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Can a public health degree be helpful to get into medical school?

I currently am majoring in public health but my goal is to become a dermatologist and for that I need to go to medical school but I'm not sure if the route I am taking is good so I just would like some advice.

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Raquel’s Answer

A public health degree can be a great asset for applying to medical school! There is no required degree to apply. I know people with degrees in psychology, English, and engineering who are all in medical school. Similarly I know a pharmacist, a paramedic, and I'm a nurse. There is no one path to medical school. Having a public health degree will make you an interesting applicant, it will also give you a unique perspective and knowledge about the medical field prior to starting school. If your school has a premed counselor, be sure to set up a few meetings with them, they can help you make sure you get all of the classes you need. All you need to do is make sure you take all of the required prerequisite courses. This generally includes one year of biology with lab, one year of general chemistry with lab, one year of organic chemistry with lab, and one year of physics with lab. There are also English and math requirements, such as writing and statistics. Some schools require calculus, biochemistry, or genetics. You will also need to take the MCAT entrance exam, it's best to have taken most of your prerequisite classes before taking this exam since it tests that material. But so long as you do all of those things, you'll be qualified to apply to medical school!

Other things that schools look at in applicants are volunteering, shadowing physicians, research, publications, and leadership experience. It's important to be a well rounded applicant and schools prefer activities that you have participated in for long periods of time rather than getting a lot of hours in in a short time. It's a long and hard road to medical school, but well worth it! Best of luck!!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much Raquel, I really appreciate it. Lyviel
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Jerel’s Answer

Hey Lyviel and thank you for your question! Having a degree in public health can definitely be helpful when it comes to getting into medical school. Public health coursework can give you a solid foundation in the health sciences, which will be useful when you start studying medicine. Additionally, medical schools are looking for well-rounded applicants who have diverse experiences and knowledge, so having a background in public health can be a great asset.

That being said, it's important to remember that there is no one "right" path to medical school. While some students may choose to major in a science field like biology or chemistry, others may pursue a degree in a related field like public health. Ultimately, what matters most is that you have the academic background, experience, and skills necessary to succeed in medical school and beyond. So, if public health is a subject that interests you and you feel passionate about, then pursuing this degree can be a great choice for you. Just make sure to also focus on excelling in your pre-med requirements and gaining relevant clinical experience, such as volunteering at a hospital or clinic, to strengthen your application.

Hope this helps, and best of luck in pursuing your dream of becoming a dermatologist!
Thank you comment icon I appreciate your support, Jerel O. Lyviel
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Erica’s Answer

Hi Lyviel,

I just answered your other question about minors. Hello again!

I think the best way to determine the route to take is to work backward. Visit some medical school websites and read their academic requirements for admission. They will specify how many classes or how many hours you need in specific subjects. Once you know this information, you can compare it to the requirements of your current degree. Will it meet the requirements of the medical schools to which you plan to apply?

If it looks like the requirements do not match up, speak with your academic advisor. Is it possible to take the extra classes you need on top of your current major?

The key will be to match what medical schools you are interested in require to what your current program of study has you taking.

I hope this helps!
Erica Letourneau
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice, Erica. Lyviel
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