Physicians support and manage healthcare across a diverse range of specializations and age groups. There are three broad categories. A primary care physician treats a wide range of illnesses, provides preventative care, and is considered an individual’s regular doctor. A surgeon will perform operations and be highly specialized. Specialists have expertise based on body part, organ and system.

It takes four years of medical school and between three to eight years of specialty training to go on in a career in medicine. In the U.S. physicians must have either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree. Approximately 33% of all physicians are in primary care, and this number has declined over the years but the demand has not. There are over 135 specialties listed with the American Association of Medical Colleges.

Prerequisites  The academic requirements for admission to medical school typically include courses in biology, physics, English, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, genetics, and calculus. Medical schools may vary in their policies regarding prerequisites, so be sure to check prerequisites by medical school.

Major:  Students who are interested in going to medical school typically will pursue Biology Option C-1 Pre-Medicine or Chemistry Option C, Biochemistry as their undergraduate major.

Admission to medical school requires the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The MCAT has four sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.

Community service, shadowing, and other kinds of experiential learning are important to gain experience in dealing with the public and understand the different areas involved with medicine. The more experience you have, the better your application for medical schools.

There are two main application services used to apply to medical school. They are TMDSAS (for Texas medical schools) and AMCAS (for private universities and schools outside of Texas)

The focus for Pre-Medical students needs to be on GPA, MCAT scores, shadowing experience, volunteerism, and extracurricular activities. The minimum GPA for students to be competitive is 3.7 out of 4.0. MCAT scores need to be at or above average, around 127 out of 132 in any one section or 508 out of 528 for all 4 sections. For medical school admission statistics by program you can visit the MedEdits Medical Admissions site and search by university.

MSU has a Health Professions Advisory Committee that assists students with letters of recommendation and mock interviews to prepare for medical school application.

The Joint Admissions Medical Program (JAMP) is a program that supports and encourages highly qualified, economically disadvantaged students pursuing a medical education. Through JAMP students in Texas can receive support through undergraduate scholarships, summer stipends, internships, clinical hands-on experience, MCAT preparation, and mentoring. If students meet all criteria they can receive guaranteed admission to a Texas medical school and scholarships for medical school.

Steps toward participating in JAMP are described below, or visit the JAMP website for more information.