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Preparation for Medical School

A student interested in medical school may major in any field. The basic requirements for medical schools and other health professional schools include one year of the following subjects: biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Science courses must have a laboratory component. A year of English and a year of mathematics, usually calculus and/or statistics, are strongly recommended and sometimes required. Courses in psychology and sociology are also strongly recommended. Pre-med students are therefore advised to elect an English course in their first year, as well as a science sequence of some sort. Medical schools require grades in the core courses, so extra caution and careful consultation is needed if a student is considering an NRO election in any of these courses.

Students who are considering a science concentration should consult the individual departments and programs and read “To Prospective Science Majors” in the “Registration for Courses” section of this handbook. For more specific advice on planning a first-year program, refer also to the “Medicine” section of “Preparation for Graduate Study” in the Vassar catalogue. It is important to know that preparation for many of the health professions does not demand a natural science major. Most often, the best advice we can offer is that students select the major field of study that most interests them because they will be happier and thereby increase the likelihood of a strong academic record.

If you are considering a career in the health professions (medical, dental, veterinary, public health), you should plan to attend the meeting held by the pre-health advisors on Thursday morning, August 29. Careful planning of the first academic year is essential. Students should call the Office for Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising, located in Main N-162 ((845) 437-5263), to schedule an appointment with a pre-med advisor if they cannot attend the meeting and feel that they need additional guidance before making a final selection of courses for the first term.

For more information, please visit the Fellowships and Pre-Health Advising website.