Planning Your Courses

Like most other liberal arts colleges, Wellesley does not have a “premedical major.”

This means you have to plan your courses while simultaneously fulfilling college distribution requirements and courses for a major. Although students are not expected to finalize career decisions in their first or sophomore years, if you think you might pursue a career in a medical profession, you should consider beginning the prerequisite courses early. But remember, you do not have to take them all at once and all in your first year!

To help choose courses, you should familiarize yourself with requirements for the medical profession in which you are interested. It is your responsibility to make sure you know these requirements and have planned accordingly. This will take some research on your part, but as members of a medical profession, you will be required to be a lifelong independent learner. This is a good place to start. Course requirements for individual medical schools are subject to change, so stay up-to-date.

If you are not majoring in science you should plan to take some courses beyond the minimum requirements for medical school. Some schools require it, but most will expect it. You need to demonstrate your ability to handle upper level science courses. Non-science majors should take two lab science courses at the same time for a couple of semesters. Some admissions directors want to be sure that non-science majors can handle the heavier load of more than one science course at a time. For questions regarding placement into particular courses, please consult individual departments.

Plan a course schedule--in writing. This is especially helpful if you are considering going abroad during your junior year. If you are thinking of entering a graduate program in the medical professions immediately after graduating from Wellesley, you will need to apply in the summer after your junior year. However, many students elect to apply after senior year and take time off between college and their graduate programs. The schools are very happy to get students who have had some life experience outside of school. The American Association of Medical Colleges provides a helpful table comparing ages of applicants to medical school nationally.

Some schools require that all their prerequisites be completed by the end of the first semester after the summer you apply (by first semester senior year if you are applying after junior year for immediate entrance to medical school after graduation). Check websites of individual schools.

When you plan your schedule remember to include the timing of the standardized test required by your medical profession. If you are taking the test no later than 2014, you should have completed, or be in the process of completing, the basic science requirements necessary to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) or other standardized tests. By the time you take the MCAT, you should have taken the year of biology, a year of chemistry (or 120), a year of organic chemistry, and a year of physics. For the DAT (dental), remember that while physics is required for the dental schools, it is not on the exam. The vet schools require the GRE, so specific courses are not required. Remember that English courses, which many schools require, can improve your ability to read, comprehend, and express your ideas clearly.