Physicians diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses in patients.  Physicians examine patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests.

Careers within medicine are diverse and provide many opportunities for challenging and rewarding service.  Most physicians are general practitioners, handling a variety of health needs.  Other physicians practice one of the 26 specialty areas.  Some specialties include:

  • Anesthesiology
  • Family and general medicine
  • General internal medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Psychiatry
  • Surgery

Allopathic Medicine (MD)

A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.  Also called biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine.

Osteopathic Medicine (DO)

Osteopathic physicians differ in the philosophy of medicine learned during their training - a holistic approach that focuses on "finding health" rather than only treating illness.  Their education also includes extensive additional training on the role of the neuromusculoskeletal system (bones, muscles and nerves) as the foundation upon which the body's overall health depends.

Naturopathic Medicine (ND)

Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the body has an innate capacity to fight disease and heal itself.  Naturopaths improve health and treat illness by treating the person holistically, tapping a person's own internal body, mid, and spirit resources.  Naturopathy comprises a blend of different therapies, all attempting to restore the body to health in the most natural, noninvasive way possible by stimulating the body's own healing powers.

Admission requirements for medical school

The common path to practicing as a physician requires 8 years of education beyond high school and 3 to 8 additional years of internship and residency.  All 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories require licensing.

From the time you begin college, you are assembling a complete universal application to apply to these professional schools.  Medical schools will review your application holistically, and you can work with your advisors to provide a competitive application.

College major

You are not required to select a particular major in order to be eligible for admission to a medical school.  In selecting a college major, consider how you will satisfactorily complete the prerequisite courses for your designated medical school in addition to the college/university's degree and major requirements.  Work with your academic or pre-medical advisor to plan your course schedule.

You have the option to choose from a wide variety of pre-medicine or pre-med undergraduate majors to prepare you for a medical school. Suggested undergraduate majors include.  Biomedical Science, Biochemistry, Psychology, and Neuroscience.

Experience in medicine

It is expected by most Medical schools that candidates will exhibit a confirmed interest and motivation in a medical career by participating in career-related activities such as job shadowing, community service and other volunteer opportunities.  Having strong career experiences and life accomplishments will allow you to validate your professionalism and maturity, which are strongly considered in the application process.

Other qualifications

Physicians must have a desire to serve patients, be self-motivated and be able to survive the pressures and long hours of medical education and practice. You must be willing to study throughout your career to keep up with medical advances.


Keep in mind these numbers are averages and various schools can have their own averages that are higher or lower. Also, these averages are climbing higher each year and admission to a medical school is more competitive than ever.  Be sure you take your studies seriously and put in the proper time for reading, studying, and review for each course.

  • Allopathic Medical Schools
    • Overall: 3.7+
    • BCMP (Biology, Chemistry, Math, Physics GPA): 3.6+
  • Osteopathic Medical Schools
    • Overall: 3.5+
    • BCMP: 3.4+
  • Naturopathic Medical Schools
    • Overall: 3.4+
    • BCMP: 3.3+