Questions for NEW INCOMING Students
Q. What classes should I take this fall?
The classes you take this fall will depend on your placement tests, any credit you bring from AP or college courses taken in high school, your school and program core requirements, your potential major, and your interests! Most students who want to pursue a premedical or predental path should take at least one science course such as General Biology 115 or General Chemistry 161, particularly if they did not bring in credit for those courses. If you feel you can handle it, take both. Many majors have suggested course plans on their web sites that may help you plan. Additionally, talk with your advisors!
Q. Which classes are required by medical/dental schools?
- 2 semesters of General Biology with lab (119:115, 116, and lab 117)
- 2 semesters General Chemistry with lab (160:161, 162, and lab 171)
- 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with lab (160:307-308, and lab 311)
- 2 semesters of General Physics with lab (750:203-204, and labs 205 and 206) See alternative sequences below.
- Two semesters of college-level math, one of which should include statistics of some sort (see below for more information about math)
- Two semesters of college-level English (see below for more information about this requirement.
- 1 semester of Psychology
- 1 semester of Sociology
- 1 semester of Biochemistry
NOTE: These are just the basics, not an exact template that every student will follow. There will be variations depending on AP and transfer credit and major. Meet with an advisor to figure out what your options are within this general list.
Q. What classes should I take since I have AP credit?
When you accept your AP credit, please know that this credit goes on your Rutgers transcript and thus will be seen by the clinical programs. In this situation, virtually all medical and dental programs will require you to take upper-level coursework in that same discipline. This is because Admissions Committees want to see how you perform in college-level coursework at Rutgers. For example, if you have AP credit in biology we would encourage you to take at least two upper level biology courses (e.g. 448:380 Genetics, 146:295 Essentials of Cell Biology & Neuroscience, 694:301 Intro to Biochemistry, or 146:356 Systems Physiology, to name a few). When you accept your AP credit in chemistry, you will be taking at least two semesters of chemistry to satisfy the clinical programs requirements in any event (e.g. Organic Chemistry I, Organic Chemistry II, Biochemistry). P.S. General Chemistry is considered Physical Chemistry by schools with that requirement.
We also encourage you to review the requirements for the clinical programs you might be interested in applying to in the future to double-check their requirements. And, you are more than welcome to reach out to a Health Professions Advisor if you have additional questions (
Q. What should I major in?
We encourage students to major in the subject that interests them the most. Students majoring in fields other that biology are strongly encouraged to take some additional science courses (see other recommended courses above), and they are encouraged to meet with an HPO advisor.
Questions for Currently Enrolled Students
Q. How do I open an HPO file?
If you are a currently enrolled student at Rutgers-New Brunswick, please email your request with your name and RUID# to
Q. Can you explain the process of obtaining a letter of recommendation for my HPOdrome file?
To request a letter of recommendation, you would just fill out the evaluation form found on our HPO website and give that form to your letter writer via email. They should then send their completed letter and that same completed evaluation form back to the HPO directly via email as attachments. They should NOT send the letter directly to you, as this would make it non-confidential and therefore not usable. From there, we will upload the letter to the HPOdrome, where you can check that we received it by logging on with your net id and password to the portal you created when you opened up your HPO profile.
Q. How can I schedule an appointment with one of the HPO advisors?
There are currently three ways currently enrolled students can go about speaking with an HPO advisor:
- Virtual Walk-in Hours and Online Chat (Ask the Advisor option)
- Virtual Scheduled Appointments - 30 minute appointments that can be scheduled by logging on to RU-Scheduler
- Email the advisor: If you only have 1-2 advising questions, please email your questions to
Q. What if I only have a quick general question for the office staff?
There are currently two ways currently enrolled students can ask general questions:
Virtual Online Chat (General Questions option)
