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Is there a PreMed major at Ithaca College?

No. Students can major in any field they choose and still apply to schools in the health professions. All applicants must complete the minimum course requirements. Since the majority of these required courses are introductory, they do not constitute a major, or even a minor. Your major will be in area that you enjoy and want to explore in greater depth.

Do certain majors have a better chance of getting into medical school than others?

No. It is the individual record of the student that determines their success. You need good grades, especially in science courses, good scores on the standardized tests (MCATs, DATs, GREs, etc.), and experience in a clinical setting (i.e. volunteer work). We have had successful applicants with majors in Biology, Exercise Science, Health Science, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Psychology, English, Music, and many others.

What should I major in?

  • You should major in an area that you enjoy – since you will have to take many more classes in this subject. You should also major in something that you are good at. Grades matter, and it is also important to feel good about yourself and your academic performance.
  • Since there is no “ideal major”, you should find that subject area that intrigues and sustains you, regardless of whether it is in the sciences or not.
  • You only have one opportunity to explore diverse areas in a college setting. Once you begin graduate or professional school, all of your coursework is predetermined, so take advantage of the opportunities available here at Ithaca College!

How do I go about planning my courses to prepare me for a career in medicine or other health professions?

When you enter Ithaca College, you will plan your schedule with an advisor in your major department. Let that advisor know of your intentions to pursue a medical career, and they will help you register for the appropriate courses.

In addition, the Health Professions Advisory Committee holds an informational meeting for all incoming students to explain the requirements and procedures for students interested in the health professions. Members of this committee are always available to meet with students individually.

Can I take some of my prerequisites over the summer?

Yes, with some important considerations. First, you should think about why you want to take these courses over the summer. If it is because you simply can’t fit them into your schedule, or you need to complete them by a certain time and there’s no other way to do it, then yes. If you are doing it to allow you take only one science course a year because that’s “easier”, than we don’t recommend it. Graduate and professional schools look not only at your grades, but also at how challenging your curriculum was. Making it “easier” will be to your disadvantage.

That said, there are many legitimate reasons for taking a course over a summer. If you do need to do this, make sure you take the course at a four-year institution rather than a community college if at all possible. It may not be fair, but some medical schools do not view courses from community colleges as being as rigorous as courses at four year institutions. We also recommend that you take no more than one course over a summer if possible. Summer courses, due to the short time available, often are not at the same depth as traditional courses and students often do not retain the information as well over the long term.

Can I use my AP courses to fulfill prerequisites for medical school?
No. Medical schools will not accept AP courses in the basic sciences as substitutes for college Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or English courses. In general, we recommend that you take college-level courses in all of the required subject areas.