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What Type of Classes Do You Need to Go Into Pre-med?

by Bonnie Crowe

Technically, you can major in anything as an undergraduate and get into a medical school, as long as you meet the prerequisite classes in math and science. The more competitive medical schools have stricter admissions requirements, and you will have a better chance at getting into one of these prestigious schools if you’ve been a great student at an undergraduate university with a good reputation.

Cellular and Molecular Biology

While you don’t have to be a science major, getting good grades in as many biology classes that you can take is a smart strategy. Harvard Medical School requires its candidates to take at least a year of cellular and molecular biology classes. Harvard’s admissions guidelines state that if students pass AP biology in high school, they must take an upper-level biology class as undergraduates.

Biochemistry

Biochemistry is required alongside of molecular biology for most medical schools. Harvard requires two years of organic and inorganic chemistry in addition to biochemistry. In addition, a solid foundation of knowledge in biochemistry and molecular biology is required to pass the Medical College Admission Test. Like the SATs and ACTs for undergrads, your MCAT scores will determine what medical schools you qualify for.

Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics

Anatomy, physiology and genetics are three sciences that, while not required, will make for a more compelling medical school resume. The more you can learn about human anatomy and how the body and its systems work, the better off you will be once you get into medical school. If you have a passion for how the human body works and a desire to become a doctor, chances are you will already want to take these classes.

Math and Other Sciences

Physics and calculus are common requirements for medical school. Some schools want their pre-med students to take classes in social and behavioral science. Starting in 2015, the MCATs will have a section on biological psychology. Higher-level math classes can be important for learning how to prescribe medicine and calculate accurate dosages. Other sciences that are not required but which will be of interest to a medical school major include microbiology, immunology, neuroscience, bacteriology, kinesiology, evolution and embryology.

About the Author

Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.

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