Pre-Medical Course Requirements

Required Prerequisites for UW School of Medicine

The pre-medical course requirements must be completed before matriculating. The school recommends candidates for admission complete the prerequisite courses prior to applying to medical school. There is no limit on the timeframe during which the courses must be completed, but if an applicant has been out of school for a few years or more, it is strongly recommended to take more recent science coursework to demonstrate ability to still do well in a classroom setting.

Undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate-level and online required courses must be completed at a regionally accredited college, university or community college. The University of Washington School of Medicine does not have a preference for where applicants receive their degree(s) or where they complete their premedical coursework. Advanced Placement (AP) credits are acceptable substitutes for prerequisite course requirements as long as the undergraduate institution grants credit on the transcript and it appears (and is verified) on the AMCAS application.

Under exceptional circumstances, some course requirements may be waived for individuals with unusual achievements and academic promise. All candidates should demonstrate substantial academic ability in their major field as well as in the required science courses. Candidates should be proficient in the use of the English language, basic mathematics and navigating information technologies at a college level. All entrants in recent years have fulfilled requirements for a bachelor's degree. No specific major is advised. A broad background in the humanities and liberal arts is encouraged.

Required Courses

Must include a minimum of the following (this list is for information only and is not exhaustive):

1. Social sciences, humanities or "human condition"

Demonstrated competency
Entering medical students should understand the social forces that shape the health of the individuals and communities they will serve. This includes understanding how social contextual factors and policy operate at the community and national level to impact the health of individuals. Students should be familiar with disparities in health currently present in society and their underlying etiologies. Candidates seeking acceptance to UWSOM can establish competency in this area through course work in the social sciences, humanities or related interdisciplinary fields such as public health or ethnic and gender studies, clinical and/or population health research, service learning, lived experience or a combination of thereof. Determination of competency will be evaluated through the secondary application and/or interview.
Examples of social science/humanities coursework to consider:

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Political Science
  • Economics
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Literature

2. Biology

1 year* (lab recommended)
The subject matter in these courses must include college-level biology, molecular genetics and cell biology/cell physiology, although applicants are not required to take courses with these specific titles. The Foundations curriculum is taught with the expectation that students arrive with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of the following human biological principles: homeostasis and feedback, neuronal signaling, hormone receptors, immunology, cell biology including subcellular organization, differentiation, cellular metabolic function, energy transfer, reproduction, Mendelian genetic principles of nucleic acid structure and function, genetic recombination and mechanisms of gene expression.

3. Chemistry/Biochemistry

2 years* (lab recommended)
The subject matter in these courses must include college-level inorganic and organic chemistry and biochemistry. Typically, students will complete 1 year of general (inorganic) chemistry and a year of organic and biochemistry combined, at minimum, to meet this requirement. Many applicants will however, take a full year of organic chemistry as well as at least one term of biochemistry. The Foundations curriculum is taught with the assumption that students arrive with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of foundational chemistry and biochemistry topics, including molecular structure, chemical reactivity, energetics, protein structure and function and intermediary metabolism.

4. Physics

1 year*
The subject matter in these courses must include college-level physics principles including mechanics, kinetics, thermodynamics, properties of matter, wave theory, electricity and magnetism and optics although applicants are not required to take courses with these specific titles.

The following subject matter is recommended, but not required:

  • Anatomy or comparative anatomy
  • Calculus
  • Embryology
  • Ethics
  • Human or mammalian physiology
  • Microbiology and/or Immunology
  • Psychology
  • Statistics (biostatistics preferred)

  *1 year equals, for example, 3 quarters or 2 semesters of course work.

Please also see the section on our FAQs page: Entering Class of 2023 and later Prerequisite Course Requirements.

International courses

International courses can be accepted to fulfill the prerequisites as long as they have been verified by a bona fide credentials evaluator. This service can be provided by such companies as Foundation for International Services, Academic Credentials Evaluation Institute, World Education Services, National Association of Credential Evaluation Services or Association of International Credential Evaluators. The American Medical College Application Services (AMCAS) will not verify your international transcripts. After submitting your AMCAS application, the UWSOM will need an original, official copy of your transcripts sent directly from the foreign institution or in a sealed envelope from the foreign institution, and a transcript evaluation from a bona fide credentials evaluator.