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There are two types of medical physician degrees in the United States (MD and DO) and this page provides information for both. M.D. stands for "medical doctor" and Is the most common type of medical doctor in the US at this time D.O. stands for "doctor of osteopathic medicine" and refers to a doctor whose medical school training included an extra focus on the musculoskeletal system during medical school.  Both types of doctors take the same exams and are licensed physicians.  Either type can specialize in any medical field, but many DO's are more interested in internal, pediatric and family medicine. For more information about the types of doctors, please see the prehealth advisors and be sure to shadow both types of physicians as you obtain clinical experience.  

The information provided below is accurate for students applying to either type of medical school.

  • Prerequisites

    Students interested in going to medical school may choose any undergraduate major that is of interest to them.  Although many premed students choose to major in biology or chemistry, this is certainly not required.  We recommend that you choose a major that is interesting to you, and one that you will enjoy.  In order to be prepared for medical school, you will need to take specific courses that are required for all medical schools.  For students who choose a major outside of the sciences, this can often mean that additional time will be required to complete all the requirements for graduation as well as the requirements for medical school.  The amount of additional time depends on the specific major.

    There are a few medical schools that do not list specific required courses, but the courses listed below are the requirements for most medical schools.

    • Two semesters of introductory biology with lab: BIO 110 and BIO 111
    • Two semesters of introductory chemistry with lab: CHEM 111 and CHEM 112
    • Two semesters of organic chemistry with lab: CHEM 331 and CHEM 332
    • Two semesters of physics with lab: PHYS 229 and PHYS 221
    • Two semesters of English; one writing and one literature course
    • Two semester of mathematics; usually recommended to include calculus
    • Biochemistry: some schools require one semester, some prefer two and some schools require a lab section while others do not.
    • Recommended courses to be successful on the MCAT: Introductory psychology PSY 120 and introductory sociology SOC 100 
  • Timeline

    There is no specific timeline for many of the activities that are required for medical school, but we recommend that all premed students look over the timelines provided below and modify them to fit your individual schedules and goals.  

    Note that most students are accepted into medical school have taken a gap year between senior year and entering medical school (timeline 2).

    For those who plan to enter medical school immediately after senior year

    Freshman Year

    • Focus on coursework
    • Learn to be a successful student
    • Learn how to study
    • Earn a strong GPA
    • Begin working on prerequisite courses, especially BIO 110 and 111 and CHEM 111 and 112
    • Begin community service
    • Shadow a physician in a field that interests you
    • Consider obtaining CNA or EMT certification during the upcoming summer
    • Research various medical careers 

    Sophomore Year

    • Continue to focus on doing well in your courses.
    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Many premed students take CHEM 331 and CHEM 332 as well as PHYS 220 and PHYS 221 during their sophomore year although some will wait until the junior year to take the physics courses.
    • Continue community service
    • Look for leadership opportunities
    • Start or continue clinical experience
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Look for research opportunities
    • Consider who to ask for letters of recommendation

    Junior Year

    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Finish your science prerequisites
    • Continue community service
    • Continue clinical experience
    • Continue leadership activities
    • Conduct research in your major
    • Study for the MCAT
    • Take the MCAT – after you have finished the science prerequisites
    • Obtain letters of recommendation
    • Work on your personal essay
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Fill out AMCAS or AACOMAS
    • Submit AMCAS or AACOMAS in June or July
    • Submit letters of recommendation

    Senior Year

    • Prepare for interviews
    • Continue community service, leadership activities and clinical experience
    • Continue research experience
    • Fill out and submit secondary applications
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Go to medical school interviews
  • How to apply

    The process of applying to medical school starts by filling out one application that will then be sent to the schools of your choice.  For MD Programs, you will fill out the AMCAS application and for DO schools you will fill out the AACOMAS application.  Each application includes a space for your personal essay, your coursework history, your list of activities and the names of your recommenders.  This application will open in May so that you can begin to fill it out and then you can submit the application in early June.  For more information on filling out the application go to "link to tutorial".

    Once the schools receive your application, they will send you secondary applications which require more information and ask a series of short answer/essay questions. You will need to fill these out and then send them to each school.

    After reviewing your secondary application and letters of recommendation, the schools will then invite students for interviews. This process typically begins and September and can last through February.  For more information on how to prepare for you interview go to our informational website and view our tutorial.

    After the interview process, students will either be accepted, denied or placed on a waitlist at each school.  From here each student then must decide where he or she will attend.

  • Statistics of successful applicants
    Data for 2016-2017 Cycle MD Schools                                      DO Schools                                         
    Average Overall GPA of Accepted Students 3.70  3.54
    Average Science GPA of Accepted Students 3.64  3.45
    Average MCAT of Accepted Students 508.7  502
    Total Number of Applicants  53,042  20,720
    Total Number of Matriculants 21,030  6,778
     Median Age of Matriculants  23 23
  • Other Resources