Best Pre-Med MajorsFebruary 23, 2021
Medical schools have a competitive admission process. Undergraduates interested in applying to medical school should take some time to consider the best pre-med majors. This can help make you a more competitive candidate when applying to earn your degree so you can maximize the chances of getting into your preferred academic institution.
As you start researching the best majors for medical school, you may be surprised to find they go beyond biology and can include other disciplines in the sciences and even the humanities.
Here’s what you should know about the best majors for med school when you’re planning your academic program.
What are pre-med majors?
The Association of American Medical Colleges recommends choosing a major based on your interests, rather than solely based on what you believe are the best pre-med majors.
That recommendation is based on the fact that medical schools want students who performed well academically and who were engaged in their field of study. It’s easier to accomplish that if you complete a degree in a subject that you’re interested in, rather than just based on what you believe are the best majors for medical school.
However, there are some courses you’ll need to complete as prerequisites to being admitted to medical school. And if you want to use your time in your undergraduate program most efficiently, it may make sense to choose a major that also requires you to complete those same courses. Otherwise, you may have to take more credit hours to both fulfill the requirements to earn your degree and to finish the prerequisites. The American Association of Medical Colleges has a listing of the prerequisites for each medical school in the U.S.
Choosing one of the best majors for med school means selecting one that will help prepare you for the MCAT, which you’ll need to take to earn admission to a medical program. The MCAT requires familiarity with:
- General chemistry
- Organic chemistry
If you choose a chemistry, biology, physics or sociology major, you can deepen your familiarity with these subjects and complete coursework that may fulfill academic prerequisites for many medical programs.
What do med students major in?
When considering the best pre-med majors, it’s also helpful to look at the undergraduate degrees current medical students have earned. After all, these students earned admission to the programs already. According to the Association of American Medical College, the most common majors among current medical students include:
- Biological sciences: Around 55% of students majored in this area
- Physical sciences: Just over 10% of students majored in this field
- Social sciences: Just under 10% chose this field
- Humanities: Almost 4% of current med students majored in the humanities
- Specialized health and science: Around 3% of current med students opted to specialize in a particular health or science field when earning their degree.
- Math and statistics: Just under 1% of current med students chose this field of study
- Other: Almost 18% of students majored in a different field labeled as “other.”
As this diverse mix of academic degrees shows, there aren’t necessarily only one or two best majors for medical school. You can choose from a variety of different academic programs as long as you complete the coursework your preferred medical school requires and are prepared for the MCAT.
So rather than focusing solely on the best majors for med school, consider what subjects interest you and make plans to obtain a degree in one of those fields while fulfilling your prerequisites. That will give you the best chance of being admitted into medical college, and one day, going on to fulfill your dream of becoming a doctor.