Can you go to med school with a BA?

You want to become a physician, but are you studying for a bachelor of arts?

In this article we are going to answer the question ‘’Can you go to med school with a BA?’’, we will analyze whether a bachelor in arts can qualify you to enter medical school.

Can you go to med school with a BA?

Yes, you can go to med school with a Bachelor of Arts,  you must focus on completing with required courses with a good average and a good score on the MCAT

A Bachelor Degree is a four-year college degree. In the United States, there are two main branches: arts and sciences. 

To finish your Bachelor Degree, you will need to take around 40 courses, which is around 120 semester credits.

Liberal arts classes are required for all types of bachelor’s degrees. In most cases, more than half of a bachelor’s degree consists of general education or liberal arts courses in areas such as English, critical thinking, psychology, history, and mathematics.

After completing the 10 courses, you return to the main area of study, your major. Getting a bachelor degree is your option for a more promising career.

Before we go into the issue, we will see the difference between both degrees.

Bachelor of Science

Bachelor of science, offers a much more specialized education about a specific profession. Unlike the arts, in this branch students will learn about topics such as technology, mathematics, computing, among others.

Education tends to focus on learning the deeper aspects of subjects, so, students must stick to their major classes and have fewer opportunities to take subjects outside of their majors, as opposed to arts major

In short, this branch is usually much more technical and requires many more credits related to your career to meet all the classes that enrollment requires. Students are expected to focus all their academic energies on mastering the technical and practical facets of their area.

That’s why we find careers like:

  • Medicine.
  • Biochemistry.
  • Nursing.
  • Engineering.

And many more. 

Bachelor of Arts

As its name indicates, this branch is more focused on the arts, humanities and literature. Usually these majors offer a much broader list of subjects related to the liberal arts such as history, social science, communication, and some foreign language.

Students in this area, rather than specializing in depth in a specific subject, must earn credits in various subjects related to the arts. Its appeal is that it allows them to choose from a wide variety of classes to meet the requirements of the career and not only that, they can organize them according to their individual objectives, goals and interests.

The professions in which this bachelor is mostly offered are the following:

  • English.
  • Communications.
  • Music.
  • Modern languages.
  •  Arts.
  • Business.

Although, of course, there are many more.

While both BA and BS are university degrees, one is not necessarily better than the other, a BS degree is considered by some to be more flexible and offers more employment opportunities for students.

BA is considered a general degree that is best suited for those who want to do thesis work in their chosen field. Career interests, needs, skills, and goals need to be assessed before earning either degree.

Premed programs

Pre-medical studies are not a specialty, but rather a series of undergraduate science and math courses recommended for students who wish to pursue medical school after obtaining their bachelor’s degree.

Students can specialize in almost any field as long as they meet the medical prerequisites; however, they must complete the prerequisite science and math courses with a high grade point average in order to enter the desired program.

Education overview

Typical pre-medical studies include classes as organic chemistry, biology, biochemistry, physics, mathematics, and microbiology. Some medical schools may prefer that students also take advanced courses in undergraduate sciences such as anatomy, genetics, immunology, and neurobiology.

Some undergraduate majors, such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, biochemistry, and physics, have curricula that include many of these pre-medical courses.

Each degree program has its own graduation requirements, so students can benefit from collaborating with their advisors to meet degree and pre-medical requirements. This doesn’t mean that a pre-medical student must specialize in a science; Humanities and social sciences majors are also acceptable, provided prerequisite science courses are completed.

Post-baccalaureate pre-medical programs are also available to those who have completed a college degree but lack some of the basic pre-medical courses to apply to medical school. These programs prepare students by offering necessary science and math courses while advising them on the medical school application process.

How to get into medical school?

In order to study medicine in the US, there are 2 essential requirements that you must meet in order to be admitted to one of its prestigious schools:

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

Medicine is considered a career for graduate students and not for undergraduate students.

It’s for this reason that if you want to study Medicine in the United States you must first obtain your Bachelor’s Degree in a career related to natural or applied sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics or pre-medicine.

In fact, some medical schools offer limited programs that begin after high school that combine college education with medical training. Subsequently, students are temporarily admitted to these programs based on High School credentials.

Once you have obtained your undergraduate degree after four years, you may already be eligible to apply to a medical school, but not without first …

Pass the MCAT (Medical School Admission Test) exam

The Medical School Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized test that is taken on computers for prospective medical students in the United States.

It’s designed to test problem solving, critical thinking, written analysis, and knowledge of scientific concepts and principles.

The current MCAT consists of four distinct sections that are scored individually. Each section is allocated between 90 and 95 minutes and evaluates between 50 and 60 questions.