Email the HPO office: please email your general questions to
Q. Does it matter which Physics courses I take (ex. Physics for the Sciences vs. General Physics)?
The following courses are “equivalent” as the first part of a two semester Physics requirement (you can take any of them, depending on your major/and or placement):
750:193 Physics for the Sciences
750:201 Extended General Physics
750:203 PLUS 750:205 General Physics
750:271 PLUS 750:275 Honors Physics
750:123-124 Analytical Physics 1A, 1B
750:115-116 Extended Analytical Physics
750:161 Elements of Physics (same as 203+205-1st term Lecture + Lab)
The following courses are “equivalent” and may be used to fulfill the second part of the two semester Physics requirement of most medical and dental schools:
750:194 Physics for the Sciences
750:202 Extended General Physics
750:204 PLUS 750:206 General Physics
750:272 PLUS 750:276 Honors Physics
750:227 PLUS 750:229 Analytical Physics
Please note that you may switch from one sequence to another. For example, if you took 750:193 as your first semester of Physics, you could take 750:204 and the lab 206 to fulfill a second semester. These courses are “equivalent “ in the sense that they cover the same topics. However, they are taught at different levels of difficulty because they are aimed at different audiences. For example, 271 (Honors Physics I) is significantly more advanced than 203 (General Physics I), even though they cover the same topics.
For more information and course descriptions please visit the Physics department website: https://physics.rutgers.edu/academics/undergraduate-program/course-synopses
Q. Which math classes should I take?
Math requirements vary among medical and dental schools. In general, we recommend that students take at least one semester of college level math and one semester of statistics. The college level math does not have to be calculus unless that is required by your intended major. The statistics course can be one offered by the Statistics department (subject code 960 at Rutgers) or, it may also be an applied statistics course offered by a major (such as Quantitative Methods in Psychology, or other stats courses offered by departments such as Public Health or Exercise Science). As always, be sure to check the requirements of individual schools to which you hope to apply in order to be sure to fulfill their prerequisites.
Q. How do I fulfill the two semesters of college-level English requirement?
All Rutgers, New Brunswick students are required to take or have credit for, Expository Writing (355:101). In addition, premedical and predental students should plan to take an additional writing intensive course. This does not have to be only a course offered by the English or Writing Programs. There are many options for fulfilling a second writing requirement and we recommend that students consult the writing intensive course lists offered by their school, such as the SAS writing intensive course list found here.
Q. What are the other recommended classes?
These will depend on your major, school requirements, and interests. We recommend, however, including a course in ethics or philosophy somewhere during your time at Rutgers.
Q. Does this class count toward my science GPA?
We call the science GPA that appears on your HPOdrome account your Rutgers HPO science GPA because it only reflects courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math that you have taken at Rutgers – New Brunswick. For a list of additional biology elective classes that are included in your Rutgers HPO science GPA, here is the link: https://biology.rutgers.edu/images/2020Uploads/bioscielectives_January_2020.pdf
Please be aware that your Rutgers HPO science GPA may not be exactly the same as your science GPA as computed by the application services for medical, dental, and other professional schools. Our calculation is just meant to be a guideline and provides a commonality among students who have taken science courses at Rutgers.
Q. Can I take any of the required classes over the summer?
As a general rule, we do not recommend taking any of the required science courses over the summer. Medical/Dental schools prefer to see that you can handle the work during a regular semester with a normal course load. It is the only way they have of predicting whether or not you would be able to successfully handle the coursework at their school which will include multiple science courses at one time. Also, summer is an important time to gain critical out of the classroom experiences such as volunteering and clinical exposure.
If you have fallen behind on your requirements, meet with an advisor. They will be happy to help you devise a schedule to help meet your goals.
Q. Can I take any of the required classes elsewhere?
Yes, with qualifications:
- Never split up a two-semester sequence (even between Rutgers main campuses). The courses may be presented differently.
- Do not take your science requirements at a junior, community college.
- If possible, do not take your science requirements over the summer.
Q. What happens if I must withdraw from a class?
One "W" will not destroy your chances of getting into medical school. Admissions committees, however, will become concerned if they see a pattern of Ws and/or light credit loads that lack rigor.