The question of what pre-med major to choose for medical school is one that really plagues pre-med students. We will help you decide and get over this hump.
The short answer is that it does not matter what premed major you take as long as you cover your required pre-requisites, manage a good enough MCAT score and GPA. We have music majors, English majors, engineering majors, math majors among others in our class alone.
Having an “off-the wall” major such as music or English, might cause a double take at your application or a question or two in your interview but IT WILL NOT be the reason you get into medical school. If your GPA and MCAT are not good enough to make it through the screening stage, it won’t matter what major you took. So whatever you do, do not take a major because you think it will be impressive to the people looking at your application.
The ideal pre-med major is one that you are interested in/passionate about, one that covers your pre-requisites, and one that is manageable enough that allows you to earn a high GPA, MCAT and build a competitive medical school application simultaneously. I took biochemistry as my major, and although it was challenging, it covered all of these bases.
If you have to choose between checkboxes, go in this order:
- Allows high GPA, MCAT
- Covers Pre-reqs (if it doesnt, you still have to take these pre-reqs on the side)
At the end of the day, if you are truly 100% committed to medical school, your major will serve as a means to an end to get you there. Ideally, you should enjoy your time in college at the same time, but what is most important is getting a high MCAT and GPA to get your foot in the door. So if this is the case, most people take a biological sciences related major which covers all these boxes (as I did). I would recommend you take the easiest, pre-req covering biological sciences related major that you are most interested in. This will also help to prepare you for the MCAT by giving you foundational knowledge.
If you are still undecided about medical school, then it is beneficial to look at a major that can get you a job in something you want to do. Outside of lab work, and academics there are not many options with a Biology degree. Here, you may want to look at majors such as engineering, nursing, physiotherapy etc. Just keep in mind these might make it tougher to cover your medical school pre-requisites, earn a high GPA and not prepare you well for the MCAT.
In general, most pre-reqs involve
- 1 year biology with lab
- 1 year of general chemistry with lab
- 1 year of organic chemistry with lab
- 1 year of physics with lab
- 1 year of english
Check your desired medical school’s website or email them for their specific requirements before deciding your major.
So at the end of the day, your premed major is more or less a means to an end so take one that maximizes your chances for success.
100% committed to medicine: Biological sciences related to something that you enjoy
Not sure yet: A degree that allows you to get a job in your Plan B vocation while doing pre-reqs on the side
You can look at AAMC data to see which majors were most common below