Course Requirements for Medical School

The courses listed below will satisfy the basic requirements at most medical schools. Note: that requirements and policies differ from school to school – check for additional information about individual schools' requirements in the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) and on each school's admissions web site. However, for planning your coursework, we strongly recommend that you consult with your academic and pre-health advisor. Everyone is different and what works for some pre-med students does not necessarily work for others.



BIOL 101 + BIOL 102
or BIOL 121 + BIOL 123 & 200-Level Biology Lecture + BIOL124


BIOL 204
or BIOL 402
or CHEM 251

General Chemistry

CHEM 101 + CHEM 53 & CHEM 102 + CHEM 54

Organic Chemistry

CHEM 241 + CHEM 242 + CHEM 245
or CHEM 241 + CHEM 243 + CHEM 245


PHYS 101 + PHYS 102
or PHYS 150 + PHYS 151


1 ENGL/COML Course + Writing Seminar


MATH 104 + STAT 111
or MATH 104 + BIOL 446



Because some foundational psychology concepts are covered on MCAT2015, you may want to take a Psychology course at Penn. Possible courses include PSYC 001 (Introduction to Experimental Psychology) or PSYC 170 (Social Psychology). There may be other courses at Penn that also cover the introductory psychology material that is on the MCAT2015.


Because some foundational sociology concepts are covered on MCAT2015, you may want to take a Sociology course at Penn. Possible courses include SOCI 001 (Introduction to Sociology) or SOCI 275 (Medical Sociology). There may be other courses at Penn that cover the introductory sociology material that is on the MCAT2015.

*For detailed information regarding the foundational sociology concepts on the MCAT2015, please see the AAMC's website.*

: The majority of Penn applicants to medical school take time between graduation and matriculation at medical school.  If you take that time, you will have more time to complete your required coursework and do so at a more reasonable pace.

Regardless of the timing of your application, we do not recommend taking several science courses in your freshman year to "get them out of the way." Starting out with introductory biology and math courses in your first semester keeps you on track, while giving you the opportunity to settle into your schedule and become familiar with the rigor of science courses at Penn. In our experience, taking too many science courses concurrently can result in a stressful and academically disappointing term.

Take pre-med requirements before you apply:
Usually medical schools expect you to take your required courses before you apply.  If you intend to start medical school in the fall after graduation, you should aim to complete your required courses by the end of your junior year.  If you intend to take one gap year, you should aim to complete your required courses by graduation.

Summer courses:
In general, it is advisable to take required pre-med courses at Penn during the academic year. Medical schools prefer to review your performance in the required courses while you are maintaining a full courseload. Also, the pace of summer courses is often accelerated and sometimes too fast-paced for optimal performance. However, if your schedule is very full and you feel a summer course is necessary, discuss your plans with a pre-health advisor.

AP Credit:
Some medical schools do not accept AP credit. Even those that do accept AP credit usually prefer to see you take additional advanced course work in that academic area. The goal of using your AP credit is to help you move beyond the introductory course and to make sure that you do formal undergraduate coursework in each science sequence. If you have specific questions about AP credit for coursework, please contact the appropriate academic department.

You should take all required courses for a letter grade, and you must earn at least a "C" in the course in order to fulfill the requirement. A "C-" or lower will not satisfy the pre-med requirement according to medical schools.

Non-science majors:
You can successfully apply to medical school with any major and should choose the subject that most interests you. If you pick a non-science major, it is advisable to take at least one advanced science course, above and beyond the basic requirements.

BCPM Courses:
When you apply, American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) calculates your overall GPA as well as your BCPM GPA, which means any Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Math courses. For guidelines as to what courses are included in your BCPM GPA, see the AMCAS course classification guide.