deal of time to their academic, research, and volunteer activities. The development of organizational and interpersonal skills is also a necessity. The first step is taking the required courses and achieving excellent grades.
For allopathic medical schools (MD degree granting) in 2019, the national average cumulative GPA of matriculated medical school applicants was 3.73 and the science and math GPA of matriculated applicants was 3.66 (AAMC FACTS Table A-16).
For osteopathic medical schools (DO degree granting), in 2018 the national average cumulative GPA for matriculants was 3.54 and the national average science GPA was 3.43. (AACOM General Admissions Requirements)
Note that allopathic and osteopathic medical schools include different categories of courses within their respective science GPA calculations.
In 2015, the AAMC implemented a revised MCAT that now includes concepts from biochemistry, statistics, and behavioral sciences (psychology and sociology) in addition to the core concepts covered in general and organic chemistry, biology, and physics. In response to the revised MCAT and to an AAMC/HHMI report on pre-medical and medical education, many medical schools have made changes to their prerequisite courses. For example, some medical schools now require coursework in biochemistry and statistics. Several medical schools, however, have replaced their prerequisite course list with a "competency-based" set of admissions recommendations. The Drexel University College of Medicine has adopted this competency-based approach, and their admissions website provides a good overview of the competency-based admissions process. In fact, many medical schools in Philadelphia and the mid-Atlantic region now have a competency-based set of admission recommendations instead of specific courses.
Health Professions Committee Recommendations for Medical School Admission
Please note, the following is subject to change.
The science courses listed below will meet the admissions requirements for most medical schools that have a specific list of prerequisite courses. Individual medical schools vary in their required courses. Due to the MCAT revision in 2015, the next few years will continue to be a period of revision and change in many medical schools' course requirements.
It is important for students to meet with the Drexel pre-health advisor periodically to discuss the pre-medical requirements and changes to requirements that may arise during their time in college.
A student's state of residency is an important factor in the medical school admissions process. At many state schools, most of the places in the medical school class are reserved for in-state residents. Some states do not have public medical schools; however, these states may have arranged contract positions at medical schools in other states. For example, through the DIMER program, the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (formerly Jefferson Medical College), sets aside up to 20 places in each medical school class for Delaware residents, and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine also sets aside 10 seats. For students from western states without allopathic medical schools (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), it is possible to apply for admission to selected western medical schools through the WICHE Professional Student Exchange Program or the WWAMI program at the University of Washington.
The following list of courses are recommendations for preparing for the MCAT and meeting the admissions requirements at most medical schools. Due to variations in premedical requirements at medical school across the United States, this list should be considered as a general guide. Please note that some medical schools have additional course requirements in the sciences beyond those listed below.
Most medical schools require one year of biology with associated lab experience. Below is the most common biology sequence taken by premedical students; however, engineering majors may take BIO 122 or BIO 141 and then have options for other biology courses to fulfill the premedical requirements, such as BIO 201, BIO 203, and other courses in the Biology Department. Note: BIO 122 will only be offered in the spring quarter for engineering majors.
- BIO 131: Cells and Molecules and BIO 134: Cells and Molecules Lab
- BIO 132: Genetics and Evolution and BIO 135: Genetics and Evolution Lab
- BIO 133: Physiology and Ecology and BIO 136: Anatomy and Ecology Lab
||CHEM 244 Lab I
||**CHEM 243 - required by some osteopathic medical schools but few allopathic medical schools
||CHEM 245 Lab II - infrequent requirement for allopathic and osteopathic medical schools
Notes on organic chemistry credit hours:
Chem 241 = 4 quarter units = 2.7 semester hours
- Chem 242 = 4 quarter units = 2.7 semester hours
- Chem 244 = 3 quarter units = 2.0 semester hours
Drexel students who complete Chem 241, Chem 242, and Chem 244 have the equivalent of 7.4 semester hours of organic chemistry credit, of which one course is a 2-semester hour equivalent laboratory course.
Chemistry majors will take the chem majors' sequence of inorganic and organic chemistry courses and their associated labs.
|Bio or Non-Bio Majors
||Chemistry and Engineering majors
All majors — BIO 311 Biochemistry
Note that BIO 306 is highly recommended in order to meet the total credit units required for biochemistry at many medical schools. Many medical schools require 3-4 semester hours of coursework in biochemistry.
- Bio 311 = 4 quarter units = 2.7 semester hours
- Bio 306 = 2 quarter units = 1.3 semester hours
- One year (3 quarters of any English course)
Approximately 45 percent of medical schools either require or strongly recommend coursework in math. Statistics is the more commonly required math course; however, there are still a few schools that require coursework in calculus. Many majors at Drexel have statistics courses as part of the major requirements.
Note that Drexel premedical students who are Texas residents should consult with Pre-health Advisor about math courses as Texas state medical schools in the TMDSAS system have very specific requirements regarding math course requirements.
Many medical schools require one year (3 quarters) of course work in behavioral and social sciences. Recommended courses to prepare for the MCAT and meet this requirement: PSYCH 101, SOC 235 and courses in ethics, bioethics, or other courses in psychology and sociology.
Notes on AP/IB credits and Two-Year College Credits:
If you are waived from certain courses (e.g., English or mathematics courses), they may count toward the prerequisites for many medical schools.
For science courses, many medical schools view the AP credit as advanced placement credit, not as a substitute for taking science courses during college. These medical schools often require that the student take upper-level science courses to supplement the AP credit.
Courses completed at a four-year school are generally favored over courses from a community college. Students who complete the premedical courses at community colleges are advised to take some upper-level science courses at Drexel for additional preparation for medical school.