Required courses and their prerequisites

The requirements for four-year doctoral programs in many healthcare professions, including medicine and dentistry, are similar, and are standardized across most professional schools. At NYU's Washington Square campus, students should plan to take the following courses, regardless of their undergraduate school affiliation:

Course No.


Course Title



  General Chemistry I & Lab
  MATH-UA 9 (or calculus ready)
  General Chemistry II & Lab
  CHEM-UA 125
  Principles of Biology I
  CHEM-UA 125 (pre- or co-requisite)
  Principles of Biology II
  BIOL-UA 11 or permission, CHEM-UA 126 (pre- or co-requisite)
BIOL-UA 123 †
  Principles of Biology Lab
  BIOL-UA 11 or permission
  Organic Chemistry I & Lab
  CHEM-UA 126
  Organic Chemistry II & Lab
  CHEM-UA 225

*one of the following

BIOL-GA 1045^


Biochemistry I

Protein Biochemistry




PHYS-UA 11 ‡
  General Physics I
  MATH-UA 121
PHYS-UA 12 ‡
  General Physics II
  PHYS-UA 11
  Calculus I (or AP Calculus)
  Writing the Essay
  English Elective
*1-2 Social/Behavioral
science courses
  Varied (see below; consult with your advisor)

*These courses are strongly recommended for all students preparing to take the MCAT exam.

^Biology majors should consult with their departmental advisers about taking BIOL-GA 1045 (Protein Biochemistry), as it satisfies a requirement for the biology major, whereas CHEM-UA 881 does not.

†Biology majors are not required to take Principles of Biology Lab (BIOL-UA 123).

‡Physics majors must take the "majors only" Physics I-II-III (PHYS-UA 91, PHYS-UA 93, PHYS-UA 95) and Labs I-II-III (PHYS-UA 71, PHYS-UA 72, PHYS-UA 73) - not General Physics I and II (PHYS-UA 11-12).

These courses are the minimum requirements for admission to most medical and dental programs. Some schools may require additional courses, particularly in mathematics and/or biochemistry. You should familiarize yourself with the requirements for those schools to which you think you may apply. The best source for this information for MD programs is the AAMC publication "Medical Schools Admissions Requirements" (MSAR). For DO programs, consult AACOM's College Information Book, and for dental programs, consult the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools. The specific prehealth requirements outlined above must be completed before you matriculate into medical or dental school. Since entrance exams (MCAT, DAT) will test information presented in this basic coursework, students are advised to complete the relevant courses before sitting for entrance exams. 

Course Sequencing

As a general rule of thumb, all CAS prehealth students will take General Chemistry (plus labs), Calculus I (if no AP credit), and Writing the Essay as freshmen, regardless of their intended major. Potential Biology and Neural Science majors should take Principles of Biology during the first year in addition to General Chemistry. Students must take General Chemistry either before or concurrently with Principles of Biology.

After the first year, non-science majors traditionally take Principles of Biology as sophomores, along with either Organic Chemistry or General Physics, because medical and other schools prefer applicants who take at least one year of “double science.” Remaining prehealth requirements will be completed in the junior and senior years.

In addition to these prehealth courses, you will also need to complete all the requirements for your Bachelor's degree. Consult with your general advisor and/or a major advisor to be sure that you understand your basic degree requirements and major requirements.

Policy on School of Engineering Courses: A Note to CAS Students

CAS students are not permitted to take Tandon substitute courses for General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, or Biochemistry as part of the prehealth or any major curriculum. Students may seek prior permission from the director of undergraduate studies in a relevant science department at CAS to take advanced electives in the School of Engineering and apply them to the major. This is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Advanced standing credits (AP, IB, and others)

At CAS, most students who earn a 4 or 5 on an AP exam, 6 or 7 on an IB higher level exam, or high scores on other exams (A-levels, etc.) may be eligible to earn credits toward the NYU degree. However, although some health professional schools do accept test credits to satisfy admissions requirements, many do not. For this reason, and because students tend to do much better in upper-level coursework when they have taken the foundational sciences here at NYU, the Preprofessional Advising Center strongly recommends that prehealth students plan to forfeit AP credit for science exams (biology, chemistry, and physics), specifically, and take the introductory coursework here at NYU. For students in science majors, this is especially important, as most science departments will not accept AP credit to substitute for introductory coursework taken at NYU. Please consult with your general advisor to discuss your AP credits and your plans to repeat coursework, if applicable. 

