Although a pre-medical program is not required to get into medical school, completing one can better prepare you for the competitive medical school admissions process. Pre-med programs include the prerequisite courses that medical schools typically require, which helps you prepare for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT. Students who live in Texas have several options for pre-medical programs.
North Texas Programs
Schools in northern Texas offering pre-medical programs include the University of North Texas and Texas Tech University. The pre-medical program at the University of North Texas allows students to complete any major, but it includes the courses that all medical schools in the state of Texas require of applicants. Since some medical schools vary in their requirements — for example, Baylor asks for eight hours of biology, but Texas Tech requires 14 hours — students are encouraged to work closely with an academic adviser to tailor the pre-medical program to their needs. Texas Tech University has both an undergraduate and a medical school, so pre-med students are often able to study with medical school professors, which may give them an advantage when they are ready to apply for medical school. Their pre-medical program is considered a designation, rather than a major, so students have to complete the requirements for both the program and the major.
South Texas Programs
Though there are fewer options in southern Texas, a couple of quality pre-medical programs are available. At Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, students are paired with an academic adviser who can create a program that prepares them for their specific career goals, such as occupational therapy or chiropractic care. Students are encouraged to meet with their adviser once a semester to create a program of study that does more than meet the minimum requirements for medical school admissions. Like many other schools, the pre-med program is one that focuses on advising, rather than on a list of requirements for a major. At the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, the pre-medical program is part of a partnership with Baylor College of Medicine, or BCM. Students who are accepted into the program receive conditional acceptance to BCM. Students must have exceptional grades and test scores to be admitted, and then they must major in either biology or chemistry. The program includes all the prerequisites for BCM. Students must maintain minimum grades and a strong MCAT score to gain full acceptance into BCM.
Eastern Texas Programs
In eastern Texas, Sam Houston State University in Huntsville has a pre-medical program that prepares students for admission to Texas medical schools. The school says that the program is best suited to students who plan to major in biology and minor in chemistry. However, students can major in any subject they like while completing the pre-medical program; they just may need to complete more than the typical 120 credit hours. Students in the pre-medical program also have the opportunity to begin medical school after their third year of undergraduate study through a partnership with the Universidad Autonóma de Guadalajara School of Medicine. At Texas A&M University in College Station, advisers work with students to determine their professional goals and evaluate their preparedness for medical school. Advisers then create a curriculum for students to meet medical school prerequisites and help them best prepare to take the MCAT. The school also provides opportunities for research and clinical experience and assistance with letters of recommendation and interviewing skills.
Central Texas Programs
Two well-known universities with pre-medical programs are in central Texas. At the University of Texas at Austin, students work with academic advisers to prepare for medical school and the MCAT, and they have opportunities for internships and volunteer experience in a clinical setting. Students can also join the pre-health honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta. At Baylor University in Waco, officials take a comprehensive approach to preparing students for medical school. Their pre-health advisory committee interviews each student in the program and provides an evaluation based on their grades, teacher ratings, academic record and personal record, and then provides feedback to help them improve their application, including tailoring their academic curriculum.
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.