Courses

Suggested Minimum Course Requirements

Most schools in the health professions have structured requirements for admission that include a background in the sciences as well as English and social sciences. Many also expect you to accrue research and/or internship experience in the field. You should thoroughly investigate the specific programs and schools you are interested in to be sure you are fulfilling their expectations.

At a minimum, most schools require you to present the following undergraduate courses:

  • Mathematics & Statistics: 1-2 semesters, often including calculus.
  • Physics: 2 semesters, with lab.
  • Chemistry: 4 semesters, with lab, to include a year of general and a year of organic chemistry.
  • Biology: 2 semesters, with lab. Some schools require more, and some require specific courses, such as microbiology and biochemistry
  • English: 2 semesters. These must be writing intensive courses, not literature.
  • Social science: Often 1-2 semesters are required in specific courses.
  • Biochemistry with a lab is required for pre-vet students.

 NOTE: Due to changes in the MCAT (administered after January 2015) students on the pre-med track will also be tested on content from:

  •  Biochemistry
  •  Introduction to Psychology
  •  Introduction  to Sociology
  •  Ethics
  •  Research Design
  •  Statistics

Note that courses required for some programs--such as Animal Nutrition and Anatomy & Physiology--are not offered on the MHC campus. You will need to plan to take these at UMass or another campus. In general, online courses and courses taken at Community Colleges (after enrolling at MHC) will not suffice.  Again, investigate specific program requirements and plan early!

Recommended Courses

You are strongly advised not to overload your schedule with premed requirements in any one semester. As a rule, two premed courses in any single semester of your first year is plenty. We strongly advise you against taking calculus in combination with any two laboratory courses (chemistry, biology, or physics) in any one semester of your first year. If one of those subjects is a possible major, take the introductory sequence in that subject and (optimally) just one other science/math premed requirement at the same time. Many students planning to major in chemistry or biology take one chem course plus one bio course each semester of their first year. If you are considering a major in physics or mathematics, enroll in the intro sequence for that discipline and take one other premed course concurrently or leave other premed requirements until later. Remember, the goal is to do well in premed courses and also to explore the rich opportunities in other disciplines at MHC.

Introductory Biology
2 semesters with lab, (Bio 160f/145f and Bio 200s):

  • Any section of 145 or 160 offered with a laboratory is suitable.
  • Neuro 100 (open to first years only) is a requirement for students considering a Neuroscience and Behavior major.  It counts for Bio145 or Bio160 and serves as a pre-req for Bio200.
  • Bio 145 is a smaller class than Bio 160.
  • Taking Bio/Chem 160 results in just one lab during your first semester whereas students in Bio 145 and Chem 101 will have two labs.
  • If you wish to major in biology, you are advised to take Chem 101 in your first year, concurrently with introductory biology. If Chem 101 must wait, take it in the fall of your second year, as it is required for a second-year biology course for biology majors (Bio 210).

General Chemistry
2 semesters with lab (Chem 101f and Chem 201s).  The first semester can be the Bio/Chem 160 combined course.  This course has one lab but counts for both Chemistry and Biology.

Organic Chemistry
2 semesters with lab (Chem 202f and Chem 302s):

  • Take the chemistry courses in the order listed here, i.e., 101-201-202-302.
  • Those with a strong background in chemistry may place out of Chem 101 and take an advanced course (such as physical chemistry) as the second in a two-course sequence in general chemistry.

Introductory Physics
2 semesters with lab (Physics 100f and Physics 150s) or (Physics 110fs and Physics 201fs):

  • Physics 100f and 150s are designed specifically for premed students (they do not involve calculus and they cover the range of topics likely to appear on the MCAT).
  • Physics 110 and Physics 201 also meet the requirements for medical school, are designed to form the foundation for a physics major, and use calculus I and II.

English
Many medical schools require two semesters of English writing. All require you to demonstrate excellence in written and spoken English, so we recommend:

  • English 101fs and English 200fs OR (if you can’t take one of the 101s) English 200fs and any 200-level writing course

Mathematics and Statistics
Most medical schools require one semester of calculus, some require two, and some indicate that statistics can be substituted for one semester of calculus. Our mathematics department’s online self-assessment will help you choose a best first course in mathematics. First-year students complete an online Mathematics Assessment; continuing students follow the instructions about self-registering.

  • Precalculus is offered in the fall semester for those needing to prepare for Calculus I: Math 100f
  • Those with appropriate preparation, take Calculus I: Math 101fs
  • For students with calculus experience who want Calc II: Math 202fs
  • For those wishing to take statistics: Stat 140fs or 240fs (usually reserved for upper classwomen and those with prior statistical knowledge/experience).

Biochemistry
Very strongly recommended, sometimes required:

  • Biochem 311f: has a lab, and requires both Bio 210 and Chem 101-201-202-302.
  • Chem 212 (taught on alternate years): has no lab, requires Chem 101-201-202 (302 is recommended but may be taken concurrently).
  • Several 200 and 300-level biochemistry courses are offered at the other schools in the five colleges, both with and without lab, and with different prerequisites, which may better match the requirements of the schools you are interested in and your course schedule.

Social and Behavioral Sciences
Some schools recommend or even require course work in the social and behavioral sciences. The new MCAT (arriving Spring 2015) will have a new Behavioral Sciences section for which introductory psychology and sociology are recommended.  Investigate specific requirements early in your planning.