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As an entering pre-med track student. Is it better to major in biology or a smaller section of biology (microbiology, molecular biology)? Which will prepare me for medical school the most.

I plan to attend college as a pre-med student with goals of one day becoming a physician. doctor medicine college-major biology graduate-school physician

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Robert’s Answer

As far as preparing for medical school, you could look at the basic science curriculum for the school(s) you would like to attend. Any coursework you do that matches the courses in the med school curriculum will leave you better prepared in the sense that you will have studied the material before. On the other hand, it is certainly possible to take the bare minimum prerequisites for admission (biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, +/- math and physics depending on the school) and be adequately prepared for your med school courses. You would just be learning rather than relearning.


I studied electrical engineering as an undergraduate. There were plenty of students in my med school class who studied biochemistry, histology, anatomy, microbiology, etc before med school - often at a graduate level. Having that experience certainly made the course work easier since they'd done it before. However, I still value the analytical and problem solving skills I learned in engineering school. I also have a much better understanding of all the technology that is so much a part of medicine today.

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Richard’s Answer

Pick a major that interests you so you don't mind devoting a majority of your hours to studying. You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.

Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses.

Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters


As long as you complete the prerequisites you will be prepared for medical school. And you will learn all you need to practice as a physician while in medical school and residency.
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Estelle’s Answer

Your major is not as important as your undergraduate grades, your MCAT score, your letters of reference, and your personal statements on your medical school application. For now, just focus on finding a college that fits you and your budget and a major that really interests you in college so that you will make great grades and get strong letters of recommendation from professors that recognize your potential.
Good luck!
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