The pre-medical curriculum is just a list of courses that are required for admission to medical school. It is NOT an academic major, a minor, or an emphasis area. The list of courses we describe here meet the course requirements for many medical schools; however, students should consult the specific medical schools to which they plan to apply for any variances.
Medical schools do not require a particular major. Although most premedical students choose a major in one of the sciences, other majors are acceptable including those in the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, or business. Students should select the major in which they feel the most comfortable and in which they would like to work if they do not enter the medical field. Students searching for a major with similar coursework to the premedical requirements might pursue a Biological Sciences BS degree or a Chemistry BS degree with an emphasis in Biochemistry. Other majors are acceptable, but it is important to fit the premedical curriculum into your course schedule alongside the academic major’s requirements. Both the major academic advisors and the pre-professional advisors can assist with course scheduling.
Some students already have a B.A. or B.S. and then decide to pursue becoming a physician. Students in this category should consult with our pre-professional office. In general, these students lack some of the science courses required by most medical schools; in some cases, the required courses may be over 10 years old, which most medical schools do not accept. It is common for these students to take the prerequisite science or non-science courses for medical school at USM as post-baccalaureate students while also working on polishing their applications and taking the MCAT.
Some post-baccalaureate students take the prerequisite courses as a non-degree student while other students choose a second major to pursue at USM. In either case, students must go through the University Admissions Office to be admitted (or re-admitted for former students) before enrolling in courses.
To become a physician eligible for state licensing to practice medicine, a person must attend and graduate from an accredited medical school, complete a medical residency, pass all required medical board exams, and meet any other requirements of the state in which they plan to practice.
There are two types of medical schools in the United States: M.D.-granting schools (allopathic medical schools) and D.O.-granting schools (osteopathic medical schools). M.D.’s and D.O.’s have similar training and can train and practice in every medical specialty. D.O.’s receive additional training in the use of manual manipulation methods to treat some disorders, usually musculoskeletal problems. Both M.D.’s and D.O.’s have the same eligibility to practice medicine within the United States.
While medical school admission requirements and deadlines vary by school, most programs have relatively similar minimum requirements. It is the student’s responsibility to check requirements for their specific desired schools; however, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has compiled admission information for most medical schools that grant an M.D. degree. Similarly, the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) has compiled admission information for osteopathic medical schools. Typical medical school minimum requirements are as follows:
*AP credit is traditionally not accepted for required courses (and should be replaced with the course equivalent or higher). Most medical schools allow a maximum of 65 hours at an accredited community college for required courses. Online coursework is traditionally not accepted for required courses. Required courses should be taken within the last ten years (or retaken/taken at a higher level if older).
Students from USM applying to the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Medicine (UMMC) in Jackson, MS, must follow their set of requirements that call for end-point courses. Strong preference is given to applicants who are legal residents of Mississippi; in recent years, only Mississippi residents have been admitted or considered.
The end-point courses cannot be taken online and must be within the past 10 years. Additional courses should be taken to reach a minimum of 90 hours of coursework, though a baccalaureate degree is strongly preferred.
*Each end-point course has its own prerequisites that must be passed before enrolling in the end-point course. Consult the course description of each course in the university’s undergraduate bulletin or course catalog to determine what the prerequisites are for the end-point courses you plan to take.
The following list of Required Courses meets only the minimum requirements for admission to the William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) in Hattiesburg, MS.
Required courses cannot be taken online or by advanced placement credit.
These meet the course requirements of most medical schools and provide content preparation for the MCAT exam.
The suggested course sequence below is merely a guideline for timely completion of UMMC required courses. Courses to fulfill the major must be worked into the student’s schedule; it is recommended that students work with their primary academic advisor to develop a detailed course schedule.
