How to Get into Med Schools | Top Pre-Med Majors and Best Pre-Med Schools

Getting into medical school is one of the toughest things you can do.  However, every journey starts by taking a step in the right direction.  By choosing the right undergraduate school (for pre-med) for your aspiring doctors, the journey can be made easier. In this post, we will look at the best pre-med majors and best pre-med schools.

Of course, during your pre-medical education, you will be required to fulfill certain coursework prerequisites. In addition, you should select other courses in the sciences and humanities to supplement this core curriculum, enhancing your education and your application to medical school. For those who are just starting out, refer to our previous article on how to build profiles for pre-med programs.

Most schools agree on the basic elements for pre-medical education. Minimum course requirements include one year each of biology, general (inorganic) chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and related lab work for each. In addition, about two-thirds require English and about one-quarter require calculus. A small number of schools have no specific course requirements.

Best Pre-Med Majors

Biological Sciences

More than half of the medical school applicants, as well as matriculants, major in the biological sciences. This makes sense: In biology and related fields, there’s likely to be a high degree of overlap between the requirements for your major and your requirements as a pre-med. Plus, there’s a good chance you want to be a doctor because you already have a keen interest in biological sciences.

Many universities offer a variety of science majors such as neuroscience, physiology, medical science, microbiology, zoology, and biotechnology. Any of these will likely have significant applicability to your medical school pursuits—so feel free to pursue your passions!

Physical Sciences

A significant number of medical school hopefuls major in the physical sciences. Like biological sciences, these offer training that is often directly applicable to medical school curricula.

Completing the coursework for a major in physics, chemistry, or a related field will also enable you to fulfill many of your major and pre-med requirements at once.

Also like a major in biology, it will serve you better if it’s accompanied by non-science classes—or even a non-science minor field of study.

Math and Statistics

While math and statistics majors make up a small percentage of medical school applicants and matriculants (less than one percent), as a group they have the highest mean overall MCAT score and mean GPA.

While some major requirements are likely to overlap with your pre-med requirements—and while the mode of thinking you’ll hone as math or stats major will certainly prepare you for many of the rigors of medical school—you will likely need to use a considerable number of your electives to fulfill your pre-med requirements.

Social Sciences

About ten percent of medical school matriculants come from social sciences majors. Some of these, like economics, may have requirements that overlap somewhat with your pre-med curriculum. Others, like anthropology, political science, or sociology, are likely to overlap just a little (if at all

So, you will likely need to use your electives to ensure that you complete all of your pre-med requirements. Choosing a natural sciences minor may offer a great way to ensure that you’re getting higher-level science courses onto your transcript.

Humanities

A little less than four percent of medical school matriculants come from humanities majors. Majoring in a humanities subject such as modern or classical languages, literature, or philosophy will certainly set you apart from other medical school applicants. But note that you will have to plan your coursework strategically to ensure that you fulfill all of your major and pre-med requirements.

If you opt to major in the humanities, make sure you take some higher-level science courses because medical school admissions committees will look for those on your transcript.

In addition, consider picking up a natural sciences minor. This offers an easy way to ensure you can fit higher-level science courses into your schedule. Biology or chemistry would be a great choice.

You’ll also want to ensure that you regularly communicate with your pre-med advisor about your course load. Your advisor will help you stay on track with medical school requirements and make sure you properly plan which courses to take before you sit for the MCAT.

Top Pre-Med Schools

A good starting point is to look at schools with a large population of pre-med students.

