What Undergraduate Degrees Lead to Medical School?

Medical SchoolA common misconception among today’s students is that only a limited number of undergraduate degrees that lead to medical school, according to US News and World Report. There is a commonly held belief that the most promising med school students are those who spend four undergraduate years immersed in anatomy, biology, or even kinesiology. While it’s true that these majors are particularly helpful as students pursue advanced coursework and practice in the medical field, it’s also true that colleges look beyond curriculum and toward the potential for achievement when they review candidates’ applications for medical school admission. With that said, which degrees really do lead to successful admission?

The Medical Fields Certainly Don’t Hurt Candidates’ Chances

While a large number of the top medical schools in the country openly state that the undergraduate major is not as important as other parts of the application process, they also note that undergraduate work can help create the right context for professional studies of medicine. Students who want to enjoy an edge over the competition might want to consider the traditional slate of majors endured by most aspiring physicians: Anatomy, biology, physical therapy, kinesiology, biochemistry, and biology-related engineering fields.

These are particularly challenging majors, however, which might see some students struggle to excel academically. In a world where GPA and MCAT are the two most important acronyms to both applicants and admissions counselors, this could pose a problem. For this reason, those who aren’t particularly talented in biology or anatomy might want to consider a perfectly acceptable, alternative path.

Consider a Major that Allows for Demonstration of Competence and Achievement

While some students are naturally talented in the sciences, others find that majors like business, education, or political science, are more likely to fit in with their academic interests and strengths. That doesn’t make them any less capable as physicians or as medical school candidates, but it does mean that they shouldn’t torture themselves as they force science class after science class onto their undergraduate roster.

Most of today’s best medical schools will accept candidates who took “alternative” courses of study during their undergraduate years. Those students will still need to present the same strong data points as their peers, however: A high GPA, a great MCAT score, strong letters of recommendation, and a letter of professional intent. Students who pursued other majors outside of the science realm may also need to take foundational courses in anatomy, biology, and related fields, before they can begin more traditional coursework in medical school. Even so, being able to really achieve great marks as an undergrad is a big boost to applications and serves to mitigate the perceived negative effect of a non-science major.

Related Resource: Online Nursing Degree

Choose a Major That is Challenging, Versatile, and a Great Showcase

Overall, students who are considering attending medical school after graduation should choose an undergraduate major that allows them to showcase their talents, hone their skills in a given area, and create a professional goal that is consistent with the moral values of the medical profession. Those students who strive first to achieve, and later to gain admission to medical school, are almost always the ones who stand the best chance of acceptance to some of today’s most selective and rigorous programs. Spend more time focusing on professional and academic qualifications, and less time focusing on selecting undergraduate degrees that “lead” to medical school. With great academic performance, virtually all degrees can lead to that ultimate goal.