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Premedical Course Requirements
The specific premedical course requirements for each of the 126 U.S. medical schools are provided in the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) handbook (a strongly recommended reference for all premedical students). The courses usually required by medical schools are as follows:

  • General Chemistry, two semesters with laboratory
  • Organic Chemistry, two semesters with laboratory
  • Biology, two semesters with laboratory*
  • General or Introductory Physics, two semesters with laboratory
  • English, two semesters*
  • Mathematics, varies with medical school*
  • Genetics and Biochemistry, one semester each  

* For specific biology, mathematics, or additional course requirements, the student should consult the most recent MSAR.

Applicants complete premedical courses concurrently with other baccalaureate degree requirements. Individual needs and preferences determine the most reasonable order in which you schedule premedical core courses. However, even if you anticipated majoring in a non-science area, you should begin at least one of the required science sequences during your freshman year. Of the required science courses, it is recommended that you start with general chemistry, as chemistry is the one area in which you need two years of course work: a year of general chemistry followed by a year of organic chemistry. If you plan to major in Biological Chemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, or Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, you should take both biology and chemistry during your freshman year.

If you are interested in either Tulane’s Creative Premedical Scholars Program or the Joint Degree Program, you need to complete all premedical course requirements by the end of your sophomore year; therefore, general chemistry and biology are recommended for the freshman year.

Premedical students usually complete the four basic science courses by the end of the third year. This requires doubling up in these courses in one year, usually the second. Most find biology and organic chemistry the most convenient combination. A significant number of medical schools recommend these science courses (including organic chemistry) be taken as part of a full course load during the regular academic year, not in the summer. The chemistry department strongly recommends taking organic chemistry courses during the academic year because the number of schools from which summer courses will transfer is limited. Because of the high concentration of science courses throughout the engineering curriculum, some engineering students prepare to take organic chemistry during the summer between their sophomore and junior years.

Approximately one-third of all medical schools have a mathematics requirement (one or two semesters); nineteen of them specifically require calculus; three schools (Duke, Harvard, and Washington University-St. Louis) specifically require two semesters of calculus. Some medical schools have further requirements such as additional semesters of biology (all of the public medical schools in Texas), or courses in psychology, sociology, or humanities. Again, the current edition of the MSAR provides the specific requirements of all U.S. medical schools; check those in which you are interested.

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