The information for each of the science sections is organized into 10 foundational concepts and four scientific inquiry and reasoning skills.

Does the bachelor degree matter to get into med school?

Officially, from an admissions point of view, any degree in any area is valid to apply for access to medicine. In this way, a student could study art history, for example, prepare for the MCAT and later apply to enter medicine.

However, from the point of view of training as a basis for subsequent studies, and also from the perspective of those who evaluate the candidacies, there are some degrees that can be seen with better eyes than others, so a good choice of these studies prior to medicine is essential.

When you are finishing high school and studying the different options available to get to medical school, it can be shocking that most colleges don’t offer a college degree in “pre-med.”

At that moment you realize that you don’t need to study a previous specific degree and the question arises: which degree is the most appropriate to travel that path? Unfortunately, the answer is a bit more complicated than it sounds.

Why doesn’t it matter which previous university degree we take?

According to the American Medical Association, The Association of American Medical Colleges, which works together with the best medical schools in the United States and Canada, has carried out studies in which it analyzes the admissions processes of these universities and concludes that this previous degree or specialty doesn’t influence when it comes to being admitted to these universities.

According to their results, only 51% of students who enroll in medical schools had previously specialized in biological sciences. The remaining applicants came from studies in the humanities, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, or health sciences.

When analyzing the results of the MCAT exam and the average score of these students (GPA), it’s observed that almost all those admitted have similar scores in the MCAT and in the pre-medicine degree.

In this sense, medical schools don’t care too much what degree or specialty you choose previously, as long as you have prepared well for the entrance exam, have achieved a good result, and meet the rest of the admission requirements.

Why? Because all students will study the same contents during their medical years and most of them will be new to everyone. When looking at your GPA and MCAT results, what admissions committees want to see is that you are prepared for med school rough studies. 

And why does it matter?

Although the previous specialty or degree doesn’t matter at the “macro” level, from the point of view of admissions it can have considerable specific weight at the “micro” level. 

When choosing a pre-medicine degree there are 3 factors that you have to take into account in your selection: level of interest in the degree, difficulty of the classes and suitability for further studies.

Taking a degree in biological sciences is advisable, not only because if you are interested in studying medicine you will probably be interested in this area of specialization as well, but because it helps you create a very useful knowledge base prior to your medical studies.

In addition, it trains you in the requirements that will be demanded of you later, both in the admission process to the medical school and during the studies itself.

So, can you go to med school with a BA?

However, the ideal is that you enjoy your bachelor degree and that it be a subject in which you can highlight and get good grades (remember that the GPA is important in the admission of medical school).

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.

It doesn’t matter if your bachelor’s degree is in arts or science, if you work hard you can go to med school.

In case your bachelor’s degree doesn’t cover the required pre-med courses, you always have the option of taking them additionally. 

When choosing a pre-med degree, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all option. You will have to evaluate which degree is the most suitable for you, to obtain a good average grade, the one that trains you in the area of your interest, the one that gives you some tables prior to medicine … 

In the end, the best decision will be the one in which you find the balance between studying what you are passionate about, what you are capable of managing and what is most practical for the subsequent admission process.

FAQs: Can you go to med school with a BA?

Can you go to med school with a BA in biology?

Yes, you can go to med school with a BA in biology, as long as you meet the prerequisites. (Good GPA, Pass the MCAT, etc.).

Which bachelor degree is best for medical school?

Actually, there is no better degree for med school, but maybe a bachelor of science could meet some of the pre-med requirements, but you should see the whole picture.

Can I get into medical school with a bachelors in nursing?

Yes, in fact, it’s a common thing. And it would be perfect to be able to get into med school.

What is the easiest medical school to get into?

According to Best Colleges rank, University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are the easiest. 

What Major has the highest acceptance rate to medical school?

Math and Statistics applicants have the highest acceptance rate, followed by Humanities majors. Surprising, right?

In this article we answered the question ‘’Can you go to med school with a BA?’’, we analyze whether a bachelor in arts can qualify you to enter medical school.

If you have any comments or questions please let us know!

References

Preparing for Medical School: What Should Be Your Major? (2017). Retrieved September 29, 2020, from Psychology Today website: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/careers-in-psych/201704/preparing-medical-school-what-should-be-your-major

How to Choose a Pre-Med Major. (2020). Retrieved September 29, 2020, from Princetonreview.com website: https://www.princetonreview.com/med-school-advice/how-to-choose-a-pre-med-major

How to choose the best premed major. (2020). Retrieved September 29, 2020, from @AAMCtoday website: https://students-residents.aamc.org/applying-medical-school/article/how-choose-best-premed-major/

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