Angela Gucwa on Common Pre-Med Requirements

When Angela Gucwa was an undergraduate at the University of Georgia, Athens, she was a biology major. But as someone who desired to be a surgeon some day, Angela Gucwa knew that being a bio major wasn’t going to be enough to prepare her for medical school. Instead, Angela Gucwa inquired with her school about pre-med requirements when she began her undergraduate coursework. By completing the most common pre-med requirements, Angela Gucwa smoothed her way towards medical school.

Angela Gucwa
Angela Gucwa

People typically associate biology with medicine, but there are other educational arenas that are equally important. Along with her biology coursework, Angela Gucwa took two semesters of lab chemistry, as well as two semesters of organic chemistry, a particularly challenging subject, but one of the most important topics for a future medical students, says Angela Gucwa.

Physics and math are also expected parts of a thorough pre-med education. Two semesters of each of these subjects, including physics labs as well, says Angela Gucwa, are typically recommended both by undergraduate programs and medical schools.

Perhaps the most surprising requirement in a pre-med education, notes Angela Gucwa, is the English or composition requirement. Many future doctors don’t realize the importance of the humanities in teaching critical thinking and good communication. Taking an English class is one of the best ways of improving clarity and concision, two characteristics that will benefit you as a doctor talking to patients, says Angela Gucwa. Indeed, students who have majored in the humanities but also completed laboratory science requirements often bring diversity and new perspectives to medical school classrooms. However, as Angela Gucwa observed, not every medical student majored in the sciences.

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