SchoolNumber of Pre-Med Students
University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA1,298
University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX1,033
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL1,006
University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA859
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI832
University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA757
Texas A & M University, College Station, TX621
The Ohio State University Main Campus, Columbus, OH612
University of Georgia, Athens, GA584
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC570
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD568
University of California-Davis, Davis, CA556
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI550
University of Washington, Seattle, WA527
Rutgers University - New Brunswick, New Brunswick, NJ510
University of South Florida, Tampa, FL490
Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI486
University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA480
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY464
University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL464
University of Maryland-College Park, College Park, MD455
Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ444
The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX432
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA432
Baylor University, Waco, TX429
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN429
Emory University, Atlanta, GA413
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA408
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL403
Brigham Young University, Provo, UT392
Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO392
Florida International University, Miami, FL386
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ386
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA370
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL366
New York University, New York, NY356
Boston University, Boston, MA355
University of Houston, Houston, TX351
Penn State University Park, University Park, PA350
University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL344
Indiana University-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN343
Louisiana St University and Agricultural and Mechanical Col, Baton Rouge, LA343
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN337
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN320
Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY316
University of California-Riverside, Riverside, CA313
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA313
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT299
Duke University, Durham, NC298
Brown University, Providence, RI294
Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL293
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL290
University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, Norman, OK289
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA284
Clemson University, Clemson, SC282
University of South Carolina Columbia, Columbia, SC274
Texas Tech University-Lubbock, Lubbock, TX271
The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL267
The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT263
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI262
Northwestern University-Evanston, Evanston, IL261
University of Kansas Main Campus, Lawrence, KS253
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY249
Northeastern University, Boston, MA241
University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Knoxville, TN239
Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA237
Rice University, Houston, TX235
University of Arkansas Main Campus, Fayetteville, AR231
University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO231
Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH228
Stanford University, Stanford, CA228
University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA215
Yale University, New Haven, CT215
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL213
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA212
Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO206
Florida Atlantic University-Boca Raton, Boca Raton, FL204
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA204
State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY203
Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA202
University of Toronto, Toronto, ON202
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA196
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA195
Columbia University in the City of New York, New York, NY193
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA193
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA188
Auburn University, Auburn, AL187
Howard University, Washington, DC186
Tufts University, Medford, MA186
University of Rochester, Rochester, NY184
College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA182
University of New Mexico-Main Campus, Albuquerque, NM181
University of Mississippi, University, MS177
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA177
Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette, IN176
City University of New York Hunter College, New York, NY175
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL175
University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, PR170
The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX169
University of Western Ontario, London, ON169
Creighton University, Omaha, NE168
University of Cincinnati Main Campus, Cincinnati, OH168
University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, NV168
University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA164
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC159
University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO158
Georgetown University, Washington, DC157
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH154
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON152
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC148
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ147
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE144
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA143
George Washington University, Washington, DC142
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR140
University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD140
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO139
University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY136
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR136
Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS134
University of North Texas, Denton, TX134
West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV134
The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX132
Miami University, Oxford, OH126
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX126
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY126
University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI124
McGill University, Montreal, QC121
Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA121
University at Buffalo-SUNY, Buffalo, NY117
University of Delaware, Newark, DE114
City University of New York Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY111
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX110
University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus, Mayaguez, PR107
Fordham University, Bronx, NY104
San Diego State University, San Diego, CA104
East Carolina University, Greenville, NC102
Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA101
Mercer University, Macon, GA99
Portland State University, Portland, OR99
Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX99
Villanova University, Villanova, PA99
University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV97
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY96
University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX96
Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS95
University of Toledo, Toledo, OH92
Brandeis University, Waltham, MA91
Oakland University, Rochester, MI91
City University of New York The City College, New York, NY90
Rhodes College, Memphis, TN90
University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND90
Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI88
Iowa State University, Ames, IA88
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA88
Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK88
College of Charleston, Charleston, SC87
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC87
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN86
Montana State University-Bozeman, Bozeman, MT86
St. John's University, Queens, NY86
Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI85
Amherst College, Amherst, MA82
University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver, CO82
Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL81
The College Of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ80
California State University-Northridge, Northridge, CA79
Spelman College, Atlanta, GA77
Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, ID76
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA76
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY76
University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI74
University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO74
Rutgers University - Newark, Newark, NJ73
Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT73
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT72
Washington State University, Pullman, WA72
Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA71
Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA69
University of Portland, Portland, OR69
Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA69
Barnard College, New York, NY68
State University of New York College at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY68
California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, CA67
Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ67
Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, TX67
University of California-Merced, Merced, CA67
Williams College, Williamstown, MA67
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA66
York University, Toronto, ON66
University of Dayton, Dayton, OH65
Davidson College, Davidson, NC63
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA63
University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Wilmington, NC63
California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, CA62
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA62
James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA61
Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN61
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH61
Austin College, Sherman, TX60
Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI60
Colgate University, Hamilton, NY60
East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN60
Furman University, Greenville, SC60
Queen's University at Kingston, Kingston, ON60
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA60
University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL60
Carleton College, Northfield, MN59
Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA59
Marshall University, Huntington, WV59
California Northstate University, Elk Grove, CA58
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY58
Utah State University, Logan, UT58
Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT57
St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN57
Towson University, Baltimore, MD57
California State University-Fresno, Fresno, CA56
Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO55
DePaul University, Chicago, IL55
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL55
Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, TN55
The University of Akron, Main Campus, Akron, OH55
University of San Diego, San Diego, CA55
University of Washington-Bothell Branch, Bothell, WA55
American University, Washington, DC54
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA54
Pomona College, Claremont, CA54
Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ54
University of Richmond, Richmond, VA54
Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY54
Augusta State University, Augusta, GA53
Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL53
Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ53
Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA53
University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, MN53
Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA53
Chapman University, Orange, CA52
City University of New York Queens College, Flushing, NY52
Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN52
University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR52
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC52
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY51
University of Denver, Denver, CO51
Wright State University-Main Campus, Dayton, OH51
College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA50
Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA50
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA50
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI50
Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH50

