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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
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!
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.
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.
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.
|School||Number of Pre-Med Students|
|University of California-Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA||1,298|
|University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX||1,033|
|University of Florida, Gainesville, FL||1,006|
|University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA||859|
|University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor, MI||832|
|University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA||757|
|Texas A & M University, College Station, TX||621|
|The Ohio State University Main Campus, Columbus, OH||612|
|University of Georgia, Athens, GA||584|
|University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC||570|
|Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD||568|
|University of California-Davis, Davis, CA||556|
|University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI||550|
|University of Washington, Seattle, WA||527|
|Rutgers University - New Brunswick, New Brunswick, NJ||510|
|University of South Florida, Tampa, FL||490|
|Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI||486|
|University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA||480|
|Cornell University, Ithaca, NY||464|
|University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL||464|
|University of Maryland-College Park, College Park, MD||455|
|Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ||444|
|The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX||432|
|University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA||432|
|Baylor University, Waco, TX||429|
|University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN||429|
|Emory University, Atlanta, GA||413|
|University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA||408|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL||403|
|Brigham Young University, Provo, UT||392|
|Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO||392|
|Florida International University, Miami, FL||386|
|University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ||386|
|University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA||370|
|Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL||366|
|New York University, New York, NY||356|
|Boston University, Boston, MA||355|
|University of Houston, Houston, TX||351|
|Penn State University Park, University Park, PA||350|
|University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL||344|
|Indiana University-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN||343|
|Louisiana St University and Agricultural and Mechanical Col, Baton Rouge, LA||343|
|University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN||337|
|Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN||320|
|Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY||316|
|University of California-Riverside, Riverside, CA||313|
|University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA||313|
|University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT||299|
|Duke University, Durham, NC||298|
|Brown University, Providence, RI||294|
|Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL||293|
|University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL||290|
|University of Oklahoma Norman Campus, Norman, OK||289|
|Harvard University, Cambridge, MA||284|
|Clemson University, Clemson, SC||282|
|University of South Carolina Columbia, Columbia, SC||274|
|Texas Tech University-Lubbock, Lubbock, TX||271|
|The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL||267|
|The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT||263|
|Wayne State University, Detroit, MI||262|
|Northwestern University-Evanston, Evanston, IL||261|
|University of Kansas Main Campus, Lawrence, KS||253|
|University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY||249|
|Northeastern University, Boston, MA||241|
|University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Knoxville, TN||239|
|Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA||237|
|Rice University, Houston, TX||235|
|University of Arkansas Main Campus, Fayetteville, AR||231|
|University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO||231|
|Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH||228|
|Stanford University, Stanford, CA||228|
|University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA||215|
|Yale University, New Haven, CT||215|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL||213|
|Tulane University, New Orleans, LA||212|
|Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO||206|
|Florida Atlantic University-Boca Raton, Boca Raton, FL||204|
|Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA||204|
|State University of New York at Binghamton, Binghamton, NY||203|
|Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA||202|
|University of Toronto, Toronto, ON||202|
|Temple University, Philadelphia, PA||196|
|University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA||195|
|Columbia University in the City of New York, New York, NY||193|
|University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Amherst, MA||193|
|Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA||188|
|Auburn University, Auburn, AL||187|
|Howard University, Washington, DC||186|
|Tufts University, Medford, MA||186|
|University of Rochester, Rochester, NY||184|
|College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA||182|
|University of New Mexico-Main Campus, Albuquerque, NM||181|
|University of Mississippi, University, MS||177|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA||177|
|Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette, IN||176|
|City University of New York Hunter College, New York, NY||175|
|University of Chicago, Chicago, IL||175|
|University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus, San Juan, PR||170|
|The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX||169|
|University of Western Ontario, London, ON||169|
|Creighton University, Omaha, NE||168|
|University of Cincinnati Main Campus, Cincinnati, OH||168|
|University of Nevada-Reno, Reno, NV||168|
|University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA||164|
|North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC||159|
|University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO||158|
|Georgetown University, Washington, DC||157|
|Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH||154|
|McMaster University, Hamilton, ON||152|
|Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC||148|
|Princeton University, Princeton, NJ||147|
|University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, NE||144|
|George Mason University, Fairfax, VA||143|
|George Washington University, Washington, DC||142|
|Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR||140|
|University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD||140|
|Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO||139|
|University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY||136|
|University of Oregon, Eugene, OR||136|
|Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS||134|
|University of North Texas, Denton, TX||134|
|West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV||134|
|The University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX||132|
