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Health Careers

Pre-Medical Information

The pre-medical program prepares a student to apply for admission to a medical school. Medical schools require that you have a B.A or B.S. degree in some academic area. The medical school program lasts four years, culminating in the awarding of an M.D. degree and is followed by several years of residency in the specialty of your choice.

Competition for admission to medical school is keen. The overall G.P.A. for students entering the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center Medical School has averaged around 3.65 for the past several years. Although students with G.P.A.'s lower than this are often accepted, the probability of acceptance does generally decrease as your G.P.A. decreases.

Medical schools accept students with a wide range of majors, not just science. You should major in the academic area of your interest. All other factors being the same, G.P.A., performance in required courses (see below), outside activities, MCAT scores, and work within the medical community, you have an equal chance no matter what your major. You will do better academically if you major in an area which interests you. The odds of being accepted without a degree, or at least 120 hour of college work, are very low.

Your academic program must satisfy, simultaneously, three sets of requirements: (1) those set by the college, (2) those set by the department in which you are majoring, and (3) those set by the medical schools. This document deals with the latter requirements. You must meet the requirements in effect when you enter medical school. For the other requirements, you need to consult the appropriate documents for your institution and department.

Minimum Course Requirements

The following is a list of the minimum course requirements for admission to the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Most other medical schools have the same requirements. You should, however, consult the Medical School Admissions Requirements published each May by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Their address is 2450 N street, NW, Washington DC, 20037. Their phone number is (202) 828-0400. Their fax number is (202) 828-1125.

    General Chemistry (Chem 2031 and 2038 as well as Chem 2061 and 2068)

    Organic Chemistry (Chem 3411 and 3418 as well as Chem 3421 and 3428)

    General Biology (Biol 2051 and 2071 as well as Biol 2061 and 2081)

    College Physics (Phys 2010 and 2030 as well as Phys 2020 and 2040)

    Mathematics at least through Trigonometry

    English Composition (One semester)

    English Literature (Two semesters - UCD College CORE will fulfill this requirement)

You should meet these requirements as you meet the college and the major requirements. You are encouraged to explore the arts, humanities, and social sciences in order to broaden your education experience. Once in medical school you will not have the time to do much exploring. Since medicine is a mixture of science and contact with people, experiences in social and behavioral sciences, the arts, and the humanities will be of great value to you. You must demonstrate competence in the required science courses.

The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT):

The MCAT is administered in April and August of each year. You should plan on taking it the spring of your junior year (a year in advance of the fall in which you expect to matriculate in a medical school). The test is described in The MCAT Student Manual which is often available in the book store or can be ordered from the AAMC. In 1991, the MCAT was revised. It is now composed of four sections: Biological Sciences: Physical Sciences: Verbal reasoning: and a writing sample. If you have taken the MCAT prior to 1991, these scores are not longer valid for admission to any Unites States Medical School.  If your most recent scores are more than five years old, they are no longer valid at any school.  In many cases, if your scores are more than three years old, they are no longer valid.

The Application Process

The University of Colorado School of Medicine as well as most other schools in the United States participate in the centralized American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). The deadline for application through AMCAS for CU is November 1. Some schools are earlier and you should check with those schools where appropriate. Applications should be filed as soon after June 15th as possible.

Letters of Evaluation

All medical schools require letters of evaluation from faculty members. This means you should make certain that the faculty members of your institution get to know you. If they do not know you, the will not be able to write a good letter. Many, if not most schools prefer a committee letter over individual letters. The University of Colorado at Denver Health Careers Committee will write a committee letter of recommendation. Please see Dr. Charles A. Ferguson in NC 3014B to obtain the application and instructions for this letter or see the section on "Committee Letters" below.


Medical schools expect that you will have had some experience in working with sick people. This experience can be either paid or volunteer; most medical schools do not care which. What IS important is that this experience be in a setting that stretches your "comfort zone" somewhat. Many medical schools are not necessarily looking at how much time you have spent in a health-related setting, but rather the breadth of your experience. Many Pre-med students volunteer in hospital emergency rooms, or outpatient clinics. In addition, you may be able to earn academic credit while you are gaining this experience. for further information check with the Center for Internships and Cooperative Education at 556-2250.

The following links may provided information for those individuals seeking general information about Medical programs.