University of Wisconsin–Madison

Coursework

(From left to right) Emma Cannon, Alissa Lenz, and Hunter Cochran in their Organic Chemistry lab course.
(From left to right) Emma Cannon, Alissa Lenz, and Hunter Cochran in their Organic Chemistry lab course.

The following is a general guide for courses you may need to apply to medical school. Requirements vary from school to school. So, it is always necessary to consult the websites of medical schools where you know/think you want to apply.

For a pre-medicine course planning guide, click here. Also consider using our four-year planner to map out your coursework and extracurricular activities.

Mathematics

Most medical schools require statistics. Some require math. We recommend that you take at least one math course and one statistics course (Statistics 301, Statistics 371, or statistics in your major department).

*Note that Math 112 is a prerequisite for Chem 103.

Chemistry

General Chemistry

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Chemistry 103-104
  • Chemistry 109; Note some schools may require an additional semester of inorganic chemistry such as Chem 311 OR 327 OR 329. Check with our office to discuss when it might be appropriate to take an additional class

Organic Chemistry

  • Chem 343 Introductory Organic Chemistry
  • Chem 345 Intermediate Organic Chemistry
  • Chem 344 Introductory Organic Chemistry Lab

Biochemistry

Choose one of the following courses:

  • Biochemistry 501
  • Biochemistry 507-508

Biological Sciences

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Zoology 101-102 + additional bio-science course (check with medical school websites to see if you need a second course with lab)
  • Biology 151-152
  • Biocore: Students must apply to enroll in Biocore. For more information, visit their website.
    • Biocore 381-382 Evolution, Ecology and Genetics lecture/lab
    • Biocore 383-384 Cellular Biology lecture/lab
    • Biocore 485-486 Organismal Biology lecture/lab
    • Biocore 587 Biological Interactions
  • Intermediate/Advanced Biology: Intermediate/advanced Biology coursework may be recommended or required depending on your major and schools where you apply. To demonstrate that you can learn well in upper-level bio-science courses, we recommend that students majoring in fields outside the biological sciences take at least one additional intermediate/advanced biology class with lab. For a list of intermediate/advanced Biology course options, please see this handout. And please note two things: 1) not all the courses listed in this handout include a lab (some schools may recommend/require courses with a lab), and 2) this is not an exhaustive list of intermediate/advanced biology courses that you may consider. Please consult MD/DO admissions offices at schools where you want to apply with questions about other possible courses.

Physics

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Physics 103-104 (without calculus)
  • Physics 201-202 (calculus-based; recommended for Engineering majors)
  • Physics 207-208 (calculus-based; recommended for Life Science majors)

Humanities and Social Sciences

The following courses are required for the MCAT and some schools:

  • Introductory Psychology: Psych 202
  • Introductory Sociology (options include): Soc 120, 125, 134, 138, 140, or 170

Many medical schools require 6 credits of English, or literature taught in English, with an emphasis on writing/composition.

Some schools, including UWSMPH and the University of MN, require a course in the humanities or social sciences with an emphasis on writing.

Many courses across campus meet this requirement. You can use Course Search to find classes that meet the following criteria:

  • University of Minnesota School of Medicine (UMNSM) specifies that this course must be intermediate or advanced and require a research paper that is at least 10 pages long.
  • University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPH) specifies that this course must require a research paper that is at least 8 pages long and includes a bibliography.
  • Both UMNSM and UWSMPH require that this course is in a humanities or social science field, and that the research paper is written in English.