Can I get into medical school with a biochemistry degree?

In this article we will answer the question ” Can I get into medical school with a biochemistry degree? ”, We will discuss the advantages and possible disadvantages of choosing a biochemistry degree for Med School.

Can I get into medical school with a biochemistry degree?

Yes, you can get into medical school with a biochemistry degree. But in reality there’s no specific degree. Students choose disciplines like chemistry, biology, physiology more often to prepare for med school.

How Do I Get into Medical school?

Medical school is a graduate program; to be eligible to apply to medical school, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree and take specific prerequisites (classes that medical schools require). 

Medical studies in the US generally begin after the completion of four years of undergraduate study (Bachelor’s Degree) that includes pre-medical subjects such as advanced biology courses.

Students who are interested in going to medical school generally major in biology, chemistry, or biochemistry. These specializations include most of the courses required to enter medical programs and will help prepare students for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). 

However, other degrees can also prepare students for health professions; therefore, students are encouraged to specialize in the field where they excel and should consult the pre-health professions advisor about courses.

Basic courses required for medical school:

  • Biology I and II with laboratories.
  • General chemistry I and II with laboratories.
  • Organic Chemistry I and II with laboratories.
  • Physics I and II with laboratories.
  • Biochemistry.
  • Calculation and / or Statistics.
  • Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Sociology – These behavioral sciences are required for the MCAT.

Each medical school has its own set of prerequisites and students should research the admission requirements of each school to which they intend to apply. Search for accredited medical schools in the US and their prerequisites.

Theoretical studies in General Medicine last four to five years, then a period of medical residency or internship in hospitals begins, which lasts approximately two additional years, during which students graduate with Ph.D. they put their knowledge into practice under the supervision of professional doctors.

Students are provisionally admitted to these residency programs according to the letters of recommendation provided by their university. If their performance is satisfactory, then they obtain the M.D.

Average or Grade Point Average (GPA)

Getting into medical school is a difficult step. It requires strong test scores, an impressive academic record, and persistence. The College Grade Point Average (GPA) and the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) are the biggest factors in medical school admission.

Although usually medical schools require a minimum GPA of 2.70 (this varies by school) your chances of entering with this average is extremely low.

So what is the average you need for medical school? Multiple authors agree that a competitive academic index for most medical schools is 3.50 and up.

However, medical schools take several factors into consideration when evaluating your application. These factors include shadowing, community, leadership positions, previous experience in scientific research, letters of reference, personal essay and the MCAT.

Medical College Admission Test

The MCAT is an admission exam required by all American medical schools. This test examines the understanding of the basic concepts of Biology, Chemistry, Physics as well as the oral, writing and reasoning skills of the applicants.

The MCAT is taken at least eighteen months prior to the pre-registration process. Applicants in overseas states or foreign countries must register two months before the day the test is offered.

All science content on the MCAT must be material that you studied in one or more of your undergraduate courses. To study, you can use your old textbooks and notes or you can buy an MCAT study guide. The AAMC sells the Official Guide to the MCAT Exam, or you can choose from dozens of other titles from test prep companies like The Princeton Review and Kaplan.

Don’t overlook the Verbal Reasoning section and the writing sample. Many people think that these sections are the easiest, but it can cause problems if you are not prepared.

Create an extensive registry of relevant experiences

  • Observe a doctor / clinical observation: Gain knowledge of the medical field and confirm this field as your passion.
  • Community Service / Volunteer: Students must have a passion for helping others; the service can be both inside and outside of medical / clinical settings
  • Research / laboratory experience
  • Leadership roles on and off-campus.

Biochemistry: Pre-med option

What’s studied in biochemistry?

In general terms, during the first year of the degree you will acquire the first basic knowledge of science, such as mathematics, statistics, physics, organic chemistry, genetics, etc. Also, you will make contact with laboratories, such as the materials that are there, how you should develop, among other things.

During the following years you will acquire specific knowledge about the Biochemistry Degree, such as the physiology of animals and plants, microbiology and the study of microorganisms, the study of macronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats, you will study metabolism and anabolism, etc.

Also, you will see how biochemistry is related to other industries, such as the food industry, the environmental industry, among others.

Are biochemistry and medicine related?

Biochemistry is the science that deals with the study of the various molecules, chemical reactions and processes that occur in cells and living microorganisms.

Biochemistry and medicine enjoy a mutually cooperative relationship. Biochemical studies have clarified many aspects of health and disease, and the study of various aspects of health and disease has opened up new areas of biochemistry.

Biochemistry makes important contributions to the fields of cell biology, physiology, immunology, microbiology, pharmacology, and toxicology, as well as the fields of inflammation, cell injury, and cancer. These close relationships emphasize that life, as it is known, depends on biochemical reactions and processes.

