Medical School - Preparation
Prospective Pre-Med Student Information
What constitutes a "Pre-Med" major at UC Berkeley?
"Pre-Med" is not a major. Students must complete the required coursework for medical school alongside the requirements for their intended major. Although choosing to major in Molecular Cellular Biology (MCB), Integrative Biology (IB) or another science is what many Cal students choose to do, you are encouraged to select the major that interests you the most. Medical schools do not prefer one major over another.
As a pre-med student at Berkeley, you can choose a non-science major such as English or History of Art, but you would still need to complete the pre-requisite courses for medical school. More information about pre-requisites.
What Premedical Services does UC Berkeley offer that will help me to be a successful medical school applicant?
Unlike most universities, UC Berkeley does not have a specific premedical academic advisor. However, there are academic advisers in the various colleges (such as Letters & Science or College of Natural Resources) and in departments like the Molecular Cell Biology department, Integrative Biology department or the School of Public Health who are accustomed to speaking with premedical applicants.
The Career Center provides outstanding services through our career counselors and 2 Peer Health Career Assistants whose focus is on students/alumni interested in pursuing a career in medicine or another allied health career (dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, etc.). Together, both academic and career advisors provide:
- advising on course selection and charting academic progress and goals
- information on academic majors
- information on other health care fields if the student's plans change
- information on summer internship opportunities (through summer research/internship campus programs and through Callisto) and medically related volunteer experience
- guidance in applying to professional school and taking the required exams
- referrals to other university resources and assistance in interpreting university and college policies and requirements
The Career Center offers numerous premedical programs throughout the academic year that provide information on the medical school application process, presentations from various medical school representatives, and panels of successful medical school applicants. Additionally, the Career Center hosts several school and career fairs which many graduate schools attend.
The Career Center's general services include Letter Service (holds your letters of recommendations until you are ready to apply to a graduate/professional health program), resume critiques, and mock interviews. All premedical students are encouraged to register for the Health & Medicine CareerMail through Callisto so that information can be passed on in a timely manner for different premedical/health programs and job, internship and volunteer opportunities.
There are also many on campus student organizations such as the Premed Honors Society, Cal's American Medical Student Association, the Molecular Cell Biology Undergraduate Student Association, the Premed Perspective and others whose goal is to provide premedical students with opportunities and informational resources. Please see Cal Biology/Pre-Health Clubs for specific information.
Why should I go to UC Berkeley when other schools have specific medical programs that might be more advantageous?
We are aware that some universities might be a better fit for you, your learning style and what you need in your learning community to be successful. As you decide where to attend college, keep in mind that you must like your learning environment and your major in order to do well. Additionally, you will need strong grades in order to begin medical school immediately after graduation. UC Berkeley offers a renowned academic environment that provides countless enrichment opportunities such as research with premier faculty, programs that link students to internship and volunteer opportunities and an educational environment that strives to prepare students for the academic rigors of medical school. Medical schools have a great deal of respect for the “Berkeley degree,” but an excellent academic record is expected of those who hope to be taken seriously by any medical school.
What education pathway will I have to go through in pursuing a medical education?
In general, medical education consists of: 1) four years of college; 2) four years of medical school; 3) three to seven years of residency (specialized clinical training); and 4) possible further clinical subspecialization in a fellowship (usually one year).
Where can my parents go for more information?
- Cal Parents Website - Visit this website created specifically for parents of prospective students to get information about financial assistance, student life, campus policies, and other matters.