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Offices: Registrar - Catalog

Premedical Program

Kathleen Verville, Program Advisor

 

Students interested in pursuing a career in allopathic medicine (M.D.), osteopathic medicine (D.O.), podiatric medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, or optometry should take advantage of the College’s Premedical Program. The Premedical Program is not a major; it is a program under the guidance of the Premedical Committee designed to assist students with pre-professional planning and applications to one of the above types of professional schools. Premedical students should consult members of the Premedical Committee early in their academic careers and formally notify the Premedical Committee Chair of their interest in considering a career in medicine. Premedical Committee members include Professors Kathleen Verville (Committee Chair), Anne Marteel-Parrish, Juan Lin, George Spilich, and Matthew McCabe.

 

To become aware of expectations, requirements, procedures, and deadlines, premedical students should read the advising information found on the College’s premedical Web site, Canvas site and in the college catalog and attend all premed meetings (announced through email and the Premed Canvas site). In addition, each premedical student is strongly encouraged to frequently seek out individual advice from Premedical Committee members. Students seeking a Committee Letter from the Washington College Premedical Committee (required/recommended by the majority of medical schools) must be aware of the need to complete a file with the Premedical Committee, file requirements, the deadline for file completion, and the procedures for obtaining a Committee Letter.

 

Students should begin to plan their program of coursework immediately upon entering the College. Although many premedical students major in one of the Natural Sciences, any major offered by the College may be chosen. Regardless of major, students are encouraged to explore courses and activities outside their major. In addition to fulfilling the requirements for the major and for graduation from Washington College, premedical students will need to take those courses required for professional school admission. These vary depending on the type of medical program (e.g. veterinary medicine vs. allopathic medicine) and, to some extent, from school to school. The required prerequisite courses most commonly include: General Biology (BIO 111, 112), General Chemistry (CHE 111, 112), Organic Chemistry (CHE 201, 202), Biochemistry (BIO 409/CHE 309), Physics [PHY 101, 102 (the algebra-based course sequence) or PHY 111,112 (the calculus-based course sequence); see information below], two semesters of Math (see information below), two semesters of English (ENG 101 plus one additional English class), Social Science courses (see information below), and Humanities courses.

 

Math requirements can vary depending on the program. Statistics (MAT 109) is strongly recommended. Since many medical schools require or recommend Differential Calculus (MAT 201) and the course is required for the major in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, students should plan to take MAT 201. The next course in the calculus course series, Integral Calculus (MAT 202), is required for some majors (physics and chemistry). Students opting to take the calculus-based Physics course (PHY 111, 112) should note that MAT 201 is a co-requisite for PHY 111 and MAT 202 is a co-requisite for PHY 112. Note that students may need to take Precalculus (MAT 110) to be adequately prepared for Differential Calculus. (Registration for Precalculus requires permission from the Math Department.)

 

Students may fulfill the physics requirement for medical school by taking either the algebra-based physics course [College Physics I and II (PHY 101, 102)] or the calculus-based physics course [General Physics I and II (PHY 111, 112)]. Those students planning a major in Physics or planning to major in Chemistry and receive an ACS-certified degree need to take the calculus-based physics sequence (PHY 111, 112).

 

In addition to fulfilling prerequisites for admission, the content of many of these courses is included on the tests required for admission [Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), the Dental Admission Test (DAT), and the Optometry Admission Test (OAT)]. Beginning in 2015, in addition to testing verbal reasoning skills, the MCAT will test knowledge of general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, statistics, psychology, and sociology. Therefore, students planning to enter programs that require the MCAT (allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, many podiatric medicine programs) should consider fulfilling the social science distribution requirements with General Psychology (PSY 111, 112) and Introduction to Sociology (SOC 101). Knowledge of statistics for the MCAT can also be gained from Statistics and Research Design I and II with lab (PSY 209, PSY 309).

 

Note that many programs require or recommend additional biology courses beyond General Biology. These biology classes are also important for students who ultimately opt for programs such as Physician Assistant programs instead of medical school.

 

Ethics courses [e.g. Ethical Theory (PHL 225), Foundations of Morality (PHL 235), Biomedical Ethics (PSY 325)] are also encouraged.

 

Students who do not major in one of the sciences are strongly encouraged to take more than the minimum required science classes.

 

Given the variation in requirements from program to program, and the fact that some schools have additional requirements, students are encouraged to consult the appropriate Web sites for each area of medicine (aamc.org, aacom.org, aacpm.org, aavmc.org, adea.org, opted.org) as well as books that list professional school requirements (Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR), Osteopathic Medical College Information Book, Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements (VMSAR), and ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools). These books, which are updated annually, are available in the Premedical Reading Area of the Toll Science Center.

