Pre-Medical Requirements

Health Professions Advising

Lin Aanonsen
O.T. Walter Professor of Biology
Director of Health Professions Advising

651-696-6470
Patty Byrne Pfalz
Administrative Assistant

651-696-6442
  • While you are at Macalester, you will be assigned to an HPAC advisor. The HPAC advisors are faculty members who will serve as your pre-med advisor - talk to this person early and often! (This person does not take the place of your academic advisor in your major.) Your pre-med advisor will help guide through your academic path to medical school.
  • As a pre-med student you can major in anything you want. With the guidance of your pre-med advisor you will fulfill all of your pre-med course requirements. Fulfill medical school entrance requirements for the medical school you plan to attend. Most frequently, this is the state university in the state in which you hold residency.
  • There are many opportunities to connect with alumni in the medical field. We also offer internship opportunities, speaker panels, and more. It is important to check your e-mail often for events related to the health professions.

Virtually All Medical Schools Require

  • One year of General Chemistry (You may test out of General Chemistry I and take only General Chemistry II and still fulfill this requirement)
  • One year of Organic Chemistry + lab
  • One year of Physics + lab
  • Biology (Commonly 2 semesters - But we recommend 3 including Cell Biology, Genetics and one additional course.)
  • Demonstrated interest and experience in health care

Most (> 50%) Medical Schools Require

  • English (Commonly two semesters)
  • Math through Calculus I

Many Medical Schools Also Require

  • Specific, upper level science courses (e.g. Biochemistry)
  • Specific courses in the Humanities and/or Social Sciences (e.g. Developmental Psychology)
  • Unspecified coursework in the Humanities and/or Social Sciences (usually fulfilled by Macalester distribution requirements)

Medical Schools are moving toward requiring competencies rather than specific courses. This will be a gradual shift and is reflected in requirement changes at the University of Minnesota Medical School (see below). For now we recommend you adhere to the courses above with an eye to specific medical schools. Your Macalester College liberal arts education will serve you well in meeting these requirements.

Examples From Medical Schools Frequently Attended by Macalester Students

The University of Minnesota (Twin Cities - Public)

  • Biology with lab
  • Biological sciences coursework with emphasis on general principles, cell biology and/or physiology (1 semester)
  • Chemistry with lab
  • General or Organic Chemistry (1 semester)
         Life sciences (additional courses)
  • Biology, genetics, zoology, botany, parasitology, biochemistry, chemistry (general or organic, but must be in addition to the general or organic chemistry listed above), physics, etc. At least 2 must be upper-level courses (4 semesters)
  • Humanities or social sciences
  • Humanities or social sciences upper-level course, with an intensive writing requirement. (1 semester)
  • See the University of Minnesota Medical School website for recommended courses

Washington University (St. Louis, MO - Private)

  • Biological Sciences with lab (2 semesters)
  • General Chemistry with lab (2 semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with lab (2 semesters)
  • Physics with lab (2 semesters)
  • Calculus I and II

Planning Your Four Years At Macalester

The following recommendations can help you make the most of your time at Macalester College. Beginning sequential courses in the sciences in your first year is very helpful if you are considering completing study in a different country.

Recommendation I

  • General Chemistry I (Chem 111) and II (Chem 112) (or just Chem 115)
  • Organic Chemistry I (Chem 211) and II (Chem 212)
  • Principles of Physics I (Phys 226) and II (Phys 227)
  • Applied Calculus (Math 135) and Single Variable Calculus (Math 137)
  • Genetics (Biol 260), Cell Biology (Biol 265), Cell Biology & Genetics Lab (Bio 255)
    [The lab is to be taken once, concurrently with either Cell Biology or Genetics.]
  • Biochemistry I (Biol/Chem 351)
  • Summer and/or Academic Year Internships or Volunteer Positions in Health Care
  • Go to Medical School Immediately After College

Consequences and Realities:

  • You must take three subjects for a full year (General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and Physics).
  • The only Physics offered at Macalester during the academic year requires Applied Calculus and Single Variable Calculus, at least taken concurrently.
  • To attend medical school immediately after graduation, we recommend that you take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in April of your Junior Year.
  • You need to have all your science prerequisites completed before you take the MCAT (Verbal Reasoning, Biological Science, Physical Sciences and a Writing Sample).
  • You would then apply for medical school during the summer before your Senior Year.

