Preparing for Medical School

A Premedical Major is Not Required

It should be noted that Yale students majoring in one of the humanities or social sciences have enjoyed the same rate of acceptance to medical schools as science majors. In recent years, the average rate of acceptance has been 92%.

Yale offers students the opportunity to fulfill premedical requirements without the restrictions of a specific "premedical major." Students are encouraged to pursue a course of study which is compatible with their interests and needs. Most premedical students major in one of the sciences, although this is not mandatory. A student who loves composing, for instance, may choose to major in music while also taking science courses.  The philosophies of education, specific premedical course requirements, and other qualifications for enrollment vary among the nation's medical schools. However, all medical schools recognize the desirability of a broad education: strong foundations in the natural sciences, well-developed communication skills, and a solid background in the social sciences and humanities.

Most medical schools require one year each of biology, physics, chemistry, and organic chemistry with laboratories. Most schools further require a year of college level mathematics and English. An Advanced Placement course from high school is not a substitute for any of these, but may be used to qualify for a higher level course in a particular department. Although not required by most medical schools, advanced biology courses with particular relevance to medicine such as biochemistry, cell biology and genetics may be helpful. Experience with computer science, statistics and psychology is becoming increasingly important to those who wish to engage in virtually any health career. Some require additional coursework. These requirements are listed in Medical School Admission Requirements as well as in medical school catalogs and are available in the Resource Library of Career Services at 1 Hillhouse Avenue.

The basic requirements for admission to medical school in the United States are listed below.

General Chemistry
One year (Any Chemistry [except organic] or MB&B lecture course)
One year (Any Chemistry [except organic] or MB&B laboratory course)
Organic Chemistry Laboratory
One year (Chem 125, 220a/221b, or 225) One year (Chem 126L, 222La and 223Lb, or 226L)
Biology Laboratory
One year (Any course) One year
Physics Laboratory
One year (Any course) One year
At least through Math 115
One year (Any course)

A student pursuing an MB&B degree will satisfy most specific course requirements for medical schools as a consequence of fulfilling degree requirements. It is important to emphasize that while Advanced Placement courses may satisfy requirements to earn a MB&B degree, these do not substitute for the general requirements for medical schools stated above. For instance, if a student places out of Introductory Biology and Biology Lab with a sufficient score on an Advanced Placement Exam, the student must still take a course in Biology (a higher level course) while in college to satisfy the medical school biology requirement. Note also that courses MB&B 300 and MB&B 301, Principles of Biochemistry are counted towards the chemistry and not the biology requirement for medical schools.

Counseling Services

Yale's career counseling services include the Health Professions Advisory Committee and a premedical advisory program. Students considering medical school are assisted by faculty and physicians throughout the application process. Students who plan to apply for admission to medical school are advised to consult the University Career Services Health Professions Office (1 Hillhouse Avenue) for detailed information about entrance requirements of individual schools. 

  • Appointments to discuss individual problems may be made by calling 432-0818. During the first two weeks of each term, premedical curricular questions are answered Monday through Thursday from 3:30-4:45 P.M. 
  • Brief questions can be addressed during Pre-Med Quick Question, Monday from 10-11:30 and Wednesday from 1:30-3:30 at Career Services. 
  • Questions may also be emailed to "Uncle Eli".

Interest in and commitment to human services...

While academic performance is an important criterion in medical school admissions, it is by no means the only one. As one medical school bulletin explains, "preference is given to those who have demonstrated interest in and commitment to human services." The New Haven and Yale communities offer a wide variety of experiences in which one can explore an interest in human services. Volunteer programs include those sponsored by the Yale-New Haven Hospital, Benhaven School for Autistic Children and the New Haven Big Brother/Big Sister organizations, as well as programs in many of the city's public schools, nursing homes, day care centers, half-way houses, and other community organizations.