Pre-Med/Pre-Health Profession Courses

Most health profession schools require one year with lab of:

Chemistry - General, Organic, Biochemistry 4-5 semesters with lab
Biology 2 semesters with lab
Physics 2 semesters with lab

Many health professions schools also require:

English 2 semesters
Mathematics 1-2 semesters
Social, Behavioral Sciences and the Humanities 2 courses expected for MCAT

The most common course requirements for admission to health professions training programs can be fulfilled at Brown University by taking the courses detailed below. All required courses should be completed for a grade with the exception of mandatory S/NC courses. *Courses offered during the summer as well as the regular academic year are noted with an asterisk here. Individual schools and professions may have additional requirements.

M.D. programs continually review their requirements and expectations, including course work and the new MCAT. Our website, as well as our print materials and information sessions, will update you on changes and trends when these are announced by the AAMC and individual programs. This is an evolutionary process and radical changes are unusual and unlikely. It is your responsibility to be certain that you have taken all required courses for the schools to which you intend to apply. 

Students who aspire to enter medical or other health professions school should consult the following and the list of Brown Courses detailed below:

  • For admission to M.D. Programs: The Association of American Medical Colleges publishes the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR), an online system accompanied by a printed publication - "MSAR: The Official Guide to Medical School Admissions." We recommend you consult both. Previous years' print versions of the "MSAR: The Official Guide to Medical School Admissions" are available for reference in our office library.
  • For admission to D.O. Programs: The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) issues the OMCIB, which is available for free download on their web site (updated in March) and as a book in our office library.
  • Other professions, such as Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine (see the Veterinary Medical School Admision Requirements- VMSAR here), have publications and websites that can help you determine which additional courses you might need to take. Copies of their publications are also available in our office library.
  • Additional helpful details are available on our FAQ page.


Chemistry - General, Organic, Biochemistry: 4-5 semesters with lab 

The great majority of medical, dental and veterinary schools require 4 semesters of chemistry with lab to include general, organic and biochemistry. Some schools require 5 semesters. 

If you place into CHEM 0330:

CHEM 0330, CHEM 0350, CHEM 0360, and BIOL 0280 (or CHEM 0400 if offered and a good fit for your concentration) 

The typical four-course sequence at Brown is CHEM 0330 (1 semester of general chemistry with lab), followed by CHEM 0350 and CHEM 0360 (2 semesters of organic chemistry with lab), and BIOL 0280 (1 semester of biochemistry). CHEM 0400 may be taken in lieu of BIOL 0280 if it is offered and is a good fit for your concentration. While BIOL 0280 does not have a lab, it is accepted by most health professions schools in lieu of a second semester of general chemistry with lab and is necessary for the MCAT. 

If you place into CHEM 0100:

CHEM 0100, CHEM 0330, CHEM 0350, CHEM 0360, BIOL 0280 (or CHEM 0400 if offered and a good fit for your concentration)

Students who place into CHEM 0100 follow it with the typical four-course sequence. 


  • Brown's Chemistry department accepts AP scores for course placement only, not for transcript notation. 
  • A single semester of organic chemistry with lab will not meet the admission requirements of most schools and will not prepare you effectively for standardized tests such as the MCAT and DAT. 
  • Some medical, veterinary, and approximately two-thirds of dental schools require a five-course sequence in chemistry (2 semesters general chemistry with lab, 2 semesters organic chemistry with lab, 1 semester biochemistry). If these are your state or dream schools, and you have completed the typical four-course sequence, CHEM 0400 or CHEM 0500 would be the appropriate fifth course. Refer to our tip sheet for these schools.


Biology: 2 semesters with lab 

BIOL 0200 and one more course with a lab


  • All students without AP Biology start the biology sequence with BIOL 0200. Some schools require specific courses in biology. 
  • Even if you have AP Biology, you should still take two biology courses with laboratory at Brown. 
  • Neuroscience courses with lab are accepted by most schools as biology with lab. However, to make sure you are in the best position to meet all schools' expectations and prepare well for the MCAT we recommend that you complete the two required courses in the Biology department. 
  • Completing more Biology or Neuroscience courses at Brown - which don't need to have a lab - is highly recommended to all, and is especially important for non-science concentrators.


Physics: 2 semesters with lab 

PHYS 0030* and 0040* -OR- PHYS 0050 and PHYS 0060 -OR- PHYS 0070 and PHYS 0160


  • Students planning to concentrate in engineering can satisfy the physics requirement with ENGN 0030 and ENGN 0040. If your concentration changes and you have already completed ENGN 0030, take PHYS 0040 or higher. 


English: 2 semesters 

Any two courses in College Composition (a.k.a. Expository Writing), or English Literature (including foreign literature in translation to English).


  • Courses offered outside the English Department that meet these criteria are acceptable. Courses that do not meet these criteria do not count even if they require extensive reading or writing assessments.
  • WRIT-designated courses offered by science departments will not satisfy the English requirement.
  • Health Careers Advising cannot endorse any particular course. The two categories above meet the requirement. 


Mathematics: 2 semesters 

Any two college-level mathematics courses, at least one being Calculus. Statistics strongly recommended as a second course. MATH 0090 and MATH 0100 are the main Calculus courses. Statistics courses are offered by a number of departments (e.g. APMA, CLPS).


  • Most schools prefer or require Statistics as a second semester of mathematics.
  • Students with AP scores in Calculus (that place them out of MATH 0090 or out of both MATH 0090 and MATH 0100) should still take at least one semester of college mathematics- statistics recommended.
  • Until recently a small number of schools required a full year of Calculus. This is unlikely to be an issue, but check schools' sites a year or two before you apply. 


Also to consider 


BIOL 0280. One semester of this subject is part of the typical Brown chemistry course sequence. It is required by a growing number of U.S. medical schools. Schools that do not require biochemistry usually recommend it. It is also necessary for the MCAT. Seven Canadian medical schools require or recommend a varying number of biochemistry courses (Alberta, British Columbia, Calgary, Manitoba, Ottawa, Saskatchewan and Laval). For a complete list of schools' Biochemistry expectations consult the list of U.S. and Canadian M.D. Schools that Require Biochemistry

Social, Behavioral Sciences and the Humanities 

Education in and practice of health and medicine are constantly evolving and require broad competencies not only in the sciences, but also in the social context of medicine. We encourage Brown students to explore their academic interests broadly and to include course work and activities that connect them with their chosen health career's broader social, scientific, and humanistic contexts. Consider taking courses in psychology, anthropology, sociology, or public health.

Since 2015 the MCAT has contained a section on the Social and Behavioral Sciences. You would need content knowledge for the exam. A small number of medical schools require a semester in both of these fields. Most other health professions schools recommend such course work. A growing number of schools may expect a course in both areas in the future. We encourage all Brown students to explore the curriculum and take one or two introductory courses in these disciplines. 

To learn more about preparing for the MCAT, DAT, and other standardized tests consult our Standardized Tests (MCAT, DAT, GRE) section.