Allopathic Medicine

What does an allopathic physician do?

The allopathic medical degree is the traditional medical degree, and these physicians can take patient histories, order laboratory tests, read x-rays, diagnose illness or the extent of an injury, and prescribe medications. They have also completed hands-on training in an area of specialty that gives them license to perform a variety of tasks specific to their residency or fellowship training (i.e., surgery). Allopathic physicians can do a residency in any medical specialty that they choose (and get accepted into) such as family practice, cardiothoracic surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics, etc.

How long will it take to obtain a degree in allopathic medicine, and what is the curriculum like?

It takes four years to obtain a degree in allopathic medicine. In a typical allopathic medical school, the first two years are spent on basic science - gross anatomy, neuroscience, histology, biochemistry, etc. In the third and fourth years, students complete clinical rotations in a hospital or family practice setting to get supervised hands-on work with patients. After graduation from medical school, residency begins and varies from 3-7 years depending on the specialty field chosen.

Pre-Health Advisor

Matthew Collier, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
BDK Science Center 207
(937) 327-6395

What tests will I need to take to become a licensed allopathic physician?

The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three step test that medical students are required to pass throughout their medical education. Step 1 assesses the basic scientific concepts that are related to health, disease and the modes of therapy commonly used by a practicing physician. It is taken during the second year of medical school. Step 2 is typically taken in the fourth year of medical school and has two basic parts: clinical knowledge and clinical skills. This test assures that the medical student is competent to practice medicine while under supervision (internship) and concentrates both on health promotion and disease prevention. Step 3 of the USMLE is the final assessment of a physician's ability to care for patients independently and is taken at the end of the first year of internship before starting the residency. Following residency, allopathic physicians take licensure examinations from the board that oversees their particular specialty.

What courses should I take at Wittenberg to prepare for allopathic medical school?

Medical schools generally require:

  • 1 year of General Biology (170 and 180)
  • 1 year of General Chemistry (121 and 162)
  • 1 year of Organic Chemistry (201 and 302
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry (271)
  • 1 year of Physics (201 and 202 or 280)
  • 1 year of Mathematics (one semester of Calculus, Math 201 or Math 131; and one semester of statistics, Math 131 and one semester of statistics, DATA 227)
  • 1 year English (101 and another English A course)
  • 1 semester of Psychology (PSYC 101)
  • 1 semester of Sociology (101)

While the above prerequisites apply to most medical schools, some schools add their own requirements. Be sure to check the schools that you are interested in applying to for other required coursework, such as:

  • 1 semester of Biochemistry II with laboratory (372)
  • 1 additional semester of Behavioral and/or Social Science (Wittenberg's S courses; Psychology and Sociology in particular)
  • 1-2 semesters of Humanities (Wittenberg's A or R courses)

What major should I pursue at Wittenberg if I am interested in allopathic medicine?

You can choose any of Wittenberg's 20+ majors as long as you take the prerequisite courses required by the schools to which you apply. Up to 40% of all students matriculating to medical schools are non-science majors, so it is certainly possible to major in something outside of Biology, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, or Chemistry. As far as allopathic schools are concerned, they do not put much emphasis on whether you graduate with a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree - that choice is yours. Look at the prerequisite requirements for the schools that you are interested in and the degree requirements for your major to determine which degree is the best match for you.

Do I need to have medically related hours when applying to allopathic medical schools?

Yes. While most medical programs do not have specific minimum requirements for number of paid or volunteer hours spent with a physician or members of a medical team, they do appreciate your consistent efforts to gain a more hands-on experience with the medical field. Volunteering for 2-3 hours each week during the semester demonstrates to the schools your loyalty and commitment to the profession at a time when they know you are already busy. In addition, students interested in medical school may choose to interview with the Pre-Health Professions Committee. This process requires you to have 100 medically related hours at the time of the interview in the spring of your junior or senior year. Stories that you can relate from these experiences can vastly improve your interview performance.

Is it important that I participate in extracurricular activities while at Wittenberg?

Yes. While the schools do not require a specific number of extracurricular activities or leadership positions, they look for both in your application materials. They consider how many years you spent with each organization and how involved you appear to be with each one (e.g., leadership roles). The schools use your experiences in this area to better understand your ability to socially interact with others, your leadership potential, and your time management skills. They seek to recruit well-rounded individuals who can successfully balance a heavy academic load with medically related experience and extracurricular activities. If successful, they infer that you will rise to the challenge of their academic program when you have fewer non-academic commitments.

How can I locate the allopathic program that is best for me?

Start early. Identify 5-8 schools of potential interest before registering for classes in the spring of your SOPHOMORE YEAR. The courses listed above are common to many allopathic schools, but there may be additional requirements for the schools you are interested in. It is best to know about those requirements while you still have room in your schedule to fulfill them.

