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Articles / Majors & Careers / Best Pre-Med Schools

Best Pre-Med Schools

Written by Sam Jaquez | Aug. 6, 2021
College Hall, College Green, University of Pennsylvania Photo by Scott Spitzer, University Communications College Hall, completed in 1873, was the first building constructed on UPenn's present site. It contains the offices of the President, Provost, and Undergraduate Admissions, as well as classrooms. UPenn is our pick for the best undergraduate pre-med program.

10 Best Colleges for Pre-Med

What is Pre-Med?

Pre-med is a term used by students to signify that they plan on majoring in a subject to prepare for medical school. There is no single designated pre-med major. 

There are many majors that prepare students medical schools, including biology, chemistry, biochemistry, and physics. 

Many colleges have a pre-med program to support students who plan on applying to med school after they graduate with an undergraduate degree.  Such schools prepare students by providing proper research opportunities, clinical experience, MCAT preparations, and more.

While you can major in any subject, it is important to pick a program or school that provides great prerequisite courses, opportunities to prepare for the MCAT, and support applying to med schools. 

10 Best Pre-Med Colleges

  1. University of Pennsylvania
  2. Harvard University
  3. University of Washington
  4. Boston University
  5. Johns Hopkins University
  6. University of Chicago
  7. Northwestern University
  8. Rice University
  9. Smith College
  10. Hawaii Pacific University

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania has one of the best medical schools in the United States. With such a prestigious medical school, the university also provides the best preparation for its pre-med students. 

UPenn prepares students for medical school with their pre-med curriculum which consists of a series of science and English classes. The university emphasizes that students can major in any subject and still fulfill all of the pre-med curriculum requirements.

Some majors such as the bioengineering program have a pre-med focus that ensures the student fulfills all pre-med requirements through the major. Students can find direct guidance and assistance through the pre-Health non-degree program which provides tailored training, courses, and opportunities.

Learn more about Penn's pre-health programs below.


At Harvard, students are provided with a world-class education by award-winning professors. 17% of each incoming class of students will apply to medical school. 

Harvard does not have a designated pre-med concentration but prepares students by carefully outlining medical school requirements with students. The university has many resources available for pre-med student including pre-med advising, peer liaisons, pre-med tutors, and science advisors.

The Harvard Premedical Society is a student-run organization that provides a variety of opportunities and resources for pre-med students. Pre-med students can also find relevant mentorship and research opportunities through HPS. 

Harvard is a great option for independent students who want to have many options as a pre-med student. While going to Harvard as a pre-med student will afford unique opportunities, it is important to keep yourself on-track. There is no formal program that will monitor your progress. 

University of Washington

The University of Washington pre-med program is the best public university for pre-med students. 

Through the UW’s pre-health program, students can find specific planning guides to help them prepare for med school. Pre-med students are encouraged to participate in professional shadowing of medical professionals during the undergrad preparation as well as taking part in leadership opportunities and research through the Undergraduate Research Program. 

The University of Washington is a great option for students who want a well-organized and highly guided pre-med program. 

Boston University

Boston University (BU) provides a unique pre-med experience with a very guided and hands-on approach to preparing students for medical school. 

The most popular educational pathways for pre-med students at BU are through the physical sciences (chemistry, biology, biochemistry, and physics) or psychology and anthropology. Other popular majors among pre-med students are behavioral health, human physiology, and engineering. 

The university provides pre-health advising where students can find clinical experiences, volunteer activities, internships, research, and even study abroad options. 

BU has a seven-year liberal arts/medical education program. Students can complete a bachelor’s degree in medical science through the College of Arts & Sciences and a Doctor of Medicine degree through the BU School of Medicine. 

Watch the video below for more on BU's pre-med program/

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is a top-rated research university with a highly ranked med school. As one of the best premed schools, the pre-med student community is large at JHU.

JHU’s pre-health program is designed for pre-med and other health-related pre-professional students. Pre-health provides students with excellent preparation for medical school through academic preparation, advising, research, and more.

The Johns Hopkins Underrepresented in Medical Professional (JUMP) program is one of the unique features of JHU. JUMP is a close-knit community for pre-health students who identify as underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities and/or first-generation and limited-income students. Through the program, students have access to additional workshops, advising, mentorships, and resources. 

University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is private research university ranked among the best national universities and best value schools. Each year, the University of Chicago admits around 150 students interested in medical school. 

Pre-health students are identified at orientation and provided Pre-Health 101 information sessions. In these sessions, the university helps them explore their educational and career goals to properly make plans and understand their educational pathway. 

Careers In Healthcare is UC’s four-year pre-professional program that provides students the resources and support to prepare for medical school and med-school applications.

Northwestern University

Located in Illinois, Northwestern University is one of the best pre-med colleges in both the Midwest region and in the United States. 

Through Health Professions Advising at the university, pre-med students can find the guidance and resources necessary to succeed in their majors and with any pre-med requirements. 

Northwestern is a great school for undergrad pre-med professional experiences. The university provides shadowing and clinical experiences that give a first-hand look at the daily life of a physician. NU also offers research experiences, opportunities to publish findings, and in-depth summer programs.

For college grads who did not complete any pre-med requisites that properly prepare students for the MCAT and for medical school applications, Northwestern has a Post Bacc Premedicine Certificate Program

Rice University

Rice University offers excellent preparation for undergraduate students interested in medical school. Around 40% of incoming undergrad students are interested in entering the medical field in some way. 

The university emphasizes that majoring in a natural science does not necessarily increase your chances of acceptance into medical school. Instead, the university recommends assessing what aspect of medicine you find interesting and then selecting a major that explores that topic. 

For pre-med students Rice provides pre-health advising through the Office of Academic Advising and even has the Rice Pre-Medical Society where students can find additional advising and resources. 

Smith College

Smith College is a small private liberal arts college in Northampton, Massachusetts. The university is ranked as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the US. As women’s college, Smith is a great school for students looking for support and opportunities for women in the medical field.

Smith’s Health Professions Advising supports students by offering academic advising for pre-med students, help building pre-med qualifications, exploring health professions, and applying to medical school. 

Smith provides a wide variety of experience opportunities for pre-med students. The university has many research programs, clinical experiences including shadowing and paid clinical work, and study abroad options.

Hawaii Pacific University

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) is ranked as one of the best regional western universities. It is also among the 40 best affordable pre-med programs in the United States. 

The Pre-Health Professions Program at HPU is a formal mentoring and advising system to help pre-med students by providing academic advice, degree progress tracking, career goal plans, enrichment activities, and more. 

The university also offers a minor in pre-medical studies for students of any major. The minor helps students prepare for the MCAT and other pre-med academic requirements.

Written by


Sam Jaquez

Sam is a freelance writer. She studied at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she earned a degree in English.

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