Courses Required by Most Programs

In general, students must have a thorough understanding of the concepts of the physical and life sciences.

Following is a list of some specific courses at Wellesley College that fulfill minimum premedical science requirements. From time to time, course numbers will change and new options will be offered. The current catalogue should be your guide. If you have any questions regarding placement into particular courses, you must consult the relevant department chairs or their representatives.

  • Biology: one year with laboratory
    • Biology 110 or 112 and 111 or 113 (in either order)
  • Inorganic Chemistry: one year with laboratory
    • Chemistry 105 or 105P and 205 or Chemistry 120 and a Grade II Chemistry Course (excluding 205)
  • Organic Chemistry: one year with laboratory
    • Chemistry 211 and 212 (Note: Chemistry courses may follow any of these sequences: Chem 105, 211, 212, 205 or Chem 105, 205, 211, 212 or Chem 120, 211, 212, and a fourth course (See Chemistry Department for details.)
  • Physics: one year with laboratory
    • Physics Physics 104 or 107 and Physics 106 or 108
  • English: one year; both composition and literature may be required
    • Wellesley’s Writing 125 fulfills one semester of the English requirement.
  • Mathematics: varies by school, ranging from no math at all to a full year of mathematics (e.g., calculus and statistics)
    • Math 115 or Math 115 and Math 116 if a student plans to take a year of calculus. An increasing number of schools will require statistics and it might be helpful for the new MCAT that begins in 2015. One semester of calculus and one semester of statistics should fulfill the math requirement for schools requiring one year of math. There are a number of statistics courses at Wellesley from which you can choose and some majors require a statistics course. Many schools, but not all, will accept AP credit if it is on your Wellesley transcript; you must check the individual schools’ websites. If you have questions, check with the Director.
  • Biochemistry: Some schools require it; many, if not most, recommend it; and more will likely require it in the future.

Requirements vary for particular fields, schools, programs, and states. For example, Texas schools require two years of Biology and some require statistics, Oregon requires Genetics, and some California schools have unique requirements. An increasing number of schools want to see behavioral/social sciences or courses in the humanities. If you are interested in particular schools, it is important to check their websites to review their requirements and plan your program accordingly. Begin by checking your own state schools, even if you currently think you do not want to attend them. Veterinary schools’ requirements vary even more than medical schools’ and often more courses are required for pre-vets than for students interested in the other medical professions. For accurate and current information on schools, you should become familiar with the admissions literature in your field. It is important that you check the relevant websites listed on the previous page. Pre-medical students also should look at Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR), a book and accompanying on-line resource available from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). In the Science Library we have the paper copy of the book that you can use. To find out the individual schools’ course requirements and other information, you will need to purchase each year the online section. Similar books are available for pre-dental, pre-optometry, pre-osteopathic medical students, and pre-vet students. Check the relevant web sites listed earlier.

Take a look at the section in the Wellesley College course catalogue on “Courses in Health and Society” for some interesting courses about health care. Once again, it is important that students explore the unique programs of particular schools. It should be emphasized that no specific major (science or non-science) is required for medical school.

First year students are encouraged to take no more than one or two laboratory sciences per semester; thereafter, you can better judge the degree of difficulty of the courses and your ability to deal with them. You need to judge what works best for you; do not compare yourself to the student down the hall or your roommate because each student’s background is different. In planning, remember that students interested in the medical professions, whatever their majors, will need to complete four or five semesters of chemistry. Also, students thinking of spending a semester or year abroad should plan carefully. Many students are taking time off between college and medical school, which provides much more flexibility in fulfilling the requirements. If you are not majoring in science and you have completed all the pre-requisites for schools to which you will be applying, you should try to take science courses beyond the minimum number to demonstrate your interest in science.