What Undergraduate Degree Should Medical Students Have?
When it comes to medical school admission, your undergrad degree matters. Without completing the right degree, you cannot appear for any medical school exams, making them a critical factor in your chances of being admitted to medical school. If you just started college or are in the process of entering with the plan to pursue a career in medicine, you need to ensure the minimum undergrad requirements for med school.
You can pursue many majors keeping med school admission in mind, but some of them are more important than others. There are several common majors and secondary degree options for pre-med students.
The Best Majors for Pre-Med Students
To make the most of the time you have during undergrad, you need to take suitable courses with a science-related background to fit in with your med school requirements. You shouldn’t waste time pursuing non-science courses that won’t benefit your higher studies in medicine or help you out during admission. While some are important, others are not.
You can also find the best MCAT prep course for your specific path to figure out what you should prioritize. Pursuing certain degrees will help give you an edge over other applicants when medical admission boards review your application. These include:
Biology– Biology is a must when you want to apply for med school, even if you don’t intend to become a surgeon. This includes basic biology, neurobiology, molecular biology, and more. The more specialized biology courses can open up career paths in different cutting-edge medical fields like neuroscience, biotechnology, etc.
Physical Sciences– Physical sciences such as physics and chemistry will be of great help in med school, more so if you choose to specialize in pharmaceuticals. After biology, these are probably the second most important undergrad courses you need to take. Even if you choose them as minor courses, they will still serve you well in med school.
Mathematics– Having a degree in math or statistics is rare among med school applicants, which is why you should try to go for it. But if you choose to opt for it, you will need to depend a lot on your elective subjects to fulfill the med school admission requirements.
Medicine– General medicine is also a good route to follow for med school and offers many career options in the long run. As a bonus, majoring in medicine can help you acclimate to the pressure you’ll face in med school.
Public Health– While not the most popular pre-med major among med school applicants, public health is a great choice for pre-med undergraduate degrees, and the good news is, you don’t have to attend college to get a certified degree in public health; many online courses have certified credentials and offer the full course to be completed as you see fit.
Health Administration– Pursuing a degree in health administration is also another great undergrad degree choice for med school applicants. Hospitals and other medical organizations have a lot of paperwork and administrative activities different from commercial, industrial, or military organizations. As such, this degree is in high demand.
Secondary Degree Options
While the courses mentioned above are the best options to go for if you’re planning to apply for med school, secondary degree options are also important. If you’re capable of taking the load, doing a dual-degree program can be very beneficial not only for med school but any other career paths you may want to pursue. In order to encourage balance academically, your minor should be in other non-recommended subjects like business, law, or other non-science-related fields.
Medical school acceptance boards will be attentive to the fact that an applicant is well-rounded and has interests outside of their primary degree. Elective and minor subjects such as psychology, sociology, and ethics can significantly add to your pre-med educational qualifications. Additional language lessons like German, Spanish, Portuguese, etc., can be of great help if you plan to move abroad. Bilingual medical professionals are always in demand, and it will ensure that you remain competitive both while in college and when you ultimately graduate.
Plan Ahead for Success
Any career path requires a lot of thinking and preparation, which also applies to the medical industry. Choosing the wrong majors, minors, and elective subjects that don’t align with your career path will set you back for a long time. So make sure you have everything planned and scheduled in the long run to avoid any delays to your higher studies in medicine.