UC Santa Barbara General CatalogUniversity of California, Santa Barbara


Students who are preparing for careers in medicine have traditionally found UCSB an excellent institution in which to complete their pre-medical requirements. Advising for premedical students is available in the College office, located in Cheadle Hall 1117. The pre-health advisors consult with students on an appointment basis and during specified walk-in hours which are posted on the following web site: http://www.duels.ucsb.edu/health. The web site includes information about required courses, recommended schedules, and information about other health profession programs. Student groups, including the Health Professions Association, UCSB Global Medical Brigade and Los Curanderos help to develop programs supporting the career aspirations of premedical students. Many premedical students take advantage of the campus’s wide range of opportunities to involve themselves in faculty-sponsored undergraduate research projects and many participate in internship programs available at local hospitals and medical clinics. The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology and the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology sponsor both lower- and upper-division courses which are relevant to gaining experience in the medical field. The health professions advisors are available to help students develop academic programs to meet medical school requirements. They help student understand how to become better applicants for admission into medical school and work closely with them during the application/interview process. The advisors also coordinate workshops to help students prepare for the rigorous application process. Although many students select majors within the biological sciences, medical schools do not require applicants to complete a specific major. Schools, in fact, encourage applicants to develop a broad academic program with coursework in a variety of fields in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Each school, however, does require certain prerequisite courses, which frequently includes the following:

  • General Chemistry. Chemistry 1A-B-Cand labs.
  • Organic Chemistry. Chemistry 6AL-BL and 109A-B-C.
  • Introductory Biology. MCDB 1A-AL-B, EEMB 2-3-3L, and either MCDB 1BL or EEMB 2L.
  • General Physics. Physics 6A-B-C and labs or 1-2-3-3L-4-4L-5-5L.
  • Mathematics. Mathematics 34A-B or Mathematics 3A-B and either Mathematics 3C or PSTAT 5A or another statistics course.
  • English. Writing 2 or 2LK, one course from 50 or 50LK or 109AA-ZZ (109HP suggested), and one English literature course.

In addition, some schools require one year of upper-division coursework in the biological sciences. Students should check individual schools for specific requirements. Medical schools prefer applicants with broad academic experience. Science majors, therefore, should take as many non-science courses as possible. The overall grade-point average, particularly the grades earned in the prerequisites described above, will be a primary factor in determining the student’s prospects for initial consideration for admission. In recent years the average for accepted students nationally has been greater than 3.6. Scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) are also an important factor. Competitive applicants should be involved in community service and volunteer work, health related internships, and in research. Because competition is intense, interested students are encouraged to consult with the health professions advisors early in their academic careers, in order to plan their program carefully. Students also work with their advisors in preparing their applications and considering alternative careers, should they be unsuccessful in gaining admission into medical school. For further information, visit http://www.duels.ucsb.edu/health.