An overview of the profession
According to the overview of medicine described at Explorehealthcareers.org:
Physicians (M.D.s/D.O.s) diagnose illness and injury, prescribe and administer treatment and advise patients about how to prevent and manage disease.
There are two paths to becoming a doctor: allopathic medicine, which leads to an M.D. (medical doctor), or osteopathic medicine, which leads to a D.O. (doctor of osteopathic medicine).
To learn more about pursuing a career in allopathic medicine, see the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) site, www.AspiringDocs.org. To find accredited osteopathic medical schools, see the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine website. The American Osteopathic Association includes an updated global map detailing the International Practice Rights for Osteopathic Physicians.
AAMC posts informative podcasts on topics of interest to students considering a career in medicine. AAMC also has an Ask the Experts column that provides authoritative perspectives on issues related to becoming a doctor.
The American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) also have helpful guidelines for anyone considering a medical career. Whether you opt to become an allopathic or osteopathic physician, you must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before applying to any med school program. For a fascinating glimpse into the real-life experiences of seven doctors, see NOVA Online’s special feature, “Doctors’ Diaries.”
Note: The cost of earning a degree in medicine is high, but different avenues are available for funding your education. The Association of American Medical Colleges also offers resources on its Financial Information, Resources, Services and Tools (FIRST) webpage.
The following is a listing of the prerequisites, as listed for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, which is similar to most other allopathic and osteopathic medical schools. Some medical colleges require mathematics, while others require microbiology.
|What they want||# of Hours||What we call it at CBU|
|Biology||8||BIOL 111 & Lab
BIOL 112 & Lab
|General Chemistry||8||CHEM 113 & Lab
CHEM 114 & Lab
|Organic Chemistry||8||CHEM 211 & Lab
CHEM 212 & Lab
|Physics||8||PHYS 201 & Lab
PHYS 202 & Lab
|English Composition*||6||ENG 111
|Electives||52||Free to choose|
* Facility in the use of both oral and written English is considered highly essential to the successful study of medicine. Introductory freshman English (six semester hours) will meet the admission requirement. Students who qualify for advanced placement credit in English will not be required to take additional English courses, although such students are encouraged to do so.”
Some courses that may be worth taking in the relatively sheltered undergraduate environment:
- Vertebrate Embryology (BIOL 211)
- Medical and Scientific Terminology (BIOL 213)
- Genetics (BIOL 311)
- Microbiology (BIOL 321)
- Animal Histology (BIOL 414)
- Immunology (BIOL 415)
- Cell/Molecular Biology (BIOL 421)
- Biochemistry (CHEM 315 & 316)
Admissions to all professional schools is extremely competitive. For example, the following data pertains to the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, the James Quillen School of Medicine at East Tennessee State University, and the University of Arkansas:
|Application cycle||# Applicants||# Available Seats||# Applicants||# Available Seats||# Applicants||# Available Seats|
|University of Tennessee||East Tennessee State||University of Arkansas|
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The Medical College Admission Test® (MCAT®) is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to assess the examinee’s problem solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of science concepts and principles prerequisite to the study of medicine. Scores are reported in Physical Sciences, Verbal Reasoning, and Biological Sciences. Almost all U.S. medical schools and many Canadian schools require applicants to submit MCAT exam scores. Many schools do not accept MCAT exam scores that are more than three years old.
Contact information regarding careers in medicine
- American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
- Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
- American Osteopathic Association