Physicians treat and prevent human illness, disease and injury. There are two types of physicians: the M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) and the D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). Medical school programs are four years in length. At the end of four years, allopathic institutions grant the M.D. degree and osteopathic institutions grant the D.O. degree. You should examine the similarities and differences in training and practice. (For more information about allopathic programs, you are encouraged to visit https://www.aamc.org; for more information about osteopathic programs, visit https://www.aacom.org.)
Additional graduate medical education may range from three to seven years, depending on the specialty selected. Successful completion of national boards is required for certification prior to licensure.
Medical schools list specific requirements for admission in the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) published annually by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Other professional schools have similar but less elaborate information booklets. These materials are available in MedOpp office located on the second floor of Lowry Hall.
The following courses are the basic requirements and must be completed before matriculation:
- One year (8 credit hours) of general chemistry with lab
- One year (8 credit hours) of organic chemistry with lab
- One year (8 credit hours) of physics with lab
- One year (8 credit hours) of biological sciences with lab
- One year (6 credit hours) of English—many schools will accept English 1000 and a Writing Intensive course
* See Plan of Study for MU course numbers.
The list of required courses provides the general minimum requirements for the schools to which MU students usually apply. With recent changes in the MCAT, several additional courses are needed in order to be successful on the exam (see Recommended Additional Courses for Medical School Admission for a comprehensive list). For details on particular schools, consult the MSAR found in the MedOpp office or your health professions adviser.
Please Note: Medical schools differ on their acceptance of AP credit for science and non-science course work. Check with your adviser and/or the MSAR. Do not make assumptions.
Recommended Additional Courses for MCAT Preparation
- A minimum of two courses (6 credit hours) in social and behavioral sciences, e.g., psychology and sociology
- One semester (3 credit hours) of statistics
- One year (6-8 credit hours) of biochemistry
Additional Courses for Medical School Preparation
- Calculus I & II
- Introduction to Medical Microbiology
- Elements of Pharmacology
- Health Care in the U.S.
- Medical Ethics
- MU Community Engagement Program
Advanced science classes should be selected carefully to develop breadth of course work and to demonstrate academic abilities. If early science grades are not distinguished, then performing at a level of excellence in one or more upper-level or graduate-level science courses reflects well on your candidacy.
Medical schools are searching for broadly-educated individuals with excellent writing and speaking skills, who have developed analytical and synthetic thinking abilities. In addition to selecting a wide array of science courses, you are encouraged to balance your academic program to include history, art, literature, philosophy, social and behavioral sciences and communication skills.
Students are encouraged to consider course work in medical ethics and healthcare policy. Medical schools expect that applicants have made some effort to become knowledgeable about current issues in healthcare delivery, policy, and ethics. These topics are often discussed in the admissions interview.