There are multiple paths to medical school that students can take.  While there is not a pre-med major, many students declare a major in chemistry because there is a great deal of overlap in the chemistry degree requirements and the course requirements for medical school.  (The term “medical” is used universally; generally, this information also applies to dental schools, veterinary schools, and optometry schools, et al.)

For a list of required courses and timeline for chemistry majors please see the Chemistry Major section on the website.  We encourage students to start their undergraduate research by their 2nd year.  Research credit in Chemistry can be done in almost any lab on grounds.  More information on undergraduate research can be found here.

We also encourage students not to double major; the requirements for professional school and the MCAT, as well as a chemistry major, are very demanding.  However, we are confident that there is room for a minor in another discipline.

The UVA Career Center website has an enormous amount of information about the application process, gaining experience, MCATs, etc. 


Common pre-medical requirements

Course Amount Required for Schools Needed for MCAT Preparation
English / Writing Composition 2 courses Yes Yes
Introductory Biology 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes Yes
General Chemistry 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes Yes
Organic Chemistry 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes Yes
General Physics 2 lectures, 2 labs Yes Yes
Biochemistry 1 course Some Yes
Calculus 1 – 2 courses Many No
Introductory Statistics
(including Biostats)
1 course Many Yes
Introductory Sociology 1 course Some Yes
Introductory Psychology 1 course Some Yes
Genetics 1 course Recommended Recommended
Cell Biology 1 course Recommended Recommended
*Texas Residents: TX medical schools require 14 semester hours of biological science courses (not including biochemistry). Make sure you are familiar with the summary of TX school undergraduate course requirements outlined here by TMDSAS.
  • Over 10% of medical schools require biochemistry, while over 30% "suggest" or "strongly recommend" it. Many dental, veterinary, and pharmacy schools require biochemistry.
  • About 12 % of medical schools require one semester of calculus, while a 2nd semester of calculus is only required by 2.5% of Medical schools. Consider taking a non-calculus college math to fulfill the math requirement.
  • Several schools require extra biology coursework and some require a behavioral science (psychology).

Dental School course requirements

  • General Chemistry, two semesters with labs
  • Organic Chemistry, two semesters with labs
  • Biochemistry, one semester
  • Biology, two semesters with labs
  • Physics, two semesters with labs
  • Math, two semesters
  • Statistics or Biomathematics, one semester (strongly recommended)
  • English, two semesters literature/writing
  • Psychology, one semester
  • Computer skills highly recommended


Additional Pre-health Paths

Pre-Health Advising Handbook (2017-2018)

Information on the MCATs

MCAT Preparation - Premed Peers