Physicians treat and prevent human illness, disease, and injury. There are two types of physicians: M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) and D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Medical school programs are four years in length. At the end of four years, allopathic institutions grant the M.D. degree and osteopathic institutions grant the D.O. degree. You should examine the similarities and differences in training and practice. (For more information about allopathic programs, visit the AAMC; for more information about osteopathic programs, visit the AACOM.)

Additional graduate medical education may range from three to seven years, depending on the specialty and residency into which you match. Successful completion of national boards is required for certification prior to licensure.

Allopathic (M.D.) medical schools list specific requirements for admission in the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) published annually by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Osteopathic (D.O.) medical schools list their requirements for admission in the Choose DO Explorer, which is updated annually by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

The following courses are common basic requirements and must be completed before matriculation:

  • One year (8 credit hours) of general chemistry with lab
  • One year (8 credit hours) of organic chemistry with lab
  • One year (8 credit hours) of physics with lab
  • One year (8 credit hours) of biological sciences with lab
  • One year (6 credit hours) of English—many schools will accept English 1000 and a Writing Intensive course

* See Plan of Study for MU course numbers.

The list of required courses provides the general minimum requirements for the schools to which MU students usually apply. For details on particular schools, consult the MSAR or the Choose DO Explorer.

Medical schools differ on their acceptance of AP credit, online courses, and community college courses for science and non-science course work. Do not make assumptions.

Recommended Additional Courses for MCAT Preparation

With recent changes in the MCAT, several additional courses are recommended in order to be successful on the exam:

  • A minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in social and behavioral sciences, e.g., psychology and sociology
  • One semester (3 credit hours) of statistics
  • One year (6-8 credit hours) of biochemistry

Additional Courses for Medical School Preparation

Select advanced science classes carefully to develop breadth of course work and to demonstrate academic abilities. If early science grades are not distinguished, then performing at a level of excellence in one or more upper-level or graduate-level science courses reflects well on your candidacy.

Medical schools are searching for broadly-educated individuals with well-developed writing, speaking, and analytical abilities. In addition to selecting a wide array of science courses, balance your academic program to include history, art, literature, philosophy, social and behavioral sciences, and communications.

Also consider course work in medical ethics and healthcare policy. Medical schools expect that applicants have made some effort to become knowledgeable about current issues in healthcare delivery, policy, and ethics. These topics are often discussed in the admissions interview.

Additional courses to consider developing your curricular candidacy for for medical school:

  • Calculus I & II
  • Introduction to Medical Microbiology
  • Vertebrate Histology and Microscopic Anatomy
  • Elements of Pharmacology
  • Health Care in the U.S.
  • Medical Ethics
  • MU Community Engagement Project