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Information For Pre-medicine and Pre-dentistry Students

A bachelor's degree in chemistry is an ideal pre-medicine degree. A student can acquire the necessary biology courses as electives. In medical school, a chemistry background will be useful in biochemistry, endocrinology, physiology, microbiology, and pharmacology. Upon graduation, if a person wishes to be a medical scientist, a chemical education will open various areas of research and accelerate his or her progress. For similar reasons, chemistry is an excellent major for students planning careers in other health professions such as dentistry, optometry and veterinary medicine.

All schools of dentistry, medicine, and optometry require chemistry for admission. Virtually all medical schools require one year of general chemistry with laboratory and one year of organic chemistry with laboratory. Although the minimum entrance requirement of most dental and many optometry schools is one year of general chemistry and one semester of organic chemistry, both with the laboratories, some schools now require a full year of organic chemistry. Therefore, students should obtain copies of the bulletins of the professional schools to which they plan to apply for admission and check the specific entrance requirements.

Many students have discovered that having an extensive chemical background can be a distinct advantage in a medical or dental school program and about one-third of our undergraduate majors are pre-medicine students. We recommend, therefore, that all pre-medicine and pre-dentistry students consider carefully the possibility of a B.A. in chemistry or one of the biological chemistry options (B.A. or B.S.).

Pre-dentistry and pre-medicine students must take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) or the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) before their applications can be evaluated by the professional schools. Therefore, it is highly desirable to complete the required science courses for these professional schools by the end of the third year in college. The MCAT is taken online, and is available from January through September of each year. It often works well for candidates to take the MCAT in May immediately after their junior year and finals. That same timeframe also works well for the DAT or OAT. Candidates should start applying early in the summer between their junior and senior year, and, if needed, they can do some more reviewing and practicing over summer, and retake in August or even September.

For further information useful to pre-medicine students, see the Pre-medicine Advising Site, or contact:

Paul Crosby
Premedical Advising
109 Strong Hall

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