Pre-Medical Requirements

In addition to the courses you must pursue to complete degree and university requirements, as a premed student you are advised to take the courses necessary in preparation for the MCAT as well as work to fulfill the admission requirements of the majority of medical/dental schools in the U.S. As noted, it is simply not possible for you to cover every pre-medical requirement for U.S. medical schools.

In order to prepare you a) for the academic rigors of medical or dental school, b) to meet the requirements of the vast majority of medical and dental schools in the U.S., and c) for the MCAT, we recommend that you pursue the following coursework (or the equivalent of):

  • 2 courses in general (inorganic) chemistry with associated labs (see guidelines for “How to decided what chemistry course to take and when”)
  • 2 courses in organic chemistry with associated lab (at JHU there is a single 3-credit Organic Chemistry lab)
  • 2 courses in biology with associated labs (either at the introductory or at the advanced level; see guidelines for “How to decide what biology course to take and when”)
  • 1 course in biochemistry (no associated lab necessary unless the lab is required for your major or serves as one of the two designated2 courses in biology with associated labs” as stated above)
  • 2 courses in general physics with associated labs (AP Physics may substitute – in that case, an advanced physics course is strongly recommended); Calculus I and II are co-requisites for General Physics I & II at JHU)
  • 2 courses in mathematics (a course in calculus and an introductory-level course in statistics is recommended)
  • 2 courses that emphasize English and/or writing (see “The English Requirement” below)


  • 2 courses that emphasize social and behavioral sciences principles (Note: there are numerous introductory courses in psychology, sociology, and related disciplines that will provide a foundation for the MCAT).

Examples of courses providing a foundational background in psychology:

  • 101 Introduction to Psychology
  • 141 Foundations of Brain, Behavior, and Cognition

Examples of courses providing a foundational background in sociology:

  • 101 Introduction to Sociology
  • 341 Sociology of Health and Illness
  • 317 The Culture of the Medical Profession

The English Requirement

As stated by many medical and dental schools, one year of English (two courses) is a common premedical requirement. However, it should be noted that admission requirements may vary from school to school. After assessing the medical school admissions landscape and given the Johns Hopkins University-wide writing intensive requirement that all students must fulfill, we recommend the following to fulfill the pre-med English requirement:

  • At least one introductory level “writing intensive” course from the English and/or Writing Seminars departments. Although any introductory level course is acceptable, we recommend Expository Writing as one of your two courses.
  • A second humanities or social sciences class that fulfills the Johns Hopkins University writing intensive requirement. For more information about the JHU writing intensive requirement, please visit (Note: many medical schools are less likely to accept a writing intensive course from the Natural Sciences to fulfill the English requirement.)

Ultimately, it is at the discretion of a medical or dental school to determine whether a particular course meets their English requirement, and it is your responsibility as an applicant to be familiar with the English requirement for each medical school to which you will apply.

In Addition…

It is important to show interests beyond the sciences, as medical schools want to see that applicants have diverse intellectual interests. In light of the content of many questions on the 2015 MCAT, JHU premeds are advised to consider enrolling in courses that emphasize ethics, philosophy, cross-cultural studies, and public health, regardless of the disciplines.