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Academic Requirements

The prerequisites vary from school to school so students should refer to potential schools’ websites.

As a general reference, most medical schools require the following prerequisite courses:

General Biology (2 semesters)

  • Bio 100 (several options, some offered in fall, others in spring) and a 200-level biology course (some offered in fall, denoted with an "F" after the course number, others in spring, denoted with an "S"). 

Options for the 200-level bio lab course include: Bio 213S Marine Biology, Bio 221S Microbiology (offered every other spring semester), Bio 222S Survey of Human Anatomy, Bio 228F Invertebrate Biology, Bio 237F Ecology, Bio 239W Plant Diversity, and Bio 248S Genes and Genomes. Note that Bio 270S Biological Chemistry should not be taken to fulfill the general biology requirement as it is most typically taken to fulfill the general chemistry requirement (see below).

General Chemistry (2 semesters with Lab)
Organic Chemistry (2 semesters with Lab)

  • Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F) 
  • Organic Chemistry I (Chem 190S)
  • Organic Chemistry II (Chem 255F)
  • Inorganic Chemistry and Materials (Chem 265S) or Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S) (to complete the General Chemistry requirement)

Medical schools have historically required a full year of general chemistry and a full year of organic. Hamilton’s introductory course (Chem 120) is a one-semester course, so pre-med students must fulfill the year of general chemistry by taking either Chem 270 (Biological Chemistry) or Chem 265 (Inorganic and Materials).

In addition, most medical schools now also require Biochemistry. Note that Chem 270 (Biological Chemistry) may not fulfill a school’s biochemistry requirement if it is being “counted” toward the one year of general chemistry.

There are two options for fulfilling the chemistry and biochemistry requirements (option #1 will provide better preparation for the MCAT):

  1. Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F), Organic Chemistry I (Chem 190S), Organic Chemistry II (Chem 255F), Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S), and Biochemistry (Bio 346F)
  2. Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F), Organic Chemistry I (Chem 190S), Organic Chemistry (Chem 255F), Inorganic Chemistry and Material (Chem 265S), and Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S)

Note: If you do not elect to take general chemistry in the first semester of your first year and would like to study abroad, it will not be possible to fulfill all the requirements for a chemistry or biochemistry concentration.

Biochemistry (1 semester)

  • Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S); or
  • Biochemistry (Bio 346F)

Most medical schools now require Biochemistry.  If Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S) is taken to fulfill the two-semester requirement for general chemistry, it will not also fulfill a medical school's biochemistry requirement. If Inorganic Chemistry and Materials (Chem 265S) is taken to fulfill the two-semester requirement for general chemistry, then Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S) can be counted to fulfill the biochemistry requirement for medical schools. Due to the heavy emphasis of biochemistry on the MCAT, it is recommended that pre-med students take Chem 270S as well as Biochemistry 346F.

Physics (2 semesters)

Physics courses are sequential at Hamilton and there are various paths you can take to complete the physics requirement, depending on your mathematical preparation/comfort level. Options include:

  • Survey of Physics I (Phys 100F, algebra-based) + Physics II (Phys 205S, requires some calculus)
  • Physics I (Phys 200F, calculus-based) + Physics II (Phys 205S)*
  • The Mechanical Universe (Phys 190F, for first-years planning to major/minor in physics) + Waves and Fields (Phys 195S)

*Math 116 (Calculus II) or equivalent is a prerequisite for Phys200F but NOT for Phys 205S

Students with a 5 on AP Mechanics C should start with a more advanced physics course in consultation with the physics chair.

Note: students planning to major in Biochemistry AND study abroad in spring of junior year should take physics during sophomore year in order to fulfill prerequisites for Physical Chemistry I/II.

English/Literature (2 semesters)

Virtually any combination of classes offered by the Literature and Creative Writing Department will satisfy the English pre-med requirement. Writing-intensive classes outside the Literature Department do not necessarily fulfill this requirement; check individual medical schools' policies.

Calculus/Statistics/College Mathematics (2 semesters)

  • Calculus I (Math 113F,S) or Calculus II (Math 116F,S) or Multivariable Calculus (Math 216F,S)
  • Statistical Analysis of Data (Math 152 F,S) or Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology (Psych 201 F,S) 

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 MCAT will likely depend on a solid understanding of statistics. Furthermore, calculus courses may be required as prerequisites for many of the upper level science courses in the Hamilton curriculum. For many students, it may be a good idea to take one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics (i.e. Math113⇒Math152 or Math 116 (if AP credit) ⇒Math152) even if the schools they are applying to don't require them. Students considering a major in either Psychology or Neuroscience should choose Psych/Neuro 201 (rather than Math 152) since it is required for both majors.

Recommended: Psychology & Sociology (1 semester each)

  • Introductory Psychology (Psych 101 F,S)
  • American Society (110F) or Introductory Sociology (101S) or Sociology of Health & Illness (226F)

In preparation for the MCAT, it is recommended that students elect to take a psychology and sociology course. Upper-level courses may be elected with prior AP credit.

Contact Information

Leslie Bell

Director of Health Professions Advising
315-859-4338 lbell@hamilton.edu
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