Skip to content

Medicine Prerequisites

Ideally, your preparation for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and medical school should begin your freshman year. This early work ensures that those classes necessary for a sound performance on the MCAT are completed before or during the spring semester of your junior year. If you plan to attend medical school the fall following your UT graduation, you should plan to take the MCAT by the late spring of your junior year or the summer following your junior year. Which classes you take and the sequence in which you approach them are very important. Your long term academic planning should be discussed with a pre-health advisor who can assist you in individualizing the schedule for your given area of study.

You should review the course description in the undergraduate catalog ( of any course you are considering to determine what prerequisites, if any, exist for the course. Freshmen should be particularly aware that Chemistry 120 has a prerequisite of Math 119 (College Algebra) or an ACT Math score of 25. Physics 221 has a prerequisite of Math 130 or any calculus course. An academic advisor can help you select the math course or sequence that best fits your academic plans.

Academic Course Preparation

The following classes are required for admission for most medical schools; however, the courses required for admission may vary depending on the school.   The content from these required courses also appears on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). Many medical schools require a grade of C or better in each pre-requisite course.

Chemistry 120, 130 General Chemistry I, II
Biology 150 Organismal and Ecological Biology
Biology 159 Skills of Biological Investigation
Biology 160 Cellular and Molecular Biology
Chemistry 260 (previously Chemistry 350) Organic Chemistry I
Chemistry 360 Organic Chemistry II
Chemistry 369 Organic Chemistry Laboratory
Physics 221,222* Elements of Physics
* The physics sequence most appropriate for students pursuing health professions is Physics 221-222; however, Physics 135-136 is also appropriate. Students majoring in Engineering may satisfy this requirement by completing Physics 231-232.

The following courses will also provide additional readiness for the academic rigor of the medical school curriculum. You may elect to take all, some, or none of the courses listed below.

Anthropology 480 Human Osteology
Biology 220 General Microbiology
Biology 229 General Microbiology Lab
Microbiology 330 Immunology
Microbiology 420 Microbial Pathogenesis
BCMB 230 Human Physiology OR
BCMB 440 General Physiology
BCMB 330 Mechanisms of Development
BCMB 402 Biochemistry II
BCMB 412 Molecular Biology and Genomics
Classics 273 Medical and Scientific Terminology
EEB 240+ Human Anatomy
+EEB is Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

These courses can be challenging, but they can also provide you with a firm foundation in your first year of medical school. Additionally, the medical schools to which you apply may request updates on your academic performance during your senior year. Extra consideration may be shown to students who are taking rigorous courses and recording strong grades in them. Remember, you must always work to distinguish yourself from your competition.

Additionally, plan to enroll in rigorous course loads after your freshman year. Medical schools recommend that prospective medical students attempt 16-18 hours per semester. This load recommendation is to assess whether a student will be able to endure the 21+ credit hour course loads that are a part of the medical school experience. These 16-18 hours should contain at least three academically challenging courses. Rigorous course loads which contain challenging courses demonstrate a strong academic aptitude.

The ideal freshman year includes:


English 101 3
Biology 150 3
Chemistry 120 4
Math 3-4
INPG 100 1


English 102 3
Biology 160 3
Biology 159 2
Chemistry 130 4
Math 3-4


The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.