It is important to begin the Chemistry sequence as soon as possible, as the five-semester sequence must be completed prior to taking the MCAT. The introductory Biology courses should also be taken early, as they serve as prerequisites for most upper-level science courses.
a The order in which students take the introductory Biological Sciences (BSC) courses does not matter. BSC 110/L covers molecular and cellular topics, whereas BSC 111/L covers ecology and organisms.
b Placement in mathematics (MAT) courses depends on ACT subtest scores. Consult the prerequisites for the course you plan to take. Calculus is required for some majors in the USM College of Arts and Sciences but is not required by most medical schools.
c “Other” courses include those in the General Education Curriculum and in the major and/or minor, as well as courses needed to develop competencies that will be tested on the MCAT (such as introductory Sociology and Psychology). See more about MCAT below.
d This could be a time to start taking some of the end-point life sciences courses required for medical school, such as cell biology (BSC 360) or microbiology (BSC 380/L). Other courses include those in the General Education Curriculum and in the major and/or minor, as well as courses needed to develop competencies that will be tested on the MCAT (such as introductory Sociology and Psychology).
e Students are strongly encouraged to take the Hatten Externship course (BSC 392) in the Fall semester of the second year. The course can be repeated for credit in the Fall of the third year. Prerequisites are ENG 101, 102; BSC 110/L, 111/L; CHE 106/L, 107/L; MAT 103 or one Calculus course. Students must have a 3.2 or higher for USM GPA, degree GPA, and BCPM GPA.
f Biochemistry questions feature heavily in the MCAT. CHE 420 (Principles of Biochemistry) is suggested for students seeking only a single semester of Biochemistry. Otherwise, students may take the courses in the series intended for majors: CHE 421 (Biochemistry I), CHE 422 (Biochemistry II), and CHE 424 (Biochemistry III). Biochemistry labs are optional, unless required for a specific major.
g Recommended advanced science electives that meet the life science end-point elective requirements of UMMC include Cellular Biology (BSC 360), Comparative Anatomy (BSC 361/L), Genetics (BSC 370), Microbiology (BSC 282/L), Infectious Disease (BSC 403), Physiology [BSC 451 (Human Physiology), BSC 450 (Comparative Animal Physiology), BSC 452 (Environmental Physiology)], Neuroscience or Neurobiology (BSC 457), Pharmacology (BSC 460 or CHE 460), Histology (BSC 461/L), Embryology (BSC 465/L or BSC 466/L), Molecular Biology (BSC 476), Virology (BSC 484/L or BSC 485/L), and Immunology and Serology (BSC 486/L).
h Students may take BSC 399 (MCAT Preparation) during the Spring semester of the Junior year if they would like to review Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, and Sociology in a formal class. Otherwise, students need to prepare on their own before attempting the MCAT. BSC 399 is offered in the Spring semester. Prerequisites include ENG 101, 102; BSC 110/L, 111/L; CHE 106/L, 107/L, 255/L, 256/L; PHY 111/L, 112/L; [MAT 103 or one Calculus course] and one upper-level BSC or CHE course. The prerequisite BCPM and overall GPA is a 3.4 or above.
There are two centralized application services (CAS systems) for medical school: AMCAS for allopathic medical schools, and AACOMAS for osteopathic medical schools. The following timeline should be followed in the year leading up to application regardless of CAS system used.
Students should begin MCAT preparation when they decide to begin their pre-medical path. The courses necessary for entry into medical school generally reflect the material presented on the MCAT, which comes in four sections:
The official MCAT should not be taken as a practice test. The following are suggestions how to be prepared.
The mean national score for the MCAT is 500, with scores ranging from 472 to 528. This means that a score of 500 is approximately in the 50th percentile. The 90th percentile mark is approximately 514, while scores of 485 are at the 10th percentile. The mean score for individual sections is 125.
Students are advised to practice their interview skills BEFORE attending their first interview. The UMMC School of Medicine currently utilizes the Multiple Mini-Interviews (MMI) method.
For interview preparation at USM you may use the online Perfect InterviewTM resource. You can also sign up for mock interviews through Career Services or the pre-professional office (contact information below).