Do research. Go to the schools' websites and make a table of courses required, average GPA of their incoming class, and number of hours in a medical setting (if any). These will give you some idea of where you need to be academically when you graduate from Wittenberg, and the courses you need to take inside your major and in the general education program to make you a good candidate for that particular set of schools. Schools consider both your science GPA and your cumulative GPA, so it is not wise to prioritize your grades in science courses over those taken for your general education requirements.

Summarize your findings. Create a sample table of school information assuming all require general biology and general chemistry. Add a column for each different course as you encounter them as prerequisites at your schools of interest.

 Human A&PBiochemNutritionPsychSociO Chem IAverage GPAMedical hours 
School 1XX X X  
School 2XXX XX  
School 3X  X X  

Evaluate your findings. Match your cumulative GPA with the averages for the last incoming class at each school. Read all web pages for hospitals/medical centers that have a specialty that interests you. Look for data that report on the percentage of students that have passed the board exams.

Always apply to the schools in the state where your parents are living and paying taxes. You have the best chance to get into the public schools in that state, and the tuition at your in-state school is much less than at a private or out-of-state public school. Apply to multiple schools in your home state, if possible. If your parents live in Indiana, you should definitely apply to the Indiana medical schools. Indiana residents who lived in Ohio for 4 years while attending Wittenberg get no preference from Ohio medical schools. When choosing to apply to schools outside of your home state, choose schools that accept at least 30% out-of-state students, which are usually private schools. This ensures that you at least have a chance to be interviewed. In most cases, it is difficult to get into a state school that is not located in your home state. Apply mainly to private schools outside of your home state. Consider applying to between 5 and 12 schools.

Which schools are best for me to apply to outside of my home state?

Your best chance of getting into allopathic medical schools outside your state of residence is to apply to schools with relatively high out of state acceptance rates (>30%). These include:

  • Albany Medical College
  • Albert Einstein
  • Boston University
  • Brown University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Creighton University
  • Dartmouth University
  • Duke University
  • Eastern Virginia University
  • Emory University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Howard University
  • Jefferson Medical College
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Loma Linda University
  • Loyola University
  • Mayo Medical School
  • Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Meharry Medical College
  • Mount Sinai
  • New York Medical College
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oregon Health Sciences University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • St. Louis University
  • Stanford University
  • Tufts University
  • Tulane University
  • Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Vermont
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington University (St. Louis)
  • Yale University

How and when should I apply to allopathic schools?

  • Consider going through the Pre-Health Professions Committee in your junior year (if you want to go directly to medical school after graduation) or senior year (if you want to take a year off after graduation before matriculating to a medical school) to get a thorough evaluation of your potential for medical school and a committee letter of evaluation written to be sent on your behalf to the medical schools. Medical schools typically expect these committee letters from their applicants, especially if you are a current college student or recent graduate, but students with strong credentials can get accepted without participating in this interview process.
  • Take the MCAT in the spring or summer of that same year. The strong preference would be to take the MCAT in late spring or early summer so that you know your scores before you choose the schools to which you should apply, and it gives you the opportunity to retake the MCAT during the application cycle should that be necessary.
  • Apply to the allopathic medical schools of your choice using AMCAS during July of that summer, even if you plan to re-take the MCAT. Details provided below.
  • Wait to receive secondary applications from your target medical schools, and return the completed forms to the schools as quickly as possible. If you chose to use the committee interview process, contact the pre-health advisor and give her an envelope addressed to the medical school (neatly) with two stamps affixed to it and your name written on the inside flap. The return address should be Dr. Pederson's business address. This envelope will be used to mail your committee letter of evaluation to the medical school.
  • Wait to receive interview invitations from your target allopathic schools.
  • Wait for the results of your application after the interview to find out if you have been accepted, wait listed, or rejected by that particular school.
  • You are at a disadvantage if you opt to take the MCAT late or submit your materials late in the cycle - applications are often considered as they arrive, not after the deadline. Complete and send your materials in a timely manner.

Read the materials about each school in the Medical School Admission Requirements: United States and Canada published by the Association of American Medical Colleges at Copies of this can be found in the Pre-Health Advisor's office (Science 217) and in the Biology Office (Science 222).

What is the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)?

The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice examination designed to help admission committees predict which of their applicants will perform adequately in the medical school curriculum. The MCAT is now available more than 20 times per year, but should be taken in the spring or summer of your junior year if you plan to go directly to medical school after graduating from Wittenberg, or spring or summer of your senior year if you plan to take a year off between graduation and matriculation into medical school. The MCAT assesses scientific problem solving, critical thinking, and writing skills. In addition, it explores the student's understanding of scientific concepts and principles that are necessary to the study of medicine. Because this is a content based test, you should have taken General Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Math, and Physics prior to taking this examination.

