In the United States, a Medical Degree (M.D.) is a professional degree. This means that, after completing your Bachelor’s or undergraduate education, you go on to a specialised Medical School devoted to training you in the medical field.
For most students, this also means that your Bachelor’s degree can theoretically be in anything you want, so long as you can pass the MCAT and show that you know a thing or two about medicine. You don’t want to go into medical school without knowing what a Tibia is! (Hint: it’s one of the two bones that make up your lower legs).
There are, however, some degree programmes that will make sure you are extra well-equipped for Medical School in the U.S. These degrees, that largely relate to medical care, health, and treatment will help you once you’re preparing to become a doctor. So, to better prepare for your career saving lives, you’ll want to check out these 5 disciplines to study beforehand.
1. Bachelors in Biology
That’s an obvious one. Studying Biology means understanding how life-systems interact, and the science of it is both deeply fascinating and immensely important for doctors. Biology is everywhere in the medical field, and no matter which field you specialise in – surgery, brain science, or pulmonology – Biology will be a huge benefit to you.
2. Bachelors in Chemistry
Like Biology, Chemistry, too, allows you to understand the deeper properties and arrangement of matter (living or not). So, considering ever part of the human body has some form of chemical building-blocks, this will also be a good thing to understand before you go on to medical school.
How do medicines interact with the body? How do changes in temperature affect organisms? Every single day, one way or another, you’ll have to understand these aspects of chemistry to be a successful doctor.
3. Bachelors in Public Health
Now, this one may seem obvious; after all, it has ‘health’ in the name. But, actually, Public Health is more a discipline devoted to the Social Sciences, rather than the Medical Sciences.
The reason is that Public Health students are concerned with the health conditions in broader communities. This, therefore, entails understanding how social conditions affect our health, bodies, and life.
What impact do dietary customs have on life expectancy in the U.S.? What organisations are involved in regulating medicine? What are ongoing diseases that need to be controlled in and around the world? Having a good understanding of how these affect the health of a community or household will be extremely valuable if you plan to enter medical school.
4. Bachelors in Physics
Huh? Now that’s a new one. I never would’ve figured an Einstein or a Feynman going into Medicine. But, actually, it’s true that Physics can prepare you for Medical School. Especially when it comes time to take the MCAT.
Who do you think would be better in the Math-heavy “Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biology” section? The Biologist? No way. The physicists are much better at manipulating equations and working with calculations. Plus, several parts of understanding how chemical properties interact with our bodies at the cellular and molecular level require a sharp Physicist’s mind.
5. Bachelors in Humanities
Now how can studying Shakespeare help me become a doctor? But it's true! Remember what I said: you can theoretically study anything in the U.S., as long as you have good grades and pass the MCAT!
And, while it’s true that Chemists and Biologists may be more science-savvy in Medical School, some studies have shown that Humanities majors actually turn out to become “well-rounded, caring, inquisitive healers.” So, take that, people who scoff at English Majors!