What is your major

What is your major?

If you are a high school upperclassman or college underclassman, you are probably asked this question almost on a daily basis. While some schools have a dedicated “pre-med’ major, this is not available at many universities, and may not be the best option for you even if it is offered.

There are certain pre-requisites that are required for admission into medical school. These include physics, biology, and chemistry (look at the websites for the medical schools you are interested in to see the specific classes needed for entrance). However, your undergraduate years are the last time you can choose classes unrelated to the field of medicine. I was a biology major in college, and decided to study Spanish as my minor. The benefits were two-fold; I enjoyed Spanish language and literature, and my language skills help me communicate with my Hispanic patients better here inHouston. I’ve met medical students and doctors who studied business; English; aerospace engineering; nutrition; and every other major you can imagine. In hindsight, I probably would have taken a few business courses during college, as practicing medicine outside of a large hospital organization is essentially running a small business.

If you have a specific interest in a subject (a foreign language, African-American studies, philosophy, etc), strongly consider taking courses in that subject during college, or even making it your  minor or your major. It may take some creative scheduling to ensure that you have your necessary pre-requisites, but you should definitely take advantage of the opportunity to study things that you may never again be able to explore. Medical school admissions committees typically will even look highly on the applicant who has a non traditional major, as that applicant will bring a diverse outlook to their medical school class.

Another benefit to a non traditional major is that you may discover a field that you enjoy more than medicine. It will definitely be to your advantage to discover prior to medical school and residency that you would rather be doing something else.

Does anyone here have a major that is not a typical pre-med course? Do you think that it helped or hindered your path to medical school and the practice of medicine?

2 thoughts on “What is your major

  1. Profile photo of Dr. DaleDr. Dale

    I was a biology major which seems to be the norm. In retrospect, because I really enjoy writing, I should have considered at least minored in writing. I most definitely agree that choosing to major in something you enjoy and want to learn more about (e.g. Spanish) is the right to go as long as you take the necessary courses to apply to medical school and be successful.

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