What to Look for in Pre-Med Schools during College List Development?

  • Med School Admission Stats of the Pre-Med School
  • Research Opportunities at the Pre-Med School
  • Student Advisory Programs
  • Opportunities for Clinical Experience
  • Internship Opportunities

Requirements of Top Pre-Med Schools

Considering their reputation and the quality education offered at the best colleges for pre-med, the Admission Requirements are:

  • A good GPA of 3.0 or more 
  • Strong competence in science
  • Proof of your desire to become a physician by way of having experience of working with patients by perhaps volunteering at a hospital
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement
  • High School Transcripts
  • Interview
  • Good TOEFL scores

Best Pre-Med Schools

The best pre-med schools are those that offer superlative study programs, are selective with admissions, are financially viable, and ensure students have a memorable student life on campus. 

Harvard

As per Harvard’s Office of Career Services estimation, 17% of any one of its classes will apply to med school—that’s a huge selection of the student body! Pre-med applicants with a 3.5 GPA or higher had a 93% acceptance rate to med schools in 2013, whereas average acceptance rates that year were about 42%.

Johns Hopkins

As an institution for medical research and a med school, Johns Hopkins has a solid reputation that they have maintained through the years. This directly implies that if you are a student at Johns Hopkins, you have the opportunity to gain from a variety of clinical and research facilities.

Johns Hopkins University has an advising program track for their undergraduate pre-med students. heir advising program track includes group meetings, personal appointments, and a variety of other programs that are specially designed to assist all those who aspire to be students of med-school to succeed.

This university’s med school is also affiliated with a teaching hospital that is considered one of the best in the US. Plus, International Medical Aid was founded at this same university and it has gone on to become a stellar NGO that provides pre-med internships that offer a wealth of experience to anyone lucky enough to join.

Northwestern

Northwestern University ranks among the top 20 best medical schools when it comes to research. This university offers you the opportunity to explore various clinical and research opportunities and build a career from them. It is located in Streeterville, Chicago makes it an attractive prospect if you wish to study in a university located in a busy urban area.

