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Want a career in Medicine (M.D. or D.O.)? Most students choose to major in biology or chemistry from UNC before going to medical school, but you can choose any undergraduate major.

Choosing a major outside of the sciences might extend the time it takes you to earn your degree as you'll also need to complete the graduation requirements for that major.

Contact Information

NHS Advising Center



Ross Hall, Room 1210

Suggested courses

Two semesters of each are usually required for most medical schools:

  • Introductory biology with lab
  • Introductory chemistry with lab
  • Organic chemistry with lab
  • Physics with lab
  • English (usually writing and literature courses)
  • Mathematics (usually includes calculus)
  • Biochemistry: some schools require one semester

Other recommended courses

Introductory psychology and sociology are recommended courses to be successful on the MCAT.

Illustration of footsteps


During your time here, you should do your best to stick to this timeline. It will help make sure you're ready for medical school.

  • First Year

    During your first year, it's important that you focus on your coursework and learn how to be a successful student. Knowing how to study and manage your time is critical and can help you earn a strong GPA. You should also:

    • Begin to work on prerequisite courses, especially both semesters of biology (BIO 110 and 111) and chemistry (CHEM 111 and 112)
    • Shadow a physician in a field that interests you — either over breaks or during the summer
    • Consider obtaining CNA or EMT certification — either over breaks or during the summer
    • Explore community service opportunities
    • Research medical careers
    • Join the Pre-Health Professionals Club (PHPC) student organization
    • Meet with your pre-health advisor
  • Sophomore Year

    You should continue doing as best you can in your courses to earn a strong GPA during your sophomore year, as well as continue to look for community service and shadowing (or other clinical experience) opportunities. You should also:

    • Take CHEM 331 and 332 as well as PHYS 220 and 221 (or wait until junior year for physics courses)
    • Look for leadership and research opportunities
    • Meet with your pre-health advisor
    • Consider who to ask for recommendation letters
  • Junior Year

    During your junior year, you should still strive to earn a strong GPA as well as continuing your community service and shadowing (or other clinical experiences) and leadership activities. You should also:

    • Finish your science prerequisite courses and begin preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
    • Continue preparing for and take the MCAT after finishing your science prerequisite courses
    • Conduct research in your major
    • Obtain letters of recommendation
    • Work on your personal essay
    • Meet with your pre-health advisor
    • Complete and submit AMCAS or AACOMAS in May or June (more information below)
    • Submit letters of recommendation
  • Senior Year

    You should continue your community service and shadowing (or other clinical experiences) and leadership activities during your senior year, as well as continue your research experiences. You should also:

    • Prepare for interviews
    • Fill out and submit secondary applications 
    • Meet with your pre-health advisor
    • Go to medical school interviews
  • Gap Year (if applicable)

    During your gap year continue your community service and research and clinical experiences. You should also:

    • Fill out and submit secondary applications
    • Meet with your pre-health advisors 
    • Go to medical school interviews

How to apply to medical school

Start by completing one application that is sent to the schools of your choice.

We've outlined the general process below:

  1. You will need to complete and submit your application along with your official transcripts. Each application includes a space for your personal essay, coursework history, list of activities and the names of your recommenders.
  2. After schools receive your application, they send you a secondary application which requires more information and asks a series of short answer/essay questions. Complete secondary application and send to each school.
  3. After reviewing your application and letters of recommendation, medical schools may then invite you for interviews.
  4. From here, you will either be accepted, denied or placed on a waitlist for each school. The next choice is all yours!

General information about applicants

M.D. students accepted to medical school typically have an overall GPA of 3.7, science GPA of 3.64 and an MCAT score of 508.7. M.D. admissions requirement database

D.O. students accepted to medical school typically have an overall GPA of 3.54, science GPA of 3.45 and an MCAT score of 502. Student Guide for D.O schools

The applications open in May. Submit application in early June.

Start your AMCAS application
Start your AACOMAS application