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Medical School Prerequisites

The categories below show the courses that are most commonly completed by UC Berkeley students to fulfill medical school prerequisites. This information does not show every possible combination of courses available to satisfy requirements- for specific questions about your sequence, please reach out to our Pre-Health Advisors by emailing prehealth@berkeley.edu.

If you choose to take courses other than those indicated below, keep your syllabi - you may need to send your syllabi to med schools after you apply to make your case that the course(s) you completed fulfill their requirements.

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Biology

Most schools require 2 semesters of biology with lab. We recommend taking more than the 1-year minimum, in particular for non-science majors. Sample coursework beyond general biology could include genetics, microbiology, anatomy and physiology and human reproduction among other options.

The most typical sequence is:

Bio 1B with lab

Bio 1A/1AL

However, medical schools require one academic year of biology with lab. If your major permits flexibility, you can complete Bio 1A/1AL and the second semester can be another biology course with a lab.

The courses that could complete the second semester might include: 

**Some of the following courses do list Bio 1B as a prerequisite and may give preference to students majoring in MCB or IB.

IB 131 General Human Anatomy

IB 131L General Human Anatomy Lab

 

IB 132 Survey of Human Physiology

IB 132L Mammalian Physiology Lab

 

MCB 32 Introduction to Human Physiology

MCB 32L Introduction to Human Physiology Lab

 

 

MCB 112 General Microbiology

MCB 112L General Microbiology w/Lab

 

 

MCB 140 General Genetics

MCB 140L General Genetics Lab

General (Inorganic) Chemistry and Organic Chemistry

Most schools require 2 semesters of general chemistry with lab and 2 semesters of organic chemistry with lab. Some schools also require a semester of biochemistry. However, Berkeley has an unique chemistry sequence where you fulfill these requirements through the following 4-course sequence*: 

Chem 1A/1AL

Chem 3A/3AL

Chem 3B/3BL

MCB 102 or Chem 135 or MCB 100A/Chem C130 or BioE 103 (for BioE majors only)

*This is the most common sequence for Berkeley pre-meds, but there are other ways to satisfy this requirement- for example, if you are in the College of Chemistry, you would instead take Chem 4A, 12A, 12B, and an upper-division biochemistry course. For questions about your specific chemistry plan, please reach out to the Career Center pre-health advisors for guidance. 

Biochemistry

With Berkeley's unique chemistry sequence, biochemistry is built into our medical school prerequisites. See our Berkeley Chemistry Sequence page for more information.

Physics

Most schools require 2 semesters. The most typical sequences are: 

Physics 8A and 8B
OR
Physics 7A and 7B
OR
Physics 7A and 8B

Mathematics and Statistics

Requirements can vary greatly- from no requirement to a year. Unless your major requires 1 year of calculus, you can plan to take 1 semester of stats and 1 semester of calculus to satisfy this requirement for medical schools.

Math 1A & 1B
OR

Math 10A* & 10B*
OR

Math 16A & 16B
OR 

Math 53 & 54

Common stats courses at Berkeley:

Stats 2Stats 20, Stats 131A, Public Health 142, and Data 8

*The Math 10 series fulfills both the math AND statistics requirement for medical school admissions except for Texas. Texas medical schools do not recognize the fulfillment of statistics through the Math 10 series.

English and Composition

Requirements can vary. To ensure eligibility, we recommend taking 1 year of English or other writing-intensive courses.

Most students fulfill this medical school requirement by taking Reading and Composition (R&C) courses at Berkeley. See a list of those courses.

Taking two R&C courses is your safest bet even if you have placed out of them with AP credit. These are our writing intensive courses at Berkeley and will satisfy the one-year requirement that most medical schools have. If you did not (or choose not to) take any R&C courses, we recommend looking into classes from the following departments: English, Rhetoric, Comparative Literature, and the College Writing Program. 

Behavioral and Social Sciences

Some medical schools require coursework in the behavioral and social sciences- in these cases, we recommend engaging in a variety of courses from Anthropology, Psychology, Sociology and other similar departments. In addition, we recommend exposure to these topics as part of your preparation for the Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior section of the MCAT. 

While Sociology 1 and Psych 1/2 are suggested introductory courses, there are no medical schools (at this point) that specifically require these courses for admissions.