There is No Perfect Major for Pre-Med

It’s a common misconception among pre-med students that certain majors are more advantageous for getting into medical school. Many students assume that medical schools prefer STEM majors, especially biology majors. In reality, medical schools are looking for diverse candidates from an array of majors. The Major Experience (TME) at UConn highlights that according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2018-2019, humanities majors had higher acceptance rates than biology majors.

Do Medical Schools Require a Particular Major?

Contrary to popular belief, medical schools don’t require a specific major but they do require specific coursework. A student can be a Puppet Arts or English major and be on the pre-med track! At UConn, we don’t have a pre-med major. Students can choose from various majors as long as they obtain a solid foundation in science courses required for med school.

What is the Best Major for Medical School?

The “best major” is the major where you’ll obtain a competitive GPA, gain valuable transferable skills, and be engaged with the coursework, which may or may not be Biological Sciences. If you’re majoring in biology and you are achieving a strong science and major GPA while enjoying the classes you’re taking, these are signs that this may be the perfect major for you. However, if you have completed some pre-med classes, and you aren’t passionate about taking additional upper-level biology courses not required for med school, you might want to explore majors. If you are academically struggling in your major courses, you might also want to consider other majors that might help you get a competitive GPA.

It’s Common for Pre-Med Students to Explore Majors

Beth Settje, Associate Director, in the Center for Career Development, encourages students to consider that on average, students change their major five times in college.  It is quite common for pre-med students to explore majors and change majors as they determine their career plans and what aspect of healthcare they are pursuing. Just remember as long as you take the recommended coursework for pre-med, you can major in anything! Knowing that students often are overwhelmed with choosing among the 110+ majors at UConn, there are many campus resources to help you discover the right major, including meeting with Career Coaches, talking to ACES advisors, and utilizing the resources found on TME.

Attend Events to Explore Healthcare Careers & Possible Majors

This spring, the Center for Career Development has two events on March 9, 2020, for students interested in the health field. By attending these events, you’ll discover that a certain major is not required to pursue a variety of health fields. Students are encouraged to attend both events:

Check out the Heath and Medicine Group on TME:

Explore the Health and Medicine Exploration Group on The Major Experience Website. This cluster of majors are related to the healthcare field but keep in mind that students can explore other major clusters as well. ACES advisors can help you explore possible majors for health careers.

Meet with a Pre-Med Advisor

Utilize resources provided by the Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Office. Pre-med advisors can provide guidance with how you can be competitive regardless of what major you decide to pursue.

Meet with an Academic Advisor

Check out these tips from the Biology Advising Center. While being a biology major is a popular choice, advisors encourage students to consider what majors may be ideal to complement students’ pre-med goals and academic strengths. Advisors can connect you with additional resources on campus to help you decide on the right major.

By Katerine Pais
Katerine Pais Academic Advisor