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|
|Calculus||1 – 2 courses||Many||No|
|Introductory Sociology||1 course||Some||Yes|
|Introductory Psychology||1 course||Some||Yes|
|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