Medical School - Preparation


There is no Pre-Med major at UC Berkeley, so you can major in whatever you’d like as long as you also complete the prerequisite courses indicated below. You do not have to be a science major to enter medical school, nor do medical schools prefer a science major over a non-science major. Medical schools will assess your overall academic record and your performance in specific prerequisite categories in order to evaluate your potential for success in medical school.

Medical School Course Requirements

The table at the bottom of this page shows the courses that are most commonly completed by UC Berkeley students to fulfill medical school prerequisites. The Career Center and Academic Advisors recommend that you complete the course sequences listed in this table.

If you plan to take courses other than the ones that are listed below, you run the risk that:

  1. you won’t learn concepts tested on the MCAT
  2. medical schools may not accept the courses you took as fulfilling their prerequisites

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.

Important Tips

Eight things you need to know about prerequisite coursework:

  1. Choose the sequences below that also fulfill your major requirements.
  2. Complete all of your prerequisite courses for a letter grade - DO NOT take any of them P/NP.
  3. Most medical schools DO NOT accept AP credit to fulfill a prerequisite course for their program. The best course of action is to take the courses recommended below, even if the university has given you AP credit for those courses.
  4. If you transferred to UC Berkeley from a California community college, can help you determine if the courses you took are equivalent to the UC Berkeley courses indicated below.
  5. If you started at UC Berkeley as a freshman, medical schools prefer that you complete prerequisite courses at Cal. Taking prerequisite courses at community college after you have already started at Berkeley will cause medical schools to question your ability to handle rigorous coursework.
  6. Required courses vary from school to school. We suggest you visit individual medical school sites or consult the MSAR (Medical School Requirements) database online to confirm school-specific requirements. To view the MSAR online you need to purchase access to it from AAMC for $15. See the AAMC website for details.
  7. Most schools require general & organic chemistry, biology and physics, while math, English, biochemistry and humanities requirements vary by medical school. Medical School Math, English, Biochemistry & Humanities Requirements (PDF) shows the course requirements for English, math, biochemistry and humanities for US allopathic medical schools. Units and/or semesters shown are required unless otherwise indicated. If no requirement is indicated, that means the school does not have a requirement for that type of coursework.
  8. The most common chemistry sequence (Chem 1A/1AL, 3A/3AL, 3B/3BL, MCB 102) is unique compared to other universities. See our Berkeley Chemistry Sequence page for more information.

Table of UC Berkeley Courses

Course Subject # Semesters UC Berkeley course sequences most students use to fulfill requirements
General (Inorganic) Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Most schools require 2 semesters of general chemistry with lab and 2 semesters of organic chemistry with lab Chem 1A/1AL, 3A/3AL, 3B/3BL, MCB 102
Chem 1A/1AL, 3A/3AL, 3B/3BL, MCB 100A/Chem C130
Chem 4A, 4B, 112A, 112B
Chem 4A, 4B, 3A/L, 3B/L
Chem 1A/1AL, 1B, 112A, 112B
Chem 1A/1AL, 3A/3AL, 3B/3BL, Chem 135
Biochemistry Some schools require biochemistry, most do not. See a list of schools requiring biochemistry here (PDF), or consult the MSAR online. MCB 102 (if not completed as part of
chemistry sequence above)
Chem 135
MCB C100A/Chem 130A
Physics Most schools require 2 semesters Physics 8A, 8B
Physics 7A, 7B
Physics 7A, 8B
Biology Most schools require 2 semesters with lab Bio 1B, 1A/1AL
NOTE: Bio 1A/1AL will not be offered
Summer 2012. Plan accordingly.
Mathematics Requirements vary greatly, check here for schools' requirements (PDF) or consult the MSAR online. Math 16A, 16B
Math 1A, 1B
Math 1A, 16B
Math 1A, 1B, 53, 54
Math 1B, 53
Math 53, 54
Math 16A, Stat 2
Math 16A, Stat 131A
Math 16A, 16B, Stat 2 or Stat 131A
Math 10A&B
English Requirements vary greatly, check here for schools' requirements (PDF) or consult the MSAR online. Courses that satisfy the Reading and Composition requirement at Berkeley will fulfill medical school English coursework requirements for most medical schools.  See a list of those courses. Save your course syllabi in case any medical schools express concern that you did not complete their English requirement.
Behavioral & Social Sciences Required by some schools but as of 2015, there is a strong likelihood that this content will be part of a new Behavioral & Social Science section of the MCAT Psych 1 (for majors)
Psych 2 (for non majors)


Back to Medical School Home - Site Map