The four parts of the MCAT are:

  • Verbal Reasoning: You will be given a series of passages that test your ability to comprehend, reason, and think critically. The passages vary widely in their content, but are usually esoteric.
  • Physical Sciences: You will be given a series of passages related to Physics and General Chemistry which will require you to problem solve and apply your basic knowledge of these areas.
  • Writing Sample: You will be given two prompts (subject matter varies widely), each of which has a topic statement and directions for three writing tasks. You must explain or interpret the topic statement and then follow the directions provided for the second and third tasks according to prompt you received.
  • Biological Sciences: You will be given a series of passages related to General Biology and Organic Chemistry which require you to apply your general knowledge in these areas to the text.

Sample questions for the multiple choice sections and prompts for the writing sample are available on the MCAT website (

Do I need to go through the Pre-Health Professions Committee when applying?

While not required, students are encouraged to go through this interview process. Most medical schools prefer its applicants to have a composite letter of evaluation like the one generated by the Pre-Health Professions Committee, although some students with strong credentials have been accepted to medical school without participating in this process. The general prerequisites for going through the committee process are:

  1. 100 hours of health related experience
  2. Cumulative grade point average > 2.80
  3. Junior, senior, or alumni status

More information about the committee process can be found on the Pre-Health committee webpage.

Do I need to coordinate my applications through a service?

Yes. The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS, is a nonprofit, centralized service to facilitate the process of applying to participating allopathic medical schools. AMCAS benefits the applicant by collecting, coordinating, and processing all transcripts and other application materials for the medical schools. Most of these schools will not allow direct applications - you must use AMCAS (Texas medical schools use their own service. Go to for details). The applicant completes the AMCAS application, and AMCAS will send copies of your application to each medical school you specified on the application.

Do you have any tips for preparing an attractive application?

Filling out applications for these professional schools can be difficult and tedious, but require your best effort. Applications must be filled out completely and correctly or they will be returned to you. Having your application returned for further information delays contact with the admissions offices of your target schools. Pay particular attention to the required one page personal statement. If you chose to participate in the committee interview process, you have already received formal feedback - be sure to revise your personal statement essay! Have someone else assess your essay (i.e. Career Center staff, Writing Center, etc.) after your revision. Remember that you are trying to sell yourself to an admissions committee. Irrelevant details, poor sentence and paragraph structure, incorrect grammar, misspelling, typographical errors, etc. detract from the image you wish to create as their ideal candidate.

Which allopathic medical schools have Wittenberg students been accepted to in the last 10 years?

  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Dartmouth University
  • Drexel University
  • Indiana University
  • Loyola University
  • Marshall University
  • Medical College of Pennsylvania
  • Medical University of Ohio
  • Northeastern Ohio University
  • Northwestern University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Oregon Health Sciences
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Rosalind Franklin University
  • Ross University
  • Rush University
  • St. George's University
  • University of Amsterdam
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Edinburg
  • University of Health Sciences
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Washington
  • University of Zagreb
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Wayne State University
  • Wright State University

What are some of the allopathic medical programs in this geographical area?

 AverageAverage MCAT
Case Western Reserve3.610.610.610.6
University of Cincinnati3.459.79.99.4
Medical College of Ohio3.69.59.610.0
Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine3.408.89.19.4
Ohio State University3.6510.410.510.1
Wright State University3.498.18.88.5
Michigan State UniversityNA8.69.19.7
University of Michigan3.7111110
Wayne State University3.
Indiana University3.669.59.79.8
University of Chicago3.639.810.410.6
Rosalind Franklin University3.42999
University of Illinois at Chicago3.419.29.39.3
Loyola University at Chicago3.629.49.49.4
Northwestern University3.6910.410.811.0
Rush Medical School3.519.49.19.6
Southern Illinois University3.458.79.19.5
New York
Albany Medical3.509.810.29.8
Albert Einstein3.6410.91010
Mt. Sinai3.6610.810.810.8
New York Medical College3.5010.010.010.0
New York University3.50111110
University of Rochester3.6710.110.510.6
SUNY at Brooklyn3.5710.110.18.6
SUNY at Buffalo3.549.59.59.5
SUNY at Stony Brook/td>3.65101011
SUNY at Syracuse3.50999
Drexel University3.44NANANA
Jefferson Medical College3.5110.310.310.3
Pennsylvania State University3.6210.010.010.0
Temple University3.5010910
University of Pennsylvania3.7811.411.411.4
University of Pittsburgh3.7010.910.910.9
Other Prestigious Schools

These numbers come mainly from the Medical School Admissions Requirements.

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