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, continually update their knowledge and skills, and 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 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.
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: www.aamc.org. 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: www.aacom.org.
Plan of Study
The following courses will satisfy the minimum requirements for admission to most U.S. medical schools (MD and DO) and aid in preparation for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), however, students should strive to complete coursework beyond the minimum requirements. Medical schools are concerned with both the breadth and quality of the undergraduate coursework. Not all classes are offered each semester, check the Whitman College Catalog.
Two semesters of general chemistry with labs, CHEM 125/135-General Chemistry I and Lab and CHEM 126/136-General Chemistry II and Lab or CHEM 140-Advanced General Chemistry and CHEM 310-Quantitative Analysis and Chemical Equilibrium or additional analytic/inorganic chemistry credit may be required. Note: If you have AP/IB credit for Chemistry 125, Chemistry 310 may not be required.
Two semesters of organic chemistry with labs, CHEM 245/251-Organic Chemistry I and Lab and CHEM 246/252-Organic Chemistry II and lab.
Two semesters of physics with laboratory, PHYS 145/145L-General Physics I-Life/Earth Sciences and lab, and PHYS 146/146L-General Physics II-Life/Earth Science and lab.
Note: Preferred physics course(s) for biology and non-science majors.
Two semesters of biology, BIOL 111- Biological Principles (lab included), BIOL 205-Genetics, and one-semester 300-level course (e.g., BIOL303-Cell Biology, BIOL 305-Cellular Physiology & Signaling, BIOL 310-Physiology, BIOL 319 or 329-Developmental Biology, BIOL 315-Comparative Biology, BIOL 323-Neurophysiology, BIOL 328-Evolutionary Developmental Biology, BIOL 320-Neurobiology, BIOL 330-Human Physiology, BIOL 339-Microbiology & Immunology, BIOL 342-Gene Discovery & Functional Genomics, BIOL 350-Evolutionary Biology). Not all classes are offered each semester, check the Whitman College Catalog.
Note: A human anatomy and physiology course and lab is recommended by some schools, BIOL 221-Human Anatomy and Physiology I, BIOL 222-Human Anatomy and Physiology II.
One semester of biochemistry, BBMB 325-Biochemistry
- Mathematics and Statistics:
Two semesters of college mathematics, MATH 125-Calculus I, MATH 126-Calculus II.
Some schools require statistics, while many others recommend a course. Students should take one course, MATH 128-Introduction to Statistics or MATH 247-Statistics with Applications or PSYC 210-Psychological Statistics.
- Social Sciences:
Two semesters, PSYC 110-Introduction to Psychology, SOC 117-Principles of Sociology, or SOC 209-Health and Illness.
Other courses mapped to the MCAT include ANTH 201-The Strange and Familiar: Fundamentals of Cultural Anthropology, PSYC 230-Social Psychology, PSYC 320-Seminar: Psychology Aging, and PSYC 330-Clinical Science and Research.
One semester of ethics is recommended, PHIL 127-Ethics or PHIL 217-Bioethics
Other Considerations - Developing Competencies
The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has identified core competencies that focus on the knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes essential for entering medical students and future physicians. Through academic excellence and strong co-curricular and extracurricular programs, the broad liberal arts education offered at Whitman College supports students in their development of the fifteen core competencies as outlined by the AAMC.
Service Orientation: Demonstrates a desire to help others and sensitivity to others' needs and feelings; demonstrates a desire to alleviate others' distress; recognizes and acts on his/her responsibilities to society; locally, nationally, and globally.
Social Skills: Demonstrates awareness of others' needs, goals, feelings, and the ways that social and behavioral cues affect peoples' interactions and behaviors; adjusts behaviors appropriately in response to these cues; treats others with respect.
Cultural Competence: Demonstrates knowledge of socio-cultural factors that affect interactions and behaviors; shows an appreciation and respect for multiple dimensions of diversity; recognizes and acts on the obligation to inform one's own judgment; engages diverse and competing perspectives as a resource for learning, citizenship, and work; recognizes and appropriately addresses bias in themselves and others; interacts effectively with people from diverse backgrounds.
Teamwork: Works collaboratively with others to achieve shared goals; shares information and knowledge with others and provides feedback; puts team goals ahead of individual goals.
Oral Communication: Effectively conveys information to others using spoken words and sentences; listens effectively; recognizes potential communication barriers and adjusts approach or clarifies information as needed.
Ethical Responsibility to Self and Others: Behaves in an honest and ethical manner; cultivates personal and academic integrity; adheres to ethical principles and follows rules and procedures; resists peer pressure to engage in unethical behavior and encourages others to behave in honest and ethical ways; develops and demonstrates ethical and moral reasoning.
Reliability and Dependability: Consistently fulfills obligations in a timely and satisfactory manner; takes responsibility for personal actions and performance.
Resilience and Adaptability: Demonstrates tolerance of stressful or changing environments or situations and adapts effectively to them; is persistent, even under difficult situations; recovers from setbacks.
Capacity for Improvement: Sets goals for continuous improvement and for learning new concepts and skills; engages in reflective practice for improvement; solicits and responds appropriately to feedback.
Thinking and Reasoning Competencies
Critical Thinking: Uses logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Quantitative Reasoning: Applies quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world.
Scientific Inquiry: Applies knowledge of the scientific process to integrate and synthesize information, solve problems and formulate research questions and hypotheses; is facile in the language of the sciences and uses it to participate in the discourse of science and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated.
Written Communication: Effectively conveys information to others using written words and sentences.
Living Systems: Applies knowledge and skill in the natural sciences to solve problems related to molecular and macro systems, including biomolecules, molecules, cells, and organs.
Human Behavior: Applies knowledge of the self, others, and social systems to solve problems related to the psychological, socio-cultural, and biological factors that influence health and well-being.
Whitman College Health Professions Advisory Committee
Evaluation, Interview, and Committee Letter Process for Dental and Medical School Applicants – Open to current students and alumni.
The Whitman College Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) helps facilitate your application to dental and medical (MD and DO) schools by offering the following services:
- An interview
- A comprehensive Committee letter of evaluation
- The collection of individual letters of recommendation
- Submission of the letter of evaluation packet
The HPAC will be conducting interviews and evaluations for applicants from February-April, 2023 for the following students:
- Whitman graduates from 2022 or earlier and planning to apply in the 2023 cycle for entry in 2024 (including reapplicants).
- Seniors graduating and leaving campus in May 2023 (even if you are NOT planning to apply in late Spring 2023).
- Juniors (May 2024 graduates) planning to apply in the 2023 cycle for entry in 2024.
The Committee needs to know you to write a strong letter of support. Therefore, the HPAC Document Packet is sent to you for completion after registering to participate. Further instructions are located in the HPAC Document Packet. Participants will be contacted in mid to late January 2023 by email to establish an interview date & time.
How Do I Apply?
For most allopathic medical schools (MD), you complete the AMCAS application, sponsored by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). Students interested in Texas medical schools will apply using the Texas Medical and Dental School Application Service (TMDSAS). For osteopathic medical schools (DO), you complete the AACOMAS application, sponsored by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)