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Pre-Medical Program

If you want to be a doctor someday, the Pre-Medical path is for you. But here’s what’s interesting—taking the Pre-Med route doesn’t mean you have to be a doctor. Pre-Med can provide unique opportunities for a successful career in healthcare, research, tech, science, and more. If you want to learn how you can help people in the medical field while also applying your Christian worldview to your work, it’s time to look into a Pre-Medical path at Dordt.

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Program Overview

The comprehensive training you'll get at Dordt can pave your way to medical school. At Dordt, you’ll get the personal assistance you need. You’ll work closely with faculty as you develop expertise in your field. And you’ll develop an understanding of how God wants to use your unique skills and abilities for his glory.

Students accepted into medical programs today should have strong academic backgrounds, know about solving complex problems, understand good relationships, act with integrity and honesty, and be involved in their communities. These characteristics are best developed at an institution where a core curriculum provides an education with breadth. Dordt's Core Program and Christian perspective will give you a framework and a solid knowledge base for your professional studies.

What can I do with a degree in pre-medical program from Dort University?

Pre-Medical at Dordt will help you prepare for a career in or related to the medical field. This foundation will set you up for success, whether you pursue further education through medical school or you enter the workforce upon graduation. You may enjoy a career as a doctor, pharmacist, nurse practitioner, or even a veterinarian. Whatever you choose to do professionally, Dordt’s Pre-Medical program will prepare you for the next steps.

Many of our graduates have been accepted at regional medical schools such as the University of Iowa, University of Minnesota (both Twin Cities and Duluth), Des Moines University, and the University of South Dakota. Others have gone to universities in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Wisconsin, Alberta, and Ontario.

Medical Doctor (M.D.)

Physicians are trained to provide acute and preventative care to patients, including diagnosing disease, supervising care, prescribing and delivering treatment. There are 24 different specialties within medicine, including the more generalist areas of internal medicine, general pediatrics, and family practice.

Physician Assistant (P.A.)

Physician Assistants are health professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. Within the physician/PA relationship, P.A.s exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. P.A.s are generalists in medicine, emphasizing primary care. P.A.s are qualified to: take medical histories, order laboratory tests, diagnose and treat illness, give medical advice, counsel patients, perform physical exams, assist in surgery, and set fractures.

Physical Therapist (P.T.)

Physical therapy is a health profession whose primary purpose is the promotion of optimal human health and function through the application of scientific principles to prevent, identify, assess, correct, or alleviate acute or prolonged movement dysfunction.

Pre-Medical Program

You may choose any major. Although many pre-med students major in biology or chemistry, fields such as psychology, English, or history are also appropriate. An active pre-medical advisory committee will help you meet application deadlines, choose your courses, select the appropriate medical school, and write recommendations for you. Members of this committee stay up-to-date on new developments in admission procedures to professional schools.

Studying science alongside history, English, communication, philosophy, psychology, and the arts—all taught in the light of God's Word—will help you understand how the world fits together and give you additional ways to serve in the medical field. The knowledge you gain in your courses will open your eyes and heart to the needs and concerns of others, and prepare you to help and heal them through your work.

  • Dordt will give you an excellent science education. Smaller class sizes mean that you'll get more attention from professors and they will be able to write you more personal recommendations.
  • Dordt's program teaches you to treat whole people, not just their injuries, giving you a foundation for growing as a capable, loving, just, and ethical caregiver.
  • Dordt is large enough to offer a wide variety of ways for you to get involved and small enough to make it easy to do so. Explore journalism, theatre, athletics, music, volunteering, student government, and more.
  • At Dordt you will get the personal assistance you need and will work closely with faculty as you develop expertise in your field.
  • Opportunities exist for students to conduct collaborative research with Dordt faculty during the school year or during the summer.

Dordt's pre-medical program prepares students with the knowledge and training needed to go on to Medical School. Each professional school has its own specific course requirements for its program, all of which can be fulfilled at Dordt University.

MCAT and medical schools require:

  • Principles of Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry and molecular biology with lab
  • Zoology
  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics
  • Statistics or Calculus
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Writing course

We recommend:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Cell Biology
  • Advanced Biochemistry
  • Developmental Biology
  • Advanced Microbiology
  • Histology
  • Genetics
  • Quantitative Analysis
  • Medical Terminology
  • Business and Technical Writing
  • Lifespan Development
  • Social Psychology
  • Biopsychology
  • Bioorganic chemistry

It is important to note that there is a difference between the pre-medical program and your academic major. The pre-medical program is simply a label we use at Dordt University to identify students who intend to pursue a medical profession so that we can properly guide, advise, and teach these students. There are no formal course requirements because different medical schools have different requirements (although there are more similarities than differences in these requirements). Nor is there an expectation on the part of a medical school that you have been in a pre-medical program.

Your academic major is the area of study you choose because of your interests, abilities, and career plans. Once chosen, your major does have specific course requirements as defined in the college catalog. Therefore, you do not have to have a particular major (e.g. biology or chemistry) to be in the pre-medical program or to apply to medical school.

Medical schools do desire a diverse student population in terms of academic background, so it is perfectly acceptable to choose a non-science major. On another note, students with certain majors tend to do better on the MCAT than others, as this table from AIP shows. For example, Physics majors average a 31.0 on the MCAT, Chemistry majors average 28.7, and Biology majors average 26.9.

The total number of available seats in medical school has been rising over the past decade (from 16,300 to 20,300), however, the number of applicants has also risen, so the acceptance rate has been fairly constant, with an average of 42%.

