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Applying to Med School with a Physics B.S.?

  1. Oct 10, 2005 #1
    I am a High School senior soon to be an Undergraduate student at university. It is my desire to, after completing my U.G. studies, to go on to Medical school and become an M.D. For my undergraduate major, I am considering Physics, seeing as it is the science I am most interested in and would probably do best at. I have been reading college physics books/the Feynman lectures, etc. for some time now, in preperation for college and to get a generally more extensive background in the subject to provide for better performance once in college. How prudent is a Physics degree for one planning to go on into the medical profession? If I understand correctly, as long as I still take the required Chem/Bio courses for the MCATS (which I'd probably have ended up taking anyway in the course of my Physics education), I should be pretty well prepared for the MCATS, and with a bit of study, I'd probably have a good GPA considering the fact that it is a subject that I have a genuine interest in.

    I have heard people both acknowledge my academic plan as a good one for what I intend to do, and others that have advised me to major in Chemistry or perhaps Biology as better preperation for medical school application and the kind of work I will be doing once at Med School, regardless of my interest in Physics. So is Physics a good choice for someone with plans like mine, or should I indeed take another major? Obviously, my main concern would always be being the best possible M.D. I could be, and of course getting into medical school is a priority, so I would not be completely closed-minded to taking a major that would prepare me better in these avenues. However my mindset has been that :
    A.) I have better chances of getting a good GPA with a major that I have a stronger interest in, and this certainly would help on the med school applications, more so than a different major (Chem, Bio, Organic Chem, etc) with a lower GPA (even if slightly so).

    B.) Physics is a good Premed degree in it's own right, and as a hard science, would not in any way take away from the weight of my application.

    Again my primary concern is a good preperation for becoming an M.D., and getting/being well prepared for the Medical Schooling that goes along with that. I do not wish to be viewed as a "Non-traditional" applicant. I would however prefer to major in a subject that I have an existing interest in, which would in turn translate into better grades and better preparation for my career. Any advice you may offer on the subject is greatly appreciated.
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  3. Oct 10, 2005 #2


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    The first thing I would suggest is to look at the requirement for some of the Med School you would wish to apply. this will help to go and try to prepare for those requirement. For example, in Canada, some med school do not require you to hold a degree, you just need 3 years of university.

    Secondly, in Canada, most med school will accept student that do not have a major in biology or related field. During the first year of these med school, basic biology will be covered. So my suggestion is if your are interrested in Physics and if it is possible do your major in physics but it would be smart to expose your self to biology and medical sciences. You can always combine degrees/course load. For example do a double major or a major in physics with a minor in microbiology. So again, look at the program offered at the univeristies you wish to apply.

    Third, volunteer, work experience and extracurricular activites are often crucial part of the med school entrance requirement. Most people I know that want to apply to med school, volunteer in an hospital 2 to 4 hours a week. Also, several have research experience in biology, experimental biology and connecting fields. Also, many people will be on a societies executive committee. Med school wants to see that you have leadership potential.

    Forth, MCAT scores, in Canada, are also another important part of med school requirement.

    If you want to go to Med shcool, start planning and filling those requirements. I am sure some people your age are already preparing for the application requirement.
  4. Oct 10, 2005 #3
    Actually, I would guess you would have better chances for having a higher GPA if you majored in non-science field that overall has a higher grade average. Physics can be hard.

    I don't think medical schools frown upon qualified applicants who didn't major in a hard science. In fact, I heard from a doctor friend (who went to UPenn and was an anthropology major) that medical schools may even prefer applicants who majored in humanities because it shows they can also handle the personal interactions that make up so much of day to day work as a doctor.

    This is not to say that you shouldn't major in physics. Physics is a hard major, and medical schools know that. But majoring in a subject for the purpose of the best odds of getting into medical school could be a painful experience (even if it worked) and could mean huge missed opportunities considering the likilihood that your interests may change. In any case, you should certainly take the curiculum to keep all your options open as you enter college.

    (Note: this advice is probably specific to the United States.)
  5. Oct 10, 2005 #4


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    In the US, there are entrance requirements you'll need to meet to get into med school, such as certain biology classes (general biology, genetics, with labs), chemistry classes (general chemistry and organic chemistry, with labs), English writing, general physics with lab, but you can major in anything as long as you have the necessary entrance requirements and have the courses you need to do well on your MCATs. Talk to the pre-med advisor at your college to find out the most up-to-date requirements once you are enrolled.
  6. Oct 13, 2005 #5


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    Does the university your considering offer a BS is Biophysics? If it does then consider that. THOUGH BE WARNED THAT BIOPHYSICS IS ALOT OF WORK (you have to take bio major biology courses, physics major physics courses, chem major chemistry courses, etc.!!) But Biophysics will give you the prerequisites for med school. At my university, Im a physics major and I don't have to take any chem or bio at all. For me my cognate courses are more engeneering and math oriented. So make sure that the Physics Major at your university will take you through the requirements you need.
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