Stanford

Stanford has an exceptional medical school, which in turn has created a very strong pre-med community among the undergraduate student body. In addition to taking advantage of impressive pre-health advising, Stanford students can join the student-run Stanford Pre-Medical Association, which helps students of all academic and personal backgrounds figure out their health career path by connecting them with internships, volunteer positions, application resources, and like-minded peers.

Washington University in St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis offers undergraduate students a strong pre-health advising community, as well as numerous volunteer and internship opportunities in medicine and health. Furthermore, the smaller population of graduate students at Wash U means that undergraduates frequently have more opportunities to participate in research alongside medical school faculty.

Washington University also offers the University Scholars Program in Medicine, through which exceptional high school students gain admission to both the university and its medical school.

If you need a med school that is public and offers extensive resources, the University of Washington is for you.

As a student of this great university, you will get the opportunity to get your vocational and academic concerns resolved through the help of advisors and pre-health career coaches. Such concerns as volunteering opportunities, research, choosing classes, and job shadowing are well-addressed at UW so you needn’t worry yourself sick. 

University of Pennsylvania

UPenn, as most people call this university, is home to the Perelman School of Medicine; which happens to be ranked among the best medical schools in the US. The University of Pennsylvania’s strong medical school and research-oriented curriculum also make it a great pre-med school.

Approximately 76% of their undergraduates get accepted into medical school which is natural considering that it is one of the best colleges for pre-med. UPenn’s pre-med study program prepares students to do well in MCAT besides offering the best support for other pre-requisite courses to be accepted in a medical college. Between these opportunities and the university’s strong curriculum, Penn students enter medical school at significantly higher rates than the national average.

Columbia

Columbia’s Medical School is ranked 6th best medical school based on research and 31st when it comes to primary care. As undergraduates, though, students are allocated a pre-med advisor and attend informational meetings sponsored by the Premedical Committee.

Columbia’s appropriate NYC location also guarantees easy access to innumerable clinics and hospitals, giving you plenty of opportunities for clinical and research experience. Also, Columbia provides pre-med students with a sample course curriculum to help them meet the minimum requirements for med school applications.

Duke

It is an irrefutable fact that Duke is one of the best universities in the country. Add another fact that Duke has a pre-med program that is quite robust and you get one of the best options any pre-med student can ever wish for.

This pre-med school has a reputation of preparing pre-med students so well that 70 – 85% of their students get accepted into medical college. This rate is near twice the average of the country’s total rate. One of the factors that have made this impressive rate possible is the fact that Duke’s medical school is ranked among the top 15.

Emory

This private research university is one of the best pre-med schools and is many a time called ‘Southern Ivy’ because of its superlative academic and social status. Located next to Emory Hospital and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers students the opportunity to take on internships there and enhance their chances of being accepted at medical college.

Emory’s PreHealth Advising Services offers students advice, mentoring, and counseling in preparation for medical school admissions to ensure that up to 93% of their students get accepted.

UNC-Chapel Hill

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    UNC also offers numerous advantages for its pre-med students and medical school applicants. Given the extent of its resources, both internally and within the larger “Research Triangle” of North Carolina, UNC offers its pre-med students ample opportunities to begin specializing in particular research or clinical fields.

    UNC also offers a program known as Medical Education Development (MED) Summer Program which lasts for nine unbelievably interesting weeks. This program can only be described as an exclusive program meant for gifted and diligent students who missed opportunities. 

    Cornell

    Cornell, as stats have proven, is one of the best pre-med schools in the US. In 2016, 76% of pre-med students from Cornell managed to get into med school with a GPA of not less than 3.4. And, 63% of all the applicants of Cornell got their medical school applications approved and were accepted that same year.

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    Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

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    Yuri Punj
    Yuri Punj is the Co-founder & President of Stoodnt, Inc. He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA Summa Cum Laude in Economics and Political Science from Colgate University. He has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industries working for UBS Investment Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Schroders, and M&T Bank. He has been an equity analyst (Media & Internet sector) for a top-ranked Institutional Investor team.
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