Academic Preparation Overview

Academic preparation for medical school requires a Bachelor’s degree and completion of a set of prerequisite classes, which can vary slightly from school to school. See the Required and Recommended Courses link to learn which BYU-Idaho courses can meet medical school prerequisite requirements.

We have many major options at BYU-Idaho, including a major in Biomedical Science that contains most of the prerequisites for medical school admission.  Medical schools do not have a preference regarding your choice of undergraduate major, so study something you love!  If you need help choosing a major, please come and see us in Career and Academic Advising.

Required and Recommended Courses

The link below is a guide designed for applying to a range of medical schools. It is not a comprehensive list. Requirements may vary by school. See a Health Professions Advisor if you have additional class planning questions.

Medical School Prerequisites (PDF)

AP and Community College Credits

Most medical schools will NOT accept Advanced Placement (AP) credits earned in high school towards their prerequisites. Students with AP credits in science, math or writing should consider taking the introductory course in that subject area (even if the requirement has been met at BYU-I) or a higher level class in the appropriate subject area. AP credit is acceptable for General Education requirements and other degree requirements.

Medical schools vary on their view of prerequisite classes taken at Community Colleges. Some medical schools will not accept them at all. Some accept them but look on them with some disfavor, other schools readily accept them. Students should be aware of this when planning their education.

Grading Policies and GPA Requirements

  • GPA—Medical schools generally look at three GPAs: Overall GPA, Science GPA, and All Other (Non-Science) GPA.
    • Generally, the minimum GPA required for Overall, Science, and all Non-science is 3.0 but may be higher or lower depending on the school.
    • To be most competitive, strive to earn at least a 3.7-4.0 Overall GPA. 
    • Your Science GPA is an important indicator of how well you will handle medical school curriculum.  It is essential to do well in all Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Math courses.  To be most competitive, strive to earn at least a 3.6-3.8 Science GPA.  
  • Withdrawals--W’s should be used only for emergencies, although W’s will not affect your GPA.
  • Repeated/Retaken Courses—All grades from  ALL attempts at a class are counted in your GPA when you apply for medical school. BYU-Idaho does have a retake policy, but medical schools take every grade you earn. For example, if you take CHEM 105 and earn a D, but retake the course and earn an A, both grades will be factored into your GPA for medical school admission.
  • CLEP Credit & Correspondence Study-- Not acceptable as part of the premed curriculum
  • AP Credits-- Generally, students must take coursework beyond introductory classes waived by AP

Preparing for Letters of Recommendation

When it is time to apply to medical school, you will need 4-5 letters of recommendation. It is important to keep this in mind as you begin your academic preparation. Your letters should support your application by speaking to things like your academic ability, your commitment to service, leadership, teamwork, reliability, and resilience.

Types of letters needed:

Academic Letters:  2 Science Professors (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Math)

Mentoring Letters:  Patient Exposure Supervisor, Community Service Supervisor, Research Supervisor, Medical Professional, etc.

Collecting letters: As you prepare to collect your letters of recommendations, it is best to subscribe to a service like allows you to collect all your letters in one place and have them sent to each application service when the application opens up. It in not best to wait until your application opens to obtain your letters of recommendations.

Tips to Get to Know Your Professors/Mentors

  • Visit their offices regularly
  • Look for mentors, not just letter writers
  • Be genuinely interested in those you seek as mentors
  • Be humble and gracious
  • Ask thoughtful questions
  • Share your academic and career goals
  • Inquire about their areas of interest and research
  • After you have gotten to know professors, ask about further opportunities, e.g., teaching assistantships, individual research projects, etc.

Helpful Websites and Resources