Preparing for a Health Career

Close to one out of six undergraduates at Cornell University intends to pursue a career in either human or veterinary medicine.

You will find these students in all seven undergraduate colleges and schools at Cornell, studying nearly every major, while also taking all the prerequisites for medical or veterinary school.

What Medical and Veterinary Schools Look For

Admission to schools of human or veterinary medicine is based largely on three factors: your academic record; your scores on standardized admission tests; and your individual qualities, as seen in part through faculty evaluations and interviews.

Prerequisite courses for medical school

  • Biology (with lab) 8 semester credit hours
  • Inorganic Chemistry (with lab) 8 semester credit hours
  • Organic Chemistry (with lab) 8 semester credit hours
  • General or Intro Physics (with lab) 8 semester credit hours
  • English Composition 6 semester credit hours
  • Mathematics (required by some schools; recommended by others)
  • Advanced Biology (recommended by most)

Prerequisite courses for veterinary school

  • Biology or Zoology (with lab) 8 semester credit hours
  • Intro/Inorganic Chemistry (with lab) 8 semester credit hours
  • Organic Chemistry (with lab) 8 semester credit hours
  • Biochemistry 4 semester credit hours
  • Physics (with lab) 8 semester credit hours
  • General Microbiology (with lab) 3 semester credit hours
  • English Composition 6 semester credit hours

Additionally:

  • If you’re set on a premed or prevet path from the start, you’ll probably be able to complete the minimum number of required courses at many health professional schools by the end of sophomore or junior year in most of the colleges or schools at Cornell.
  • You’ll be a much more attractive candidate for admission to schools of human and veterinary medicine if, in addition to your science courses, you’ve taken courses in the social sciences and humanities.
  • Cornell students with equivalent academic credentials from the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, or Human Ecology are equally successful in gaining admission to medical schools.
  • Most prevet students major in biology or animal science, applicants to veterinary schools aren’t required to complete a specific undergraduate degree program or a designated prevet major.
  • Veterinary medicine applicants should be prepared to present evidence of firsthand experience with animal care and some understanding of the duties and responsibilities of veterinarians and the scope of veterinary medicine.

To Help You Along

Attending Cornell as an undergraduate does not automatically guarantee you admission to either the College of Veterinary Medicine or Weill Medical College of Cornell University.