Undergrad Majors to Pursue If You Are Planning on Becoming A Doctor

Blue stethoscope next to a laptop.

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  • When it comes to choosing a major for med school, there’s more flexibility than you may think.
  • While you have some flexibility in choosing a major, make sure to complete some basic requirements for medical school.
  • Choosing to major in a field that aligns with your interests will help boost your GPA along with your chances of getting admission into your top-choice medical school.

Planning on becoming a doctor and not sure what college major to choose? If biology is the first major that comes to mind, you’d be right. But that’s not the only option. Contrary to what many people assume, there is a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to choosing a major for applying to a graduate medical program.

Medical schools are not just looking for applicants who already have knowledge of biology or biomedical science. That is what they expect you to learn while you are in medical school. They are more interested in accepting students who are committed to caring for others and are passionate about the welfare of their patients. They want students who demonstrate an ability to handle the rigors of medical school and life beyond.

So how do you show a medical school that you have what it takes. The best way to meet their requirements is by spending some time volunteering or working with charity organizations, nursing homes, or any other facilities that offer some kind of healthcare service.

In addition, choose an appropriate major. The best way to go about choosing a major is to pick one that aligns with your interests while also making sure it meets the perquisites for medical school. The thinking behind this is that if you enjoy the subject, you’re more likely to do well in it and earn a high GPA. Ultimately, one of the most important criteria for getting into medical school is a high GPA.

These are among the most popular majors for anyone planning on becoming a doctor.

Top 5 Majors For Medical School

1. Biology

Biology courses focus on the study of life and all living organisms, making this one of the strongest majors if you’re planning on becoming a doctor. During your 4-year biology program, you’ll learn how various organisms live and reproduce as well as how different organs work together to keep organisms alive. You’ll also cover the basics of human anatomy, biology, physiology, and genetics, all of which are required learning in medical school. Getting a head start on this range of subjects will set you up for success in medical school.

Majoring in biology does more than prepare you for more advanced pre-med courses. It also demonstrates your interest in life and living beings, solidifying your chances of getting into medical school.

2. Human Physiology

This is another excellent major for aspiring doctors. Human physiology is a sub-division of biology that focuses on the study of the human body and how it works. The program covers all aspects of the human body and the different systems including the skeletal, nervous, muscular, and respiratory systems. Although these are the same topics that are also includes in a medical school curriculum, earning a human physiology will not qualify you to work as a doctor. This is because a bachelor’s degree in human physiology covers the basics while medical school goes more in-depth into each of these field.

If you choose to major in human physiology, the mix of classes and a basic understanding of the inner workings of living organisms will help ease the transition to medical school.  It will also give you a strong foundation for doing well in the MCAT – the standardized test for medical school.

3. Psychology

Psychology is a popular major for anyone planning on becoming a doctor for a variety of reasons. It helps doctors learn how to communicate with patients in a way that builds trust and promotes openness. Having a psychology undergraduate degree is a definite asset when you apply to medical school and beyond. It will equip you with crucial workplace skills such as empathy, critical thinking, communication, and resilience.

A major part of a doctor’s workday involves talking to patients and their families, and explaining diagnoses, prospective treatments and possible outcomes. It’s just as important for doctors to understand how people make decisions about medical treatments as well as issues that prevent them from being open with their physician and how to overcome them. All of this requires getting inside a person’s mind. This is where knowledge of psychology plays a major role in any healthcare field.

4. Biochemistry

Biochemistry is an interesting major that integrates aspects of biology and chemistry. It focuses on the study of living organisms and more specifically on the chemistry of life. If you choose to major in biochemistry, be prepared to learn all about cells, DNA, and genetics. You’ll learn how cells move and operate, how they reproduce and how they generate energy. You’ll also learn about how genetics and DNA impact an individual’s chances of inheriting their parent’s eye or hair color, as well as their chances of getting certain diseases.

In addition to setting a strong foundation for entry into medical school, majoring in biochemistry has tremendous potential in research particularly in the growing field of genetics.

5. Public Health

The coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated beyond any doubt the critical importance of public health. Although a public health curriculum covers the study of diseases and treatments, it focuses more on the health of the community or population as a whole rather than individual patients. This major focuses equally on biology as well as statistics.

As a public health student, you’ll learn how to how to analyze health trends and statistics, how to promote good health and implement preventative measures, and how to control disease outbreaks. The diverse courses you may take in this major range from anatomy, physiology, and nutrition to epidemiology, biostatistics, and community health practice.

Don’t Forget About Premed Prerequisites

You aren’t limited to just these five undergrad majors if you are planning on becoming a doctor. Some other majors you can consider are biomedical engineering, chemistry, English and foreign languages. While all of these are acceptable, what’s most important to remember is that all medical schools set their own undergraduate prerequisites for getting into their program. You must take time to explore these requirements and complete these courses in order to meet the minimum application criteria.

What Should You Major in to Become a Doctor?

If you are planning on becoming a doctor, it helps to remember that there’s no one major that holds the most weight. In general, most science majors will help you prepare for future studies in medicine. Make sure you choose a major that you are genuinely passionate about. Ultimately, in addition to your choice of major, it is your academic scores and GPA that will be the deciding factor. In most cases, students tend to score the highest marks in subjects that hold their interest. So, the winning combination is to choose a major related to the sciences that you are most passionate about.

Enjoy spending time in the laboratory? Majoring in chemistry or biochemistry are excellent pathways into medical school.

Curious about how the human mind works? A major in psychology may be the great option for you.

If you’re more interested in the health of bigger communities instead of individual, consider looking into a public health major.

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