How to Select an Online Pre-Med School
|Program Format||Is the program fully online or hybrid? Will you need to be on campus or at off-site locations to complete a lab or practicum?|
|Transfer Credits||If the program does not offer everything you need, can you transfer in credits if necessary?|
|MCAT Preparation||Does the program prepare you for the MCAT exam?|
|Acceptance||Does the medical school you have chosen accept online pre-med classes/degrees?|
Pre-med is not a degree but a general term for the course topics and activities needed for students interested in attending medical school. Pre-med requirements are those needed for eligibility to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and apply to medical school.
Pre-med courses can be taken as part of almost any undergraduate degree program, although some students major in an area of general science, such as biology, zoology or chemical engineering. Pre-med studies may also include internships and volunteer activities. Online students face special challenges, but with persistence may be able to create an online pre-med program through taking courses offered at various universities. Students interested in online pre-med courses should carefully consider the availability and transferability of credits, and online requirements.
Availability of Online Options
Online bachelor's degree programs in the sciences are rare, but some can be found in areas useful for medical school preparation, such as zoology and chemical engineering. Pre-med courses consist of chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, biology, math and biochemistry, and sometimes liberal arts topics are required. Many schools offer these courses in an online format.
Planning an Online Study Program
Students who want to earn an undergraduate degree online should be aware that not all medical schools accept online pre-med credits. Hybrid classes that include on-campus labs are more likely to be honored. Topics like English composition, logic, and literature are available online, and are helpful in preparing for the essay and verbal reasoning sections of the MCAT. In addition, students with non-science undergraduate degrees must have certain science credits to apply for medical school, and some of these might be earned by taking individual online classes.
Program Presentation and Requirements
Most degree programs are taught in a hybrid format due to the hands-on nature of science studies. Intensive on-campus labs may be required at certain times of year. For online portions of their programs, schools often use a managed learning environment, such as ANGEL, to facilitate lectures, discussions and assigned projects. Standard technical requirements include a computer with high-speed Internet access and e-mail access.
List of Online Pre-Med Programs
As mentioned, there are some programs more easily found online. Here is a look at a couple of options:
Bachelor of Science in Zoology
One option is the Bachelor of Science in Zoology. Zoology is the study of animals, which includes their evolution, structure, behavior and function. With this connection to general biology studies, zoology is a fairly common degree choice for pre-med students. Courses involve a substantial amount of complex material and research work, so most are taught hands-on. However, some zoology programs offer a few online courses. Course topics include:
- Fundamental genetics
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering Programs
A Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering is another common pre-med degree choice. It applies both physical and biological science to the task of producing substances useful in biomedical, nanotechnology, aerospace and other applications.
Online chemical engineering programs are presented in a hybrid format to accommodate lab studies, which may be taught on campus. Upper-division classes delve into special topics, such as chemical dynamics and thermodynamics. Core online classes include:
- Chemical engineering fundamentals
- Transport phenomenon
- Elementary differential equations
- Organic chemistry
- Electrical engineering
Online pre-med degree options are not common, but there are many hybrid options that will allow a student to take various courses in a program online.