10 Undergraduate Majors To Prepare for Medical School

Identifying the undergraduate coursework that will make you the best medical school applicant—and eventually help you succeed as a medical student—is an inexact science. Still, the bulk of prospective medical students tend to follow a science-heavy course trajectory in their studies. Is that the wisest course of action?

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According to the most recent data released by the Association of American of Medical Colleges (AAMC), among the more than 53,000 candidates who submitted scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) as part of their medical school application, roughly 60% had an undergraduate major that could be classified as focusing on biological sciences.

In total, the AAMC has data tracking 22,239 students who matriculated to medical school in 2020. The breakdown of primary undergraduate majors in that group generally had a heavy emphasis on science and math, which tend to align with medical school prerequisite requirements.

It is worth noting that the second largest group of matriculants (3,391) tracked by the AAMC fell into the “other” category.

10 undergraduate majors that help you prepare for medical school
  • Pre-medicine. Pre-medicine undergraduate degree programs help students prepare specifically for medical school. …
  • Biology. …
  • Biochemistry. …
  • Exercise science. …
  • Public health. …
  • Health sciences. …
  • Foreign language. …
  • Nursing.

The BEST PRE-MED MAJOR | Proven By Med School Acceptance Data

10 undergraduate majors that help you prepare for medical school

While there is no specific undergraduate major that you must have to prepare for medical school, here are 10 popular options:

1. Pre-medicine

Pre-medicine undergraduate degree programs help students prepare specifically for medical school. During these programs, students learn about human sciences and different medical specialties. These are some examples of pre-medicine courses:

2. Biology

An undergraduate degree program in biology provides you with beneficial knowledge of life sciences, biological processes and human anatomy. You typically take these courses over the course of a biology major program:

3. Biochemistry

4. Exercise science

Exercise science is a specialty area that focuses on how humans respond to varying levels or types of exercises. Individuals with exercise science degrees might specialize in areas like sports medicine after medical school. These are some examples of coursework in an undergraduate exercise science program:

5. Public health

6. Health sciences

An undergraduate degree in health sciences focuses on the connection between science and human health and how to prevent, heal or treat health conditions using best practices. These are some course examples for health science majors:

7. Foreign language

Completing your undergraduate degree in a foreign language helps you stand out from other med school applicants. It also demonstrates your ability to communicate with patients who speak a different language and your ability to act as a translator between patients and health care personnel.

In this program, you take different levels of a language like Spanish or French to enhance your ability to speak, write or read in that language. If you do decide to major in a foreign language, you may need to make sure you complete prerequisite courses in math or science to apply for medical school.

8. Nursing

An undergraduate degree in nursing can help prepare you for medical school as you learn about important subjects that enhance your knowledge of patient care practices and biological processes. Towards the end of a nursing program, students typically complete internships at hospitals, health care clinics and other health care facilities to apply their knowledge to a clinical setting. Here are some examples of courses you may encounter in a nursing degree program:

9. Psychology

Psychology undergraduate degrees can act as prerequisite degrees for medical school as they give students in-depth knowledge into human behavior and therapy practices. This is a good undergraduate degree option for students considering careers as psychiatrists after the completion of a medical school degree. These are the types of courses you can expect in a psychology undergraduate degree program:

10. Biomedical engineering

In a biomedical engineering undergraduate degree program, students learn about the connection between technology, science and medicine through in-class instruction and lab projects. This program ultimately prepares students to construct and use biomedical devices like heart monitors, X-ray machines or infusion devices. It also prepares them to test and create items like artificial organs or tissue to help patients maintain their health. Here are some example courses to expect in a biomedical engineering program:

Why is it important to choose the right undergraduate degree for medical school?

Its important to choose the right undergraduate degree for medical school because it can help you maximize your preparation and enhance your med school application. Here are some specific benefits of choosing the right undergraduate degree for medical school:

Tips for choosing an undergraduate degree for medical school

When deciding on an undergraduate degree to help you apply to and prepare for medical school, there are a few things to consider to aide your decision-making. Here are a few tips to review:


What degree is best for medical school?

If you are still unsure of the path you should choose, this guide will help you decide where to turn from here.
  • Biology. When a medical career is in your future, a degree in biology is a fantastic place to start. …
  • Human Physiology. …
  • Biochemistry. …
  • Psychology. …
  • Nursing. …
  • English. …
  • Biomedical Engineering. …
  • Economics.

What should I major in if I want to be a doctor?

Biology. Biology is one of the most common majors for those who want to pursue a medical career, especially aspiring physicians and surgeons. According to the BLS, 48.7 percent of all physicians and surgeons employed in 2015 chose biology as their undergraduate major [1].

Can any degree go to med school?

Premed Degrees for Med School Applicants. Many students wonder if they have to pursue a premed degree in order to get into medical school. The short answer is “no.” Students can choose any major they like, as long as they complete their premed prerequisite courses.

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