Pre-Medicine Track

Interested in becoming a physician? Great!! There are four medical schools (2 allopathic and 2 osteopathic) in the state of Alabama.  Don't know the differences between allopathic and osteopathic medical school?  Well, that is your first assignment!  Please go here for allopathic medicine and here for osteopathic medicine.

The Alabama medical schools are:

You can major in any academic discipline and go to medical school, although the majority of UNA pre-medicine students are either biology or chemistry majors.

So what courses are required for medical school?  At the moment, those courses are:

  • 8 semester hours of biology
  • 8 semester hours of general chemistry
  • two classes in organic chemistry
  • 8 semester hours in physics (algebra-based is fine)
  • Biochemistry

However, the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) now tests knowledge from the following disciplines:

  • Psychology
  • Sociology

We recommend taking introductory courses in both psychology and sociology prior to sitting for the MCAT.  Click here for more information on the MCAT.

To do well on the MCAT requires a solid background knowledge of biology, as well as chemistry and physics.  After all, so much of medicine requires detailed knowledge of the normal biological and biochemical processes that occur in the human body. Although the AAMC document "What's On the MCAT?"  states that you have to have taken Principles of Biology, we have found that a more thorough knowledge of biology that you would get through taking upper-level biology courses is necessary to be able to do well on the MCAT.

As a person interested in health care you must consider these points:

  • You must be well-rounded in your liberal arts education.
  • You must demonstrate a desire to help people, either through paid or volunteer work. Such activities should be long-term commitments on your part, not just something you do for an hour or two.
  • You must engage in significant job shadowing so that you really know what a physician does in the course of a day.  This activity needs to be initiated by the end of your freshman year at UNA.  Talk to the Pre-Health advisor about how to arrange this activity. It is best to shadow primary care doctors as they are the ones who are interacting constantly with patients. You may shadow physicians who are specialized, but the majority of your hours need to come from primary care shadowing as you observe the doctor-patient relationship.
  • You must demonstrate the intellectual ability to handle difficult courses and a difficult courseload (14-16 semester hours).
  • You must be able to score well on standardized tests.  After all, you will be taking board exams and licensure exams your entire professional life. 

Medical schools, as well as other health professions schools are interested in how you have developed the core competencies to be a successful physician.  To see what those competencies are, click here. It is very important that you can demonstrate how you developed these competencies, not just say that you have them!