I want to state one thing at the very beginning of the article is that there are no “Best Majors “for medical school. This not my opinion; rather, it’s the opinion of administrative heads of leading universities like Princeton and Ohio university of medicine. One thing that they want students to understand is that the GPA (Grade Point Average) of the major matters and not the subject of the major. That is whichever major you do; you need to have a keen interest in that and consistently perform well to maintain your GPA.
Suppose you thought biochemistry is connected to medicine and therefore decided to do major in biochemistry. But you like humanities more than biochemistry. Biochemistry gets tougher for you as the course progresses. You would most definitely fail to maintain your GPA.; while it would have taken humanities, you could have easily maintained your GPA and would have a much higher chance of getting into a med school.
What Should You Choose? Easier Subject or Difficult Science-Based Subject?
You should always choose a subject which you enjoy studying and also which is easy for you. There is a reason behind this statement. We know that only two things affect our admission to medical schools, number one our GPA and the number to the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). When you choose an easy subject, you are at an advantage. First, you will have a beautifully perfect GPA, and second, you will have an ample amount of time to prepare for the MCAT. So, to sum up, you should major in a subject that is a) Easy for you and b) interests you.
Let us now consider the syllabus of MCAT. MCAT includes
- Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems;
- Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems;
- Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behaviour;
- Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
So, the subjects that are directly related to the syllabus are
- Human anatomy
- Cellular biology
- Social sciences
If any of the subjects meet the two parameters, that is, the interest and, most importantly, ease for you, you should definitely go for it.
Now let’s consider some statistics based on admissions of previous years into the best universities. According to statistics provided by the Association of American Medical colleges (AAMC), the most common majors in the few past years were:
- Biological sciences—12,845 total matriculants.
- Others – 3,391
- Physical sciences—2,240.
- Social sciences—1,991.
- Specialized health sciences—784.
- Math and statistics—156.
This statistic indicates that most of the students who have an interest in medicine also have an interest in biological sciences. But again, there are a huge number of students who did major in different fields. The point that administrative heads put forward is that a Doctor needs a lot of skills, and whichever stream you choose, you will find the use of that in the future. For example, students of humanities who are involved in theatres and stage performances have great communication skills. That soft skill helps them bond with the patients and the patient’s family, which helps to understand the patient and thus results in better diagnosis and better treatment. If A student who majored in economics becomes a doctor, he would already have knowledge about hospital expenses and financial terms, which will help him maintain a successful practice.
Based on statistics and research, below is a list of subjects that are preferable majors for medical schools. Although giving a gentle reminder, consider the two parameters as a priority.
Read More: How Hard Is Medical School
Biological science or biology is the foundation subject for not only medicine but also various other streams. So, it’s as a course has lucrative future. Biology gives you a glimpse of everything, from tiny microorganisms to the history of enormous reptiles called dinosaurs, from cell to organism, from diversity to environment conservation. Therefore, it’s a subject that would never give you boredom. Apart from this, all this information and knowledge gained during the course helps us better understand medicine. The main reason why most people choose biology to major lies in the fact that it’s a part MCAT syllabus. Biology is also easy for most of the students, at least easier than mathematics. So, to conclude, biology give keeps us one step ahead in med school and MCAT. Therefore, if you find it easy, you should think no more and choose biology.
Human Anatomy/Human Physiology
Biology included only a glimpse of Human physiology and anatomy, whereas subjects like human physiology or anatomy is a more detailed course. Medicine is all about knowing the human body, identifying malfunctions, and finding ways to cure them. Therefore, in medicine, a thorough knowledge of the human body is highly appreciated. If you find yourself getting interested in the course, it’s an indication that you could be a good doctor. It keeps you ahead in not only the MCAT but also classes in med school. But its difficulty level is a bit higher, therefore to maintain your GPA, you have to put in the effort. If you love the subject, all effort is worth it.
Sociology may be defined as the systematic study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings. Sociology helps you study people and their behavior as sociology covers traditions and societal norms of different tribes and societies of the world. AS a doctor, you need “people’s skill,” that is, you fundamentally should understand you the patient. Knowledge about different cultures and societies comes in handy when you start treating a large group of patients. Not only that, but MCAT also needs introductory knowledge to the subject. It is an intriguing subject, and you may or may not be bored by it.
The majority of students love English. I think the major reason is the ability to escape into different worlds while studying plays or stories. Apart from the fun part, it is also essential in the medical field. English is the most spoken language in the entire world. That means most of the world’s population can convey themselves through English; as a doctor, you need to diagnose a patient who needs communications skills that a major in English will provide. If you love English, you could very easily maintain a perfect GPA which will make you stand out. Good communication skills and a great GPA, alone among the best combinations to get into a med school.
Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior in a given context. The knowledge learned during this course will give you the superpower all doctors need to understand your patient’s mind. You need to understand your patient’s lifestyle and mind to diagnose and give the best solution properly. Health is having been redefined as the physical and mental well-being of an individual. Psychology, therefore, is an essential part of medicine. This makes the presence of psychology in the syllabus of MCAT evident. To conclude, psychology gives you an edge in med school as well as MCAT. It also is a subject that may or may not bore you.
Humanities is a study of the human aspect and society. There have been many medical students who started as humanities students. Humanities prepare you as a doctor by inculcating several soft skills in you, such as communication skills. Humanities is also a subject that is easy for most students. Therefore you can get hours of preparation for MCAT in a day without worrying about your GPA and still would have a tie to participate in different events that will make you confident and further develop your communication skills.
Biomedical science is the study of biological principles that govern the functioning of human bodies, mechanisms of diseases, and measures to control and cure diseases using advanced tools and technologies. This field of study is very similar to medicine and therefore makes you stay ahead of your med school classes. It isn’t easy, and you should pursue this only if you are a hundred percent confident and this really interests you.
Biochemistry the intersection of biology and chemistry and explores life at the molecular level. To study the function of our perfectly working bodies and their malfunctions, we need to understand the molecular story of our body. Therefore, biochemistry is an important part of not only medicine but all medicine-related courses. Doing a major in this subject opens up a lot of opportunities. It will also keep you ahead in your med school classes and also in MCAT preparation.
This subject focuses on the scientific study of drug interactions on biological systems and organisms and the sources, chemical properties, biological effects, and therapeutic uses of drugs. Any doctor needs to learn pharmacology to prescribe the correct medicine. It is related to biochemistry and medicine, so it gives you a great start. But the course is not easy and needs a lot of effort.
It is the scientific study of the composition and behavior of matter, including its micro-and macro-structure, the processes of chemical change, and the theoretical description and laboratory simulation of these phenomena. The detailed concept of organic and inorganic chemistry and even physical chemistry helps one understand the biochemical and physiological processes going on in the human body better. Therefore, it is important in medicine ad hence is a part of the MCAT syllabus.
In conclusion, you could maintain your GPA only if you enjoy the subject and the classes. You can understand concepts better when you are having fun while learning. So keep making sure you enjoy all the classes, all the assignments, and even the tests.