US News: Students at top-ranked medical schools typically major in these 5 fields

While more than 40 percent of medical school seniors at the top-ranked medical schools in the nation typically majored in biological sciences during undergrad, medical school officials have begun to see greater numbers of first-year applicants with non-science undergraduate majors, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Using data submitted by 113 ranked medical schools in an annual survey, researchers noted a slight shift in the types of classes students chose to study prior to applying to medical school.

Paul Crowley, MD, a previous member of the Boston-based Harvard Medical School admissions committee, said the shift could reflect recent changes to the MCAT, which now boasts a subsection dealing with psychology and the social and biological foundations of behavior.

"Previously, medical schools were focused upon excellent preparation for biomedical sciences," said Dr. Crowley. "Over the last 15 years or so, there has been more emphasis on balance, meaning that premedical students now need to focus on these foundational biological courses and on the humanities."

First-year medical students at the top 11 medical schools for primary care in the nation had undergraduate degrees in the following five subject areas. The averages are listed in decreasing order and based on data submitted by the Class of 2020.

  1. Biological science — 43 percent of students
  2. Physical science — 20 percent
  3. Other majors — 19 percent
  4. Social sciences — 14 percent
  5. Other health professions — 4 percent

First-year medical students at the top 11 medical schools for research held undergraduate degrees in the following five subject areas, listed in decreasing order.

  1. Biological science — 45 percent of students
  2. Physical science — 23 percent
  3. Social science — 17 percent
  4. Other majors — 12 percent
  5. Other health professions — 3 percent

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