The main relationship presented by both sciences is the conservation of health and the treatment of disease, biochemistry tries to explain in a structural way the molecules, reactions or processes that generate a disease, while Medicine is in charge of diagnosing said disease.

Biochemistry is fundamental and its studies have helped to clarify many aspects of health and disease. For example, thanks to nucleic acids it has been possible to understand genetic diseases; through the knowledge of amino acids it has been possible to diagnose sickle cell anemia, etc.

Will Biochemistry help me to get into med school?

We could say yes, you would certainly be in good shape as a biochemistry student before entering Med School. Why? You will know the mechanisms of the human being at the cellular level, which will give you a great advantage in your career.

However, in reality biochemistry studies focus on a more technical aspect. In medical school they will teach you part of these processes but from a disease point of view. Perhaps a lot of content that you see in the career doesn’t apply so much in Medicine (in a practical way).

But, on the other hand, it will help you study for the MCAT, which IS necessary to pass, with knowledge about biology and chemistry, you will be fresher and you will not have to study a lot before the exam. 

Your grades and your score on the MCAT will be the most important part of your medical school application, and English majors often outperform biology majors on the MCAT because of their strong reading and analytical skills.

Prospective pre-med students will want to take some handpicked biology and chemistry classes to prepare for the MCAT and meet the medical school admission requirements, but any student major can lead to a successful medical school application.

In fact, a study was conducted in collaboration with The American Association of Medical Colleges, where nearly 50% of applicants were studying some Biological Science, but had the lowest admission rate.

However, it might be counterproductive.

Some people say that it’s better to take an undergraduate degree where it’s easy to highlight. That is, a career where you are confident of having good grades so you won’t burnout. 

Why? On admission, colleges don’t really focus on whether they are Bachelor in Arts, History, or Chemistry. The important thing is that you have had a good GPA and a good score on the MCAT. 

What can happen if you choose biochemistry? Biochemistry involves subjects like Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Statistics, etc. And it’s not easy at all.

That’s why when choosing a science career you may not have such good grades and your GPA may drop (Oh no). And also, you will spend time studying a lot to be able to raise the GPA and you will not even have time for other requirements such as: studying the other areas of the MCAT, extracurricular activities, volunteering, etc.

That’s why if you don’t highlight in these areas or do not want to lose control. Maybe you should go for a career that you find really interesting and in which you feel you can perform better.

Friendly reminder: Also focus on GPA, MCATs, letters and activities that will get you in rather than the specific major.

How much does it cost to study medicine in the United States?

The average price to study medicine in the USA is between $ 25,000 and $ 46,000 dollars per course.

To give you an idea, below you have the price list of some of the best universities to study medicine in the United States.

  • Harvard University: $ 40,000 – $ 42,000
  • Johns Hopkins University: $ 44,000 – $ 46,000
  • Stanford University: $ 40,000 – $ 42,000
  • University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA): $ 34,000 – $ 36,000
  • Yale University: $ 44,000 – $ 46,000
  • Columbia University: $ 44,000 – $ 46,000
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology: $ 12,000 – $ 15,000
  • University of Nebraska: $ 29,000 – $ 31,000
  • University of Alabama: $ 25,000 – $ 27,000

FAQS: Can I get into medical school with a biochemistry degree?

Is a biochem major a good start to go into med school?

Yes, a biochem major is a good start to go into med school. But you should also consider other factors that influence your admission to Med School, such as your GPA and your MCAT.

What is the best major for a pre med?

Many students prefer to choose degrees related to biology and science, as it can prepare them for the MCAT, however, to decide which is the best pre-med we must consider:
Are you interested and can you highlight?
Can you do something with that degree if you don’t get into medical school?
Does it prepare you for Med School?

Is my 3.87 a good GPA for medical school?

Yes! 3,87 is a good GPA for medical school, almost perfect.

What can one do with a BS in biochemistry other than going to a medical school?

Other than going to a medical school, you can become a teacher, an analyst, or work in laboratories in the agriculture or biomaterial industry.

Is BA or BS better for med school?

A BS student will take more classes in applied science. The benefit of having a B.S is that you will have more courses that complete the requirements to apply to medical school.

In this article we answered the question ”Can I get into medical school with a biochemistry degree? ”, and discussed the advantages and possible disadvantages of choosing a biochemistry degree for Med School.

References

Champe, P. C., Harvey, R. A., & Ferrier, D. R. (2005). Biochemistry. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Miller, R. H., & Bissell, D. (2006). Med school confidential: A complete guide to the medical school experience: By students, for students. Macmillan.

Owolabi, O. A., Anig, K. M., & Shuaibu, N. M. (1998). Medical students’ and general practitioners’ perception of biochemistry in relation to medicine. Biochemical Education, 26(1), 18-19.

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