Physicians diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. They examine patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They often counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare.

There are three paths to a medical degree.

Allopathic Medical Schools confer a MD (Medical Doctor) degree. Osteopathic Medical Schools confer a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) degree.   These physicians are licensed to practice medicine in all 50 states. Both paths require 4 years of medical school and 3-7 years of continued training through a residency program, as well as an optional period of advanced training known as a fellowship.

Podiatric Medical Schools confer a DPM (Doctor of Podiatric Medicine) degree. A DPM, is a podiatric physician or surgeon that diagnoses and treats conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg.

Prerequisite Coursework

Admission requirements vary from school to school. Every medical school has determined their own list of required or recommended coursework.  There are medical schools that have progressed to a competency-based admissions and do not require students to complete a particular list of courses prior to applying.

These are common prerequisite courses for medical schools and MCAT preparation:

  • 2+ years of Biology Biol 101/L and Biol 252/L or 474/L, Biol 202.  Biol 205 strongly recommended.  
  • 2 years of Chemistry (Chem 101/L, 102/L, 241/L, 261, and 262/L)
  • A semester of Biochemistry (Chem 430)
  • 1 year of Physics (Phys 114 and 115 or Phys 118 and 119)
  • A semester of statistics (Stor 155 or Stor 151).  Psyc 210, and Bios 600 are  also options. 
  • A few schools require 1 semester of Calculus (Math 231) 
  • A semester of Psychology and Sociology
  • *Note: The chemistry department does not offer a lab for Chemistry 261.  In order to obtain the 8 hours of organic chemistry and lab students should take Chemistry 241 and 241L.  Please be aware that Chemistry 241L is a prerequisite for Chemistry 262L.  Medical schools know this and look for it on the transcripts of UNC students.
  • Most medical schools require a grade of C or higher in prerequisite coursework

Admissions requirements at the UNC School of Medicine


Most medical schools (allopathic, osteopathic, podiatry) require the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). The usual time to take it is in the spring semester of the Junior year. Students should prepare for this test.

Acceptance for various GPAs and MCATs can be found at:


Most medical schools accept applications through the American Medical Colleges Application Service (AMCAS). This application should be submitted in the summer before your last year in college. AMCAS applications can be downloaded from their website.

Extra Curricular

Extracurriculars are a very important part of the applicant’s materials. Most medical schools place emphasis on volunteer community service. Some volunteer experience in a medical setting is a must. Undergraduate research is a plus. UNC has a several very active pre-health student organizations. The Health Professions Advising Listserv Archive is a good resource to get plugged into these activities.

Global Activities

Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety (GAPS)
“If you can’t do it here, you shouldn’t do it there.”

Letters of Recommendation

You must get to know faculty members so that they can write letters of recommendation for you. UNC has no Pre-Medical Committee or Advisor’s Letter.

MD/Ph.D. Links

Osteopathic Medicine Links

Podiatric Medicine Links