Pre-Medicine

Pre-med student in School of Science, IUPUI“While at IUPUI, I worked at the IU School of Medicine in the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and was a Life Health Sciences intern at the Bowen Research Center in the IU Department of Family Medicine. I had the chance to learn alongside epidemiologists and graduate students in public health and also to shadow family practice physicians working in downtown Indianapolis.” ~Rachel Rehlander

Interested in Medical School? 

The School of Science office for Pre-Professional & Career Preparation (PREPs) will support you throughout the process of preparing for medical school.

From advising you on pre-requisite courses and professional development activities to helping you through the application process, PREPs can assist you in every step.

Admission to medical school is very competitive. You need to plan thoroughly from the start to be successful.

First some basics, depending on your interests, there are a number of medical school programs you can apply for.  Some of the options are as follows:

M.D.  Allopathic Medicine

The M.D. (Medical Doctor) is a four year degree administered by medical schools.  After medical school, most doctors continue in a residency program where they receive more specialized training for an additional three to eight years, depending on the specialty.

D.O. Osteopathic Medicine

The D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) is a four year degree program administered by osteopathic medical schools.  Training for a D.O. is quite similar to that of an M.D. as degree recipients are also licensed to practice medicine.  Osteopathic medicine includes additional training in the musculoskeletal system and has a holistic focus on the person as a whole. D.O. school is often followed by a three to eight year residency program, depending on the specialty.

M.D./PhD

Combining a PhD with an M.D. or D.O. degree prepares students for careers in academic medicine such as biomedical researcher or medical school professor.  Adding a PhD generally adds three to four years to a medical school program; thus you finish after seven or eight years rather than four.  You can then choose to complete a medical specialty, if desired, just like other M.D or D.O. graduates. 

SCI-I-390:Physician Shadowing Program

The Physician Shadowing Program course is a 0 or 1 credit hour Satisfactory/Fail class that exposes students to the medical field through shadowing and being mentored by a physician. Students gain hands on experience, basic medical knowledge and insights into the career of a medical doctor. View the syllabus and additional information here. 

Join the PREPs Pre-Professional Advising Canvas Site

Academics & Prerequisites

What are medical schools looking for?

  • Medical schools are looking for strong aptitude in science demonstrated by excelling in the required prerequisite courses and doing well on the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test)
  • Humanistic and leadership qualities such as long term commitment to helping people as demonstrated through community service activities
  • Evidence that your decision to become a physician has been tested in reality as demonstrated by experience working with patients, exposure to the patient/doctor relationship through shadowing and self-assessment of how your personal qualities are a good fit for the career of a physician

Choosing a major

Being a pre-med student at IUPUI is a career interest not a major. Pre-Med is a set of prerequites courses in science and social science that prepare you for success on the MCAT and as a medical school student. 

Medical schools are looking for well–rounded students with broad academic interests. There is no correct or best major. You should choose your major based on your academic interests while incorporating the pre-med pre-requisites into your degree requirements.  Since medical schools are very competitive, your goal is to get the best grades possible in whatever major you choose.

Parallel planning

Part of your choice of major should include some parallel planning.  Be engaging in parallel planning, you essentially plan for two career goals simultaneously rather than sequentially.  This way, you are prepared for either career goal at the end of your degree program should you need to change direction. Parallel planning requires careful preparation to be successful.  Please consult with the PREPs office for assistance.

Adding a minor

Adding a minor to your degree program can be a very effective tool used to set yourself apart from other applicants and make your credentials unique. For instance, you may choose a major in Biology, Chemistry or Psychology and a minor in Spanish or Communications. A minor adds to your medical school application by showing you are a well-rounded student.

Prerequisite courses for the IU School of Medicine

The following IUPUI courses satisfy the basic medical school admissions requirements and prepare you for the MCAT.   It is important that you check with each medical school you are applying to for their specific requirements.

  1. BIOL-K101 Concepts of Biology I (5 cr.)
  2. BIOL-K103 Concepts of Biology II (5 cr.)
  3. BIOL-K384 Biological Chemistry or CHEM-C384 (3 cr.)
  4. CHEM-C105 / CHEM-C125 Principles of Chemistry I/Lab (3 cr./2cr.)
  5. CHEM-C106 / CHEM-C126 Principles of Chemistry II/Lab (3 cr./2cr.)
  6. CHEM-C341 / CHEM-C343 Organic Chemistry I/Lab (3 cr./2 cr.)
  7. CHEM-C342 Organic Chemistry II (3 cr.)
  8. PHYS-P201 General Physics I (5 cr.)
  9. PHYS-P202 General Physics II (5 cr.)
  10. PSY-B110 Intro to Psychology (3 cr.)
  11. SOC-R100 Intro to Sociology or ANTH-A104 Cultural Anthropology (3 cr.)
  12. ENG-W131 English (3 cr.)

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Some courses may substitute for the above however, please consult with an advisor in the PREPs office before making any changes to these classes.

Download a Pre-med Timeline.

Entrance Exams

In order to apply to medical school, you need to take the MCAT, or Medical College Admission Test. You can find upcoming test dates and additional information HERE. 

