The allopathic (M.D.) and osteopathic (D.O.) medical professions seek individuals from a variety of educational backgrounds. Although a strong foundation in the natural sciences is essential, a major in the sciences is not. A broad, liberal arts education should enable future physicians to gather and assess data, to continually update their knowledge and skills, and to apply this new information to the medical, scientific, and ethical problems they will face.

Because much of the practice of contemporary medicine is preventative as well as curative, medical school admissions committees also look for well-developed communication skills and an ample exposure to the social sciences and humanities. They are concerned with both the breadth and quality of the undergraduate coursework. Students should strive to complete coursework beyond the minimum requirements.

How many others apply?

Below is a graph showing the number of applicant vs. number of matriculants for first year positions in US allopathic (MD) medical schools from 1985-2012. (data from the AAMC) Notice the large fluctuation in number of applicants in a given year! And, the slowly increasing number of first year positions, starting in 2004. 

The requirements for U.S. and Canadian allopathic medical schools are provided in the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR). See the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) website:

The requirements for osteopathic schools are provided in the Osteopathic Medical College Information Book. See the Association of American Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) website:

Required and recommended courses?

The following courses will satisfy the minimum requirements for admission to most U.S. medical schools:

  • Biology — (Biology 111, 205); one additional 300-level course (e.g. 303, 305 Cell Biology; 310, 330 Physiology; 320 Neurobiology; 319, 328, 329 Developmental; 339 Microbiology); two semesters of laboratory
  • Chemistry — Two semesters of general/inorganic chemistry with laboratory (Chemistry 125, 126, 135, 136; or 140, 240). Two semesters of organic chemistry with two credits of laboratory (Chemistry 245, 246, 251, 252)
  • Physics — Two semesters of physics with laboratory (Physics 145, 146  OR 155,156)
  • Mathematics — Two semesters of college mathematics (Mathematics 125, 126 Calculus I and Calculus II)
  • Statistics  — Mathematics 128 Elementary Statistics or 247 Statistics with Applications. Biology 228 and Psychology 210 also can fulfill statistics requirement.
  • English — Two semesters of English writing/composition (110, 210, 310), or any English literature course)
  • Biochemistry (BBMB 325)
  • Social sciences — Three semesters in social sciences (Psychology 110, Sociology 110 or 117, and one additional course selected from Anthropology 102, Anthropology 328, Psychology 230, or Psychology 360.

Note: Requirements vary GREATLY among schools. Some schools accept Encounters as writing intensive courses for English. A course in anatomy (e.g. Biology 259) is required by some schools. If you have AP/IB credit for Chemistry 125, Chemistry 240 is not required.

More details on courses recommended for medical school applications in 2016 or beyond »

What are some programs attended by recent alums?

U. Washington
Oregon Health & Sciences University
U. of California - San Francisco
U. of California - Davis
Keck - USC
U. Arizona
U. Nevada
U. New Mexico
U. Utah
U. Colorado
Baylor University
Creighton University
Northwestern University
University of Virginia
Duke University
George Washington University
Tulane University

How do I apply?

For most allopathic medical schools (MD), you complete the AMCAS application, sponsored by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).

For osteopathic medical schools (DO), you complete the AACOMAS application, sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) 

Whitman College Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC):

The Whitman College Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) helps facilitate your application to MD and DO medical schools by offering the following services:  an interview, a comprehensive Committee letter of evaluation, collection of individual evaluations, and submission of your letter of evaluation packet.  The HPAC will be conducting interviews and evaluations for applicants from February.-April, 2017 for the following students:

Whitman graduates from 2016 or earlier and planning to submit an application in Summer 2017
Seniors graduating and leaving campus in May 2017 (even if you are NOT planning on applying in Summer 2017 you are eligible to participate in the interview process)
Juniors (May 2018 graduates) planning to submit an application in Summer 2017

If you would like to schedule a Spring 2017 interview, you must contact Kimberly Mueller by Friday, January 6, 2017 (

You will be contacted in late January / early February to set up an interview date & time. Required materials for the HPC review and interview are located at the CLEo Health Professions website. Alumni - please email Kimberly Mueller at, to obtain the HPAC interview and letter of evaluation instruction packet.

For more information contact:
Kimberly Mueller, Health Professions Advisor
(509) 527-5766
Hall of Science 164