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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • If you don't see your question listed below, consider  making an appointment to meet with an advisor.
  • If your question is specific to get experience for medical school, view our experiences FAQs page.


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Which courses count towards the science GPA?

  • 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.

What coursework is required for medical schools?

Check out our Required Courses section. Information about specific medical school course requirements can be found on the specific medical school websites and in the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) guide


Does it matter which Physics sequence I take (125 vs. 130 vs. 135)?

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, biomedical engineering).
  • Physics 125 is only for Integrated Science Program (ISP) majors.

Can I take pre-medicine coursework during the summer here at NU?

The decision to take coursework in the summer involves many factors. We encourage students to book an appointment to discuss their summer plans with a health professions advisor.

Can I take pre-medicine courses outside of NU?

It's preferable that you take all pre-med coursework at Northwestern, but if you feel you have to take premed coursework outside of Northwestern, it's best to take courses at a peer institution. 

If you plan to transfer coursework back to Northwestern, 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-Northwestern summer credits.

If the pre-medicine required courses I take outside of Northwestern are not needed for my Northwestern degree, do I have to transfer the courses back to Northwestern?

No. Medical school applications require that official transcripts be submitted from all universities where an applicant has taken courses.

Do I have to complete all pre-medicine requirements before applying to medical school?

We recommend that students complete the basic science sequences (biology, general and organic chemistry and physics) before applying to medical 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 medical school.

For more information about pre-med coursework, please see our Required Courses.

Applying to Medical School

How do I enter coursework in AMCAS? Do I have to convert the hours?

No, you should not convert hours for the AMCAS application. Enter the coursework in AMCAS exactly as it appears on your transcript. Most NU courses are 1.0 credit hours (labs are typically 0.34 credit hours). The AMCAS application service will do the conversion during the verification process

How do I convert my Northwestern hours to semester hours for one of my (school specific) secondary applications?

One Northwestern course credit = 2 2/3 semester hours or 2.7 semester hours rounded up. For example, if a med school requires 8 semester hours of organic chemistry, our 3 courses of organic chemistry 210-1,2,3 = 8.1 semester hours (3 x 2.7 = 8.1). Remember, don't convert hours for AMCAS applications.

How do I obtain a "Certification by Current Dean of Students or Comparable Administrative Official" that some medical schools request?

Students can request this document - commonly known as a "Dean's Certificate" - from the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution.

The pre-med track can be expensive, especially during the application process, are there any additional resources available?

The costs of preparing, applying, and interviewing for your chosen health profession can vary, based upon a number of factors. While we recommend all students should develop a budget in their overall pre-health plans, we encourage students with limited resources to explore additional resources. Note, many of the additional financial resources available are typically based upon a student’s socio-economic status/household income and not their racial/ethnic identities. For example, fee waivers are typically designed for students who may not be able to apply without additional financial assistance.  

For more information on application fee waivers for applicants to the health professions visit this Northwestern Financial Wellness webpage.
There are also additional resources, not specifically related to the costs of applying to health professions schools, available to first-generation, lower-income, and/or DACA/Undocumented via Northwestern's Student Enrichment Services office. The SES One Form is a central resource for more information and requesting additional support.