 

Students should plan to take the appropriate test (MCAT, DAT, OAT, GRE) before applying to professional school. Advice about which test is required for particular programs, when to take these tests, and how to prepare for them should be sought from the Premedical Committee. Strong test scores and GPA are essential for a successful application to these highly competitive programs. The exams should not be taken without adequate preparation, and students should plan to take the test one time only.

 

Students may plan to attend professional school the academic year following graduation, but are strongly encouraged to consider taking additional time. Those who wish to attend professional school immediately following graduation must plan coursework especially carefully so that courses required for admission (many of which are also necessary for successful completion of the admission tests) are completed by the end of the Junior year. This allows an application to be submitted early in the summer between the Junior and Senior years. A sample schedule for each major that allows for completion of required courses by the end of the Junior year is shown below; however, because there are many other possible course arrangements and because students differ in academic background, each student is encouraged to seek individual advice about course planning. The course schedule presented is rigorous and may not be appropriate for every student.

 

Regardless of the timing of the application, careful and early planning of courses required for the major, graduation, and medical school admission is important because many required courses have prerequisites, some students may need to take additional courses (e.g. Precalculus) for adequate preparation, and some course combinations are not recommended.

 

Students with Advanced Placement credit in required premedical courses should seek advice from the Premedical Committee, as many professional schools do not accept AP credit for required courses. Those schools typically ask students either to retake the course at a four-year college or to take additional upper level courses in the discipline(s) in which the AP credit was received. Those students planning to study abroad should seek advice about coursework planning and should take required premedical courses in the United States.

 

Required courses, which should not be taken Pass/Fail, have minimum grade requirements. All science classes taken should be majors level and have a lab.

 

Students who do not have U.S. citizenship or permanent residency should seek out early advice about career planning and be aware that it is very difficult for non-U.S. citizens/permanent residents to gain entry into U.S. medical schools and to finance their medical education.

 

See sample schedules for students planning to attend professional school the year following graduation on opposite page.





Sample Course Schedules For Students Who Plan to Enter Medical/Professional School The Academic Year Following College Graduation*

 

Biology Major

Chemistry Major

Physics Major

Psychology Major

Other Major

 

   

First Year

   

GRW 101, ENG 101

GRW 101, ENG 101

GRW 101, ENG 101

GRW 101, ENG 101

GRW 101, ENG 101

BlO 111, 112

CHE 111, 112

PHY 111, 112

PSY 111,112

Introductory Sequence for Major

CHE 111, 112

BlO 111, 112

CHE 111, 112

BIO 111, 112

BIO 111, 112

MAT 201, Math

MAT 201, 202

MAT 201, 202

CHE 111, 112

CHE 111, 112

   

Second Year

   

CHE 201, 202

CHE 201, 202

CHE 201, 202

CHE 201, 202

CHE 201, 202

Advanced Biology

PHY 111, 112 ‡

PHY 201, 204

PSY 209, PSY 309

Advanced Course for Major

English

English

MAT 203, 345

Advanced Psychology

English

Distribution or Elective

Distribution or Elective

BlO 111, 112

MAT 201, Math

MAT 201, Math

   

Third Year

   

BIO 409/CHE 309

BIO 409/CHE 309

BIO 409/CHE 309

BIO 409/CHE 309

BIO 409/CHE 309

Advanced Biology

Advanced Chemistry

Advanced Physics

PHY 101,102 or PHY 111, 112

PHY 101,102 or PHY 111, 112

PHY 101,102 or PHY 111,112

Distribution or Elective

English

Advanced Psychology

Advanced Course for Major

Distribution or Elective

Distribution or Elective

Distribution or Elective

English

Distribution or Elective

   

Fourth Year

   

Advanced Biology Course(s)

Advanced Chemistry Course(s)

Advanced Physics Course(s)

Advanced Psychology Course(s)

Advanced Course(s) for Major

Advanced Biology Course(s)

Advanced Chemistry Course(s)

Advanced Physics Course(s)

Advanced Psychology Course(s)

Advanced Course(s) for Major

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

Distribution or Elective Course(s)

 

‡ PHY 111,112 is required for students seeking an ACS-certified degree in chemistry. Other chemistry majors may take PHY101, 102 or PHY 111,112.

 

*These sample schedules allow for a professional school application in the summer between the junior and senior years, the approximate application timing for students who plan to enter professional school in the year following college graduation. We strongly encourage students to consider taking at least one additional year before applying to professional school. Please note that these sample schedules should not be used without also reading the accompanying text, which provides additional explanation. As there are many course combinations that can allow this same application timing, students should seek out individual advice regarding course planning. When planning courses, students should be aware that the required courses for professional school admission normally need to be completed before the application is submitted and that many of the required courses are also necessary for strong performance on admission tests (e.g. MCAT), which students should plan to complete before the application is submitted. Students should also be aware of course prerequisites and the hierarchical nature of the biology and chemistry courses that lead to Biochemistry.