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Undergraduate Premedical Program

Preparing students to pursue careers in medicine.

Prepare for a Career in Medicine

The Premedical Program at American University is a program, not a major. Premedical students can choose any major at AU. If the science classes required for your chosen health professional school are not part of your major, they can be taken as elective classes.

Get one-on-one help along the way. The premedical advisor will guide you in course selections from your first day on campus, and provide information on clinical and research opportunities when you are ready to venture off campus. When it comes time to apply to medical or dental school, workshops and individual advising will help you with the application process, and an AU faculty member of your choice will write your committee letter to be included in your application.

Our students use Washington, DC as their learning laboratory! From conducting research at the National Institutes of Health or National Institute of Standards and Technology, to gaining clinical experience at Children’s National Medical Center or the National Zoo, opportunities for premedical and prehealth students abound.

Get to Know your Professors

Small class sizes allow you to get to know your professor, and your professor to get to know you. This relationship can translate into research opportunities in faculty labs, career mentoring and personalized letters of evaluation when you are applying to medical school or other health professional programs. Letters from faculty who know you well can provide key details to medical school admissions committees.

Leading hospitals and health institutes at your doorstep

American University is at the heart of Washington, DC, and our students use the city as a learning laboratory. Undergraduate students gain valuable clinical experience in a variety of ways, from volunteering at local hospitals to working as medical scribes or medical assistants. 

George Washington University Hospital, Georgetown University Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital are all within a few miles of the AU campus, while students interested in pediatrics head over to Children’s National Medical Center. Students interested in Emergency Medicine may volunteer at Bethesda Chevy-Chase Rescue Squad or Wheaton Rescue Squad. Students interested in veterinary medicine routinely intern at Friendship Hospital for Animals. 

Your Network for Success

The premedical community at AU is tight-knit and collaborative. Students work together to help each other succeed. Clubs such as Phi Delta Epsilon, AMSA, BRAIN, Women in Science and USS provide social and career opportunities, as well as engage students in community service. They organize trips to local medical schools and invite medical professionals to give on-campus presentations.

Research Experience On and Off Campus

Medical schools consider doctors to be physician/scientists, and there is considerable overlap between the scientific method and differential diagnosis. Our students learn to ask questions, formulate hypotheses and collect and critically analyze data while conducting research, beginning in the labs and offices of their faculty members. Remember, research can be done in all fields, not just in the sciences. Competitive summer fellowships are available to fund students doing research on campus over the summer. Students also successfully apply to conduct research at REU locations in other universities.

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Premed Tracks

Tailor your classes to your goal

Medicine is practiced by a team of professionals, each with different training. The specific courses you are required to take before studying medicine will depend on your desired field. The Premedical Program at American University is designed to provide you with the opportunity to take both the required and recommended courses to prepare you for the specific advanced degree you wish to apply for.

Below are the minimum classes required to complete the MCAT and apply to medical school, as well as recommended additional courses to prepare you for your studies. The majority of applicants to medical school complete more than the minimum requirements. 

Required

  • Bio 110: General Biology I
  • Bio 210: General Biology II
  • Chem 110: General Chemistry I
  • Chem 210: General Chemistry II
  • Chem 310/312: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chem 320/322: Organic Chemistry II
  • Phys 105: General Physics I or Phys 110: Principles of Physics I
  • Phys 205: General Physics II or Phys 210: Principles of Physics II
  • Chem 470: Principles of Biochemistry (lab not required)
  • Math 221: Calculus I (not required by all medical schools)

Highly recommended

  • Bio 320: Cell Biology

Additional courses to consider

  • Bio 356: Genetics
  • Bio 440: Microbiology
  • Bio 434: Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Bio 435: Vertebrate Physiology
  • Bio 541: Cellular Immunology
  • Bio 501: Mechanisms of Pathogenesis

Additional courses are available in the of Biology and Chemistry departments.

Below are the minimum classes required to apply to dental school. The DAT may be taken before the physics classes are completed, but physics is required for application and admission to dental school.

