The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects shortages across health care professions, including physicians. Some specialties, including primary care, will face severe shortages in the next five to twenty years. To practice medicine, further education and training are required, ranging from 4 to 8 years of additional schooling and training after college.

If you are considering medical school after college, UWM will provide you with an excellent foundation to help you reach your goal. Admission to medical school is a highly competitive process, and students must demonstrate very strong academic performance as well as provide evidence that they have engaged in health-related work experiences to meet the rigorous admission standards of medical school. UWM graduates have consistently been admitted to medical schools at a rate equal to or greater than the national average; many UWM Pre-Medical students have gone on to attend top-ranked medical schools and have built promising careers in different medical specialties.

Medical schools do no require any specific major. What they do expect, however, is that students will have taken the necessary preparatory science classes to prepare for the demands of medical school. Because of the number of biology and chemistry classes that need to be taken, most students choose to major in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry, but this is not a requirement. As long as a student takes the required coursework, he/she can major in any subject area. The Pre-Medical Fact Sheet outlines the courses that medical school expects students to take during college.

Many individuals feel a calling to the medical profession after they have graduated and been working in another profession. Individuals in this situation who did not major in a science field while in college or who have low grades in previous science education will maximize their opportunity to become an admissible medical school candidate by re-taking science courses or by returning to school for a full major in a related-science. 

A significant number of volunteer or work hours is also often a requirement for application to medical school so it is important to work with the Pre-Medical advisor beginning in freshman year or upon entry to the certificate program in order to plan all needed activities into your college career.


The application process for medical school is highly competitive. Students are advised to work closely with the pre-med advisor to ensure they are able to present the strongest possible application packet for medical school with exceptional grades, standardized test scores, and experiential learning.

Nearly all medical schools require that applicants take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Pre-Medical students normally should arrange to take this test at the end of their junior year. The Pre-Medical advisor can provide information regarding the administration of this test.

Most medical schools consider the following as minimal preparation for admission:

  • One year of English;
  • mathematics at least through pre-calculus;
  • Two to two-and-a-half years of chemistry, including inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry;
  • One year of biology (more is advised); and
  • One year of physics.

For most medical schools, science courses must include laboratory work.

Effective 2015, the MCAT added a social/behavioral science component and additional chemistry. To be well prepared for the MCAT, students are advised to complete PSYCH 101, SOCIOL 101, and PH 101 (as well as other courses selected in consultation with the premed advisor) and CHEM 501. Other classes, such as Communication, are more frequently being strongly recommended or required by various medical schools.

Some medical schools specify additional courses as part of the minimal preparation for admission. Calculus frequently is required or recommended. Therefore, Pre-Medical students should ascertain the specific requirements of the schools to which they intend to apply and plan their undergraduate programs accordingly. A list of all medical college admission requirements is located in the College advising office.

Science Courses that Satisfy Medical School Admission Requirements

BIO SCI 150Foundations of Biological Sciences I4
BIO SCI 152Foundations of Biological Sciences II4
One advanced course in Biological Sciences with lab4-5
CHEM 102General Chemistry5
CHEM 104General Chemistry and Qualitative Analysis5
CHEM 343Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 344Organic Chemistry Laboratory2
CHEM 345Organic Chemistry3
CHEM 501Introduction to Biochemistry (required at UW-Madison Medical School)3
Math (required at the Medical College of Wisconsin)4
Select one of the following options:10
Option 1:
General Physics I (Non-Calculus Treatment)
and General Physics Laboratory I (Non-Calculus Treatment)
General Physics II (Non-Calculus Treatment)
and General Physics Laboratory II (Non-Calculus Treatment)
Option 2:
Physics I (Calculus Treatment)
and Lab Physics I (Calculus Treatment)
Physics II (Calculus Treatment)
and Lab Physics II (Calculus Treatment)
Option 3:
Physics I: Calculus-Based, Studio Format
Physics II: Calculus-Based, Studio Format
Statistics: Any statistics course (required at UW-Madison Medical School)3
Total Credits50-51

Although the courses listed above are mandatory for admission to almost all American medical schools, the rest of the program can be whatever the student wishes. Students are not required to major in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry in order to gain admission to medical school, though many choose to do so.