Pre-medicine is not a degree-granting major, but rather a track for students who plan to attend medical school after their undergraduate studies.  Pre-medical students take a prescribed sequence of courses that prepare them for medical school, which is a four-year professional program that awards the medical doctorate, or M.D.  Pre-medical students can major in any field as long as they complete prerequisite courses for medical school and have completed the Medical College Admissions Test, or MCAT.  Pre-medical students work with a pre-medical advisor who helps with course sequencing and academic preparation for medical school.


Coursework Explore this Career Application Process Be Competitive



Required courses for admission to the UI College of Medicine (Adapted from UI CCOM website):

  • Chemistry: A minimum of 2 years of chemistry to include general and organic both with labs, and biochemistry.
  • Biochemistry
  • English:  Two courses (to include composition and literature). This may be waived if your school integrates a writing requirement into courses across the curriculum.
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities: four courses as part of general education
  • Physics: A complete introductory sequence of 1 year, including lab and instruction
  • Mathematics: An advanced college mathematics course or a statistics course.
  • Which can be taken to fulfill either as part of the chemistry or the advanced biology requirement.
  • Biological Sciences:  Two semesters of the principles of biology with the appropriate laboratories, and an advanced biology course (1 semester or quarter). Recommended advanced biology courses include biochemistry, molecular & cell biology, human physiology, genetics or microbiology.
  • As writing skills are important in the study and practice of medicine, candidates are encouraged to fulfill this requirement with courses that include a writing component. Recommended courses include behavioral psychology, foreign language and other courses that encourage a greater appreciation for diversity and cultural competency.        

 Recommended courses:

  • Anatomy and/or physiology course

These courses are required for the UI College of Medicine.  Other medical schools may have different requirements.


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Explore this Career


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Application Process

  • All prerequisite courses must be completed by time of matriculation.  The application deadline for the UI College of Medicine is November 1st and accepted students begin in August the following year.  All applications for the UI College of Medicine are completed through AMCAS, the online application portal.
  • All applicants must take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).  Information on registering for the MCAT and reporting scores to schools can be found here:
  • Applicants must provide at least three letters of reference submitted through AMCAS.
  • Competitive applicants will be invited for a personal interview.
  • All applicants must submit consent for a criminal background check.
  • Read How to Apply to Medical School
  • Read How to Apply to Osteopathic Medical School


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Be Competitive

  • The admissions profile for matriculated students to the UI College of Medicine in 2015:

    3,474  applicants                  152 enrolled
    Preference is given to residents of Iowa.

    GPA Averages:   Cumulative 3.83, Science 3.71  
    MCAT Average: 32.2 (old version)
  • The UI College of Medicine takes a holistic approach when evaluating candidates.  The competitive candidate will have:
    • Medical shadowing, ideally with multiple physicians in multiple settings
    • Demonstrated success in academics, particularly in science
    • Multiple semesters of rigorous coursework with multiple science courseS
    • Strong letters of reference from a science faculty, research mentors, or volunteer coordinator.  Reference requirements vary at other medical schools.
    • Commitment to serving others.  Students can demonstrate this in many ways such as volunteering with human service organizations, medical facilities and student organizations.
    • Leadership experience
    • Remember, it’s not about what “looks good” but rather, doing what sparks an interest in medicine.  Medical schools seek engaged, intellectually well-rounded students who are naturally curious, adept at science, invested in helping others, and open to working with diverse groups of people.
  • Some things to consider when considering medical school:
    • Am I committed to serving others?
    • Do I have a strong interest in science?
    • Do I enjoy working with people?
    • Do I enjoy working with others in a team-setting and problem-solving?
    • Have I shadowed a doctor?  Am I interested in the work that doctors do?
    • Am I committed to the time, money and effort involved in a medical education?
    • Do I have empathy?  Can I see myself working with people who may be in pain or afraid?
    • Do I have a parallel plan outside of medical school?
  • How to get started
    1. Meet with your pre-medical advisor
    2. Shadow physicians in multiple specialties.  Ask questions and document what you learn.
    3. Research volunteer opportunities.
    4. Check out AAMC’s student pre-medical website:
  • Thinking about a post baccalurate program?


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