Jump to a topic:
- Pre-med coursework requirements
- NU Courses that fulfill requirements
- Academic assistance for pre-med courses
- Importance of your science GPA
- Coursework FAQ
Most medical schools require the following courses:
- General chemistry - one year with lab
- Organic chemistry - one year with lab
- Biology - one year with lab
- Physics - one year with lab
Additional courses that may be required:
- English/writing intensive courses - one year
- Math: 2 - 3 quarters of calculus (some programs may replace the 3rd quarter of calculus with a stats course)
- Behavior and Social Sciences
- Humanities courses
- Advanced biology electives
Common additional course requirements:
- University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine (UIC-COM) behavioral science requirement: In the behavioral/social sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics or gender studies) applicants must have two courses in one area and one course in another area.
- UIC-COM biology requirement: one advanced-level biology course in addition to the year of basic biology
- Texas medical schools: Almost all require 2 full years of biology coursework
- California medical schools: Many require 1 ½ years of biology coursework
Note: This is not a definitive list; rather, these are common additional requirements that affect our students.
The Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) guide includes table of pre-medical course requirements for each MD program. MSARs can be purchased online.
- There is no uniform acceptance policy for AP credit for all medical schools.
- Most medical schools will accept AP credit but will require or prefer that an applicant take upper level coursework in the same area to replace the AP credit.
- Exceptions: A small number of schools (notably some California schools) have stricter requirements and do not accept AP.
- Check a medical school's admission website to be certain of the most current policies.
- Chem 101/121, 102/122, 103/123 or
- Chem 171/181, 172/182 with at least one AP or department test credit in general chemistry
- Chem 210-1,2,3; Chem 230-2,3 (labs) or
- Chem 212-1,2,3; Chem 232-1,2 (labs) (primarily for chemistry majors and students in ISP)
- BIOLSCI 215, 216, 217 with independent labs (220,221,222 - .34 credit each) will fulfill the med schools' full year of Bio requirement.
- We strongly recommend students take BIOLSCI 218-Biochemistry as well (a required course for the Bio major).
- Before academic year 12-13: Biological Sciences 210-1,2,3 fulfilled this requirement
- Biological Sciences 110-1,2,3 or starting in Summer 2013, BIOLSCI 115, 116, 117
- Summer Session only
- For all majors, except Bio majors
- Biological Sciences 212 - 1, 2
- ISP majors only
- Taking additional biology coursework is recommended
- Physics 130-1,2,3 (algebra-based)
- Physics 135-1,2,3 (calculus-based)
- Required by Physics and Engineering majors
- Engineering majors can skip 135-1 (covered in Eng Analysis sequence)
- Math 220 and 224
- Most med schools that required a full year of calculus now will accept a stats course to complete the full year of math
- A few programs (e.g. Case Western's MD/PhD program) may require completion of Math 230
- Students planning on taking the Physics 135 sequence must also take Math 230
- Math 212,213,214
English: 3 English/writing intensive courses
- WCAS majors: Freshmen seminars usually count for 2 courses; WCAS students may need to add an English literature or comparative literature course to fulfill the one-year English requirement
- Engineering majors: English 106-1 and 106-2 count for 1 course; English 105 and 205 are recommended to fulfill requirement
The following resources are available to assist you with premed coursework:
- Meet with your professor using his or her office hours.
- Visit our Academic Support Services page for links to tutoring resources.
- Gateway Science Workshops is a peer-led program designed to enhance students' learning as they successfully complete course sequences in chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, math, physics, and engineering.
Check with your adviser in your school about additional resources
What goes into the science GPA?
- MD programs include all courses in biology, chemistry, physics and math (BCPM)
- DO programs consider all courses in biology, chemistry and physics
Why is your science GPA important?
Medical schools use the science GPA along with the MCAT score to evaluate whether you can be academically successful in their programs.
Jump to a question:
- Which courses can count towards the science GPA?
- What coursework is required for medical schools?
- Does it matter which Physics sequence I take (125 vs 130 vs. 135)?
- Can I take premed coursework during the summer here at NU?
- Can I take premed courses outside of NU?
- If courses that I take outside of NU are not needed for my NU degree (but are required by med schools), do I have to transfer the courses back to NU?
- Do I have to complete all premed requirements before applying to med school?
- For MD programs, the science GPA is made up of all biology, chemistry, physics and math courses.
- For DO programs, the science GPA is made up of all biology, chemistry and physics courses.
Check out our Required Coursework section. Information about specific medical school course requirements can be found on the specific med school web sites and in the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) guide.
No, medical schools will accept all physics sequences for completion of their physics requirement.
- Physics 130 is the non-calculus sequence.
- Physics 135 is the calculus based sequence and is required for some majors (physics, BME).
- Physics 125 is only for Integrated Science Program (ISP) majors.
The decision to take coursework in the summer involves many factors; we encourage students to discuss their summer plans with a health professions adviser.
It's preferable that you take all premed coursework at NU, but if you feel you have to take premed coursework outside of NU, it's best to take courses at a peer institution.
If you plan to transfer coursework back to NU, you must first get the approval of the academic department in which the coursework is being offered before you take the course. Learn more about transferring non-NU summer credits.
6. If the premed required courses I take outside of NU are not needed for my NU degree, do I have to transfer the courses back to NU?
No. Medical school applications require that official transcripts be submitted from all universities where an applicant has taken courses.
We recommend that students complete the basic science sequences (biology, general and organic chemistry and physics) before applying to med school. But students can complete non-science and upper level science requirements during the application year, as long as all required courses are completed before starting med school.