What should I major in if I want to go to medical school? - The University of Tulsa
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What should I major in if I want to go to medical school?

If you’re interested in becoming a physician, your first thought may be: Where’s the pre-med major? Most colleges, however, don’t offer one — at least, not one by that name. In fact, medical and veterinary schools welcome students from any major, so long as you take all the prerequisite classes you need before enrolling.

illustration of a transparent male torso and arms showing a glowing red heartAt The University of Tulsa, our pre-health professions program ensures you’ll take all the right steps to get into med school. Through a combination of intensive guidance from faculty and advisers, and the opportunity to conduct research that makes admissions committees sit up and take notice, TU’s pre-health track gives you the best path to medical school. (And it works: 85% of TU students who applied to medical school last fall got in. And that number has been rising steadily.)

You’ll work with advisers from your first day on campus to ensure you’re taking the right classes to meet your goals. If you want to go to med school, the road map you need to follow is pretty clear: You’ll need to enroll in a full slate of science classes, including biology, chemistry and physics, as well as classes in sociology, psychology and statistics. Some programs require advanced math; others, none.

But admissions committees want to see more than the bare minimum. One way to set yourself apart is through research, and at TU, you’ll have numerous opportunities to get in the lab and work on meaningful projects with faculty. You may even end up as a co-author on a manuscript published in a scientific journal.

“There’s a big difference between taking a lab and actually conducting original research,” said Mark Buchheim, chair of TU’s Department of Biological Science. “Med schools know it, too. When students come to them with that kind of experience, they know they’ve already acquired skills they can’t acquire any other way. And it sets TU students apart.”

Faculty here are involved in a broad spectrum of research — ecology (including disease ecology) and population biology, microbiology and virology, organic chemistry, molecular biology and biochemistry, neuroscience, bioinformatics and more. “A lot of students are surprised to learn they can work on projects like these as undergrads,” Buchheim said. “Our goal is to provide research experience to any student that wants it.”

If one of your goals is to serve the community through medicine, you might consider applying to TU’s Early Careers in Community Medicine (ECCM) program. Open to a select few — just five freshmen a year — this program puts you on a fast track to the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. As long as you meet MCAT and GPA standards, you can gain acceptance without an interview. You’ll also have the opportunity to work in the field with OU med students, gain access to scholarships and participate in honors advising that will give you insight not just into the rigors of the field, but also hot topics that may spark your interest.

You’ll also work with a career coach who specializes in the health professions. Even if you know exactly the major you want, there are countless other steps you’ll have to make on your journey. Your coach can help you find an internship, complete the personal statement you’ll need for a med school application, and write your résumé.

When the time comes to apply to med schools, we’ll be right by your side. Our pre-health professions evaluations committee, comprised of faculty from several departments, will assess your chances in the competitive med school arena — and be sure that the application you submit gives you the best chance to get in.

“There’s nothing easy about med school, or getting into med school,” Buchheim said. “But you don’t have to go down that road alone. Everybody at TU — your faculty, your advisers, your career coach — are going to do everything possible to see you reach your goal.”