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Pre-Med Advice

You will get a much more thorough introduction during Orientation by attending the pre-med meeting, but here are a few things students interested in attending medical school after graduating from Swarthmore should keep in mind as you think about courses to take this coming year

One of the most important things you should realize is that you can major in any department, including the humanities and social sciences, and still be a successful applicant to medical school. Medical schools generally require 12 courses for admission:

  • 4 Chemistry:  typically General, Organic (I & II), and Biological Chemistry (CHEM 10, 22, 32, and 38 at Swarthmore).  Students who plan to take chemistry at some point during their time at Swarthmore must take a chemistry readiness exam online during the summer (except for those with a 5 on the AP exam or a 6 or 7 on the IB exam).
  • 2 Biology: typically Cellular and Molecular, and Organismal and Population Biology (BIOL 1 and 2 at Swarthmore).
  • 2 English: any two typically suffice.
  • 2 Math: typically a semester of Calculus and a semester of Statistics. Unlike the other disciplines, this requirement can usually be satisfied (in part or in whole) by AP credit.
  • 2 Physics: General Physics I & II (typically PHYS 3 or 3L and 4 or 4L at Swarthmore).
  • 2 Social Sciences: it is recommended that students take an introductory course in psychology (PSYC 1) and sociology/anthropology (ANTH 43E) to prepare for the new version of the MCAT.

Swarthmore science courses are challenging and we strongly advise first-year students to talk to their advisors about how best to adjust, including how many science courses to take. If you have questions, see the contact information below.

Contact: Gigi Simeone, Health Sciences Advisor, at, or her assistant, Jennifer Lenway at For more information, consult the Health Sciences website.