Premedical Curriculum

Premedical Curriculum at Columbia College and Columbia Engineering

While there is a core set of medical school prerequisites that will prepare you to meet the requirements at most medical schools, it is very important to note that medical schools in the United States and Canada each individually determine their own entrance requirements, including prerequisite coursework or competencies. Each medical school also sets its own rules about acceptable courses or course equivalents. Therefore, it is essential that you check the premedical requirements both for your state school(s) and any other medical school where you think you may apply when planning your curriculum. 

The following charts will assist you in determining course requirements at individual schools: 

AAMC Medical School Required and Recommended Prerequisite Courses (MD programs)

AACOMAS Osteopathic Medical School Required and Recommended Prerequisite Courses

ADEA AADSAS® Participating Dental Schools Required and Recommended Prerequisite Courses


In addition to medical school course requirements, all allopathic and osteopathic medical schools currently require that you sit for the MCAT exam and dental schools require the Dental Admissions Test- DAT.

In preparation for the MCAT we recommend:

  • 1 year of General Chemistry and General Chemistry Lab

  • 1 year of Introductory Biology and Biology Lab

  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Lab

  • 1 year of General Physics and Physics Lab

  • 1 semester of Biochemistry

  • 1 semester of Introductory Psychology

In preparation for the DAT we recommend: 

  • 1 year of General Chemistry and General Chemistry Lab

  • 1 year of Introductory Biology and Biology Lab

  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Lab

  • 1 semester of Biochemistry

While these courses are those recommended to prepare you for the MCAT and DAT, there are additional requirements set by individual schools.


  • Most medical and dental schools require a year of English – emphasizing skill acquisition in writing.

  • Many medical schools currently require mathematical competency focused in areas covered in calculus and statistics. We therefore recommend that all students complete a semester of calculus in addition to an introductory statistics course.

  • Many medical schools and almost all dental schools require a semester of biochemistry. A smaller subset of schools will have additional requirements. These may include advanced coursework in biology (including Anatomy and/or Microbiology for some dental schools), coursework in the social or behavioral sciences, or the humanities. PLEASE NOTE: Individual school requirements are subject to change from year to year. Check the links above to confirm current requirements through individual school websites. 


AP Credit:

Policies regarding the acceptance of AP and IB credit in fulfillment of premedical requirements varies from medical school to medical school, and sometimes from course to course. Most medical schools will require applicants to take at least one additional college level course in the subject area before accepting AP/IB credit for the course requirement.

Additionally, the AP policies at Columbia vary from department to department as they are the purview of the faculty in each field of study. Some departments do not grant credit until an advanced course has been completed successfully. Additionally, even though you may receive AP credit for an introductory level course, this does not necessarily mean a department will exempt you from a requirement for the major. The most common question surrounding AP credit and premedical requirements relates to Chemistry. Students who begin in either CHEM UN1604 Second Semester General Chemistry (Intensive) or CHEM UN2045-UN2046 Intensive Organic Chemistry for First Year Students or will receive 3 and 6 credits of AP respectively (provided they have a 4 or 5 on the Chemistry AP test and earn a C or better in the course(s)). If you have questions about your preparation in chemistry, please consult a premedical advisor.


It is generally desirable to complete the labs alongside the lecture courses; however, this is not required.  However labs may be useful for MCAT preparation and so we encourage students to complete them before sitting for the MCAT. 

Barnard Courses

It is permissible to take premed requirements at Barnard. It should be noted, however, that the Biology and Chemistry Departments in Columbia College may not accept these courses towards their majors. You should discuss this decision with your Advising Dean before making a decision. 

Note: Some Barnard sequences begin in the spring and end in the fall. Thus, before choosing a Barnard sequence, please discuss the pros and cons with your Advising Dean or a prehealth adviser. Also it’s not advised to split year long sequences between institutions. If you take the first semester at one school, you should finish their sequence to be sure you get the full year of content. 

Summer Courses:  

Columbia College

It is not always ideal to take premedical sciences over the summer. You should consult an advisor before taking required premedical courses during a summer session. If it is decided that summer is the best route, you need not take the course(s) at Columbia in order for it to fulfill prerequisites for medical school. Medical schools don’t care if you take these courses outside of Columbia. HOWEVER PLEASE NOTE: Summer courses at other institutions are not transferable to Columbia (CC ONLY) except in a few clearly outlined circumstances. This means that while medical schools will accept them, they will not count for progress towards your degree at Columbia. 

School of Engineering and Applied Science:

The curriculum at SEAS can be very full and demanding, and therefore it can be helpful to take one of the required premedical courses during a summer. Because SEAS students typically take four science courses a semester, a course taken over the summer won’t raise the same concerns as it might for students who don’t have as much science in their program of study. However, taking courses over the summer might lead students to miss out on other opportunities, including summer research and clinical experiences. It’s always wise to consult with a premedical advisor before making a decision about summer courses. 

Study Abroad:

Premedical courses should not be taken during study abroad programs. Unfortunately, some medical schools will not accept coursework taken outside of the United States in fulfillment of requirements and therefore we do not recommend taking these required courses at institutions outside of the US. However, we do absolutely encourage study and work abroad opportunities, for they offer many other benefits including cultural immersion. If you are interested in studying abroad, you should consult a premedical advisor so that you may carefully plan for this endeavor.

Postbaccalaureate Studies:

Not all Columbia students will know from the very start that medicine is where they want to end up. Some discover this part way through their undergraduate years or even after graduating. As a result, some students will finish their premedical coursework after graduating or will enroll in a postbaccalaureate program that is specifically designed to allow one to complete the preparatory courses before applying to medical or dental school. These students may still take advantage of all of the support offered through Preprofessional Advising.


Preprofessional Advising


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: 212-854-6378

Advising by Appointment

Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm 

Prehealth Virtual Drop-In Advising Hours

Mon - Thu, 12pm - 1pm 

Drop in Hours Zoom link*

*Drop in Hours are only for CC/SEAS undergraduate students