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Your Medical Academic Experience

Make the Most of Your Time

  • Determine your top medical school choices.

    Each medical school will have specific course requirements you need to take as an undergraduate. Once you know those, it’ll be easier to plan your Illinois State academic schedule. Allopathic doctors focus on treating diseases. Osteopathic doctors take a more holistic approach and treat the patient.

  • Take any prerequisites.

    Illinois State offers the classes you need to apply for medical school. Before you get to that level, you might have to take a handful of other classes to get ready.

  • Talk to us.

    There’s a lot of coordination and planning that needs to happen to make sure you do everything you need before medical school. You don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help.


Whether you want to become a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (OD), your courses are typically identical.

Your medical school will have specific requirements, but here are some common ones.

Typical Medical School Requirements

  • General Chemistry - 2 semesters

  • Organic Chemistry - 2 semesters

  • Biochemistry - 1 semester

  • Biology - 2 semesters

  • Physics - 2 semesters

  • Math - 2 semesters

  • English - 2 semesters

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences - 2 semesters

What to Take at Illinois State

Some classes require prerequisites.

  • General Chemistry CHE 140 and then 141

  • Organic Chemistry CHE 230/231 and CHE 232/233

  • Biochemistry CHE 342

  • Biology BSC 196 and BSC 197

  • Physics PHY 108 and PHY 109

  • Math Talk to your advisor for the best options.

  • English ENG 101 and then ENG 145

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences Talk to your advisor for the best options.

Our recommendations for classes

  • Chemistry: It takes five semesters to complete the chemistry sequence for medical school. We recommend students complete the final semester of chemistry (Biochemistry - CHE 342) before preparing for the MCAT and applying to programs.

  • Biology: Take more than the minimum required Biology courses. Medical schools value this. Genetics, Cell Biology, Immunology, and Microbiology are good additional courses to take.

  • Math: Calculus is highly recommended. Several schools require Statistics. Basic statistics knowledge will also be helpful for the MCAT. We recommend PSY 138 or MAT 150.

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences: This academic area is featured heavily on the MCAT. Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, and other social sciences and humanities can help prepare you for the Critical Analysis and Reasoning section of the MCAT.

Course Finder gives you descriptions for all your classes and any prerequisites you need.

Launch Course Finder

A Little Advice

  • Work hard. Medical programs are competitive. Keep your GPA at 3.5 and even higher for science and math grades. This helps you compete for your top choice with the best of them.

  • Check your Advanced Placement (AP) credit. Some schools don’t accept AP credit for any prerequisite course. Others limit the number of courses earned via AP credit. Explore your medical school’s specific policies.

Applying to Medical School

Students apply to medical school one year before they hope to begin in a program. The earliest students can apply to medical school is the summer after their junior year. Your courses at Illinois State will help prepare you to take the MCAT with confidence.

Learn more about the MCAT from the The Association of American Medical Colleges

Most medical schools also require a committee letter, which outlines your qualifications and readiness. When you're ready for this step, you'll work with your advisor to get one ready.