Nationally, between one third and one half of medical school applicants gain admission, so keep in mind these questions: What will I do if I do not get into medical school? or What is my back-up plan?

While about 85 percent of Dordt pre-medical students who have applied to medical school over the past 15 years have gained admission, the majority of pre-medical students who enter Dordt as freshmen do not follow through on that career plan. Your selection of a major will have a significant impact on your career opportunities should medical school not work out.

Most medical schools base their required course prerequisites on the same prerequisites for the MCAT. The MCAT, or Medical College Admissions Test, is a comprehensive test based on the science content found in introductory courses including general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, general biology, physics, psychology, and sociology. Many medical schools have their own specific requirements beyond those required for the MCAT, and it is important for you to determine these requirements for any school you have interest in.

Table 1 lists those courses at Dordt which will meet the requirements for the MCAT and which are frequently found in medical school admissions requirements. Two topics merit special mention:

1. The MCAT does not specifically require a math background; however, the test does assume an ability to do basic calculations, algebra, trigonometry, and make statistical inferences from data without the aid of a calculator. In addition, medical schools vary in their math requirements, so do your research.

2. Dordt's introductory sequence in biology, Cell and Molecular Biology and Zoology, are sufficient to meet an entrance requirement stated as "one year (8 credits) of general biology". Also, while the MCAT claims that all the biological content of is available through an introductory course. However, there is sufficient evidence to support a recommendation that you ought to take several advanced biology courses in addition to the introductory courses. As we gain more experience with the new MCAT, the recommended list of courses will become more specific.


MCAT/Med School RequirementsRecommended CoursesOptional Courses
  • Chem 111 Principles of Chemistry
  • Chem 225 Organic Chemistry I
  • Chem 261 Biochemistry
  • Chem 321 or 322 with 323
  • Bio 125 Cell and Molecular
  • Bio 122 Zoology
  • Phys 115-116 General Physics
  • Math 115, 152, Stat 131, or 132
  • Writing course: Core 120, Eng 220, 301, 305, or KSP 151
  • Psychology 201, 204, 210, 215 or 218
  • Sociology 201, 210, 215, or 216
  • Bio/Chem 180
  • Bio 225-226 Human Anatomy
  • Bio 226 Human Physiology
  • Bio 310 Advanced Microbiology
  • Bio 335 Cell Biology
  • Chem 212
  • Bio 301 Developmental Biology
  • Bio 304 Histology
  • Bio 324 Advanced Genetics
  • Bio 357 Medical Terminology
  • Social Work 313
  • Nursing 390
  • Comm 222 Interpersonal Communication

Table 2 reorganizes the above courses into the typical sequence taking by a student who begins the pre-medical program in their freshman year. It is designed to enable you to complete all the prerequisite courses before you take the MCAT in your junior year. Variations on this schedule are possible depending on your choice of major. It is possible to start the pre-medical program in your sophomore year or beyond, however, in such circumstances you may need to delay taking the MCAT and applying for a year beyond graduation.


YearFirst SemesterSecond Semester
FreshmanBIO 125 Cell and Molecular Biology
CHEM 111 Chemical Principles
BIO/CHEM 180 First Term Seminar
BIO 122 Zoology
CHEM 212 Chemical Analysis
SophomoreCHEM 225 Organic Chem.CHEM 261 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


BIO 225 Human Anatomy
BIO 335 Cell Biology
Math/Stat Course
Psychology Course

BIO 226 Human Physiology
BIO 310 Advanced Microbiology
Sociology Course
JuniorPHYS 115 PhysicsPHYS 116 Physics

BIO 301 Developmental Biology
BIO 357 Medical Terminology
CHEM 361 Advanced Biochemistry
CHEM 362 Advanced Biochemistry Lab
Advanced Psychology Course
COMM 222 Interpersonal Comm.

BIO 304 Histology
BIO 324 Advanced Genetics
Advanced Writing Course
Social Work 313
Nursing 390

Many medical schools require courses in the broadly defined areas of the behavior or social sciences and the humanities without being specific about the course requirements. Dordt's CORE program may fulfill these requirements, but do your homework. For example, Psychology 201, General Psychology, is occasionally required by medical schools and will be necessary for the MCAT, but it does not fulfill a CORE requirement.

In addition, it is wise to choose electives of your own to provide you with experiences outside of the sciences. You also need to recognize that your undergraduate years will be the last opportunity to pursue interests outside of medicine or the biological sciences, so choose electives accordingly.

See the course catalog for more information.

The Pre-Health Professions Club (PHPC) will help you get to know other pre-med students. Members help each other with course planning, MCAT preparation, and medical school applications. The club brings in practicing doctors, current medical school students, and medical school recruiters to learn more about the profession and give helpful advice. It also organizes field trips to pre-med conferences and regional medical facilities.

If you have any suggestions for additions to this list, please email the URL to Dr. Keryakos.


Disclaimer: Inclusion of commercial test preparation sites on this web page is for information only and does not imply endorsement of any preparation program or service nor a suggestion that such a review course is necessary to be adequately prepared.


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Science and Technology Center

While studying pre-medical, you'll have the opportunity to spend time in Dordt's Science and Technology Center. Informally known as the "Science Building," the Science and Technology Center is home to Dordt's 180-seat lecture hall.

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Student Stories

Dordt students and alumni use their gifts to make a difference in the world. Check out their stories to see how Defender Nation lives out our mission to work effectively toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life.

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