pre-med undergraduate studies major

The Best Undergraduate Major for a Pre-Med Student

If you want to go to medical school, you may be frustrated to learn that you cannot major in pre-med. What is the best major for a pre-med student?

Let’s look at the data.

Biology (and related biological sciences) is by far the most popular major for pre-med students. Fifty-three percent of medical school applicants in 2015-16 claimed this major. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice.

Medical School Applicants and Matriculants (2015-2016)
Applicants Matriculants
Biological Sciences 27653 53% 10676 52%
Humanities 2193 4% 1073 5%
Math and Statistics 438 <1% 192 <1%
Physical Sciences 5102 10% 2319 11%
Social Sciences 5629 11% 2277 11%
Specialized Health Sciences 1596 3% 494 2%
Other 9938 19% 3600 17%
TOTAL 52549   20631  

Source: Association of American Medical Colleges

The percentage of applicants and matriculants (those actually entering medical school) is pretty much the same for any given major. In other words, no one major gives a clear advantage– pre-med students enter medical school in the same ratios by major with which they apply.

Rather than focusing on a title, choose your major based its ability to help you earn a good MCAT score, keep a high GPA, meet prerequisites and foster excellent relationships with your professors.

Choose a major that won’t consume all your time.

Although medical schools do not care about the title of your undergraduate major, they do care about your MCAT. The average MCAT for a student entering medical school last year was 31.4. This is significantly higher than the average score for applicants, which was just 28.3.

While choosing a major in a relevant area might help your score, ultimately you’ll still have to study outside of regular classes. You won’t be able to do that if you choose a major that is too difficult and consumes too much of your time.

Choose a major that is interesting to you.

Medical schools are also going to judge you based on…

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One thought on “The Best Undergraduate Major for a Pre-Med Student”

  1. The comments in the The Best Undergraduate Major for a Pre-Med Student form a lucidly written, highly useful, and well constructed commentary for students wishing to pursue such graduate studies! Maija is to be commended for this well written contribution.

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