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 solid grades.
For allopathic medical schools (MD degree granting) in 2018, the national average cumulative GPA of matriculated medical school applicants was 3.72 and the science and math GPA of matriculated applicants was 3.65 (AAMC FACTS Table A-16).
For osteopathic medical schools (DO degree granting), in 2017 the national average cumulative GPA for matriculants was 3.53 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*
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, particularly in regard to CHEM 243 and CHEM 245. Due to the MCAT revision in 2015, the next few years will continue to be a period of revision and change in many medical school’s 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 sets aside 5 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 in the table.
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 for fulfill the premedical requirements, such as Bio 201, Bio 203, and other sources in the Biology Department.
- BIO 122 - Cell & Genetics
- BIO 124 - Evolution & Organismal Diversity
- BIO 126 - Physiology & Ecology
||CHEM 244 Lab I
||**CHEM 243 - required by many osteopathic medical schools but few allopathic medical schools
||CHEM 245 Lab II - infrequent requirement for allopathic and osteopathic medical schools
Note that 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
**Note that many medical schools accept 4 semester hours of biochemistry in place of Chem 243 and Chem 245.
1 year (3 quarters of any English course)
Approximately 45% of medical schools either require or strongly recommend coursework in math. Statistics is the more commonly required math course; however, there are some schools that still 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 1 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.
Many medical schools will not accept AP credits in place of actual science courses; 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.
*Subject to change