The USC Upstate Pre-Medical
program is an advisement track within the biology degree program, though some
pre-medical students prefer to major in chemistry. The majority of students
entering medical schools have a degree in biology. Although medical schools do
not require a bachelor's degree, very few students enter medical school without
completing one. Students already having a degree and aiming for medical school
should concentrate on taking the specific courses that will best prepare them
for taking the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
admission is on a competitive basis. Important factors considered by Admission
Committees are grade point averages (GPA), MCAT scores, letters of
recommendation, service actvities and health-related experiences.
MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) exam:
exam tests reading comprehension and analytical skills. The test consists of
four parts: verbal, physical science, biology and a writing sample. The first
three sections are scored on a 1-15 scale, while the writing sample is given a
"letter grade." A student needs to have at least a 27 (out of 45 maximum) on the
exam and a GPA of 3.0 in order to be competitive. Recent entering classes at the
USC School of Medicine and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
averaged 30 on the MCAT (10 in each of three areas) and a 3.6 GPA.
minimum core of courses that are needed before the MCAT is taken is:
Mathematics 126+127 (Precalculus; with Mathematics 141
Chemistry 111+112 (General
Chemistry 331+332 (Organic Chemistry)
Physics 201+202 OR
Additional courses recommended prior to taking the
Biology 350 (Genetics)
Biology 581 / Chemistry 581
Pre-medical students must start their math and chemistry
sequences as soon as possible in order to take the MCAT exam at the appropriate
time. Students should have organic chemistry and physics completed by the fall
of their junior year, as the MCAT exam should be taken the spring semester of
the junior year (preferred) or the fall semester of the senior year. Both the
chemistry and physics courses have math prerequisites. Developmental math
students may need an additional year of preparation.
Applications to most
medical schools (including USC and MUSC) are coordinated through a central
service (American Medical College Application Service or AMCAS). Pre-med
students should complete their applications to medical schools no later than
October of the year before they expect to enter medical school. Completion of
the application earlier is highly desirable. Early decision programs are
available at both USC and MUSC.
of Labor and Statistics has more information on physicians and surgeons.