Pre-Medical

About the Profession

Medical doctors maintain and restore human health through diagnostic, study, and treatment of injuries and diseases.

Your Record

From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete dossier with which to apply to these professional schools.  To apply to medical schools usually requires 5 achievements:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree in any major.
  • Achieve excellent grades; most recently admitted students had overall and science GPAs of 3.7 and 3.6, respectively for allopathic schools and 3.5 and 3.4 for osteopathic schools.
  • Earn a good score on the MCAT.
  • Average scores for recently admitted allopathic and osteopathic students were approximately 510 and 504, respectively.
  • Obtain a University Prehealth Committee evaluation letter.
  • Involve yourself in sincere, sustained health related volunteer and research experience.

Early Assurance

The SUNY Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse offers an Early Assurance Program for sophomores. This assurance of admission affords students the chance to complete additional studies, study abroad, and pursue other interests free of the pressures of the admission process. Acceptance is determined at the end of the sophomore year and matriculation begins two years later, after the student has completed the bachelor’s degree. Interested students should seek the help of the prehealth advisors in the freshman year.

Allopathic

Allopathic medicine (MD degree) entails four years of medical school followed by 3 to 7 years or more of residency depending on the specialty. There are now 154 medical schools in the US all of which belong to the Association of American Medical Colleges   and most participate in the centralized American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS).

Information on individual schools may be obtained from the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR), published annually by the AAMC. New York State has 14 schools:  five are public – SUNY at Buffalo, Downstate, Upstate, and Stony Brook, and CUNY School of Medicine.

Osteopathic

Four years of medical training in osteopathic programs is similar to allopathic medicine with additional training in osteopathic philosophy and manipulative techniques of osteopathy.  There are 33 schools (48 with branch campuses) that belong to the  American Association of Osteopathic Colleges (AACOM) and subscribe to the American Association of Osteopathic Colleges Application Service (AACOMAS).

There are two schools in New York State: the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury (NYITCOM) and Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM-NY) with locations in Harlem and Middletown.

Course Requirements

There are many medical admission myths (PDF) that are not based in reality. Start planning as a freshman to meet the following course requirements: A minimum of one year each of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, all with a year of lab; one year of English; and one year of Math recommended. Many schools strongly recommend biochemistry. Below are the UB courses we recommended to meet these requirements:

Chemistry
(Required and on MCAT)
CHE 101-102 or 105-106 or 107-108 10 credits
Organic Chemistry
(Required and on MCAT)
CHE 201-202 or 251-252 10 credits
Biology
(Required and on MCAT)
BIO 200-201 9 credits
Physics
(Required and on MCAT)
PHY 101-102 w/labs 151-152, or
PHY 107-108 or 117-118 w/lab 158*
10 credits
English/Writing
(Required and reading on MCAT)
Communication Literacy 1 and 2
(If any waived take 3 or 6 credits of writing intensive, literature-based courses – check with prehealth advisor if unsure)
6 credits
Biochemistry
(Highly Recommended and on MCAT)
BCH 403, or BIO 205 with optional lab of BIO 215 3-5 credits
Mathematics
(Recommended – many schools require)
MTH 121-122 or 141-142 8 credits
Human Physiology
(Highly Recommended and on MCAT)
PGY 300 or PGY 451-452 4-6 credits
Psychology
(Highly Recommended and on MCAT)
 PSY 101  3 credits
Medical Sociology
(Highly Recommended and on MCAT)
 

SOC 322 (SOC 101 is recommended but not required before taking SOC 322)

Additional course options are available in SOC, APY, PHI, AAS, and PUB. See a prehealth advisor for more information.

 3 credits
Statistics
(Highly Recommended and on MCAT)
 STA 119 or PSY 207 or STA 427  4 credits

*Consult with a prehealth advisor regarding additional lab requirements if taking a Physics sequence which includes only one lab.

  • ONLINE PREREQUISITE COURSES, INCLUDING ENGLISH, ARE STRONGLY DISCOURAGED AS MANY PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS WILL NOT ACCEPT THEM.
  • MCAT Changes for 2015 and beyond: “The additional content for MCAT questions is taught at most colleges and universities in one-semester introductory psychology and one- semester introductory sociology courses. Again, test questions will ask examinees to use knowledge of introductory psychology and sociology concepts to demonstrate their scientific inquiry and reasoning, research methods, and statistics skills.”
  • Some medical schools may have additional courses required or recommended. Review the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) for MD schools.  For DO schools, you may consult the College Information Book (CIB).
  • All required courses must be taken for a grade. Each school has its own policy about AP credit. Usually, AP credit in these areas should be followed with additional upper level work in the discipline including labs. AP credit in math is the only subject in which more advanced work is not necessarily required.

Additional Courses

To further strengthen your application, here are some additional UB courses you could take:

ANA 113 – Human Anatomy BIO 203 – General Physiology
APY 345/346 – Comparative Primate Anatomy BIO 367 – Developmental Biology
APY 448 – Human Genetics/Legal and Ethical Issues MIC 401 – Biomedical Microbiology
BIO 319 – Genetics or BCH 310 – Biomedical Genetics PHI 237 – Social and Ethical Values in Medicine

 

MCAT 2015

Significant changes to the MCAT occurred effective spring 2015. Please review the link below for a listing of resources to keep current with the changes. This information will be highly relevant for anyone intending to enroll in medical school or podiatry school starting in 2016 and beyond.

The time required for the actual exam has expanded to approximately six and a half hours with additional time needed for administrative tasks. Current information on the structure and content of the revised exam is available on the MCAT page.

The MCAT exam includes four sections:

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems – 65 Items – 95 Minutes
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems – 65 Items – 95 Minutes
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior – 65 Items – 95 Minutes
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills 60 Items – 90 Minutes

For the Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems and Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems sections of the MCAT, you will need to complete core coursework in biology, general/inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and biochemistry.

For the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the exam, you will need to complete coursework in psychology and sociology. A statistics course may also be beneficial, but not necessarily required for all students.

For the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section of the exam, there is no standard coursework required, but generally taking advanced coursework in the humanities and social sciences will help you build the kind of broad analytical and reasoning skills that will be required for performance in this section of the exam. Passages from this section may be drawn from a variety of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences, including readings in philosophy, ethics, cross-cultural studies and population health. For this section of the MCAT, the best way to prepare may be to be wide-ranging in your choice of courses outside of the natural sciences. Reading diverse literature and material that you normally may not be inclined to read is also advisable to expand your understanding of varying topics. Reading the Wall Street Journal and The Economist are frequently recommended.