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Academic Requirements


The prerequisites vary from school to school so students should refer to potential schools’ websites.

As a general reference, most medical schools require the following prerequisite courses:

General Biology (2 semesters)

  • Prior to Fall 2018: Bio 101F and Bio 102S; or Bio 115F and a 200-level biology course
  • Beginning in Fall 2018: Bio 100 (several options, some offered in fall, others in spring) and a 200-level biology course (some offered in fall, denoted with an "F" after the course number, others in spring, denoted with an "S"). This only applies to those who have not previously taken Bio 101 and 102.

Options for the 200-level bio lab course include: Bio 213S Marine Biology, Bio 221S Microbiology (offered every other spring semester), Bio 222S Survey of Human Anatomy, Bio 228F Invertebrate Biology, Bio 237F Ecology, Bio 248S Genes and Genomes, and Bio 280S Plant Function and Structure.
Note that Bio 270S Biological Chemistry should not be taken to fulfill the general biology requirement as it is most typically taken to fulfill the general chemistry requirement (see below).

General Chemistry (2 semesters with Lab)
Organic Chemistry (2 semesters with Lab)

  • Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F) or Principles of Chemistry: Applications (Chem 125F)
  • Organic Chemistry I (Chem 190S)
  • Organic Chemistry II (Chem 255F)
  • Inorganic Chemistry and Materials (Chem 265S) or Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S) (to complete the General Chemistry requirement)

Medical schools have historically required a full year of general chemistry and a full year of organic. Hamilton’s Chemistry Department’s introductory course is a one-semester course (120 or 125 with AP credit) and students must fulfill the year of general chemistry by taking either Chem 270 (Biological Chemistry) or Chem 265 (Inorganic and Materials).

In addition, most medical schools now also require Biochemistry. Note that Chem 270 (Biological Chemistry) may not fulfill a school’s biochemistry requirement if it is being “counted” toward the one year of general chemistry.

There are two options for fulfilling the chem and biochem requirements (option #1 will provide better preparation for the MCAT):

  1. Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F), Organic Chemistry I (Chem 190S), Organic Chemistry II (Chem 255F), Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S), and Biochemistry (Bio 346F)
  2. Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F), Organic Chemistry I (Chem 190S), Organic Chemistry (Chem 255F), Inorganic Chemistry and Material (Chem 265S), and Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S)

Note: If you do not elect to take general chemistry in the first semester of freshman year and would like to study abroad, it will not be possible to fulfill all the requirements for a chemistry or biochemistry concentration.

Biochemistry (1 semester)

  • Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S); or
  • Biochemistry (Bio 346F)

Most medical schools now require Biochemistry.  If Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S) is taken to fulfill the two-semester requirement for general chemistry, it will not also fulfill a medical school's biochemistry requirement. If Inorganic Chemistry and Materials (Chem 265S) is taken to fulfill the two-semester requirement for general chemistry, then Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S) can be counted to fulfill the biochemistry requirement for medical schools. Due to the heavy emphasis of biochemistry on the MCAT, it is recommended that pre-med students take Chem 270S as well as Biochemistry 346F.

Physics (2 semesters)

Physics courses are sequential at Hamilton. There are various paths you can take to complete the physics requirement. The Physics Department offers two year-long sequences of introductory courses that differ only in the level of mathematics used in them: 100F and 105S are algebra-based while 200F and 205S are calculus-based.  Math 116 or equivalent is a prerequisite for the 200-205 sequence. You should choose the sequence that best reflects your mathematical comfort level, but keep in mind that calculus is the "natural language" of physics and you may gain a better appreciation of the science through a calculus-based class as opposed to an algebra-based one. Students with a 5 on AP Mechanics C should start with a more advanced physics course in consultation with the physics chair.

English/Literature (2 semesters)

Virtually any combination of classes offered by the Literature and Creative Writing Department will satisfy the English pre-med requirement. Writing-intensive classes outside of the Literature Department do not necessarily fulfill this requirement; check individual medical schools' policies.

Calculus/Statistics/College Mathematics (2 semesters)

  • Calculus I (Math 113F,S) or Calculus II (Math 116F,S)
  • Statistical Analysis of Data (Math 252/253F,S) or Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology (Psych 201 F,S)  or Research Design and Biostatistics (Bio 202F)

All schools appreciate mathematical competence as a strong foundation for understanding the basic sciences. In addition, a working knowledge of statistics helps both medical students and physicians to become critical evaluators of the medical literature, thus, success on the 2015 MCAT will likely depend on a solid understanding of statistics. Furthermore, calculus courses may be required as prerequisites for many of the upper level science courses in the Hamilton curriculum. For many students, it may be a good idea to take one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics (i.e. Math113⇒Math253 or Math 116 (if AP credit) ⇒Math253) even if the schools they are applying to don't require them. Students considering a major in either Psychology or Neuroscience should choose Psych 201 (rather than Math 253) since it is required for both majors.

Recommended: Psychology & Sociology (1 semester each)

  • Introductory Psychology (Psych 101 F,S)
  • Introductory Sociology (Soc 101 F,S) or Sociology of Health & Illness (226F)

In preparation for the 2015 MCAT, it is recommended that students elect to take a psychology and sociology course. Upper level courses may be elected with prior AP credit.

Contact Information


Leslie Bell

Director of Health Professions Advising
315-859-4338 lbell@hamilton.edu
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