Required Courses

Most medicial schools require the following undergraduate courses before being considered for admittance. Be sure to check with schools for specific requirements as their policies are subject to change.

You can review our FAQ section for more information. We also encourage you to book an appointment with an advisor to discuss your personal coursework plan.

For tutoring or other academic support services, check out the Undergraduate Academic Resource Portal on the Searle Center for Learning and Teaching website.



Most schools require one year with lab.

Northwestern classes that fill this requirement:
  • Chem 101 + lab
  • Chem 102 + lab
  • Chem 103 + lab
  • Chem 171 + lab or 172 + lab (requires appropriate AP and/or test credit for Chem 101 on transcript)

Organic Chemistry

Most schools require one year with lab.

Northwestern classes that fill this requirement:
  • Chem 210-1,2,3 + lab
  • Chem 212-1, 212-2, or 212-3 + labs (chemistry majors and ISP students only)


Most schools require one year with lab. Labs do not need to be taken concurrently with Biology classes.

Northwestern classes that fill this requirement:
  • Bio 215 (Genetics & Molecular Biology. Only offered in the spring quarter. Students typically begin the biology sequence with this course in the spring of their first year).
  • Bio 216 (Cell Biology)
  • Bio 217 (Physiology)
  • Bio 218 (Biochemistry)

Northwestern labs that fill this requirement:

  • Bio 220 (Genetic & Molecular Processes Lab)
  • Bio 221 (Cellular Processes Lab)
  • Bio 222 (Physiological Processes Lab)

ISP Students should take Bio 240 and 241 with labs 220, 221, and 222.

Non-biology majors can also take BIOLSCI 110-1,2,3 or BIOLSCI 115, 116, 117 (summer session only).


Most schools require one year with lab.

Northwestern classes that fill this requirement:

  • Physics 130-1,2,3 (Algebra-based)
  • Physics 135-1,2,3 (Calculus-based. Engineering majors can skip 135-1 as it is covered in Engineering Analysis sequence).

Some majors require the Physics 135 sequence. ISP students are required to take the Physics 125 sequence.


The math requirement can vary greatly among medical schools. A full year of math is recommended, typically two quarters of calculus and one quarter of statistics. Statistics is strongly recommended for MCAT preparation.

Northwestern classes that typically fulfill this requirement:

  • Math 220 and 224
  • Math 212, 213, 214
  • Math 230 (required by some programs - like Case Western's MD/PhD program - and the Physics 135 sequence).


Schools typically required one year of English/writing intensive courses.

Northwestern classes that fulfill this requirement:

  • 2 WCAS freshman seminars + 1 course in English or Comparative Literature
  • 3 courses in English or Comparative Literature
  • Engineering students: English 106-1 & 106-2, plus 2 courses in English or Comparative Literature

Behavioral and Social Sciences

Introductory courses in psychology and sociology are recommended for MCAT preparation. Some medical schools may also require courses in the behavioral and social sciences.

Common Additional Requirements

The following schools require these additional courses. See their websites for more information.

  • UIC: one upper level biology course; three courses in psychology, anthropology, sociology, economics, gender studies (two must be from the same area)
  • UC-Irvine: Five quarters of biology
  • Texas Schools: Two years of biology
  • Ohio State: Human anatomy
  • Hopkins: Nine courses in humanities, social and/or behavioral sciences

AP Credits

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. Always check the [medical school's admission website] to be certain of the most current policies.

Science GPA

Medical schools use the science GPA along with the MCAT score to evaluate whether you can be academically successful in their programs.

What goes into the science GPA?

See our GPA calculator to determine your science grade point average.