• In addition to your academic advisor in your major, while you are at Macalester, you will also have access to health professions advisors. The HPA advisors are faculty members who will help guide you through your academic path at Macalester to your planned post-graduate program (e.g., medical or nursing school, vet school, etc.).  Talk to HPA advisors early and often! As a pre-health student you can major in anything you want. With the guidance of your HPA advisor you will fulfill all of your pre-health course requirements and learn about internships, research opportunities, volunteer work, etc. 
  • If you are thinking about medical school, look into the entrance requirements for the school you would ideally like to attend. This is often, but not always, the state university in the state in which you hold residency. Medical school requirements vary, although we have summarized the most common requirements below. 
  • Most nursing programs require two semesters of chemistry, five courses in biology (typically cell biology, genetics, human anatomy and physiology, and microbiology), developmental psychology, and a nutrition course. These requirements can vary between programs and schools. 
  • There are many opportunities to connect with alumni in various health fields. We offer alumni speaker panels and more. It is important to check your e-mail often for events related to exploring health professions.
  • Considering the numerous pathways into the many different careers in health is an important component of your discernment process. Consult your health professions advisor, your academic and other advisors, on-line resources, and your peers and alumni. Get involved in the Health Professions Student Coalition and explore the right pathway and profession for you. We are here to help.  
  • Please see also Careers in Health Professions.

Some specific notes on Medical Schools

Virtually All Medical Schools Require

  • One year of General Chemistry.  You may test out of General Chemistry I (CHEM 111) and take only General Chemistry II (CHEM 112)  or Accelerated General Chemistry (CHEM 115) and still fulfill this requirement.
  • One year of Organic Chemistry + lab
  • One year of Physics + lab (The physics offered at Macalester is calculus-based, although most medical schools do not require calculus-based physics).
  • One year of Biology (Commonly 2 semesters – But we recommend at least 3 including Genetics (BIOL 190) Cell Biology (BIOL 200), and one additional course with a lab)
  • Demonstrated interest and experience in health care and service 

Most (> 50%) Medical Schools Require

  • English (commonly two semesters) and/or courses that are considered writing courses (WA courses)
  • Some college-level math.  Only a few medical schools actually require calculus (~10%), however, many recommend or require statistics

Many Medical Schools Also Require

  • Specific, upper level science courses (e.g. Biochemistry)
  • Specific courses in the social sciences (e.g. Introduction to Psychology or Sociology)
  • Unspecified coursework in the humanities and/or social sciences (usually fulfilled by Macalester distribution requirements)

Other Recommended Courses

  • Statistics
  • Bioethics
  • Other courses in the concentration in Community & Global Health
  • Critical Thinking

Key for any health profession is gaining experience.  There are a number of offices to help you with this: 

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 the specific schools you are interested in. 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