Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC)                                                                                                                     
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Allopathic (Medical School—MD) and Osteopathic (DO) Medicine Course Requirements

Most programs require two semesters of biology, four semesters of chemistry (starting with general chemistry and including organic and for a number of schools biochemistry), two semesters of physics, two semesters of English, and up to two semesters of math. Advanced courses can typically substitute for introductory-level courses though check with the programs that you are interested in. At Skidmore, we recommend the following courses to meet those requirements.

Always check for specific course requirements for each school you are going to apply to—this is only a guide!

Class Semesters Skidmore Course (s) Notes
General Chemistry one semester with lab* CH 125 *Must take placement test. Schools that require two semesters of General Chemistry will typically count CH 341 as the second semester.
Organic Chemistry two semesters with lab CH 221
CH 222
Biochemistry one semester CH 341  
General Biology two semesters with lab BI 105
BI 106
General Physics two semesters with lab* PY 207
PY 208
*Must take Calculus I and II to take physics at Skidmore; algebra-based physics would be sufficient.
English two semesters    
Math Up to two semesters*   *Check with programs, as some require statistics, others calculus, and a number do not have a specific math requirement.

Always check for specific course requirements for each school you are going to apply to—this is only a guide!

Note: some schools still require two semesters of calculus.

MCAT Competencies

Starting in February 2015, the MCAT will test a broader set of more specific “competencies” numbering approximately 300 and covering disciplines ranging from biology, chemistry, and physics to the social sciences and humanities. For a more detailed description of these competencies and a guide for the new MCAT, please see the AAMC website:

Competencies and Skidmore College

The suggested core requirements in biology, chemistry, physics, and English are still heavily represented in the new MCAT, but additional topics will also be covered. Please see below where many of these additional topic areas are covered at Skidmore. Other experiences you have (e.g., research, internships, AP/IB and online courses, test preparation courses, studying on your own) may also prepare you for these MCAT competencies. Your preparation for the MCAT, therefore, should include the core prerequisite courses required by medical schools, plus any additional courses or review that addresses gaps in the competencies you may have depending on your major(s), minor(s), electives, college core curriculum requirements, and general knowledge. Generally, this means strategically including additional relevant course from across the college, including biology, chemistry, neuroscience, health and exercise science, psychology, sociology and social work, philosophy, and courses on statistical methods. Be sure you use the competencies to guide your MCAT preparation to review those you have studied, and acquire those you haven’t. Please speak with your HPAC advisor.

Here is a list of courses at Skidmore that overlap with a significant number of specific MCAT competencies not covered in the core required courses. (Click on the link for each course to see a course description.)

General Competency Topics Courses at Skidmore College
Genetics BI 245
Metabolism BI 246, CH 342, EX 361A, EX 361I
Physiology BI 244, BI 306, EX 126/127, EX 311
Eukaryotic gene expression BI 242, BI 245, BI 341, BI 360, BI 363, NS 201
Prokaryotes BI 246, BI 309, BI 362
Viruses BI 246, BI 361 BI 245 to a lesser extent
Cell biology BI 242, BI 247, NS 201
Nervous system NS 101, NS 201, NS 315, BI 341, EX 126/127, EX 311
Behavioral science NS 101, PS 101, advanced courses in PS and NS
Statistics BI 235, CH 232, EC 237, EX 355, MS 104, PS 203, SO 226
Social science SO 101, AN 101, advanced courses in SO, AN, SW
Critical reasoning To further refine beyond core courses, philosophy and ethics courses

The list is not exhaustive. Please talk with your HPAC advisor. Courses may not cover all the specific competencies in a topic area. To prepare for those particular MCAT competencies may require additional studying on your own beyond typical MCAT preparation.


The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a computer-based admission exam required for prospective medical students that tests knowledge of physical science, biological science, and verbal reasoning. The test is administered hundreds of times per year between late January and early December. If you plan to seek immediate entry to a medical school upon graduation, consider taking the MCAT during the spring of your junior year as you will be submitting your application that June or July. There is a fee assistance program for those who qualify. Please note: You must apply for fee assistance well in advance of taking the MCAT.