What major should I choose? This is a common question among premed students when beginning their undergraduate education. Poor advice suggests to students that all hoping to attend medical school should choose the undergraduate major that will boost their application. Unfortunately, there still remains no magical formula to guarantee admissions to medical school. This is still true when it comes to determining one’s undergraduate program. The following explains some pros and cons of the stereotypical Biology/Premed major.
Statistics from AMCAS indicate that the majority of premedical students pursue a degree in one of the sciences. These degrees vary, however, most matriculants actually have degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Genetics, and other fields that seem fit to prepare a student for the rigors of medical school.
Does this mean that medical school admissions committees give preference to students who major in the sciences? Absolutely not. In reality, it may be safe to say that science majors generally include all of the courses that meet all of the prerequisites for med school matriculation. This means that students can satisfy both medical school prerequisites and degree requirements without taking additional classes. More than likely, an English degree does not include the advanced courses such as Organic Chemistry that are requires at nearly all medical schools in the United States.
So why would anyone major in a degree other than in science?
Most medical schools encourage students to pursue degrees in the fields which interest the student. Medical schools still maintain the prerequisite course requirements while allowing premedical students the flexibility of pursuing a non-science degree, if desired.
There are, in fact, many benefits to pursuing a degree in a field other than Biology or Chemistry. One benefit of pursuing a degree in a different field is simply the student’s ability to stand out in a crowd. Admissions committees frequently encounter large numbers of science degrees. When a student who decides to major English submits an application to medical school, you may be able to imagine how “different” that student will be in the applicant pool.