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Pre-professional Science Requirements

"What courses do I have to take to get into medical (or dental, podiatry, etc.) school?" This is, perhaps, the most frequently asked question. Unfortunately, it is not possible to give a complete and specific answer. It is always best to consult with each school you wish to attend and familiarize yourself with specific details concerning its admissions requirements. However, it is possible to provide a general outline of minimal requirements. Generally speaking, a student must have completed at least the following courses at the time of application:

General Biology; BIO 1 & 2, or BIO 3 & 4
General & Inorganic Chemistry; CHE 3 & 4
Organic Chemistry; CHE 121 & 122
General Physics; PHY 31 & 32
Calculus; MAT 40
English (beyond the remedial level)

The requirements listed above are minimal. They should be completed prior to sitting for the appropriate admissions examination, i.e., MCAT, DAT, OCAT, etc. (Physics is not required for the DAT). Many schools also require or "strongly suggest" (same thing) other courses, such as: advanced mathematics (second semester of calculus or statistics), psychology, sociology, biochemistry, genetics, etc. These are best determined by consulting the school's catalog. It is your responsibility to become aware of specific course requirements of each school you may wish to attend. The Pre-professional Committee does not do registration programming, except for post-baccalaureate students, even though it provides advice on request. Students majoring in biology and chemistry take the minimally required courses as part of their degree program. Pharmacy majors should take Physics 31 and 32, instead of Physics 27. Those majoring in other fields will have to add these courses to their programs or substitute CHE 3 & 4 for CHE 3X, CHE 121 & 122 for HE 4X, etc. The following table lists the subjects required by 10 or more U.S. Medical Schools.

Required Subject No. Schools
Organic Chemistry 119
Physics 119
Biology (or Zoology) 118
General Chemistry 115
English (or Composition) 85
College Math.(or Calculus) 48
Behavioral/Social Sciences 18
Humanities 14
Advanced Biology or Chemistry 13

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, acceptance statistics indicate that a science major is not necessary for medical school acceptance. The requirements for acceptance (GPA, MCAT scores, etc.) of majors in biological sciences, physical sciences, or non-science subjects are about the same. The pool of applicants to Schools of Medicine generally has a mean GPA of 3.4, while those accepted have a mean of GPA of 3.6. The respective GPAs in biology, chemistry, physics, and math are about the same.

Sources of Information

All professions have national and state organizations. Many community organizations also exist; e.g., King's County Medical Society. These organizations are valuable sources of information. Their addresses and telephone numbers are available from the local telephone book. Librarians in the school library can also lead you to the many books written about the professions. The following is a selected list of publications we feel are very useful.

Medicine

Association of American Medical Colleges
Publication Orders–Dept. 66
2450 N Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037-1126
Publication orders tel. (202) 828-0416

Useful Medical School Publications

Medical School Admission Requirements (#C98N, $25)
MCAT Student Manual (#MCAT, $20)
MCAT Practice Test II (#MPT2, $20)
MCAT Practice Test IV (#MPT4, $35)

Osteopathic Medicine

College Information Booklet ($2)
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
5550 Friendship Blvd., Suite 310
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7231
tel. (301) 968-4190

Dentistry

Admission Requirements of U.S. & Canadian Dental Schools ($25)
American Association of Dental Schools
Publications Department, Suite 600
1625 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20036-2212
tel. (202) 667-9433

Podiatry

Podiatric Medicine as a Career (Free)
American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine
1350 Piccard Drive, Suite 322
Rockville, MD 20850
tel. (800) 922-9266

Optometry

Optometry - A Career with Vision (Free)
American Optometric Association
243 N. Lindbergh Blvd,
St. Louis, Missouri 63141-9982
tel. (314) 991-4100

Veterinary Medicine

Today's Veterinarian (Free)
American Veterinary Medical Association
600 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60605

Chiropractic

Association of American Chiropractic Colleges
4424 Montgomery Avenue, Suite 102
Bethesda, MD 20814
tel. (800) 284-1062

Requirements for a Pre-professional Evaluating Committee Evaluation

The Committee will provide advice and information to all students of Long Island University' Brooklyn Campus. It will, however, prepare evaluations only if you take care to do the following:

  1. Early in your studies, during your freshman year, open a file with the Committee by completing a student registration form available in room M-804, Metcalfe Hall. Also, complete and submit two notarized "waiver" forms.
  2. Each semester, you must execute student evaluation forms for all of the courses you are taking. These forms are available in room M-804. The upper part is to be completed by you and given to each professor with whom you are taking a course.  The instructor must return the evaluation form directly to the Committee and it will be added to your file. These forms are the most important documents in your file. They form the basis for your evaluation.
  3. In the middle of your junior year, write a biographical essay. Include as a part of this essay a statement as to why you feel you should be given a seat in a professional school. Also include a list of your hobbies, special talents, extra-curricular activities, and memberships in associations in and out of school. Give a full description of all honors and scholarships you have received. List relevant work experience. Return the essay to the Pre-professional adviser in room M-804. 

The documents designated in paragraphs 1-3 above are required to establish an active file. They do not guarantee an interview. In order to be granted an interview and have an evaluation prepared, you must meet the following additional requirements:

  • You must be an undergraduate student at Long Island University and have completed at least 85 credits of which no less than 60 credits must be completed in residence. If you do not meet these requirements, or you are a post-baccalaureate student, it may still be possible for the Committee to help you process your pre-professional application.
  • Your grade-point average cannot be below 3.0 (85 credits).
  • The appropriate pre-professional examination, (MCAT, DAT, OCAT etc.) should be taken no later than the summer of the year in which you intend to apply. A copy of the results must be sent to the Committee. Students are urged to take the test as early as possible after completing the required courses.
  • Provide the Committee with a photocopy of your completed AAMCAS, AADSAS, AACPMAS, AACOMAS form. If you do not use one of the above application services, then provide the Committee with photocopies of the completed individual application forms you have submitted.
  • Make an appointment for an interview with the Committee during the first week of May of the year in which you intend to file your applications.

Composite Evaluations

All professional schools require recommendations in order for a student's application to be considered.  Most schools give applicants the option of either procuring three individual letters or a single composite evaluation.  The composite evaluation is a compilation of all faculty evaluations, which are submitted by a student.

The letter is based upon objective evaluation of a student's academic achievements and aptitude, as well as subjective observations of character. Also included is a list of academic honors and extracurricular activities. In general, composite evaluations are given more weight by admissions committees because, unlike individual letters, they are more likely to be unbiased. In order for a composite evaluation to be effective, the following must be kept in mind:

  • Larger numbers of faculty evaluations mean a stronger letter. Twenty people saying that you are an excellent student is much more impressive that only 10 people.  Make sure that you distribute evaluations to every instructor, regardless of discipline. 
  • It is your responsibility to regularly check your file and make sure that all evaluations are returned. Make an appointment each semester to check your file.
  • Extracurricular activities count. Doctors must interact with people on a daily basis. A healthy life outside of academics is a strong indication of mature interpersonal skills.
  • Clinical experience helps. Admissions boards want to make sure that everyone they accept is fully dedicated to becoming a medical professional. Clinical experience, either through volunteer work or at a job, is a strong indication of commitment.