|Miami University, Oxford, OH||126|
|The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX||126|
|University of Louisville, Louisville, KY||126|
|University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI||124|
|McGill University, Montreal, QC||121|
|Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA||121|
|University at Buffalo-SUNY, Buffalo, NY||117|
|University of Delaware, Newark, DE||114|
|City University of New York Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY||111|
|Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX||110|
|University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus, Mayaguez, PR||107|
|Fordham University, Bronx, NY||104|
|San Diego State University, San Diego, CA||104|
|East Carolina University, Greenville, NC||102|
|Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA||101|
|Mercer University, Macon, GA||99|
|Portland State University, Portland, OR||99|
|Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX||99|
|Villanova University, Villanova, PA||99|
|University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV||97|
|Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY||96|
|University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX||96|
|Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS||95|
|University of Toledo, Toledo, OH||92|
|Brandeis University, Waltham, MA||91|
|Oakland University, Rochester, MI||91|
|City University of New York The City College, New York, NY||90|
|Rhodes College, Memphis, TN||90|
|University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND||90|
|Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI||88|
|Iowa State University, Ames, IA||88|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA||88|
|Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK||88|
|College of Charleston, Charleston, SC||87|
|University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC||87|
|Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN||86|
|Montana State University-Bozeman, Bozeman, MT||86|
|St. John's University, Queens, NY||86|
|Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI||85|
|Amherst College, Amherst, MA||82|
|University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver, CO||82|
|Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL||81|
|The College Of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ||80|
|California State University-Northridge, Northridge, CA||79|
|Spelman College, Atlanta, GA||77|
|Brigham Young University-Idaho, Rexburg, ID||76|
|California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, CA||76|
|Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY||76|
|University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI||74|
|University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO||74|
|Rutgers University - Newark, Newark, NJ||73|
|Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT||73|
|University of Vermont, Burlington, VT||72|
|Washington State University, Pullman, WA||72|
|Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA||71|
|Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA||69|
|University of Portland, Portland, OR||69|
|Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA||69|
|Barnard College, New York, NY||68|
|State University of New York College at Geneseo, Geneseo, NY||68|
|California State University-Fullerton, Fullerton, CA||67|
|Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ||67|
|Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, TX||67|
|University of California-Merced, Merced, CA||67|
|Williams College, Williamstown, MA||67|
|Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA||66|
|York University, Toronto, ON||66|
|University of Dayton, Dayton, OH||65|
|Davidson College, Davidson, NC||63|
|Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA||63|
|University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Wilmington, NC||63|
|California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, CA||62|
|Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA||62|
|James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA||61|
|Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN||61|
|University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH||61|
|Austin College, Sherman, TX||60|
|Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI||60|
|Colgate University, Hamilton, NY||60|
|East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN||60|
|Furman University, Greenville, SC||60|
|Queen's University at Kingston, Kingston, ON||60|
|San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA||60|
|University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL||60|
|Carleton College, Northfield, MN||59|
|Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA||59|
|Marshall University, Huntington, WV||59|
|California Northstate University, Elk Grove, CA||58|
|Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY||58|
|Utah State University, Logan, UT||58|
|Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT||57|
|St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN||57|
|Towson University, Baltimore, MD||57|
|California State University-Fresno, Fresno, CA||56|
|Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO||55|
|DePaul University, Chicago, IL||55|
|Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, FL||55|
|Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, TN||55|
|The University of Akron, Main Campus, Akron, OH||55|
|University of San Diego, San Diego, CA||55|
|University of Washington-Bothell Branch, Bothell, WA||55|
|American University, Washington, DC||54|
|Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA||54|
|Pomona College, Claremont, CA||54|
|Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ||54|
|University of Richmond, Richmond, VA||54|
|Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY||54|
|Augusta State University, Augusta, GA||53|
|Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, FL||53|
|Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ||53|
|Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA||53|
|University of Minnesota-Duluth, Duluth, MN||53|
|Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA||53|
|Chapman University, Orange, CA||52|
|City University of New York Queens College, Flushing, NY||52|
|Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN||52|
|University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR||52|
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC||52|
|United States Military Academy, West Point, NY||51|
|University of Denver, Denver, CO||51|
|Wright State University-Main Campus, Dayton, OH||51|
|College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA||50|
|Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA||50|
|Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA||50|
|University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI||50|
|Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH||50|
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
- 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.
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%.
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 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 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’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.
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.
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 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, 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.