According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) medical schools may specify a list of courses that are required prior to admission; however, some schools have begun to admit students based on documented competencies. Specific requirements for admission vary from program to program, and from school to school. Students should collaborate with advisors to make sure they are enrolling in common prerequisites.
Typical Minimum Admissions Prerequisites
The AAMC and American Dental Association (ADA) note that typical minimum course requirements for admission to medical and dental programs include the following:
- One year (8 hours) of biology with lab
- One year (8 hours) of physics
- One year (8 hours) of general chemistry with lab
- One year (8 hours) of organic chemistry with lab
- One year (6 hours) of English
In addition to the above requirements, optometry schools require courses in mathematics and other disciplines, according to the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO):
- One year college mathematics
- One or more courses in anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, statistics, and psychology
To find the exact course prerequisites and requirements for each medical, dental, or optometry school, students and their advisors must consult school-specific admissions materials and the websites of professional school associations, including the following:
Courses to Strengthen Professional School Admissions Testing Preparation
Students will benefit from additional coursework as they prepare for the MCAT, which has become broader in disciplinary scope. The following courses should be especially helpful in bolstering MCAT performance:
- Two courses in social and behavioral sciences
- One year of biochemistry
Quantitative reasoning courses (like statistics) and practice in reading comprehension (through study of literature, ethics, or history, for example) can also be helpful in preparing for either the DAT or the OAT.
Please be aware that medical, dental, and optometry schools vary in their acceptance of high school AP courses in satisfying prerequisites.