The Basics

Preparing to be a physician does not happen overnight. Most people know that it is important to have strong grades, but just as important is gaining experience to develop the skills, knowledge, and maturity necessary to be an effective healthcare provider. As with others on a healthcare team, physicians' decisions and actions affect human life and well-being. Physicians must pay attention to detail, have high ethical standards, communicate well with patients and other healthcare providers, maintain reliable records, and be knowledgeable about existing and new medical treatments to ensure each patient has optimal results.

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Knowledge of Self and Profession

Throughout the application process, you will need to demonstrate knowledge of yourself (values, goals, motivations, strengths, weaknesses), an understanding of the profession, and a commitment to become a physician. You must clearly articulate your readiness to enter the profession as a result of first-hand experience in the field. There should be evidence in your application that you are committed to service and helping others. You must demonstrate you have compassion, and the ability to work on a team, to lead others, and to communicate with people with different backgrounds, values, and perspectives from your own.

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Major and GPA

And finally, there is no “best major” for pre-medicine students. You can choose ANY major and be successful in your application to medical school. Admissions personnel will review your GPA from a variety of perspectives…cumulative GPA, science/math GPA, prerequisite GPA. Choose a major that you will enjoy and allows you to successfully complete the required and recommended courses while also gaining experience outside the classroom. Consider a major that will provide many career options, recognizing that students commonly change majors and career plans multiple times as they learn about themselves and their career options.

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Prerequisite Courses

Category Prerequisite Area Minimum Recommendation Course Numbers
Biological Sciences General Biology 2 Lectures and 2 Labs MCB 150/MCB 151* and IB 150/IB 151* *Upper Level Labs May Substitute
Anatomy & Physiology 1-2 lectures covering all organ systems MCB 244 and MCB 246 (or IB 202)
Genetics 1 Lecture MCB 250 or 204
Physical Sciences Physics 2 Lectures and 2 Lab PHY 101 and PHY 102 (or PHY 211 and 212)
General Chemistry 2 Lectures and 2 Labs CHEM 102/CHEM 103 and CHEM 104/CHEM 105 (or CHEM 202/203 and CHEM 204/205)
Organic Chemistry 1 Lecture and 1 Lab CHEM 232/CHEM 233 (or CHEM 236/237)
Biochemistry 1 Lecture MCB 450 (or MCB 354)
Social/Behavioral Sciences Psychology 1 Lecture PSYC 100
Sociology 1 Lecture SOC 100
English Composition English Composition 2 Lectures Composition I (GenEd), Advanced Composition (GenEd)
Additional Prerequisites Varies by program Varies by program May include organic chemistry 2, calculus 1 & 2, history, philosophy, ethics, religion, literature NOTE: UIC requires at least one advanced biology course (200 level or higher) and THREE social/behavioral science courses (Psychology, Anthropology, Economics, Gender Studies or Sociology) including two in the same department