There are currently 133 medical schools in the United States, but according to Dartmouth College only 17 of them actually require calculus as part of the curriculum. These include Dartmouth, Brown, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Duke, Texas A&M, UC Irvine and Uniformed Services. Most medical colleges require or recommend statistics, and a few schools recommend a biostatistics course.
Medical School Requirements
There is no general premedical degree; students planning to apply to medical school can complete a bachelor's degree in any major as long as certain requirements are met. Premedical students take one year each of general biology, physics, math, general chemistry and organic chemistry, and generally decide to major in a science like biology, physics or chemistry due to the amount of work in the sciences required to get into medical school. While all medical schools generally require some kind of math, only 1/5 of all medical schools require calculus, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC).
Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The MCAT is a very important test for premedical students. All U.S. medical schools require good MCAT scores for admission. The test covers four areas: physics, biology, chemistry and verbal reasoning. It does not cover mathematics, but many colleges require calculus as a prerequisite for physics courses. In order to take calculus, students must have taken and passed several other courses like advanced algebra and trigonometry successfully.
Calculus is Recommended
While calculus is not required by many medical colleges for admission, the AAMC reported that 90 percent of students admitted to medical schools in 1997 had taken calculus. Most of these students completed calculus because it was a requirement for their undergraduate coursework, not based upon whether medical schools required it or not. Calculus could make a medical school application more competitive; Dr. Lloyd Parker, professor of chemistry at Emory University, states "Most medical schools do not require calculus or math, but a calculus course will strengthen your record if you do well in it."
Why Take Calculus?
Take calculus if the medical school you are applying to requires it, if your chosen major requires it or is a prerequisite for a required course. Calculus should also be taken in preparation for medical school if you can pass it successfully. Standing out from the crowd is also important, as getting into medical school is highly competitive, so taking calculus in order to make make your medical school application more competitive is a good idea.
Aunice Reed is a medical science writer living in Los Angeles, Calif. With over 10 years previous nursing experience, Reed has been writing for over six years and has attended University of Northern Iowa, University of California, Los Angeles and Los Angeles Harbor College.