Best Universities for Pre-Med Students: List of Top Schools

Learn about programs in pre-med, which can prepare undergraduates for continued studies at medical or dental schools. Read about the programs at three high-profile universities, and find a list of other schools in the U.S. that offer studies in pre-med.

School Information

Although medical schools are often indifferent to an applicant's major, they usually look for prerequisite coursework in general and organic chemistry, biology, English and physics. A strong undergraduate grade point average and competitive Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) scores can also help students gain entry to a good medical or dental school. Some of the best universities for pre-med students include the three universities highlighted below, all of which are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

1. Harvard University in Cambridge, MA

School Highlight:Harvard University was ranked as the best medical research school for 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

Harvard University is an Ivy League institution that U.S. News & World Report ranked as second best national university in 2015. The university has over a dozen groups for pre-med students, such as the Harvard Premedical Society, Harvard Hippocratic Society and Latinos in Health Careers. The Office of Career Services provides pre-med planning for undergraduate students who want to apply to medical school upon graduation. Harvard also assists students in planning for careers in dental medicine, public health and advanced nursing.

2. University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill

School Highlight: The University of North Carolina has an active chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-professional health honor society.

As designated by U.S News & World Report in 2015, UNC's medical program ranked second in primary care. Pre-med students get assistance from the Health Professions Advising Office in choosing programs and classes, applying to medical schools and preparing for the MCAT. UNC also offers the Medical Education Development (MED) program, a rigorous 9-week summer program for select students that mirrors a first-year medical school curriculum. Of the MED students who apply to medical school, 90% are accepted.

3. University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia

School Highlight: The University is home of several medical research institutes studying Alzheimer's disease, cancer and AIDS, as well as cardiovascular health, developmental biology and head injuries.

In 2015, US News & World Report ranked the University of Pennsylvania eighth among national universities and fifth for medical research. A member of the Ivy League, this university offers advising and planning for undergraduate students preparing to attend allopathic or osteopathic medical schools. Penn also offers guidance for students interested in dental school. Through the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, Penn also provides a post-baccalaureate, pre-health program for students who have earned an undergraduate degree in a non-science major or who want to be better prepared for advanced medical study.

Top Schools for Pre-Med Students

School NameDistinctionLocation
Columbia UniversityProvides a comprehensive pre-medical handbook for students planning a pre-med curriculumNew York, NY
Cornell UniversityNamed 11th best university in the world by the Center for World University RankingsIthaca, NY
Johns Hopkins UniversityEncourages students to take a year off between undergraduate and medical school to gain additional experiences or conduct researchBaltimore, MD
Northwestern UniversityUndergraduate Research Grants program provides pre-med students with funding to conduct independent researchEvanston, IL
University of Minnesota- Twin CitiesOffers Planning for Medical School, an online interactive workshop for studentsMinneapolis, MN
University of Washington Has an online guide to help students prepare for medical school admissions Seattle, WA
University of Wisconsin - MadisonIn addition to medicine and dentistry, the school advises students wishing to pursue studies in physical or occupational therapy, pharmacology, physician assistance and nursingMadison, WI

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