Physicians diagnose illnesses and prescribe and administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease. They examine patients, obtain medical histories, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare.

There are two types of physicians: The Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). M.D.’s also are known as allopathic physicians. While both M.D.’s and D.O.’s may use all accepted methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, D.O.’s place special emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic patient care. Primary care physicians practice general and family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics and usually are the first health professionals patients consult. Common specialties for D.O.’s include emergency medicine, anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and surgery. This health profession description is from the U.S. Department of Labor occupational outlook handbook

Candidates are required to Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. college or university and must take the following prerequisite courses:

  • English and Writing (2 semesters)
  • Biology with labs (2 semesters)
  • Chemistry with labs (4 semesters)
  • Physics with labs (2 semesters)
  • Math - Courses vary depending on the school (2 semesters) 
  • Behavioral Sciences- Psychology & Sociology (2 semesters) Recommended for MCAT preparation, there is a Behavioral Science section on the exam.

 For a detailed list of the courses and other recommended courses, please refer to the student guide

Some schools' course requirements may vary, so reference the specific college you wish to apply to. We also recommend students refer to the Medical School Admissions Requirements (MSAR) book, which is updated annually for additional resources. 

A career as a health professional requires preparation. Building an individual development plan helps students outline their courses, leadership, clinical and non-clinical activities, and research experience. These are all necessary components for a competitive portfolio. 


Attend Pre-Health Information Sessions 

 Students are encouraged to visit the Pre-Health Advising Office and

Attend a 101 pre-health information session during your first year at UM to learn more about your track and open a pre-health file. Once you are coded, you will gain access to the prehealth blackboard page. 

Academic Performance 

Establish good study habits and skills. Students must demonstrate academic ability in the form of a strong science and cumulative GPA. 

Clinical & Shadowing Experience 

Getting first-hand experience in a clinical setting is essential in solidifying your decision. Through shadowing healthcare practitioners and actively interacting or serving patients, you will gain meaningful insight into all aspects of the healthcare profession.

 Ideally, you should shadow a minimum of three (3) professionals for forty (40) hours each. The best way to get involved is by joining a pre-health student organization, contacting local physicians, local hospital human resources, or volunteer offices.

Summer Enrichment Program 

Several medical schools offer summer enrichment programs where potential applicants can strengthen their preparation. They typically offer academic coursework in areas related to the professional school curriculum. Some offer test preparation, clinical or research opportunities, and may have links for direct admission into their respective programs.

Students from underrepresented groups should visit the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) website

Research Experience 

Research involvement will provide you first-hand experience in the role and methodology of research in medicine, even if your goal is clinical practice. If you are seriously considering a joint Ph.D. with the M.D., degree, you must gain significant research experience as an undergraduate. UM students are fortunate to have numerous opportunities for research on the Coral Gables campus, at RSMAS, and on the medical campus. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists in matching students with an appropriate mentor and project. Visit them at or at their office in Ungar 101.

UConnect is a student organization promoting undergraduate research and is a great resource in connecting with research opportunities.

Additionally, some students may contact individual professors regarding their research and ask if they can volunteer in their lab(s).

Extra-curricular Involvement 

Your level of participation in activities, both on- and off-campus, is more important to professional schools than the number of organizations you join. Some of the characteristics that admissions committees are looking for in applicants include compassion, commitment, leadership, responsibility, and overall well-rounded individuals. A good way to develop strong interpersonal skills is by stepping out of your comfort zone. 

Activities of interest to pre-health students include service groups, cultural and academic clubs and organizations, employment, and athletics. For information on the various pre-health clubs, please visit our Pre-Health Student Clubs tab on our website or the Student Activities Center Engage website at

The UM Butler for Service & Leadership offers a wide range of volunteer and advocacy-based service and leadership opportunity programs and initiatives for the UM community. For more information, please, visit their website:

Cultivating Evaluation Letters It is important to establish and maintain good relationships with your faculty members, instructors, supervisors, and health professionals during your academic career. As you engage on and off-campus, remember the following:
  • Be genuine.
  • Display good moral conduct and characteristics.
  • Demonstrate interest in the course subject, activity, discussion, assignment, labs, etc.
  • Ask questions and visit during office hours.
  • Stay in touch, keep them up to date with your progress and achievements towards your professional goals.

MCAT (Junior Year) 

Most candidates take the MCAT during the winter break of their junior year or between spring or summer of the junior year.  However, candidates who elect to take a gap year may take the exam during their senior year. 

MCAT scores are generally valid for up to 3 years, we recommend you reference the Medical School Admissions Requirements for each specific school application policies and procedures. 

Letters of Recommendations (Junior-Senior Year)

Request letters of recommendation at 2-3 months BEFORE June when the AMCAS application portal opens for submission. 

For a Committee Letter Packet, 6 letters of recommendation are required. For additional details on the specific letter types, please refer to the student guide

Preparation is Key (December - January)

Do your research, create a list of schools you are interested in applying to which should include the median  MCATs and GPAs relevant to your own stats. 

Jot down ideas for your personal statement essay, compile a list of all of your activities (shadowing, research, volunteer, community service, leadership, internship activities). We recommend you write down the details for each activity and have the contact person's name and contact information for your records.  

Committee Letter Interview (February 1 - May 20, 2022)  Students who wish to request a committee letter packet from the Office of Pre-Health Advising and Mentoring should schedule and conduct their interviews before May 20, 2022. No interviews will be scheduled or granted beyond this point. For more detailed information about the process and requirements, please refer to the student guide
Complete Application (April-May)

For candidates applying for the current application cycle (2023). Create an account on the respective application portal(s):

AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service) -used by medical doctor schools

AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service- used for Doctor of Osteopathy medical schools

TMDSAS (Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service) used for schools in Texas

Submit Primary Applications (June-July)

Once you have completed your application in its entirety, submit your primary application so they can begin the verification process, which can take up to 3-4 weeks. 

Once you have submitted your application, follow the Letter Request Procedures outlined in the student guide book on page 21.

Secondaries (July- August) 

Some schools will begin to send secondaries once your application is verified. Aim to complete your secondaries within 2 weeks from the date you receive them. 

* Remember to set your notifications and check your email from any additional requests you may receive from the application portals. 

Finalize Your Applications (September-October)

This is the optimal time to complete and finalize your application (submit primary, secondary, LORs, MCAT). Most schools will begin sending invitations and conducting interviews at this time.

September 1, 2022- Last day to submit your request to the Office of Pre-Health Advising in order to be added to the Queue for Submission for a committee letter packet. 

Interviews and Acceptances (November-December)  Prepare and plan accordingly for interviews, notify your professors in advance of any classes you may miss due to medical school interviews, discuss options for makeup assignments or exams (this is up to the professor's discretion).

Consider Final Acceptances (Senior Spring Semester)


Assess all offers of admissions and review financial aid options and opportunities. Narrow your acceptance to your top 3 choices. 

Make sure to adhere to important deadlines.   

(April- May) 

The next step in your medical career begins now. Complete the "Plan to Enroll" or "Commit to Enroll" section on your application portal(s) and complete any necessary paperwork and deposits. 

Job well done!