Required

  • Bio 110: General Biology I
  • Bio 210: General Biology II
  • Chem 110: General Chemistry I
  • Chem 210: General Chemistry
  • Chem 310/312: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chem 320/322: Organic Chemistry II
  • Phys 105: General Physics I or Phys 110: Principles of Physics I
  • Phys 205: General Physics II or Phys 210: Principles of Physics II

Some schools also require

  • Bio 301: Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Bio 302: Human Anatomy and Physiology II

Recommended

  • Chem 470: Principles of Biochemistry
  • Bio 320: Cell Biology with lab
  • Arts 100: Art: The Studio Experience

The most commonly required courses for entry into pharmacy programs are listed below. You are encouraged to check the specific programs you are interested in to see if they have additional requirements.

Required

  • Bio 110: General Biology I
  • Bio 210: General Biology II 
  • Chem 110: General Chemistry I
  • Chem 210: General Chemistry II 
  • Chem 310/312: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chem 320/322: Organic Chemistry II 
  • Phys 105: General Physics I or Phys 110: Principles of Physics I
  • Phys 205: General Physics II or Phys 210: Principles of Physics II

Highly recommended

  • Chem 470: Principles of Biochemistry

Graduate programs in physical therapy may vary in their requirements, so please check specific programs that interest you. 

Required

  • Bio 110: General Biology I
  • Bio 210: General Biology II 
  • Chem 110: General Chemistry I
  • Chem 210: General Chemistry II
  • Phys 105: General Physics I or Phys 110: Principles of Physics I
  • Phys 205: General Physics II or Phys 210: Principles of Physics II
  • Bio 301: Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Bio 302: Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Stat 202: Basic Statistics, 4 credits
  • Psyc 105: Understanding Human Behavior

The majority of Physician Assistant programs require the following courses. You are encouraged to check the specific requirements for the programs in which you are interested.

Requirements

  • Bio 110: General Biology I
  • Bio 210: General Biology II 
  • Chem 110: General Chemistry I
  • Chem 210: General Chemistry II 
  • Phys 105: General Physics I
  • Phys 205: General Physics II 
  • Bio 301: Human Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Bio 302: Human Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Bio 440: Microbiology or HLTH 320: Intro to Infectious Disease
  • Stat 202: Basic Statistics
  • Psychology course(s), may include Psyc 105: Understanding Human Behavior and/or Psyc 215: Abnormal Psychology and Society

In addition to the basic requirements listed below, some programs may have additional course prerequisites.

Required

  • Bio 110: General Biology I
  • Bio 210: General Biology II 
  • Chem 110: General Chemistry I
  • Chem 210: General Chemistry II
  • Chem 310/312: Organic Chemistry I
  • Chem 320/322: Organic Chemistry II 
  • Phys 105: General Physics I or Phys 110: Principles of Physics I
  • Phys 205: General Physics II or Phys 210: Principles of Physics II

Some Schools may also require

  • Bio 356: Genetics
  • Bio 442: Behavioral Ecology
  • Chem 470: Principles of Biochemistry

Alumni Spotlight

The Premed program was helpful in preparing me for applying to medical school.

The science curriculum at American University is very strong and lays a good foundation for preparing for the MCAT. After graduating, I have been gaining more clinical experience where I work as a patient coordinator for National Integrated Health Associates. I work alongside with practitioners who practice holistic and alternative medicine. I will be attending medical school in July.

Frequently Asked Questions

The sciences are a big deal at American University! Our undergraduate science majors conduct research with their faculty members in labs on campus, present their results at local and national conferences, and may be coauthors on published papers.

Premedical students can select any major offered at American University and complete the basic required classes to apply to medical or dental school. You should select a major subject that interests you, whether that subject is in the science, humanities, arts or international studies.

Yes, premedical students can and do study abroad! All required science classes must be taken in the United States, but you can take upper level science classes while abroad. Students are encouraged to take classes towards their major while studying abroad. The best semester to go abroad is in the spring of your junior year. Please speak with the premedical advisor as early as possible to schedule classes with studying abroad in mind. 

Still have questions? Contact premed@american.edu.