AP Calculus

Most medical programs do not have a specific mathematics requirement, though some schools require one or two semesters of mathematics taken at the college level. Most programs will accept AP or other test credit for calculus, but students who plan to apply to programs which specifically require a semester of calculus taken at the college level can choose to either forfeit their test credits and repeat the coursework at NYU, or take the next level calculus class available. For students who have test credits for calculus but need to take a semester of mathematics (non-calculus-specific), we recommend enrolling in an appropriate statistics course at NYU. An understanding of statistics will be helpful for MCAT preparation and may be required for select medical and dental schools.

English or writing coursework

Nearly all schools of the health professions require at least two semesters of English composition. These programs expect applicants to demonstrate competency in grammar and composition, as well as comprehension and analysis of dense written material. As noted above, most CAS students will take Writing the Essay (EXPOS-UA 1) and an elective course in either the Expository Writing program (EXPOS-UA) or a non-majors course from the English department (ENGL-UA 1). Each semester, the English department lists its course offerings on its website, and specifically designates a list of courses that are appropriate for non-majors. Descriptions of Expository Writing electives can be found here. The Preprofessional Advising Center strongly encourages prehealth students to take a second English or writing elective from one of these two departments, because their courses are most likely to be legible to health professions admissions personnel. We recognize that students are responsible for reporting their own coursework to application services, and note that courses in other departments can be classified as English coursework, but encourage students who plan to use courses offered in departments other than English or Expository Writing to keep copies of graded work and syllabi for these courses, in case verification of the course content is needed during the admissions process. 

Students in Liberal Studies, Steinhardt, Stern, members of NYU's Opportunity Programs, and any other students who are required to take two semesters of writing coursework as part of their programs should note that this course sequence can satisfy professional schools' requirements. These students are encouraged to consider further writing-based coursework on an elective basis, if they have space in their schedules, but they are not required to plan for a third writing-based course. 

Social science coursework

Students who plan to take the MCAT as part of their preparation to apply to medical schools are advised to plan to take at least two courses in behavioral/ social sciences, since a broad range of social science topics are tested on that exam. The Preprofessional Advising Center strongly recommends Introduction to Psychology (PSYCH-UA 1) as an individual-level social science course, and recommend that students choose a second course focused on population-level topics. Appropriate courses include Introduction to Sociology (SOC-UA 1), Sociology of Medicine (SOC-UA 414), or Health & Society in a Global Context (UGPH-GU 10). In addition to coursework, students may use the AAMC's MCAT preparation resources as well as free resources like Khan Academy's MCAT tools and the MedEd Portal, to study social science topics for the MCAT.

Advanced science coursework

The science courses described at the top of this page represent the minimum requirements for admission to medical and dental programs. Students are encouraged to build upon this foundational curriculum and choose advanced science electives, with the help of prehealth and major advisors, to demonstrate competency in higher-level coursework. A second semester of biochemistry is recommended wherever possible, and students who wish to take Biochemistry II (CHEM-UA 882; offered only in the spring term) should note that Biochemistry I (CHEM-UA 881) is its prerequisite. Advanced electives in the biology department most typically require at least Molecular and Cell Biology I (BIOL-UA 21) and sometimes Molecular and Cell Biology II (BIOL-UA 22) as prerequisites; students interested in advanced courses in biology should take these prerequisites into account, as they cannot be waived.