While there is no required major for entrance in to a health professions school, there are many skills, abilities, and values you can develop during your undergraduate years to help you succeed. Among them are:

  • Mastery of basic scientific principles
  • Demonstration of a broad exposure to the humanities and social sciences
  • Mastery of life-long learning skills
  • An understanding of the physician-patient relationship
  • Demonstration of desired personal traits such as maturity, integrity, compassion, empathy, and leadership
  • Establishment of relationships with faculty members
  • Demonstration of caring for fellow human beings
  • Demonstration of an understanding of the health care profession of choice
  • Demonstration of a commitment to public service


In addition to the courses you must pursue to complete degree and university requirements, premedical students at Johns Hopkins are advised to take the courses necessary in preparation for the 2015 MCAT as well as work to fulfill the admission requirements of the majority of medical/dental schools in the U.S. It is, however, simply not possible for you to cover every pre-medical requirement for U.S. medical schools. We recommend that Johns Hopkins students pursue the following coursework (or the equivalent of):

  • 2 courses in general (inorganic) chemistry with associated labs
  • 2 courses in organic chemistry with associated lab (a separate course at JHU, a 3 credit Organic Chemistry lab)
  • 2 courses in biology with associated labs
  • 1 course in biochemistry (no associated lab necessary if not required for major)
  • 2 courses in general physics with associated labs (Calculus I and II are co-requisites for General Physics I & II at JHU)
  • 2 courses in mathematics (one of the courses should be an introductory-level course in statistics)
  • 2 courses that emphasize English and/or writing
  • 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).

Note: Courses in any one of the areas of ethics, philosophy, cross-cultural studies, and population health are recommended, regardless of the discipline. Not only will the pursuit of such academic areas impact performance on the MCAT, but will also provide a broad and relevant foundation for medical school.

To explore in more detail, go to PDF Document: Guide One: Pre-Med and Pre-Health Planning at Johns Hopkins.

The English/Writing 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

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.

The Pre-Med Biology Requirement

Johns Hopkins University Courses that Fulfill Premedical Biology Prerequisite Requirements

In order to fulfill the prerequisites for health professional school admission, it is recommended that all Johns Hopkins University pre-health students complete a minimum of two courses in biology plus their associated labs. Students who have earned AP biology credit are also strongly encouraged to complete two biology courses along with their associated labs.

020.151 General Biology I
020.153 General Biology Lab I

  • NOTE: 151 (01) is for sophomores, juniors and seniors only; 020.151 (02) is for freshmen only

020.152 General Biology II
020.154 General Biology Lab II

020.305 Biochemistry**
020.315 Biochemistry Lab –or, Protein Engineering Lab (from Biophysics dept.) is acceptable instead of 020.315

**NOTE: Some medical programs consider Biochemistry to be a chemistry course (and this is true even when the Biochemistry course is taught out of the Biology Department as it is at Hopkins). Applicants should research the requirements of the medical schools where they plan to apply. If any of the schools on their list classify Biochemistry as a chemistry course, then we strongly discourage them from attempting to use Biochemistry + Biochem Lab (or PEBL) to satisfy the pre-med biology requirement.

020.306 Cell Biology
020.316 Cell Biology Lab

020.303 Genetics
020.340 Genetics Lab

020.363 Developmental Biology
020.373 Developmental Biology Lab

020.374 Comparative Physiology—Biochemistry is a pre-requisite
020.377 Comparative Physiology Lab

  • NEW as of fall 2017; we have not yet had students apply to medical/dental school using this combination to fulfill the premed biology requirements.

250.265 Introduction to Bioinformatics—Biophysics majors
250.383 PEBL or Molecular Biophysics Laboratory—Biophysics majors

250.313 Molecular and Cellular Systems Biology—Biophysics majors
250.383 PEBL—Biophysics majors

250.315 Biochemistry I—Biophysics majors
250.253 Protein Eng. & Biochem Lab

250.316 Biochemistry II—Biophysics majors
250.383 Molecular Biophysics Laboratory

510.407 Biomaterials II—for Materials Science & Engineering majors only
510.430 Biomaterials Lab—for Materials Science & Engineering majors only

  • NEW as of fall 2017; we have not yet had students apply to medical/dental school using this combination to fulfill the premed biology requirements.

540.307 Cell Biology for Engineers—ChemBE majors
020.316 Cell Bio Lab

  • NOTE: ChemBE majors are advised not to take Gen Bio I/II
  • NOTE: ChemBE majors cannot use Cell and Tissue Engineering Lab (580.451) in lieu of Cell Biology Lab

580.421 Systems Bioengineering I
580.423 Systems Bioeng. Lab I

580.422 Systems Bioengineering II
580.424 Systems Bioeng. Lab II

IMPORTANT: Each health professional school may use its discretion about whether to accept specific coursework to fulfill pre-health course requirements. It is the responsibility of each applicant to research the curricular requirements of each health professional school where they plan to apply.