Requirements & Courses

Recommended Courses

The following courses are recommended for Davidson pre-medicine/pre-dentistry students to develop competencies in the sciences. This listing of courses is meant to be only a broad curricular outline, as individual medical and dental school requirements may vary.

One year/Two semesters of biology with laboratory

  • BIO 111: Molecules, Genes, and Cells or BIO 113: Integrated Concepts in Biology I
  • BIO 112: Organisms, Evolution and Ecosystems or BIO 114: Integrated Concepts in Biology II

Two years/Four semesters of chemistry with laboratory

  • CHE 115: Principles of Chemistry
  • CHE 220: Introduction to Analytical Chemistry or CHE 240 Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry
  • CHE 250: Introduction to Organic Chemistry (prerequisite for CHE 230)
  • CHE 350: Experimental Organic Chemistry (requirement for this course is under review at most medical schools; for many schools CHE 230 (Biochemistry) may be taken in lieu of CHE 350 as the fourth chemistry course.
  • Biochemistry: If you choose to take both semesters of Organic Chemistry, you have the option to take either BIO 303 (Biochemistry) or CHEM 230 (Introduction to Biological Chemistry). Regardless of the department, Biochemistry is a prerequisite course for medical school admission.

One year of physics with laboratory

  • PHY 120: General Physics
  • PHY 220: General Physics OR
  • PHY 130: General Physics with Calculus
  • PHY 230: General Physics with Calculus

Course Sequencing

You should discuss how to sequence your pre-medicine/pre-dentistry courses with Program Director Naila Mamoon. However, here are a few general recommendations: 

  • Start the chemistry courses as early as possible, especially if you are considering study abroad. 
  • Plan a course load as light as possible for the spring semester when you study for the MCAT/DAT; the college permits a one-course reduction when preparing for the MCAT/DAT which traditionally is done during the spring semester of the junior year. 
  • While that spring semester is a good time to lighten your course load, you should not do so often, as you need to prove to the medical/dental schools that you can handle more than one challenging science course per semester.
  • You may take 25 percent of the pre-medical/pre-dental courses away from Davidson, but if you do so, take these courses at an institution with a solid reputation for pre-professional training. The program director can advise you in choosing schools.

MCAT 2015

Recommended Courses for MCAT 2015:

  • PSY 101: General Psychology
  • SOC 101: Introductory Sociology or SOC /MHU 280 (Introduction to Global Health) or SOC 360 (Medical Sociology)
  • Statistics: BIO 240 (Biostatistics for Life Scientists) or PSY 310 (Psychological Research-Design and Analysis) or SOC 260 (Social Statistics) or MAT 341 (Mathematical Statistics) or POL 201 (Methods and Statistics in Political Science) or ECO 105 (Statistics in Economics).
  • Some medical schools also require two semesters of English and two semesters of Mathematics. At Davidson College, WRI 101 counts as one semester of English.

Students should take note that required courses are currently under review at medical schools in light of the new MCAT. As such, vigilance should be exercised with regard to changes. You should also be aware that the new MCAT will test your knowledge of additional areas of study, such as the behavioral and social sciences, as well as your critical analysis and reasoning skills.

For other required and recommended classes, refer to Medical School Admission Requirements on the Assocation of American Medical Colleges website

Overview of the New MCAT
The new MCAT exam has the following four test sections:

  • Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills

Number of Test Questions Test Time (minutes)
Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems 65 95
Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills 60 90
Lunch Break
Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems 65 95
Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior 65 95
Table Content Time 6.25 hours
Total Time (with tutorial, breaks, survey, etc.) 7.5 hours


The Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills include the following:

  • Knowledge of Scientific Concepts and Principles
  • Scientific Reasoning and Problem Solving
  • Reasoning about the Design and Execution of Research
  • Data-based and Statistical Reasoning

For more information, refer to the Association of American Medical Colleges website or consult the Director of Premedicine and Allied Health Professions.

Additional Course Options

Humanities and Social Sciences

Medical/dental schools encourage academic diversity, and courses in the humanities and social sciences are an excellent way to expand your intellectual horizons. Consider exploring a wide array of study options, including:

Medical Humanities

Medical humanities include interdisciplinary courses in the theory and practice of medicine, including the organization, delivery, and financing of health care, innovations in reproductive and genetic technologies, bioethics, public health, and more. Through these courses, you gain understanding of controversial issues facing American medicine and develop skills in articulating your opinions on those issues.

Selected Courses in Biology and Neuroscience

Selected advanced biology and neuroscience courses help you develop vocabulary and understand concepts that are important in medical/dental schools, particularly during basic science training.


The advancement of medicine/dentistry hinges on an understanding of basic research. Many research opportunities are available to you in the biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology departments.

Study Abroad

Foreign travel adds immeasurably to your education. However, early planning – particularly for laboratory science courses – is necessary to avoid delaying your application to medical/dental school.

Medical/Dental School Requirements

Use the resources below to review requirements and recommendations at medical and dental schools: