Health and Biomedical Sciences Program

Choosing and Scheduling Courses

Since medical school is a time of specialization, your emphasis while at Hanover should be placed on receiving a broad liberal arts education, exploring your intellectual interests while gaining sound preparation for your field of study. Choose a major that you would enjoy even if you reconsidered your decision to pursue a career in medicine; while many pre-med students major in one of the natural sciences, that's not required for admission to medical school programs. In fact, any traditional liberal arts major is suitable, as long as you take the science courses required for admission, lay a foundation for successful performance in medical school, and prepare to take the Medical College Admission Tests (MCAT).

Scheduling Suggestions

Assuming that you are academically strong and have prepared yourself for a rigorous college experience, you should enroll in lab sciences beginning first term freshman year. Work closely with a member of the HBSP Advisory Committee to ensure that you are enrolled in courses in a sequence that prepares you for the MCAT without causing you to overextend yourself in lab courses in any single semester. It is important to perform well in all your courses, but this is especially true in the sciences, whose grade point average will be calculated separately during the admission process. Remember that medical schools do not require or even prefer applicants to be science majors, so as you consider examples of possible tracks, base your decisions on your interests. Because background coursework tested by the MCAT is so involved, some students may prefer to space these requirements out over four years and to take a gap year before attending medical school; examples for this option are included as well. As you make this decision, read Princeton University's Ten Good Reasons to Consider a Glide Year. Finally, note that specific schools' requirements vary; be sure to check the AAMC's Medical School Admission Requirements for those of the schools you are interested in, or visit each school's web site.

Biology Track   Biology Track with Gap Year
Chemistry/BiochemistryTrack   Chemistry/Biochemistry Track with Gap Year
KIP Track   KIP Track with Gap Year

Elective Courses

The range of coursework that would be useful in medical school is broad and, as when selecting your major, your choices should be based on your interests. For example, if you enjoy life sciences, consider such options as genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, physiology, microbiology, and neuropsychology. Courses in economics, communication, ethics, business, and in other areas of psychology may be valuable in the practice of medicine as well. Whatever options you choose, your primary academic focus as a pre-med should be on the basic courses required by medical school and on a solid, challenging major program that you enjoy. Medical schools know how to read patterns and subtexts in transcripts and make special note of the level of difficulty of the courses that you have taken. Thus, as you choose your courses, strive for increasing challenge and independence over time as well as for balance. If you take a semester or year abroad, please note that the international university programs with which Hanover is affiliated often have extensive prerequisites for their laboratory courses. Therefore, explore carefully what your options may be as you plan your pre-med curriculum.

Advanced Placement Credit

Advanced placement (AP) credit for general biology, chemistry or physics does not usually pose a problem to medical schools admission if you take additional upper level courses in the same area. Since medical schools may require actual college credit, at least one other course in the same department should be taken in its place. Remember that the lack of an introductory foundation may make subsequent courses more challenging for you. Be sure to check the AP policies of the schools you are interested in, as they vary across institutions. (Hanover, of course, will not allow you to take an introductory-level course in the same subject for which it has granted AP credit.)