Pre-Health & Pre-Graduate School

Students often ask advisors “What is the best major for getting into medical school?”

The answer? There is no “best major;” you should choose a major that is challenging enough to prepare you for medical school, but more importantly, one that you have a deep interest and passion for. There are also many factors outside of coursework—do you have volunteer or shadowing hours? Are you in a leadership position for an organization? Have you participated in some form of undergraduate research? Most students accepted into medical school can answer yes to these questions.

Pre-Health matriculation from Butler University
Pre-Health Matriculation from Butler University

When looking nationwide at medical school matriculation (students accepted and then enrolled at a medical school), there are many different undergraduate degrees and fields of study. But one thing remains the same: Biology majors consistently make up nearly 55% of all medical students nationwide. There are numerous routes to getting into medical school, but for many students across the country, Biology was the degree of choice.

When expanding beyond medical school and looking at all pre-health* students at Butler University, despite Biology majors making up less than 4 percent of the student body, almost half of students that end up attending a pre-health school after Butler University were Biology majors.

Would you like to know where our students attended pre-professional schooling? Please visit our Alumni Spotlight and Careers page.

Why do so many pre-health students choose Biology as their undergraduate major? Yes, students have an opportunity to take courses that are directly related to their future pre-health field, but they also get a chance to expand beyond courses that have a narrow focus on just human health. Many medicines come from plants (botany), many microbes are quite beneficial for us (microbial ecology), and many diseases follow specific inheritance patterns (transmission genetics). Additionally, students develop the critical thinking skills they will need to not only navigate their post-graduate schooling, but skills they will continue to use on a daily basis throughout their careers. Many alumni have praised Butler for how well their Biology degree prepared them for the rigors of coursework in professional school and for the careers they have in their respective medical fields.

If you are interested in a pre-health path, it is strongly encouraged that you visit the Pre-Health Advising pages and attend pre-health meetings/advising. The information below is meant simply as guidance, but understand that each professional school will have its own specific requirements; it is important to know that information before applying to the school.

  • One year Biological Sciences with lab
    • BI210, Genetics
    • BI220, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology with lab
    • BI325, Principles of Pathogenic Microbiology
    • BI438, Microbiology (Biology majors)
  • BI257, Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • BI307, Vertebrate Biology
  • BI323, Principles of Immunology
  • BI411, Principles of Physiology
  • BI430, Animal Development
  • BI434, Transmission Genetics
  • BI460, Cell and Molecular Neurobiology
  • One year Biological Sciences with lab
    • BI210, Genetics
    • BI220, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology with lab
    • BI325, Principles of Pathogenic Microbiology
    • BI438, Microbiology (Biology majors)
  • One Year Anatomy and Physiology
    • BI307, Vertebrate Biology (Human Anatomy equivalent)
    • BI411, Principles of Physiology (Human Physiology equivalent)
  • BI323, Principles of Immunology
  • BI460, Cell and Molecular Neurobiology
  • One year Biological Sciences with lab
    • BI210, Genetics
    • BI220, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • One Year Anatomy and Physiology
    • BI307, Vertebrate Biology (Human Anatomy equivalent)
    • BI411, Principles of Physiology (Human Physiology equivalent)
  • BI323, Principles of Immunology
  • BI460, Cell and Molecular Neurobiology
  • One year Biological Sciences with lab
    • BI210, Genetics
    • BI220, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology with lab
    • BI325, Principles of Pathogenic Microbiology
    • BI438, Microbiology (Biology majors)
  • One Year Anatomy and Physiology
    • BI307, Vertebrate Biology (Human Anatomy equivalent)
    • BI411, Principles of Physiology (Human Physiology equivalent)
  • BI323, Principles of Immunology
  • BI460, Cell and Molecular Neurobiology
  • BI105, Introductory Cell Biology or BI220, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • One Year Anatomy and Physiology
    • BI307, Vertebrate Biology (Human Anatomy equivalent)
    • BI411, Principles of Physiology (Human Physiology equivalent)

***Highly recommended to be Biology major

  • One year Biological Sciences with lab
    • BI210, Genetics
    • BI220, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • BI301, Principles of Zoology
  • BI320, Animal Behavior
  • Microbiology with lab
    • BI325, Principles of Pathogenic Microbiology
    • BI438, Microbiology (Biology majors)
  • Anatomy/Physiology
    • BI307, Vertebrate Biology
    • BI411, Principles of Physiology
  • BI323, Principles of Immunology
  • BI460, Cell and Molecular Neurobiology
  • BI430, Animal Development
Matriculants2017 Total Matriculants2018 Total Matriculants2019 Total Matriculants2020 Total Matriculants
Biological Sciences11,53411,84312,48412,845
Humanities888797780832
Math and Statistics162168163156
Other3,7893,8433,3713,391
Physical Sciences2,1822,2142,3552,240
Social Sciences2,2042,1071,9951,991
Specialized Health Sciences579650721784
All Matriculants21,33821,62221,86922,239
(Source AAMC PDF1PDF2PDF3PDF4)
Medical School Matriculation in the United States by Major