Plan Your Classes

For Trinity students, the order in which you take prehealth courses is up to you. Most students will begin with Chemistry and Math, then add Biology and then Physics.  Chemistry and Math are good introductions to logical thought and the development of study skills.  Biology is often added next, as many prehealth students will consider this as a possible major. The topics learned in Biology 201L and 202L may also directly apply to clinical experiences and research. Students who are not sure of their prehealth interests will often see how well they do in Biology before going on to Physics. However, prospective Physics, Biophysics or Chemistry majors should check websites of these majors and confer with these departments, as Physics classes should be scheduled earlier.  Psychology and sociology courses may be taken at any time.

Pratt students should follow the normal Pratt schedules and work in prehealth requirements whenever possible.  

Note that health professions school look very favorably on applicants who are older, wiser, more mature and who have more life experiences.  The median age of applicants accepted to medical schools at this time is about 24 years.  Currently about 70% of Duke students will apply to medical schools at the end of their senior year and then take a gap year to work, travel, teach, participate in health care, live independently and to take a break between going on to medical school.  

If you have entered Duke with many AP credits in math and science, you may be able to finish the required courses by the end of your junior year; in this case, it is possible for you to apply to medical or health professions schools in the summer between your junior and senior years.  If accepted, you would go directly into medical or other school after graduation.  However, this track is often not idea.  Squeezing prehealth courses into three years is difficult.  Majoring in Biology or other science adds additional courses and creates demanding course loads.   You will also need to find time for clinical experience, shadowing, community service and research before applying.  So consider all of your options, be open to using all four years to complete requirements, and realize that this might give you many more opportunities for achievement.  Gap years can also be extraordinarily rewarding.