The Department of Biological Sciences at Murray State University offers a four-year program leading to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in biology with an option in pre-medicine. Students who wish to become physicians can meet the necessary pre-professional required courses through this program.
Medical school requires four years of post-college study leading to the M.D. degree. Depending on the type of medical speciality the student wishes to pursue, an additional two to seven years of residency are required before the physician can be licensed to practice medicine.
Medical schools give preference to students who have completed four years with a baccalaureate degree. Most students wishing to apply to medical school major in biology with a minor in chemistry due to the pre-requisite college course requirements for admission to medical school.
Students planning on applying to medical school typically take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) at the end of their junior year. Accordingly, the pre-medicine option has a recommended curriculum sequence of courses designed to prepare students for the MCAT within the first three years of their degree program.
The MCAT is a standardized test given on the same day throughout the United States, with several test dates over the calendar year. It is produced, administered and scored by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). The exam is divided into four sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
The biology pre-med curriculum includes course work in each of these category sections to assist students in preparing for the MCAT exam.
The criteria for acceptance into medical school are based on three general aspects of the student's college record:
- Academic performance: Generally a student needs to have an overall GPA of about 3.5 to be competitive in applying to medical school. Medical schools look more closely at science and math GPA than grades from other non-science and math courses.
- MCAT score: Students need to score a minimum of 27 overall on the MCAT to be considered for interview. In some special cases medical schools may interview students with lower scores. Obviously the higher the MCAT score, the more competitive the student will be in the application process. Private and out-of-state medical schools may require higher scores.
- Service Learning: Admissions committees of medical schools like to see students show a commitment to becoming a health care professional during the pre-medical school education. This may take the form of shadowing physicians to learn about the health care profession, volunteering at hospitals and clinics, community oriented charity work, involvement in student pre-health profession organizations on campus or other related activities.
At Murray State, the Pre-Health Professional Advisory Committee writes a letter of recommendation on behalf of the student applying to medical school. This recommendation is based upon the potential of the student applicant meeting the criteria above and whether the student, in the committee's view, would make a good physician. These committee evaluations of student applicants have helped many students successfully enter the medical school of their choice.
General Education Requirements - 45 hrs:
Includes General Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Sociology and Humanities.
Required Courses - 28 hrs:
Freshman Orientation, Cellular Basis of Life, Biological Inquiry and Analysis, Zoology, Botany, Cell Biology, Animal Physiology, Genetics, Senior Seminar.
Biology Electives - at least 12 hrs:
Suggested courses include Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Vertebrate Histology, Parasitology, Microbiology, Molecular Genetics.
Chemistry Co-Requirements - 8 hrs:
Required Minor - 21 hrs:
Chemistry co-requirements for the Biology major with an additional Biochemistry course fulfill the requirements for a minor in Chemistry.
Electives - 24 hrs
(Writing Composition Course Recommended; remaining hours can be biology course or in other departments).
Total Curriculum Requirements - 120 hrs.