Recommendations for Premedical Students

The Yale Pre-Med Office (Office of Career Strategy)  is a useful source of information for those interested in applying for postgraduate education in the health sciences. 

Required Courses for MCAT Preparation

Each medical school has its own individual set of pre-requisite requirements. School websites have the most current information for these requirements, but another comprehensive resource is the online version of the AAMC Medical School Admission Requirements:

Students who expect to apply to medical school should consult the Health Professions Advisory Board (HPAB) at Undergraduate Career Services (UCS) located at 55 Whitney Avenue (phone: 432-0818), preferably during the first term of enrollment at Yale. Catalogues for every American and most Canadian medical schools are available on the WEB.

Some state-supported medical schools and a few private medical schools have additional course requirements in the humanities and social sciences. All premedical students should check the requirements of their state-supported medical schools, since over 70% of applicants matriculate in one of these schools. 

The HPAB publishes an informational bulletin that contains general information, Preparing to Become a Health Care Professional, and a second bulletin with specific information for those about to apply for admission to medical school (primarily juniors and seniors), Applying to Medical School. Students who are interested in applying as MD/PhD applicants can view the online AAMC publication

Preparing for Health Care Professions

Philosophies of education, course requirements, qualifications for enrollment, and systems of training vary among the nation’s medical and other health care professional schools, but all schools recognize the desirability of a strong foundation in the biological and physical sciences, highly developed communication skills, and a solid background in the social sciences and humanities.

Many students preparing for health care professions major in science, although this is by no means necessary. Whether you major in the sciences, the humanities, or the social sciences, your program must be rigorous and thoughtfully organized, because medical and other professional schools are most concerned with the quality and scope of your work. Students who major outside the sciences and who take the minimum number of science courses required must do very well to ensure adequate preparation for medical school and favorable consideration by admissions committees.


Specific course prerequisites for medical and other health professional school admission vary by program, but all schools demand an advanced understanding of both the sciences and the psychosocial bases of behavior. Advanced Placement or acceleration credit cannot usually substitute for course requirements, but students who place into higher-level courses in relevant disciplines should enroll in them whenever possible. Science courses must be taken with the corresponding laboratories to meet admissions requirements; biochemistry laboratory is an exception in most cases. Courses that fulfill the requirements for medical schools must be taken for a letter grade, and grades below C are not accepted. Schools for other health care professions, such as osteopathic and dental medicine, have requirements similar to those for medical school.


Topics on the required Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) cover material equivalent to one year each of college-level biology, physics, general chemistry, and organic chemistry, as well as one term of biochemistry and courses in college-level mathematics (particularly statistics), introductory psychology, and introductory sociology. Detailed information about the MCAT is available on the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) WebsiteResources for other health professions schools is available on the Office of Career Strategy Website.


There is no prescribed sequence for premedical courses, but since you will be judged on the work you have completed by the time you apply for admission you should plan to finish the majority of required courses before taking the MCAT or submitting applications. First-year premedical students often elect two courses each term in the areas of science and mathematics. Most students will want to fulfill the general chemistry requirement during their first year, in addition to doing some course work in biology or mathematics, or both. Information on placement exams for biology, chemistry, and mathematics is available under Special Programs, Placement, and Preregistration. A useful guide to medical school course requirements is Medical School Admission Requirements, published online by the AAMC. General information is available in the Health Professions section of the Office of Career Strategy Website.

In addition to discussing your course selection with your college adviser, you are urged to consult a health professions advisor in the Office of Career Strategy.

Advice for Pre-Meds Document