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Premedical Course Requirements

Tufts University School of Medicine encourages applicants from all disciplines to apply and we do not favor any particular undergraduate major. We believe the premedical requirements/competencies listed below will prepare applicants best for the scientific rigor of your medical education. In preparation for being a successful medical student and physician, we strongly encourage applicants to obtain a broad based liberal arts education. Course work may include studies in ethics, philosophy, sociology, psychology, history and the arts. This broad-based educational approach is critical to being successful in the Tuft's medical school educational curriculum with its strong emphasis on health care systems and social determinants of health.  Knowledge of a second language is strongly encouraged and helps prepare our students and graduates for working in our multicultural society. All of this will contribute to a well-educated, balanced and healthy physician. 

Some prerequisites are defined in terms of coursework and others are defined in terms of competencies.

Courses taken to fulfill prerequisites are expected to be those courses designated for undergraduate science majors. Prerequisite coursework is defined in terms of traditional academic years with semesters. Many undergraduate institutions offer courses in other formats, and we will accept the courses and/or sequences that your undergraduate school offers as equivalencies to traditional semester courses and sequences. If you have taken courses in more than one format, you are welcome to apply if you believe your aggregate curriculum is equivalent to our prerequisites.  If your coursework differs, you can detail and support these differences on our secondary application.

Tufts School of Medicine defines competency as a specific learned ability demonstrated at a minimum, an entry-level skill set (knowledge, reflection, reasoning, curiosity, interpretive ability) needed to succeed in medical school. Competencies may be gained through a variety of means including but not limited to formal courses, work and life experiences.  

Coursework Prerequisites:

Biology: Full year of introductory or advanced biology coursework. Any courses offered by the biology department for science majors are acceptable.

Chemistry: Two years of chemistry coursework that includes at least one semester course in general chemistry and one semester course in organic chemistry. A semester course in biochemistry is highly recommended and may count towards the two year total. Examples (in semesters): 2 general + 2 organic, or 2 general + 1 organic + 1 biochemistry, or 1 general + 2 organic + 1 biochemistry

Physics: A semester of physics coursework. Any course offered by the physics department for science majors is acceptable.  AP credit will not count for your physics requirement.  However, the requirement can be satisfied by completing a course where physics was a prerequisite or completing an advanced course that incorporates physics (e.g. physical chemistry or engineering course).  You should document this information with an explanation on your secondary application.

Advanced Placement: Advanced Placement (AP) credit does not reduce required coursework for biology and physics. Applicants with AP credit in these disciplines are expected to take a full year of college coursework in biology and a semester of college coursework in physics (see above for physics). For chemistry, AP credit may be applied toward the general chemistry requirement and as one semester of the two years total required coursework. Applicants with AP credit in chemistry must present at least a year and a half of college chemistry coursework that includes at least one semester course in organic chemistry. Examples (in semesters): 1 AP + 1 general + 2 organic or 1 AP + 1 general + 1 organic + 1 biochemistry or 1 AP + 2 organic + 1 biochemistry

Exemption Exams: Do not apply toward course prerequisites.

Competency Prerequisites:

English: Competency in spoken and written English. English literature coursework is not required. As an example, completing a bachelor’s degree in an English speaking college or university demonstrates this competency.

Math: Competency in the basic concepts of statistics. May be acquired through an introductory course in statistics, as a topic in a science or social science course, or through experience with a research project.

Biology: Competency in Mendelian genetics as well as cell and molecular biology. Usually acquired in introductory biology courses. Upper level courses in genetics and/or cell and molecular biology are helpful but not required. (Note: Coursework that fulfills the biology prerequisite requirement may also be used to fulfill the competency requirement, if applicable.)

Laboratory: Competency in laboratory skills equivalent to two years of laboratory course work. Usually acquired in the laboratory sections of biology and chemistry courses. Laboratory experience in other settings, including employment settings, is also acceptable. Applicants are generally expected to take the laboratory component of undergraduate science courses when available.

Coursework FAQ:

  • Tufts University School of Medicine does not have a policy prohibiting applicants from taking prerequisite courses at community colleges or online.  We understand that occasionally, circumstances lead applicants to complete coursework in a non-traditional manner (community college, online coursework, etc.).  In these circumstances, we encourage you to discuss the reasons for your educational pathway on your application.  Wherever possible, a student should choose the most rigorous possible academic preparation.
  • Courses need to be completed prior to enrollment, but not necessarily prior to application. Courses may be taken during the application year.  However, the most competitive applicants will have completed the premed requirements prior to submission of the application.
  • Tufts University School of Medicine does not have an expiration policy regarding prerequisite courses although we do expect some recent scientific coursework or involvement.
  • The Tufts University School of Medicine Premedical Course Requirements were updated in October 2018 and will take effect for the 2020 application cycle