About the Pre-Health Curriculum

Students on the pre-health track at Drew University must complete coursework in the following disciplines in order to be eligible to apply to medical and many other health professional schools: Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and English. All of these courses are required by medical schools, although physician assistant, nursing and physical therapy programs may differ somewhat in their requirements, particularly with regard to organic chemistry, biochemistry and physics coursework. For example, some health professional schools require advanced Biology courses and some require specific courses in the social sciences. The MCAT also requires competency in basic Psychology and Sociology. In addition, since “data-based and statistical reasoning” is also a skill tested in the MCAT, students should plan to take a statistics course if statistical reasoning is not covered elsewhere in their coursework. Pre-health students should consult with a pre-health advisor or the schools directly and adjust their coursework accordingly.

The basic pre-health requirements (Biology, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, Math and English) are the same for MOST health professions. However, the required electives may differ. As long as they complete the required coursework, students do not have to major in a science discipline to attend a health professional school. They should select a major based upon their academic interests and strengths. Admissions committees like applicants who are academically and personally well-rounded. To be competitive for health professional school, students should maintain a strong GPA in both the sciences and non-sciences. They should also cultivate a strong record of clinical, research and community service experience. 

Admissions Cycles

Admissions cycles for medical programs open a full year before the year of anticipated matriculation (dental programs follow a similar timeline; application cycles for other health professions vary). Some pre-health students aim to complete the basic science requirements by the end of their junior year in order to apply and take the MCAT the summer between their junior and senior years, for matriculation in the fall immediately following graduation. However, many students choose to take a gap year in between graduating from Drew and entering health professional school in order to enhance their candidacy. In this case, they can spread the basic science requirements over all four years and then apply (and take the MCAT) the summer after their senior year. If this gap year is used productively (e.g. working in a hospital or research setting, volunteering abroad, taking additional science courses, pursuing a graduate degree, etc.) it can be a great advantage to the applicant.

About AP Credit

Most medical schools do not accept AP credit in the basic sciences, so most pre-med students with AP credit in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics will forfeit the credit and repeat the coursework on the college level. On occasion, if a student has high enough AP scores in one of these disciplines, they will place into advanced courses, but they still must complete one year of coursework with the corresponding laboratory sections in each of these disciplines in order to meet medical school admission requirements. Most medical schools that have college Math requirements will accept qualifying AP Math scores. The same applies for Psychology.

Course Sequences

Students should follow one of the schedules below, in addition to satisfying their major, minor, and breadth requirements. The pre-health track is intensive, but manageable, and students should be able to successfully complete this curriculum while pursuing any major and minor of their choice. Students should meet with our pre-health advisors in order to determine the best path for them.

The following sequences of science courses provide suggested paths for students who are interested in attending medical school and other health professional programs. Please note, it is essential that you reflect on when you plan on applying; familiarize yourself with the application requirements and timeline; and consult with your Pre-Health Advisor and Academic Advisor to ensure you are on the right track. Otherwise, you risk delaying your application and subsequent entrance into the program of your choice.

Sequence #1

For students who plan on applying to medical school and other relevant programs at the end of their third year for matriculation in the Fall after graduating from Drew.

Sequence #2

For students who plan on applying to medical school or other health professional school during or after their fourth year at Drew. (For those applying to medical or dental school, this would entail taking a gap year between graduating from Drew and entering medical/dental school).

Sequence #3

For students who did not take or dropped out of General Chemistry in their first year but still wish to apply between their junior and senior years.