College Counselor and Tutor
Aspiring pre-med students just entering college might be wondering: What’s the best major to prepare me for medical school? To answer this question, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) tracked more than 21,500 students enrolled in medical school. Their most common majors were generally focused on math and science:
- Biological Sciences: 11,843 total matriculants
- “Other” majors: 3,391 total matriculants
- Physical Sciences: 2,214 total matriculants
- Social Sciences: 2,107 total matriculants
- Humanities: 797 total matriculants
- Specialized Health Sciences: 650 total matriculants
- Math and Statistics: 168 total matriculants
Aspiring med students have to take five to six math/science classes to meet application requires But does one major give you an advantage? Looking at the data from the AAMC, choosing a popular major—like Biological Sciences—doesn’t give you an advantage. Out of nearly 30,000 medical school applicants with a Biological Sciences major, matriculation was just 40%—slightly lower than several other majors. In addition, students who majored in Biological Sciences also had average MCAT scores of those tracked.
Because medical school admission is very holistic, it’s perfectly acceptable to have a major outside of the sciences. In fact, it shows you have alternative skills, and if you pick a major that focuses on human connections and communication, you may be a more effective doctor in the future. A study by the journal Medical Education found that “medical students with pre-medical backgrounds in the humanities and social sciences may be more effective at communicating with patients.”
Ultimately, choose a major you’re passionate about and where you think you’ll succeed—something that allows you to bring your interesting life and perspective into the med school classroom. Having a diverse class is something many medical schools want, so don’t feel restricted by your major if you’re planning to apply to medical school in the future.
Learn more about studying the sciences and preparing for medical school in our Health and Medicine section.