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2002-2004 Undergraduate Catalog
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[College of Arts and Sciences]


Jeannie Thomley, Adviser
Office: 200 Clark Hall

A wide variety of programs may be planned that will both fulfill specific requirements for admission to medical school and allow students to pursue their individual academic interests. Students preparing to enter medical school should consult the catalogs of the medical schools of their interest early in their undergraduate enrollment, in order to be informed of the exact requirements for entrance.

Although specific admission requirements vary, most medical schools require that the undergraduate program include (a) one academic year of general biology (BSC 114:115 and BSC 116:117); (b) one academic year of inorganic chemistry (CH 101 and CH 102) and one academic year of organic chemistry (CH 231 and CH 232, CH 237); (c) English composition (EN 101 and EN 102) and additional English courses sufficient to satisfy baccalaureate degree requirements; (d) one academic year of mathematics, preferably including one semester of calculus (MATH 125); (e) one academic year of physics (PH 101 and PH 102); and (f) one academic year of humanities. Medical schools emphasize the need for applicants to have a broad general education. Within that context, applicants are urged to make some selections of courses from appropriate areas of chemistry (for example, CH 223, CH 340), biology (for example, BSC 300, BSC 315, BSC 400, BSC 424), and the areas of social sciences and humanities that prepare students for the humanistic, behavioral, and socioeconomic aspects of health care. At The University of Alabama, these requirements and recommendations can be met in programs of study leading to a variety of majors and minors in the College of Arts and Sciences or in other undergraduate divisions of the University.

Beginning with initial enrollment, pre-health professions students are advised by the Health Professions Advising Office concerning selection of courses during the first two years of undergraduate study. The coursework constituting the minimum admission requirements to the professional school should be completed as early as possible (normally during the first two years). For this reason, the basic program of study advised in the first two years is similar for all pre-health professions students. Variations may be dictated by differences in course placement determined by entrance examinations. The following example is illustrative.

First Semester Second Semester
Course Hours Course Hours
EN 101 3 EN 102 3
Mathematics1 3-4 Mathematics1 3-4
CH 101 4 CH 102 4
Social and behavioral sciences and/or BSC 114:1152 3-4 Social and behavioral sciences and/or BSC 116:117 3-4
___ ___
14-15 14-15
First Semester Second Semester
Course Hours Course Hours
Literature 3 History 3
Mathematics1 4 CH 232 and CH 237 5
CH 231 3 Fine arts 3
Two electives or physics 4-6 Humanities 3
___ Elective or physics 3-4
14-16 ___

1The number of the entry-level mathematics course depends on placement exam results.
2If BSC 114:115 is not selected in the first semester, the biology sequence should be started in the second or third semester.

In this example, most entrance requirements are met in the first two years. Before the end of the fourth semester, students must declare choices of major and minor subjects. Beyond this stage, advice concerning major and minor courses is given by the appropriate departments. However, the Health Professions Advising Office continues to advise third- and fourth-year students concerning matters related to application to professional schools.

Applications to medical schools should be completed approximately one year prior to the expected date of enrollment. The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is required by most schools and is administered twice each year. Normally, this exam should be taken during the spring semester preceding the final year of undergraduate study.

Since admission to professional schools is highly competitive, students planning careers in the health professions should be aware that satisfactory completion of preprofessional requirements does not guarantee admission to professional schools. Therefore, students are advised to plan undergraduate programs with some attention to possible alternative goals. Periodically, the Health Professions Advising Office will assist students in realistically evaluating their potential for admission to professional schools.

Undergraduate health professional degree option. Medical schools and other health professional schools encourage students to complete undergraduate degree programs before entering a professional school. In some instances, however, a student may enter a medical, dental, or optometry school prior to the completion of an undergraduate degree, and may qualify to be awarded a bachelor of science degree from The University of Alabama after successful completion of one academic year of study in the health professional school. To qualify for this degree, the student must complete, in courses approved for undergraduate degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences, a minimum of 96 semester hours including at least 32 hours taken in residence and all requirements for graduation other than those related to a major or minor. Furthermore, the required academic year of study in the professional school must be completed within one year of undergraduate study at The University of Alabama, and application for the combined undergraduate/professional degree must be made prior to completion of undergraduate study.

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