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View Full Version : What do you study in college before entering med school?



MonaLeigh
01-21-2011, 12:29 AM
If you want to be a doctor, I think you need four years of college before applying for med school. Does anyone know what they'd be studying during this four years? Do they major in medical....stuff?

Thanks:)

Chris P
01-21-2011, 12:32 AM
At University of Iowa, many majored in biology. I don't know if the pre-med option had a special curriculum or not. I was just plain old biology.

Medievalist
01-21-2011, 12:37 AM
Some schools have a specific pre-med major.

Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry and English are common.

Drachen Jager
01-21-2011, 01:02 AM
Many schools will accept any degree. Although, as has been mentioned, Biology, Chemistry and such are the most common.

"four years" alone won't cut it either. Any Med School I know of requires a bachelor's degree. You can't just muck about and take a bunch of classes and hope to get in.

Kitty Pryde
01-21-2011, 01:13 AM
You can major in anything at all. You must graduate with a BA or a BS, which takes 3-5 years (or more!) depending on how many courses you take at once. There are a number of classes that you must take (and do decently in) to get into med school. Google 'med school prerequisite courses' for a list of them.

MonaLeigh
01-21-2011, 01:27 AM
Great, thanks!

hammerklavier
01-21-2011, 03:26 AM
What Kitty Pride said, although I will add that at most universities there is a Pre-Med major, that has a some leeway as to the non science courses you can take.

shaldna
01-21-2011, 02:56 PM
I will add that over here when you study medicine you go straight into medicine like you would any other degree.

It's the same with all professional courses, like law and veterinary and dentistry, although, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that for those sort of courses it's standard in the US to do them as a post grad, rather than starting them straight away. Is that right?

waylander
01-21-2011, 03:36 PM
I will add that over here when you study medicine you go straight into medicine like you would any other degree.

It's the same with all professional courses, like law and veterinary and dentistry, although, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that for those sort of courses it's standard in the US to do them as a post grad, rather than starting them straight away. Is that right?

Law does not necessarily work like that in the UK. You can enter the Law as a post-grad in any discipline by studying for a Graduate Diploma in Law
http://www.college-of-law.co.uk/Want-to-work-in-law/Non-law-graduates/

shaldna
01-21-2011, 04:48 PM
Law does not necessarily work like that in the UK. You can enter the Law as a post-grad in any discipline by studying for a Graduate Diploma in Law
http://www.college-of-law.co.uk/Want-to-work-in-law/Non-law-graduates/

You are right. I forgot about that.

But you go straight into law as an undergrad.

Kitty Pryde
01-21-2011, 11:20 PM
I will add that over here when you study medicine you go straight into medicine like you would any other degree.

It's the same with all professional courses, like law and veterinary and dentistry, although, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that for those sort of courses it's standard in the US to do them as a post grad, rather than starting them straight away. Is that right?

Yes, in the US you would get an undergraduate degree in something (there's lots of flexibility, and some schools do have pre-med or pre-law degrees), and THEN go to school to be a doc/dentist/lawyer/vet.

PrincessofPersia
01-22-2011, 12:30 AM
This will answer your question quite well for the US.

http://www.studentdoc.com/medical-school-requirements.html

ColoradoGuy
01-22-2011, 01:11 AM
I spent 4 years on a medical school admissions committee in the mid-1990s and our requirements were typical for the time: 2 years of chemistry, one of which must be organic chemistry, one year of biology, one year of physics, and one year of mathematics (usually calculus). Requirements vary some from medical school to medical school. As folks have said, many colleges now offer something called a "pre-med" major, which I think is a terrible idea. Your college degree should be in something, not getting ready for something.

Most pre-med students do major in one of the hard sciences, but that's not necessary. I saw a lot of psychology majors when I was on the admissions committee.

I was a double major in history and religion, but that was back in 1972.

Rowan
01-22-2011, 01:23 AM
Some schools have a specific pre-med major.

Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry and English are common.

This. I was in a pre-med track but ended up going in an entirely different direction upon graduation. The curriculum is anatomy, physiology, chemistry, organic chem, physics, biology (ETC.)--and the usual B.S.* required courses like higher level math, etc....electives vary. There was also an advanced anatomy course for pre-med students!

*Note: I earned a B.S. degree, but as others have stated, you also have the option of earning a B.A. degree.

LJD
01-22-2011, 05:38 AM
In Canada, a 'life science' major is popular for wannabe doctors.
I know a number of people in med school and they were all biology or life sci majors. A few engineers (chemical or biomedical engineering) as well.

But you can get in from a variety of majors, you just need to have certain prerequisites (and know enough to do well on the MCAT!)

