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 if I accept AP credit for some of the required classes?
If you accept AP credit for General Biology, it is fine! Virtually all medical and dental schools will accept them, particularly because Rutgers has accepted them and given you credit on your RU transcript for specific coursework. But, virtually all medical and dental schools will require you to take upper-level courses in college. Admissions committees will want to see how you perform in college-level course work. If you are not majoring in a Life Sciences major, we recommend that you take at least one course in Biochemistry. (such as Intro to Biochemistry) and one course in Genetics.
If you accept AP credit for Chemistry, you will be taking at least two semesters of Organic Chemistry, plus lab and one semester of Biochemistry at Rutgers which will satisfy the upper-level requirement. PS: General Chemistry is considered Physical Chemistry by schools with that requirement.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
Q. What can I do to stay involved in pre-health activities if I am unable to be active in any in-person experience during Fall 2020?
Get involved in a club or group on campus. Check out the Student Involvement Fair and search RU Involved.
Look for remote opportunities to shadow or volunteer: Here are some ideas for prehealth opportunities during the Fall 2020 semester: https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vSZEMI_w2jDK5oH_nxnODReCJE_3G6ADLWK-nFGdLsctv_3e9lfdlwMGi2mv_I9H9j8dnFkjPtJdJpH/pub