Health Professions Advising

Leslie Bell
Interim Health Professions Advisor

The Health Professions Advising Office is located on the third floor of Bristol Center.


Medical School Course Requirements

The study and practice of medicine is based on modern concepts in the natural sciences – biology, chemistry, and physics – and on an appreciation of and familiarity with the scientific method. To ensure that all entering medical students possess a strong foundation in the basic science principles that underlie medicine, most medical schools have established minimum undergraduate science course requirements for admission. Yet, because medicine is practiced in a social context and physicians must be able to communicate effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, a growing number of medical schools also require students to take courses in the humanities and social sciences.

Most Frequently Required Courses

Medical schools typically require successful completion of two semesters of introductory biology, physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and English. All science courses must include a laboratory component. In addition, most medical schools require biochemistry and some require calculus and statistics. Because the specific pre-med course requirements vary from school to school, you should refer to the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) or medical schools' individual web sites to identify the course requirements for the medical school(s) to which you plan to apply.

Introductory Biology (2 semesters)

The biology pre-med requirement can be met by enrolling in the Biology Department's introductory courses Bio 101 and 102. Though Bio 101 is taught only in the fall semester and Bio 102 only in the spring, these courses do not have to be taken in sequence. Alternatively, you may be able to enroll in the Department's advanced introductory course, 115, if you scored a 4 or 5 on the AP Biology exam. If you do take 115, then you need to also enroll in an additional biology course to satisfy the pre-med requirement. Courses focusing on genetics, molecular biology, and cell biology like 248, 331, 346, and 357 are the best follow-ups to 115. 

  • Bio101 ⇒ Bio102
  • Bio115 ⇒ Bio248, 331, 346, or 357
General Chemistry (2 semesters)

Unlike most colleges, Hamilton's Chemistry Department's introductory course  is a one-semester introductory general chemistry  followed by two semesters of organic chemistry. In your fourth semester you can choose between Chem 265 Inorganic and Materials Chemistry or Chem 270 Biological Chemistry to  complete your general chemistry sequence.  For your first semester of general chemistry, you can take the standard 120 or the more-advanced 125 (if you have a strong background in chemistry).  Chem120 or 125 ⇒ Chem190 ⇒ Chem255 ⇒ Chem265 or 270 . 

Biochemistry (1 semester)

Most medical schools now require Biochemistry.  Chem 265, Biological Chemistry, fulfills the two-semester general chemistry requirement and therefore may not fulfill a medical school's biochemistry requirement. Therefore, it is recommended that you take Biochemistry 346.

Physics (2 semesters)

There are three paths you can take to complete the physics pre-med requirement. The Physics Department offers two year-long sequences of introductory courses designed for pre-med students that differ only in the level of mathematics used in them: 100 and 105 are algebra-based while 200 and 205 are calculus-based.  Calculus 113 and 114 are prerequisites for the 200-205 sequence. You should choose the sequence that best reflects your mathematical comfort level, but keep in mind that calculus is the "natural language" of physics and you may gain a better appreciation of the science through a calculus-based class as opposed to an algebra-based one. If you are considering concentrating in physics or pursuing more courses offered by the Department in the future, then you should take 190 and 195, the introductory sequence designed for physics majors.

  • Phys100 ⇒ Phys105
  • Phys190 ⇒ Phys195
  • Phys200 ⇒ Phys205

English (2 semesters)

Virtually any combination of classes offered by the English and Comparative Literature Departments will satisfy the English pre-med requirement. Alternatively, you can also take Writing110 to satisfy one of the two semesters.  Some students take one English class and use their writing intensive classes from other departments rather than taking a second English or Comparative Literature class.

Calculus/Statistics/College Mathematics (1-2 semesters)

Although only a few medical schools require applicants to complete a specific course in mathematics, all schools appreciate mathematical competence as a strong foundation for understanding the basic sciences. In addition, a working knowledge of statistics helps both medical students and physicians to become critical evaluators of the medical literature. Thus, success on the 2015 MCAT will likely depend on a solid understanding of statistics. For many students, it may be a good idea to take one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics (i.e. Math113⇒Math253) even if the schools they are applying to don't require them.