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Other Why pre-med?

Demystifier

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Why (in USA) there is a pre-med, while there is no a pre- for other professions? What is so special about medicine that it requires a pre-education while other professions don't require it?
 

CrysPhys

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Why (in USA) there is a pre-med, while there is no a pre- for other professions? What is so special about medicine that it requires a pre-education while other professions don't require it?
(1) There are undergrad programs in pre-law, as well as pre-med.

(2) In the US, medical and law degrees are graduate degrees (e.g., MD and JD). However, there are no specific corresponding undergrad degrees (in contrast, you can get an undergrad degree in physics in preparation for a PhD program in physics). Hence, some universities offer undergrad majors in pre-med and pre-law. But you do not need to be a pre-med major to go to med school; and you do not need to be a pre-law major to go to law school.
 

symbolipoint

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The idea is that a major "field" of "pre-medical" can basically prepare you either for entry into a medical school OR if you opt to change this, you also start good preparation for most any natural sciences, which are without a doubt, related to Medicine. A better choice than "Pre-Medical" is to actually choose any natural science for a degree objective of Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. Typical first two-year courses are closely the same:

  • Mathematics through at least ONE year of Calculus+Analytic Geometry
  • One or two college-level Biology courses
  • General Chemistry
  • Physics Series course sequence for the engineering & science majors

Yes I say again, that listing will be approximately the same for major feld degree objectives (undergrad) for Physics, Chemistry, Biological Science, Geology, Engineering. Computer Science these days might also be useful for a pre-medical choice.

There are or were options for "pre-veterinary", Pre-Optometry, and Pre-Dental majors.
 

russ_watters

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A concise "why" is that medicine requires a strong background in general sciences before starting the medicine specific training.

The "why" for law makes less sense to me and I suspect it is partly to create a barrier to entry...
 

symbolipoint

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A concise "why" is that medicine requires a strong background in general sciences before starting the medicine specific training.

The "why" for law makes less sense to me and I suspect it is partly to create a barrier to entry...
May be a way to be sure that critical thinkers go into the study of Law.
 

russ_watters

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May be a way to be sure that critical thinkers go into the study of Law.
Are you referring to a "pre-law" program? Law differs from medicine in that there are no actual coursework prerequisites for a law degree. A "pre-law" degree or track might be a "nice to have", but for medicine it is a requirement. That's why I think adding a year for the general ed classes every college student takes and calling law a BA would make sense.
 

ZapperZ

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Why (in USA) there is a pre-med, while there is no a pre- for other professions? What is so special about medicine that it requires a pre-education while other professions don't require it?
It is one of the major distinctions between a degree in Medicine (and Law) in the US versus many parts of the world. In the US, there is no undergraduate degree in medicine. Both Medical doctors (and lawyers) are considered equivalent to having doctorate degree, i.e. post baccalaureate degree. It means that the title being given ("doctor") is commensurate with the nature of the educational degree of that person. This puts "Doctor of Philosophy", "Doctor of Medicine", "Doctor of Jurisprudence", etc... on the same level.

The "pre-med" track is only one of many tracks that one can take to go into Medical school. Medical schools in the US have a minimum set of requirements for admission, and one can have any major one wants as long as one fulfill those requirements (including 1 year of physics). The same can be said about students wanting to go into Law schools. That is why one can find physics undergraduate degree holders going into Med school or Law school.

Zz.
 

jtbell

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Medical schools in the US have a minimum set of requirements for admission, and one can have any major one wants as long as one fulfill those requirements (including 1 year of physics).
The small undergraduate college where I taught for many years has a Health Sciences Advisory Committee that advises students which classes they need to take in order to apply to med school, and writes letters of recommendation for them. I served as the physics department representative for a while, and wrote some of those letters, based on input from the rest of the committee, and from physics professors (including me, of course) who had had those students in their classes.

Most of our pre-meds are biology majors, but we've had some from other fields, including chemistry, English, philosophy (this guy was very interested in medical ethics IIRC), and even physics.
 

CrysPhys

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Are you referring to a "pre-law" program? Law differs from medicine in that there are no actual coursework prerequisites for a law degree. A "pre-law" degree or track might be a "nice to have", but for medicine it is a requirement. That's why I think adding a year for the general ed classes every college student takes and calling law a BA would make sense.
I think an important distinction is the following. If you have a BS or MS in physics, you can be a practicing physicist; a PhD s not needed. Similarly, if you have a BS or MS in engineering, you can be a practicing engineer [in some instances, additional qualifications are needed to practice as a licensed engineer, but not all engineers need to be licensed]; a PhD is not needed. But to be a practicing physician, you need a doctorate's degree (MD or other); and to be a practicing attorney, you need a doctorate's degree (JD).
 

russ_watters

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A pre-law undergrad program is hardly a barrier for entry to law school. Quite the opposite; see, e.g., https://lawschooli.com/best-majors-for-law-school/
I meant the undergrad degree is a barrier to entry to the profession by requiring more schooling that serves no purpose toward the profession (core courses in an unrelated undergrad degree). If they just made law an undergraduate degree, there'd be more lawyers because it would cost less and take less time.

The stats you linked are interesting, though; they support my STEM bias.
 

symbolipoint

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A concise "why" is that medicine requires a strong background in general sciences before starting the medicine specific training.

The "why" for law makes less sense to me and I suspect it is partly to create a barrier to entry...
May be a way to be sure that critical thinkers go into the study of Law.
Are you referring to a "pre-law" program? Law differs from medicine in that there are no actual coursework prerequisites for a law degree. A "pre-law" degree or track might be a "nice to have", but for medicine it is a requirement. That's why I think adding a year for the general ed classes every college student takes and calling law a BA would make sense.
I made the comment based on your last of the two sentences, that Pre-Law, if it does use the sciences (Natural sciences) could act as a way to bring in students who are critical thinkers. Since Law is very different than the sciences, any such Pre-Law program should buildup courses of some other types than do pre-med/vet/optom/dental; such as specifying a group of Social Sciences and English or Language. Whether this kind of program should be bachelor of something, I am not sure
 

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