The average acceptance score on the MCAT for Indiana University School of Medicine is currently a 30. For more information on your score or how to prepare for your MCAT, contact PREPs. 

For general information on entrance exams, click HERE

Gaining Relevant Experience

Professional Shadowing

Professional shadowing, or job shadowing, is another means of career exploration in which you observe a professional at work. With a professional shadow, you can learn more about a profession before you invest too much time preparing for a career that may not be right for you.

For more information on job shadowing, visit our Job Shadowing Page. There you can download a free copy of our Professional Development Directory for a list of professional shadowing contacts. 

The Application Process

Overview of the Application Process

You initiate the process of applying to medical school by submitting one, centralized "primary" application that can be sent to multiple institutions of your choice. For allopathic (MD) schools you’ll complete an “AMCAS”- American Medical College Application Service application; for osteopathic (DO) schools you’ll complete the “AACOMAS” – American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine application. Nearly all schools participate in these application services, although there are a few that do not.

Applying to medical school is a two-step process: you submit the primary application first, and secondary applications second. After you submit the primary, you should wait for instructions from each individual medical school on how to submit the secondary application materials.

Parts of the Primary Application

The primary application will be made up of the following materials:

  • Your transcripts and your grades also manually typed into the site
  • Your MCAT score
  • Your personal statement
  • Your letters of recommendation
  • 15 Additional activity narratives that demonstrate your aptitude for medicine

Application Timeline (for the year you intend to apply)

JANUARY, FEBRUARY, MARCH

  • Begin writing your personal statement – Visit PREPs for samples and writing tips
  • Request letters of recommendation and follow up with letter writers, if necessary
  • Continue with professional development activities such as volunteering, shadowing, research, student organizations, and internships

APRIL

  • Study for the MCAT!
  • Assemble materials in preparation for completing your application (spring transcript from IUPUI, transcripts from all other universities attended, list of activities or resume)
  • Continue writing personal statement. Keep a journal throughout the application process, and use it for ideas for your personal statement and secondary applications
  • Research medical schools

MAY

  • Study for the MCAT and study some more!
  • Recommended time to take the MCAT is by May or June of the year you are applying
  • If you have already taken the MCAT, begin working on the AMCAS/AACOMAS application as soon as it becomes available, generally in early June.
  • Order transcripts from every school attended to be sent to AMCAS/AACOMAS.

JUNE

  • Take the MCAT, if you have not already
  • Follow-up on the status of your recommendations.
  • If you have already taken the MCAT, begin working on your AMCAS/AACOMAS application.
  • Submit your primary application as early as possible if you have obtained a sufficient MCAT score. Your letter of recommendation file does not have to be complete before you submit your primary application.
  • After you submit your AMCAS/AACOMAS application you should periodically log in and monitor the status of your application. You should call and check with AMCAS/AACOMAS regarding any transcripts that are listed as not having been received and then check with the Registrar’s office to see if there was a problem with the order.

JULY and AUGUST

  • As you begin to receive secondary application materials, follow their instructions and submit secondary applications as quickly as possible, to keep your application moving into the next stage of the process. At most schools your application will not be reviewed until all materials are received; bottom line: if you have not submitted all secondary materials you have not applied.
  • Send recommendations as requested by the medical schools.
  • Double check on everything. Be sure that secondary applications and recommendations have been received by each school. Check everything by phone or on the school website if there is one provided for you to check your application status.
  • Prepare to re-take the MCAT exam, if appropriate in your case.
  • Research the programs and characteristics of the schools to which you have applied.
  • Prepare for interviews. Continue to keep your journal, and review it for ideas to emphasize to an admissions committee. Consult the “Sample Medical School Interview Questions” handout from the PREPs office and prepare for questions you may be asked. Then come in for a mock interview to practice your interviewing skills.

SEPTEMBER – MARCH

  • Visit with the representative of any medical school to which you have applied who visits campus.
  • Most schools will allow you to send additional recommendations in December or January from professors from your fall classes if you have not received an acceptance yet and would like to try to strengthen your application. Check with the schools about their policies.
  • Many schools request that you submit updated transcripts at the end of the fall semester directly to them if your application is still under consideration. Check the instructions in the secondary application materials from each individual school. You should not send updated transcripts to AMCAS after your application has been processed. Update your coursework in AACOMAS with any new coursework completed after your AACOMAS application was processed.
  • Remain in contact with schools if you have submitted applications and have not heard back. A polite email or phone call to inquire about your status is generally acceptable.
  • Do some contingency planning and prepare alternate plans with a PREPs advisor if your admission to medical school is in doubt. Remember that there are many possibilities for a career in healthcare if that is what you desire.

Final Advice

Always keep in mind that schools are assessing your professionalism through the manner in which you conduct yourself while applying. Make sure that your e-mail address is working and reachable at all times and respond in a timely manner and appropriately to mailings from the schools. Be mature, polite, and professional at all times with the professors writing recommendation letters for you, the staff handling your application file, and any representatives of medical schools you contact.