PrerequisitesMedical School applicants need to have completed a number of prerequisite courses at an accredited U.S. or Canadian college or university. No particular degree program or institution is given preference over another. Rigor of coursework and competitiveness of the undergraduate institution, however, are taken into consideration.

Once you’ve reviewed the required courses below, be sure to familiarize yourself with the medical student selection criteria.

Required courses

Biology with lab

  • Biological sciences coursework with emphasis on general principles, cell biology, and/or physiology
  • 1 semester or 1 quarter 

Chemistry with lab

  • General or organic chemistry
  • 1 semester or 1 quarter 

Additional science courses

  • Biology, genetics, zoology, botany, parasitology, biochemistry, chemistry (general or organic, but must be in addition to the general or organic chemistry listed above), physics, etc. At least 2 must be upper-level courses
  • 4 semesters or 4 quarters 

Humanities or social sciences

  • While the sciences are an essential component to be successful in medical school, we are also seeking students who have a broad range of interests and knowledge outside of the scientific realm. The liberal arts education afforded to you as a result of obtaining your baccalaureate degree will allow you to explore your interests and gain additional knowledge to enrich your own intellectual curiosity.
  • We require all students to complete one semester or one quarter in the humanities or social sciences. Now, we know you will have completed more than this one semester or quarter to fulfill the requirements set forth by your undergraduate institution. Any course from any subject, not within the sciences, will fulfill the humanities or social sciences prerequisite requirement. Here are a few examples of some subject areas, but this list is not limited to these areas: English, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Theatre. There are many more options available to you that will fulfill our requirement.
  • In order to fulfill our requirements, the one course you complete in the Humanities/Social Sciences must fulfill the following two conditions:
        • The course must be an upper division course, so it must not be an introductory level (level 100) course. Many institutions consider level 300 as upper division, but we are aware some undergraduate institutions consider 200 level courses as upper division courses. Also, some institutions have unique numbering sequences, where course numbers 0-99 are introductory level with course numbers 100 and above considered upper level. If you have questions about the course designations, please contact your pre-health advisor for clarification. If you are accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical School, you will receive notification from us if you have completed all of the prerequisite requirements. If we have questions, we will be in contact with you.
        • The course must be a writing intensive course. A course designated as writing intensive will sometimes have a "W" next to the course number. An example would be "PHIL330W". If the course number does not include a "W", the course is considered writing intensive if you have had one or two papers ranging in 10-20 pages in length. If you have questions, please refer to your course syllabus or contact your Registrar's office. They should have copies of the course syllabus or a way by which to determine if the course was writing intensive.
  • If you have any questions about this policy, depending on which campus(es) to which you are applying, please contact the Twin Cities admissions office (, 612-625-7977) or the Duluth admissions office (, 218-726-8511).               

Recommended courses

  • Biochemistry
  • Ethics
  • Genetics
  • Psychology
  • Statistics
  • Foreign language
  • Independent learning courses
  • Seminar-type courses involving small group discussions
  • Social and behavioral sciences and humanities 

The prerequisite courses we require are intended to prepare you for the curriculum at the University of Minnesota Medical School. These prerequisites may or may not meet the requirements of your undergraduate program expectations for graduation. Furthermore, you will find that some prerequisite coursework will support your preparation efforts for the MCAT, but this list is not exhaustive.

Visit the AAMC website for more information about MCAT preparation, and speak to your college advisor for additional information.

Other guidelines

  • A bachelor's degree and all prerequisite courses must be earned by July 1 of the year of matriculation, however exceptions can be made based on personal course schedules.
  • Requirements cannot be fulfilled with College Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits.
  • Requirements cannot be fulfilled by AP credits. If you received AP credit for courses such as general chemistry or biology, you’ll still need 1 semester of chemistry and biology with labs. This can be an advanced chemistry, organic chemistry, or any advanced biology course. Do not retake coursework for which you already received AP credit.
  • Upper-level courses are typically those with a course number that begins with a 3 (300 or 3000) or higher.
  • Writing intensive courses are ones in which writing is an integral part of the course. The course is considered writing intensive if you were required to write one or two papers ranging in length of 10-20 pages of text. This does not include a works cited or bibliography page.

Note we will accept some of the above prerequisites from an accredited community college. We require you to take all upper division science courses at an accredited four-year college or university in the US or Canada. If you require further guidance on taking courses at a community college please give us a call at 612-625-7977 or send us an e-mail