premed major

hint: no one is a "pre-med major"

Which pre-med major will give me the best chance at getting into medical school?

If you’re looking for a fast track to graduation, a degree in the sciences will likely allow you to count your pre-med classes towards your major requirements. If you choose a “non-traditional” major you’ll have to double up your course load—taking your major classes while also satisfying the pre-med requirements. Most medical schools don’t really care what you choose as your major as long as you take the required pre-med classes. It helps, though, if you like science and math!

You’ve probably heard rumors that choosing a non-traditional major like, say, English or Anthropology or History, will improve your chances of getting into med school because it will lead admissions committees to think you’re a more well-rounded applicant. There may be something to that, but it’s a terrible criteria for picking a major.

Far more important than the major you choose is what you do to explore your interests and make serious academic accomplishments while you’re an undergraduate. Doing that won’t be easy if you’re stuck in a major you chose because you thought it would look good on an application. Plain and simple, you won’t be motivated to excel in it, you won’t eat, drink, and sleep it, it’ll be a means to end. And so, likely, in the end, you’ll have a lot less to show for your undergrad years.The same goes for those of you who’ve decided you want to be physicians, but have interests and passions in subjects other than the hard sciences.

Just like the folks who choose non-traditional majors to impress adcoms, if you choose a science major just because it seems like that’s what most premeds do, you’re going to find yourself bored and burned out with too many classes you don’t really love. And then, again, you’re not likely to really throw yourself into big projects or spend time outside of class expanding your mind.

I have to end by reminding every student out there who’s a sophomore or below, that the 2015 MCAT has a more rigorous set of requirements for coursework, and that may mean choosing something in the science realm will be more of the norm in the future. At least it suggests exceptional planning from your first day of college in order to fit everything in!

The Verdict on “The Best Pre-Med Major”:

Your undergraduate years are a time to discover yourself and what you love. Take a few classes in fields you find intriguing, give it some serious thought, and make a choice you can be happy with.


Bryce Johnson co-founded premedFAQ.com in 2011 and is the author of Must Reads for the Well-Rounded Pre-Med on Amazon. If you'd like to write for the site or contribute in another way, feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn or via email.