Medical school requirements for getting admission

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Medical school refers to the period of study of Medicine and Surgery as an undergraduate in some countries or as a graduate in other countries especially in USA and Canada. In order to get into any medical school, there are requirements needed to gain admission, this will serve as a guide to give you an overview about the requirements needed by most universities in the world in order to start medical school. However, you should note that Medical schools admission requirements may vary from one country to another and even within a country, may still vary from school to school. It is recommended you check what the specific admission requirements of each university and how to process the necessary documents.

As Medicine deals with human lives, all medical schools take the process of gaining entrance serious just as the process of training you to becoming a medical doctor is taken seriously. Apart from the selection process for gaining of admission, the applications gotten from applicants are usually higher than the admission quota needed by the school for proper learning. This is to say that, the number of people applying for Medicine and Surgery is higher than the number of applicants that the said institution needs per year. Because of this competition, one needs to provide all the necessary requirements and also must strive to be the best among those that are applying for admission. The higher the scores you have in college, secondary school, or university before applying, the better your chances of getting admissions.

Harvard Medical School entrance
Harvard Medical School entrance


All Medical schools follow the either of two processes for admissions but each process is unique on its own depending on the country. These include:

  1. Undergraduate MBBS degree
  2. Graduate MBBS degree

Undergraduate MBBS Degree requirements for Admissions

This method of gaining entrance into Medical school is practiced in UK and in most other countries. In this, you can apply for Medicine directly from Secondary school with your GCE, WAEC certificate or its equivalent. The courses (subjects) that you must take while in secondary school (high school) are mentioned below as the prerequisites.

You then proceed to apply via the appropriate admissions application service of your country or the country you intend to study in. The countries that use this method do acknowledge foreign students applying directly with their country of origins secondary school certificates without having to go through the rigor of studying an undergraduate course first before applying for medicine.

Countries that allow undergraduate MBBS degree also allow applicants that have graduated with a science or related Degree, to still apply for medicine. In this case, they will apply as direct entrants.

Graduate MBBS degree requirements

This requires that you must have had a degree in any course in which you should have studied the prerequisite courses mentioned below while acquiring the said degree before you can apply for medicine. This is what is done in the United States and Canada. This means, if you did not study the prerequisite courses while in high school, you can still apply for medicine if you studied the courses in college or university. This method mostly do not recognize or acknowledge foreign certificates and may require you to start college as an undergraduate again even if you have acquired a similar certificate in your country of origin. It means that if you have a biochemistry degree or degree in Anatomy in your country, it will not count that you have had undergraduate degree in USA or Canada and hence, you cannot apply for medicine. Before you will apply for medicine, you have to study the Anatomy or Biochemistry again or any other science related course before you become eligible to apply for medicine. Harvard medical school does not grant admission to foreign students who do not have a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an institution in the United States or Canada. If you are a foreign student who intends studying medicine in Harvard University, then you are expected to enroll in any approved college and acquire an undergraduate degree first before applying for admission into Harvard medical school.

Application processes and Examinations for UK and USA applicants

MCAT Scores

All applicants intending to study in America must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) at a time that enables scores to be received by the Admissions Office of the Medical school prior to the application deadline. Students are to submit their application for admission through the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS). The higher the MCAT scores, the better, some schools require MCAT score of 4 or 5.

BMAT Scores

All applicants who intend to study Medicine in the United Kingdom must take the Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT). BMAT will be used to assess scientific aptitude and will focus on scientific abilities relevant to the study of medicine. The BMAT scores are valid for 1 year and are used, along with other information in the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) application, to help in selecting the right candidates for interview. Applications are made throughUCAS(Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

On going surgery in a Teaching Hospital in Nigeria
On going surgery in a Teaching Hospital in Nigeria


Prerequisite courses needed for getting admission into Medical school

For any medical school in the whole world, there are basically five (5) prerequisite courses or subjects needed for gaining entrance into the institution. You should have had a knowledge of these subjects while in high school (secondary school) or in the University or College.

These subjects include:

  1. Biological science or Biology
  2. Physics
  3. Chemistry
  4. Mathematics
  5. Language

Other subjects required may vary according to the country you intend to study at, and even within a country, the subjects may vary depending on the university you applied for admission. Hence the necessary subjects are mentioned above.

Biological Science

This is the study of living things. It gives an overview about living things and how they reproduce, how cells divide and how life came to be. It studies how living things are affected by non-living things such as germs causing diseases and water needed for life. Biology shows how cells make up Tissues and Tissues form Organs and organs form Systems and systems form Animals including human beings. It also shows the hierarchy of living things and how they depend on each other.

The knowledge of Biology helps you to know the basic things about humans, other living things and non-living things and prepares you towards studying Medicine which broadens the scope of Biology and helps you to know what is normal and abnormal and how to restore the abnormal health of human to normal health.


This is a subject that helps you to relate effect of particles in nature. Physics relates the forces that bind one particle to another and how the tiniest particle known as an Atom can combine together to form bigger particles such as humans, air, sand, etc. The knowledge of physics will help you in medical school to understand the concept of radiations and use of machines to help diagnose diseases. It also helps you to modify these machines in order to produce better machines with fewer complications to health. It was the knowledge of physics brought about tools such as X-rays, Ultrasound, and Scopes etc. that are currently used for diagnoses of diseases. Laboratory skills also expected.


This is the study of the interaction of chemicals in nature and with humans. It studies how elements make up the compounds and how compounds interact. Chemistry shows us that the water we drink is made up of compounds, the air we breathe; the gases in the air and the food we eat are all compounds. Chemistry will therefore help you in the study of Chemical pathology in medical school and will give you the basics to the study of how electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphates, etc.) interact in the body and how their disturbances could bring about illness. Aspect of Chemistry needed is general and organic chemistry and applicant is expected to be conversant with laboratory skills.


The knowledge of mathematics is needed as a requirement for admission into medical schools because you will need to prescribe drugs of which calculation of body weight and the amount of drugs will be required; you will also need mathematics in analysis of dosage of radiation needed by a tissue in radiotherapy, and many other calculations. Most importantly, mathematics is needed in statistical analysis.


In other listen or hear what is being thought and also to communicate with people around you including the patients you will meet and treat, the knowledge of the language used for communication must be known. Depending on the country, you must learn to speak fluently and write well in a way that is comprehensible. Countries like United States and United Kingdom require English language while countries like Germany require German Language, France require French.

Other subjects may not necessarily be a must but may be needed by some Universities.

Age requirement

Applicants are expected to be at least 18 years of age

Number of years it takes to finish Medical school (duration)

The duration it takes depends on the university you are applying for admission. But in general, for medical schools that accept applicants directly from High school or secondary school with just the basic knowledge of sciences such as chemistry, biology and physics, then the duration is for 6 years or 5 years. If the medical school requires applicants should have had undergraduate degrees in science and related courses, then the duration is for 4 years or 3 years.

These admission requirements may change at any time and it is advisable to check with the specific medical school you intend to apply for.