Pre-Med/Pre-Health Profession Courses

Most health profession schools require one year with lab of:

General Chemistry  1 year with lab
Organic Chemistry 1 year with lab
Biology 1 year with lab
Physics 1 year with lab

Many health professions schools also require:

English 1 year
Mathematics 1-2 semesters
Social, Behavioral Sciences and the Humanities  expected for the new 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. 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 update you on changes and trends when thease 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 school should consult the following:

  • For admission to M.D. Programs: The Association of American Medical Colleges publishes the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR), an on-line 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 library in J. W. Wilson 313. The MSAR is available on the AAMC website:
  • 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 (in March) and as a book in J. W. Wilson 313..
  • Other professions, such as dentistry and veterinary medicine, 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 J. W. Wilson 313.


General/ Inorganic Chemistry: 2 semesters with lab 

CHEM 0330* and one more course with lab - OR- CHEM 0100 and CHEM 0330*


  • Most students start with CHEM 0330 and must take an additional course. Suggested: BIOL 0280, CHEM 0400, CHEM 0500. BIOL 0280 is accepted by most schools in lieu of a second semester of general chemistry in combination with CHEM 0330 and is necessray for the new MCAT. Some programs require a 5-course sequence (4 semesters of general chemistry with lab and 1 semester of biochemistry). Refer to our tip sheet for these schools.
  • Pre-vets: if you start with CHEM 0330, you should take CHEM 0500 for schools that require the 5-course sequence, including Biochemistry.
  • Brown's Chemistry department accepts AP scores for course placement but not for transcript notation. 


Organic Chemistry: 2 semesters with lab 

CHEM 0350* and CHEM 0360


  • A single semester of organic chemistry with lab will not meet admission requirements and will not prepare you effectively for standardized tests such as the MCAT and DAT. 


Biology: 2 semesters with lab 

BIOL 0200 and one more course with lab (any course above BIOL 0200)


  • All students without AP Biology start the biology sequence wtih BIOL 0200. Some schools require specific courses in biology. 
  • Even if you have AP Biology, you should take two biology courses with laboratory at Brown. Non-science concentrators are encouraged to take additional biology or neuroscience course work (no lab required).
  • 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 we recommend that you complete the two required courses in the Biology department. 


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 English Literature, College Composition (Expository Writing), or 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 three categories above meet the requirement. 


Mathematics: 2 semesters 

Any two college-level mathematics courses, at least one being Calculus. Statistics recommended as a second course. MATH 0090 and MATH 0010 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 0010) should still take at least one semester of college mathematics- statistics recommended.
  • A very small number of schools require a full year of Calculus and most of them accept AP credit if it appears on students' transcripts. Check with your state or dream health professions school(s). 


Also to consider 


BIOL 0280. One semester of this subject 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 new 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 US 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.

Beginning in 2015 the MCAT contains a section on the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 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.