A doctor of obstetrics and gynecology -- often referred to as an “OB/GYN” -- is a medical doctor who specializes in women’s sexual and reproductive health. An obstetrician will see a pregnant woman through the duration of her pregnancy and will deliver her baby. A gynecologist deals with a woman's reproductive system, but does not deliver babies. An OB/GYN does both. High school students who wish to pursue a career in obstetrics and gynecology should take science courses, as well as other courses.
Science and Mathematics Courses
High schools students can prepare for obstetrics and gynecology by taking science and math courses to prepare for the rigorous pre-med college curriculum. Undergraduate coursework includes courses organic and inorganic chemistry, biochemistry, biology and physics. High school seniors should enroll in chemistry and biology at their high school to provide them with a sound science foundation. If advanced placement science courses are available, high school students should enroll in AP courses. Although not all medical schools and colleges have a mathematics requirement, some schools require statistics or calculus, so high school students should take statistics, pre-calculus or calculus.
The American Medical Association recommends that students maintain strong grades in other courses so that students attain a well-rounded education. For example, excelling in humanities courses, such as English and history, will give students strong reading, writing and analytical skills, which will strengthen an aspiring doctor’s overall communication skills. Classes that focus on the human body, such as health courses, will also benefit an aspiring OB/GYN.
Similar to writing and literature classes, art courses will give students a foundation in anatomy. Drawing and sculpture classes will help students understand female anatomy, as they will be recreating the body with charcoal or clay, for example. When taken in conjunction with science classes, these will give students a nuanced background in understanding how the human body works.
Volunteering and Summer Courses
Gaining exposure to the medical field -- specifically to obstetrics and gynecology -- enables high school students to determine whether becoming an OB/GYN is right for them. Some universities, such as Georgetown University in Washington D.C., offer summer medical classes. Students enrolled in Georgetown’s medical institute will learn about anatomy and surgery, among other topics. Students will also perform dissections, take blood pressure and learn how to operate an ultrasound machine. Additionally, high school students can volunteer at local hospitals so that they will be exposed to what OB/GYNs do and will learn about patient care.
- University of Texas Southwestern: Medical School Obstetrics and Gynecology
- American Medical Association: Preparing for Medical School
- Indian University: Preparing For Medical School
- Georgetown University: Summer Programs for High School Students
- Chicago Tribune: Humanities Courses Help Aspiring Doctors
- New York Presbyterian: Volunteer Opportunities
Kelly Chester is an educator and writer who has worked in both public and private schools for almost a decade. Her areas of expertise include literature, writing, history and art for adolescents. In addition to writing reports for NYSAIS, she has also written a biography on artist Frank Covino, which was published in the anthology “Teaching Lives.”