Your schedule might look something like this:

Fall Term
Spring Term
Summer
FY

General Chem I
Genetics

General Chem II
Applied Calculus

Soph

Organic Chem I
Cell Biology

Cell Biology & Genetics Lab
Health Volunteer

Organic Chem II
Single Variable Calculus
Health Volunteer

Health Internship

 

 

Jr

Physics I
Biochemistry I
Health Volunteer

Physics II
MCAT
Health Volunteer

Summer Research

Sr

Apply to Medical School and Interview

0Get into Medical School

RELAX

Grad

Start Medical School

 

Considerations for this type of schedule:

  • To avoid taking more than two science/math classes at once, you need to start fall term of your FY taking two sciences.
  • If you wish to study abroad, the only good semester to do it is Fall of your senior year. You can get your application completed during the summer, but when medical schools want to interview you, they will have to wait until you return from abroad.

Recommendation II

  • Same coursework, internships and volunteer work as previously stated.
  • Go to Medical School after 1–2 year hiatus after college. NOTE: Waiting does not put you at a disadvantage in the medical school admissions process and, depending on how you spend your time, might help you.  We highly recommend this option.

Consequences and Realities:

  • You can take the MCAT in April of your Senior Year (or later if you wish to wait more than one year).
  • You can study abroad as a Junior (the typical time students study abroad) without any potentially negative consequences.
  • You can space your science courses out a bit more and have some terms with only one science class (e.g. the terms you take Organic Chemistry).
Your schedule would look something like this:
Fall Term
Spring Term
Summer
FY

General Chem I
Genetics

General Chem II

Soph

Organic Chem I
Cell Biology
Cell Biology & Genetics Lab
Health Volunteer

Organic Chem II
Applied Calculus
Health Volunteer

Health
Internship

Jr

Biochemistry I
Health Volunteer

Study Abroad

Summer Research

Sr

Physics I
Biochemistry
Health Volunteer

Physics II
Single Variable Calculus
Health Volunteer
MCAT

Grad I

Work/Volunteer

Work/Volunteer

Grad II

Work/Volunteer or Enter Med School

Recommendation III

  • Same course work and experience as previously stated with the following exceptions:
    Take non-calculus-based physics (Phys 221 & 222 or equivalent) over the summer at Macalester from a superb instructor (Dr. Kim) for additional fees or take it at any accredited university in the United States.
    This means you do not have to take calculus.  Most medical schools do not require calculus-based physics
  • General Chem I (Chem 111) and II (Chem 112) (or just Chem 115)
  • Organic Chem I (Chem 211) and II (Chem 212)
  • Introductory Physics I (Phy 221) and II (Phy 222) in the Summer
  • Required Math Course (Calculus, Stats)
  • Genetics (Biol 260), Cell Biology (Biol 265), Cell Biology & Genetics Lab (Bio 255)
  • Summer and/or Academic Year Internships or Volunteer Positions in Health Care
  • Go to Medical School Immediately After College

Consequences and Realities:

  • If your likely Medical Schools do not require Calculus I and/or II, and you take non-calculus based physics (Introductory Physics I (Phys 221) and II (Phys 222) in the Summer) you do not have to take Calculus.
  • You can study abroad as a junior because you are not taking a two-semester course that year. Therefore, you will be in the country when you apply to medical school.
Your schedule would look something like this:
Fall Term
Spring Term
Summer
FY

General Chem I

General Chem II
Genetics

Soph

Organic Chem I
Cell Biology
Cell Biology & Genetics Lab
Health Volunteer

Organic Chem II
Math (Statistics)
Health Volunteer

Physics I and II

Jr

Study Abroad
(Biochemistry I)

MCAT
Health Volunteer

Summer Research/Medical Internship

Sr

Apply to Medical School and Interview
Health Volunteer

Get Accepted into Medical School
Health Volunteer

RELAX

Grad

Begin Medical School

Other Recommended Courses

  • Statistics
  • Bioethics
  • Courses related to the Community & Global Health concentration
  • Critical Thinking

Internships

Community Service