Do you want to go to medical school? If you’ve always wanted to help people, work to guarantee better health outcomes, you’ve come to the right place. Demand is going up faster than the current supply of medical professionals.
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 14% growth in all healthcare occupations between 2018 and 2028. This will mean 1.9 million new jobs in the field. A study by the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) predicted a shortfall of up to 122,000 physicians by 2032.
Contributing factors include a large aging population, more Americans living longer, and issues related to obesity and tobacco use, among many others.
So how do you get into medical school? First, you’ll need an undergraduate degree. What should you study? That’s what will look at in this ranking. The answers might surprise you. First let’s explore the average medical school acceptance rate by major:
Most Common Majors Accepted into Medical School
The average medical school acceptance rate for Humanities majors is 46.16%. Many of those that applied had earned at least a Bachelor’s, but not always. Some medical schools will accept students who only have an Associate degree, especially if they had a high GPA. Some of the courses you’ll complete in these majors include:
All three of these courses can help you in medical school and throughout your career. You’ll need to communicate effectively with a range of professionals, professors, patients, and their families. Medical students are bound by ethical considerations and will inevitably be governed by them, and finally, a basic understanding of economics will be beneficial throughout your career in medicine.
2) Physical Sciences
This seems like a no-brainer, considering the hard-skills overlap between physical science and medicine. The average medical school acceptance rate for graduates of a physical science program is 44.17%. Some of the courses you’ll take in these degrees include:
- Quantitative Analysis
Medical professionals are very similar to scientists, and their science is diagnosing and treating human conditions. If you end up working in pharmaceutical medicine, chemistry will be instrumental. Understanding biology lends itself to working with human biology, and much of medicine involves measuring and analyzing your measurements.
3) Math and Statistics
Like the physical sciences, math and statistics go hand-in-glove with working in medicine. The average medical school acceptance rate for graduates of a math and statistics program is 42.04%. Here are some of the courses you’ll take:
- Statistical Analysis
- Business Analysis
In medicine you’ll need to follow precedent, but also understand different paths produce different outcomes depending on many factors. Both calculus and statistical analysis deal with using the information you have and information you don’t to make crucial decisions. And once again, a keen analytical mind for business will go a long way in any medical career, especially for those who want to work on the business end of the field.
4) Social Sciences
These degrees inspect how humans evolved, and how institutions are created. You’ll seek out different perspectives, and get out of your own. The average acceptance to medical school for these students is 41.11%. Some pertinent courses you’ll take include:
- Research Methods
Medical professionals don’t always treat physical health, but they often do. However, understanding human psychology is useful and helpful for medical professionals no matter where they work. Your medical studies will involve a lot of research, so it’ll behoove you to get good at it. Finally, understanding how society, culture, and human biological and physiological characteristics evolved ties nicely into medical study and work.
5) Biological Sciences
These degrees have a lot in common with medical school. You might be able to specialize in specific areas like human biology, biotechnology, or pre-medicine. The average acceptance to medical school for these students is 38.88%. Sample courses include:
- Cell Biology
- Biological Literature
In all of these courses you’ll become intimately familiar with the basis of life. By completing a degree in biological sciences, you’ll come into medical school with tremendous advantages. If you’re going to treat people, it’s useful to know how their bodies function and how the cells within them contribute to those functions.
Now let’s look at the majors that give graduates the most prerequisites to medical school:
Best Majors by Prerequisites
You’re not going to do much better than this. By completing a pre-med program, you’ll be ready for a seamless transition to medical school, and you’ll be coming in with the most prerequisites met of any degree type. Some of the courses you’ll take include:
- General and Organic Chemistry
You might also take courses in physics, math, and microbiology. Some medical schools might want students to take classes in anatomy, genetics, and more. However, you’ll have a considerable advantage over your peers in medical school if you come in after graduating from a pre-med program.
7) Biological Sciences
As we’ve discussed, biological science is a great fit for an eventual trip to med school. These programs may also have pre-med specializations, along with areas like microbiology or molecular biology. Sample courses include:
- Intro to Biochemistry
- Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity
Graduates of biological science degrees can work as medical lab techs, science technicians, and research associates, among other roles. Or they can go directly to medical school. Some medical schools might want students to take classes in neurobiology.
There are many forms of nurses and nursing degrees. However, a nursing degree lends itself exceptionally well to medical school. You’d be entering medical school with the qualifications to work in an essential part of medicine. Some of the courses you’ll likely take in a nursing degree program include:
- Nursing Practice and Theory
Nurses have a better sense of what medical school will be like than most of the graduates of programs on this list. Some nurses have written about a stigma about going to medical school from within the field of nursing, but others saw their time studying and working as a nurse as a natural springboard to medical school.
Chemistry is an extremely analytical field that relies on quantitative work. Many medical schools require two years of chemistry study with a lab, compared to a year of biology and physics. Here are some of the courses you’ll likely take:
- Physical Chemistry
- Analytical Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
You might also take calculus and some other physical science courses. Remember, some of the likely prerequisites for med school include biology courses, and physics as well. Speaking of which:
As mentioned, many medical schools require a year of physics education with lab work as a prerequisite to entry. In these degrees, you’ll study the theoretical foundations and history of research in physics. You might specialize in areas like biophysics, quantum mechanics, or astrophysics. Courses include:
- History of Physics
- Analytical Mechanics
- Thermal Physics
Physics degrees will teach you to see all observable phenomenon as a result of structures and processes. You’ll learn to quantify and deduce why things happen, based on the variables involved. This clinical approach to the world is incredibly useful for a career in medicine.