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Psychology Career Path: Pre-Med and Medical Professions

Potential Career Paths

  • Physician (M.D., D.O.)
  • Physician Assistant (PA)

Additional Resources for Students

To become more involved in Psychology Pre-Medicine or learn about the profession, here is what students can do:

  1. Visit the websites of the American Medical Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine to learn more about medical education and medical careers.
  2. Visit the website for the American Psychiatric Association to learn more about psychiatry as a specialty.
  3. Volunteer in hospitals or other medical settings.
  4. Schedule a meeting (740-593-0431) with a pre-health advisor to discuss the medical profession.
  5. Join a pre-med student club. Consider searching Bobcat Connect.

What is Psychology Pre-Medicine?

The purpose of the psychology pre-medicine pathway is to provide students with a comprehensive background in psychology while ensuring that students who want to become medical doctors complete the necessary prerequisites for medical school.

Psychology is a logical major for those interested in entering the medical field. First, physicians have constant interactions with clients and care for people, much like psychologists. Additionally, patients often see general practitioners when encountering psychological problems, so it is useful for physicians to understand psychological issues and when individuals should be referred for psychological services. Finally, medical school is required in order to become a psychiatrist. Like psychologists, psychiatrists are concerned with preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illness. However, unlike psychologists, they are also medical doctors who are able to prescribe medication for clients.

Once a student completes his or her bachelor’s degree, the student will apply to medical school. Medical school typically lasts four years. This schooling is then followed by three to seven years of residency to further develop the physician’s skills. A psychiatric residency is four years.

To practice medicine, a physician must not only complete a medical degree from an accredited medical school, but also pass a national licensing exam and then complete the licensing requirements of the state in which the physician wishes to practice medicine. If you are interested in pursuing a career in medicine, be sure to work with an advisor to develop an academic plan that is tailored to your interests. Your plan should lead to the completion of coursework that is required for admission to a medical school.

Undergraduate Course Requirements

University and College Requirements

In addition to the suggestions for the pre-med pathway, which are listed below, be sure to complete all other university and college requirements, including the foreign language requirement. We recommend beginning the foreign language requirement in your first year. NOTE: You may begin with a class higher than 1110 depending on foreign language placement test results. It is possible to place out of the foreign language requirement. Therefore, it is recommended that you take the placement test for any foreign language you completed in high school.

Psychology Courses

Suggested Courses for the Psychology Pre-Medicine Path

First-Year Recommended Schedule

  • CHEM 1510, 1520 Fundamentals of Chemistry (8)
  • BIOS 1700, 1705, 1710, 1715 Biological Sciences I & II (10)
  • ENG 1510 English Composition (3)
  • PSY 1010 General Psychology (3)*
  • PSY 2110 Stats for the Beh Sciences (4)*
  • PSY 2120 Research Methods (4)*

Second-Year Recommended Schedule

  • MATH 2301 Calculus I (4)
  • CHEM 3050, 3060, 3080 Organic Chemistry (6)
  • BIOS 3200 Fundamentals of Animal Cell Biology (3)
  • BIOS 3100 General Genetics (3)
  • PHIL 1300 Introduction to Ethics (3)

Third-Year Recommended Schedule

  • PHYS 2001, 2002 Intro to Physics (8)
  • BIOS 3010, 3015 Human Anatomy (4)
  • BIOS 3450, 3455 Human Physiology (5)
  • BIOS 4630 Biological Chemistry (3)

Additional Courses in Psychology

  • PSY 2410 Child & Adolescent Psychology (3)*
  • PSY 2710 Psychopathology (3)*
  • PSY 3420 Psychology of Adulthood & Aging (3)*

Additional Recommended Courses

Completing the coursework on this recommended schedule will help students complete the requirements for the Biological Sciences Minor and select requirements for the Chemistry Minor.

Students should select additional courses that focus on their specific area of interest for medical school. Students are also encouraged to investigate the specific prerequisities for the medical schools they plan to apply to.

  • BIOS 3220, 3225 General Microbiology + Lab(4)
  • BIOS 3430 Principles of Physiology (5)
  • BIOS 4130, 4135 Human Nueroscience + Lab (4)
  • BIOS 4140 Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience (3)
  • BIOS 4240 Virology (3)
  • BIOS 4500 Principles of Endocrinology (3)
  • BIOS 4860, 4865 Immunology + Lab (3)
  • SOC 1000 Intro to Sociology (3)
  • HLTH 2300 Medical Terminology (3)

Additional Recommended Courses in Psychology

  • PSY 3240 Human Psychophysiology (3)
  • PSY 3250 Psychology of Health & Illness (3)
  • PSY 3420 Adulthood and Aging (3)
  • PSY 3710 Intro to Clinical & Counseling (3)

Note: Be sure to check prerequisites for all coursework.

Volunteer Hours

Most medical schools require students to complete volunteer hours prior to submitting an application to their program. Prior to the senior year, students should check the admissions requirement for programs that interest them.

Fieldwork and Research in Psychology

It is highly recommended that students interested in medical school participate in research in a psychology lab and engage in fieldwork in settings related to the student’s particular area of interest. 

  • PSY 3910 (1-4, 4 max) - Credit for volunteer work in a medical setting. Volunteer hours are required for application to many medical schools.
  • PSY 3940 (1-4, 12 max) - Credit for participating in research under the supervision of a faculty member.