Which major should I choose?
While science majors are certainly most common, medical schools stress their interest in well-rounded students. Regardless of your major, your undergraduate transcript is a vital part of the medical school admissions decision.
However, majoring in the sciences does help you complete the required classes and prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). At SUNY Cortland, the most common majors for our pre-medical students include:
What classes are prerequisites for medical school admissions?
Most medical schools require the following courses:
- Biological Sciences I and II with labs (BIO 201 and BIO 202)
- General Chemistry I and II with labs (CHE 221 and CHE 222)
- Organic Chemistry I and II with labs (CHE 301, CHE 302, and CHE 304)
- Biochemistry (CHE 451)
- Physics I and II with labs (PHY 105 and PHY 106)
- Psychology (PSY 101) and Sociology (SOC 150)
- Mathematics – one semester of Calculus (MAT 121) and one semester of Statistics (MAT 201)
- Most require that you take a year of English (CPN 100 and CPN 101)
Some also require the courses below, while others simply suggest them as beneficial:
- Cellular Biology (BIO 210)
- Genetics (BIO 312)
- Microbiology (BIO 304)
- Human Anatomy (BIO 324) and Human Physiology (BIO 514)
- Foreign Language
* Check individual medical school websites for specific required and recommended courses.
What are other requirements for medical school admissions?
- Grade point average of 3.4 or higher to be considered a competitive applicant
- Shadowing experience with a doctor
- Score of 500 or higher on the MCAT
What are some other tips?
- Outstanding grades and an excellent MCAT score are essential, but it is also important that you are a well-rounded student with other interests and activities on your application, both medically related and otherwise.
- Taking on leadership roles and participating in activities outside of the classroom demonstrates that you can effectively interact with people, which is necessary for success in medicine.
- Some leadership roles that exist at SUNY Cortland: participation in a student organization such as the Pre-Med Club or SUNY Cortland Emergency Medical Services; tutor or teaching assistant; supplemental instructor; resident assistant; student justice; or participation on a sports team.
Is there a timeline to make sure I stay on track for medical school?
- Work with your pre-medical advisor to plan courses and experiences that will help your medical school application.
- Begin to complete biology, chemistry and physics requirements. Early academic success is a must.
- Attend health-related events on campus. These are hosted by groups such as Alumni Engagement, Career Services, various student clubs and academic departments.
- Get involved on campus and off of it through undergraduate research, volunteer work, clinical experience or other areas that excite you.
- Complete medical school prerequisite requirements by the end of spring semester.
- Prepare extensively and then take the MCAT.
- Gather letters of evaluation from faculty members and others.
- Prepare your personal statement and admissions essay. Be sure to have it proofread by another source including faculty members and Career Services.
- Apply for admission at least a year in advance.
- Review medical school websites that may help you decide where to apply.
- Continue activities inside and outside of the classroom.
- Practice mock interviews with the College’s Pre-Med Advisory Committee before medical school admission interviews.
- Complete forms for financial aid.
- Send thank-you notes to evaluators and mentors.