The Pre-Medicine program provides guidance on courses, experiential activities, and competencies for students that are preparing to be competitive applicants to Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.), Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.), Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.), and Doctor of Naturapathic Medicine (N.D.) programs after completing their Bachelor's degree at James Madison University. The Pre-Med program is a minor that students complete as part of their baccalaureate degree.

Choosing a Major

Pre-Medical students typically obtain a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree while completing the requirements for admission to medical school. Medical schools do not require or prefer a particular undergraduate major. Admissions committees welcome students whose intellectual curiosity leads them to a wide variety of disciplines. Medical schools recognize the importance of a strong foundation in the natural sciences, social sciences, critical thinking, and the humanities. Applicants must complete course requirements and demonstrate proficiency in diverse disciplines as evidenced by the science GPA, overall GPA, and their performance on the MCAT.

Pre-Med Declaration and Progression Standards

Once you complete 13 or more credit hours in biology, chemistry, physics, and/or math (BCPM) courses at James Madison University, you will be subject to performance standard reviews twice a year. You must maintain an overall and BCPM G.P.A. of 3.00 or above to retain the Pre-Medicine Program declaration. Since medical schools consider all course attempts during the admissions process, the G.P.A. calculations for the Pre-Medicine Program will include all course attempts. If your academic performance standards fall below a 3.00 overall or BCPM G.P.A., you are at very high risk of not being admitted to medical school. Therefore, if you are unable to maintain an overall and BCPM G.P.A. of 3.00 or above, then your Pre-Medicine Program will be administratively dropped.

Pre-Medicine Coursework

Pre-Professional Health Advising has developed requirements for the Pre-Medicine Program based on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), successful medical applicant profiles, and regional scans of medical schools’ pre-requisites.

If you have credit for any of the following courses by earning Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge International Exam (CIE), community college credit, or departmental test credit, please read the Non-JMU Coursework for Pre-Requisite Coursework.

Biology Coursework (20 credits)

  • BIO 140: Foundations of Biology I (4 credits)
  • BIO 150: Foundations of Biology II (4 credits)

At least 12 credits of intermediate (200-level) and advanced (300- and 400-level) Biology coursework is strongly recommended to be a competitive applicant. Of these 12 credits, at least 4 credits need to be advanced Biology. When choosing 12 credit hours of intermediate and advanced Biology coursework, Pre-Professional Health Advising strongly recommends:

  • BIO 245: Microbiology (4 credits)
  • BIO 240: Genetics (4 credits)
  • BIO 304: Cell & Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  • BIO 370: Animal Physiology (4 credits)

You may want to explore the Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems Section of the MCAT to choose additional, advanced Biology coursework.

Chemistry Coursework (19 credits)

  • CHEM 131: General Chemistry I (3 credits)
  • CHEM 131L: General Chemistry Laboratory (1 credit) 
  • CHEM 132: General Chemistry II (3 credits)
  • CHEM 132L: General Chemistry Laboratory (1 credit) 
  • CHEM 241: Organic Chemistry I (3 credits)
  • CHEM 242: Organic Chemistry II (3 credits)
  • CHEM 242L: Organic Chemistry Laboratory (2 credits) 
  • CHEM 361: Biochemistry I (3 credits)

Learn more about the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biology Systems Section of the MCAT to understand how Chemistry course content relates to the MCAT.

Physics Coursework (8 credits)

  • PHYS 140*: College Physics I (3 credits) or PHYS 240: University Physics I (3 credits; Physics majors only)
  • PHYS 140L*: General Physics Laboratory I (1 credit) or PHYS 240L: University Physics I Lab (1 credit; Physics majors only)
  • PHYS 150*: College Physics II (3 credits) or PHYS 250: University Physics II (3 credits; Physics majors only)
  • PHYS 150L*: General Physics Laboratory II (1 credit) or PHYS 250L: University Physics II Lab (1 credit; Physics majors only)

* Pre-Professional Health Advising recommends that you take the PHYS 140-150/140L-150L sequence rather than the 240-250/240L-250L sequence, unless your major requires otherwise. The PHYS 140-150/140L-150L sequence is the non-calculus sequence in general physics. The 240-250/240L-250L sequence is the calculus sequence that requires MATH 235-236 as co-requisites, respectively. Because it is not the calculus sequence of Physics, PHYS 140-150/140L-150L is able to cover more breadth within Physics than the 240-250/240L-250L sequence.

Learn more about the Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biology Systems Section of the MCAT to understand how Physics course content relates to the MCAT.

Mathematics Coursework (6 credits)

Pre-Medicine students are required to complete 3 credits of a 200-level Calculus class and 3 credits of a 200- or 300-level Statistics. 

Calculus: There are four 200-level Calculus options at James Madison University. There are two calculus "pathways"; the 231-232 sequence, 233-234 sequence, and 235 prepare you for more advanced calculus courses. MATH 205 does not prepare you for more advanced calculus courses. Your ALEKS score may require that you take MATH 155 or 156: College Algebra beforehand, or that you take MATH 199: Algebra/Precalculus Gateway in conjunction with one of the following courses to be successful.

  • MATH 205: Introductory Calculus I (3 credits)
  • MATH 231: Calculus with Functions I (3 credits)
  • MATH 233E: A Modeling Approach to Calculus, Part A (3 credits)
  • MATH 235: Calculus I (4 credits)


  • MATH 220: Elementary Statistics (3 credits) or, 
  • MATH 229: Introduction to Applied Statistics Using R (3 credits)

Behavioral and Social Science Coursework (9 credits)

Pre-Medicine students must complete 3 credits of Psychology, 3 credits of Sociology, and an additional 3 credits of Psychology, Sociology or Anthropology.

Students are encouraged to utilize opportunities to take Psychology and Sociology coursework that will also count for General Education's Cluster 4: The Global Experience and General Education's Cluster 5: Sociocultural Domain.

  • PSYC 101: General Psychology (3 credits)
  • PSYC 160: Life Span Human Development (3 credits)
  • SOCI 110: Social Issues in a Global Context (3 credits)
  • SOCI 140: Microsociology: Individual in Society (3 credits)

Pre-Professional Health Advising recommends that you take additional Psychology, Sociology, and Anthropology than these minimum requirements to prepare for the Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior Section of the MCAT. For additional MCAT preparation, students are encouraged to take upper-level courses, such as:

  • PSYC 308: Health Psychology (3 credits)
  • SOCI 375: Medical Sociology (3 credits)
  • SOCI 385: Sociology of Mental Health and Illness (3 credits)
  • ANTH 360: Medical Anthropology (3 credits)

English, Literature, and Writing Coursework (6 credits)

Typically, students complete this requirement while completing General Education's Cluster 1: Writing and General Education's Cluster 2: Literature requirements. Courses that can fulfill the 6-credit pre-requisite that many medical schools require can include:

  • WRTC 103: (3 credits)
  • any ENG course (3 credits)
  • HUM 200: (3 credits)

Critical Thinking Coursework 

While not required to complete the Pre-Medicine Program, students are strongly encouraged to take critical analysis and reasoning coursework to prepare for the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills Section of the MCAT. The course at James Madison University that most strongly aligns with this section of the MCAT is PHIL 120: Critical Thinking. Therefore, when completing General Education's Cluster I: Critical Thinking requirement, students are strongly encouraged to select PHIL 120.

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