College Courses to Take Before Medical School

Depending on whether you are a college senior or a grad taking a gap year, as a premed you can…

Depending on whether you are a senior student or a graduate taking a gap year, as a premed, you may want to spend time taking courses that will help you in your transition to medical school.

Different from typical medical school prerequisites, this course is intended to orient you to the material and level of difficulty you will encounter during your first year of medical school. Here are some courses that might prove useful.

Anatomy and physiology

Anatomy is one of the most important courses in your first year of medical school. This is where you will spend time dissecting human corpses and understanding human anatomy in great detail.

This course is quite an honor to take and, in a sense, a rite of passage for medical students. However, anatomy is notoriously difficult, so taking a course in anatomy and/or physiology in your early medical years can give you a head start.

[Read: How to Make Sure You Fulfill Medical School Requirements for Admission.]

Although dissections and other laboratory experiments are not as thorough in undergrad, you can still gain a grounding in basic anatomy and physiology. The two subjects can often be combined into one course to provide an understanding of how anatomy works to influence human physiology.

However, if these courses are offered separately, taking one or both of them can be especially helpful in preparing for medical school.


While you probably did lab work in college and spent time looking at cells and using a microscope, histology really takes that to the next level.

In histology, you will learn about various bacteria and viruses, as well as the extensive use of microscopes for examination and diagnosis. Since most students have not explored this topic in depth before starting medical school, taking an introductory course in histology can be helpful in gaining a base of knowledge and experience in the field. domain.


More and more medical schools are making biochemistry a required or recommended prerequisite, and for good reason.

[Read: Top Undergrad Majors at the Best Medical Schools.]

The first-year medical curriculum usually includes biochemistry, and the subject can be quite challenging if you’ve never taken it before. This undergraduate course is notoriously difficult, but if you haven’t taken it yet, consider taking it to help you transition into the medical school program more easily.

Microbiology and Immunology

Chances are you were exposed to this as an undergrad, but in medical school you’ll go much deeper. Again, having a background in microbiology and/or immunology will make your extension of knowledge much more seamless once you get to medical school.

Whatever courses interest you

Although the courses above will help you academically in medical school, your years as a medical student will be centered on one thing: medicine.

[Read: How to Select the Right Minor as a Premed Student.]

If you have completed your prerequisite courses and the courses required to graduate, now is the time to think about taking courses to pursue your personal interests as well.

Interested in art? Awesome! Have you always wanted to know more about classical literature? Sure! Take courses in any field that will allow you to explore your interest and broaden your perspective.

Take time for yourself and cultivate your curiosity, and you’ll likely pick up additional skills to help you through medical school along the way.

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