required courses for medical schoolYour four years in undergrad are just a preview of the next four, which will test your ability to withstand the rigors of a career as a physician. Your required classes for medical school are a part of that test. While you’ll learn the ins and outs of the medical practice, you’ll also spend countless hours studying medical science. From Biochemistry to anatomy, you’ll study and be tested on the scientific foundations of medical treatments and ailments.

To prepare you for the journey, nearly every medical school requires you to complete a core group of classes, often referred to as the “pre-med” classes. Here, I’ll list the required classes for medical school at most schools. Some schools require more or less classes, which means you’ll have to be extremely careful as you plan the path ahead. Make sure to check out the required courses at the medical schools you may be interested in attending. Also, it would make sense to speak with your college’s pre-med advisor to set a plan in action for any classes you will need to be taking.

Go easy on online/community college for core classes

Be cautious taking online or community college classes for your required courses for medical school, as some medical schools will reject those credits. This is not a certainty, as some classes may be approved, especially if you don’t take more than one or two core classes at the CC level. This information is readily available on many medical school websites.

In addition to the required courses for medical school, you’ll find many schools also list “recommended classes,” which offer you a better start on the MCAT, as well as laying the foundation for your medical education ahead. All worthy goals, though the classes may not always seem necessary.

Universally Required Courses:

General Chemistry, and lab—1 year

Physics, and lab—1 year

General Biology, and lab—1 year

Organic Chemistry, and lab—1 year

English Composition—1 year

Recommended Courses:

Biochemistry—1 semester (see Molecular Biology below)

Molecular Biology—1 semester (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry make a very prominent showing on the MCAT, which means you will want to take a semester of each.)

Upper level biology courses—6+ Credits (Fortunately, these classes will help fulfill the requirements of many schools for at least 6 credits of upper level biology.)

Genetics- 1 Semester


If you’re early in the process of preparing for medical school, you’re at a great advantage if you already understand the required courses for medical school. Stay on your path, and don’t deviate. Check in with your counselor often. Set aside the time and effort needed to keep your sGPA up. And enjoy yourself along the path. Remember that it’s leading you to your chosen career in not so many years ahead.