Medievalist
01-22-2011, 05:57 AM
I'd guess roughly one third of the English majors I write grad school letters for go to law school, and one third go to Med school, and maybe one sixth (I'm not sure it's this high) go to grad school for a humanities degree.

Soccer Mom
01-22-2011, 06:58 AM
I'd guess roughly one third of the English majors I write grad school letters for go to law school, and one third go to Med school, and maybe one sixth (I'm not sure it's this high) go to grad school for a humanities degree.

Yep. My undergraduate degree is in English and then I went to law school. There were quite a few other English majors who were actually headed for medical school. Because the English degree was under College of Arts and Sciences, I had to take some of the same Chemistry and Biology classes as those seeking a scientific degree. Conversely, the pre-med students had to take the same English classes I did. This was true for the first two years and then the roads diverged.

sf.writer.mdk
01-22-2011, 11:13 AM
Within Biology, a zoology area of emphasis in a Biology degree is helpful, especially comparative anatomy, animal physiology, and of course cell and molecular biology. On the chemistry side, you have general and organic chemistry.

I've also heard of all sorts of folks with humanities degrees and other fields getting into medical school. It's all about "learning how to learn".

shaldna
01-22-2011, 03:22 PM
This is very interesting to see the different approaches to study. It also goes a way to explaining why there is such a high percentage of overseas students who chose to study medicine etc here.

Out of curiosity, how long would it take someone to complete their studies to be a doctor, including undergrads. Here it's usually between 5 and 7 years depending on your speciality.

ColoradoGuy
01-22-2011, 06:35 PM
Out of curiosity, how long would it take someone to complete their studies to be a doctor, including undergrads. Here it's usually between 5 and 7 years depending on your speciality.

It's a minimum of 11 years, depending upon specialty choice. First comes 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical school. After that the residencies vary. Internal medicine, pediatrics, and family practice are another 3 years. Surgery is 5 years, I believe obstetrics and gynecology is 4 years, radiology is 4 years (I think). I think neurosurgery is 7 years. There are about 24 approved specialties with their own specialty boards, which set their respective requirements.

Then if you want to subspecialize -- e.g. cardiology, hematology, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery etc, it's a couple of more years at least doing what is usually called a fellowship.

I do pediatric critical care, and for me it was 6 years beyond medical school. So my total, including college, medical school, residency, and subspecialty fellowship, was 14 years. (I actually did 3 years more than that because my path wandered a bit through infectious diseases and hematology.)

But you really can't think of the process as all about training to be a doc, dues you need to pay and drudgery to endure. That attitude can make you crazy. You need to enjoy the journey. I know I did.

shaldna
01-23-2011, 02:42 PM
It's a minimum of 11 years, depending upon specialty choice. First comes 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical school. After that the residencies vary. Internal medicine, pediatrics, and family practice are another 3 years. Surgery is 5 years, I believe obstetrics and gynecology is 4 years, radiology is 4 years (I think). I think neurosurgery is 7 years. There are about 24 approved specialties with their own specialty boards, which set their respective requirements.

Then if you want to subspecialize -- e.g. cardiology, hematology, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery etc, it's a couple of more years at least doing what is usually called a fellowship.

I do pediatric critical care, and for me it was 6 years beyond medical school. So my total, including college, medical school, residency, and subspecialty fellowship, was 14 years. (I actually did 3 years more than that because my path wandered a bit through infectious diseases and hematology.)

But you really can't think of the process as all about training to be a doc, dues you need to pay and drudgery to endure. That attitude can make you crazy. You need to enjoy the journey. I know I did.

That's scary actually, I really didn't think it took that long in teh US.

maggi90w1
01-23-2011, 02:50 PM
It's a minimum of 11 years, depending upon specialty choice. First comes 4 years of college, then 4 years of medical school. After that the residencies vary. Internal medicine, pediatrics, and family practice are another 3 years. Surgery is 5 years, I believe obstetrics and gynecology is 4 years, radiology is 4 years (I think). I think neurosurgery is 7 years. There are about 24 approved specialties with their own specialty boards, which set their respective requirements.
She asked how long it takes to become a doctor, so the length of residency doesn't matters. Interns and Residents are doctors, too.

ColoradoGuy
01-23-2011, 08:12 PM
She asked how long it takes to become a doctor, so the length of residency doesn't matters. Interns and Residents are doctors, too.

Only in name.

Ambri
01-27-2011, 02:06 AM
I don't know if you need more info on this, but my sister is doing her senior year of "pre-med." When she graduates in May it will be with a BS in bio-chemistry.

MonaLeigh
02-03-2011, 02:13 AM
Thank you guys for the information!

Uncarved
02-03-2011, 02:41 AM
I was pre-med and going for a BS in biology with a minor in chemistry. Just for the information....