What Is the Best Pre-Med Major?

By Rebecca Safier · March 19, 2024 · 5 minute read

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What Is the Best Pre-Med Major?

If you think biology or chemistry is the best college major if you want to attend medical school, that’s not necessarily true. Getting into medical school is highly competitive, but you can typically choose any undergraduate major, as long as you meet medical school prerequisites.

The best pre-med major is whichever one aligns with your interests, goals, and aptitudes. It should also be one that won’t stand in the way of earning good grades, as a high GPA will improve your chances of getting accepted to medical school.

Here’s a closer look at the best majors for pre-med students so you can pick the field of study that’s the best fit for you.

What Is the Best Pre-Med Major?

The term pre-med indicates that you plan to apply to medical school after you earn your bachelor’s degree, but it doesn’t require a specific major. Instead, it means taking the necessary medical school prerequisite courses, such as biology and chemistry. Some points to consider:

•   As long as you take those courses, you can major in any field of study, from biology to political science to English. Of course, choosing a major in the sciences can make it easier to fulfill your prerequisite course load. Plus, science courses may equip you with the concepts, vocabulary, and knowledge that will help you do well on the MCAT, the medical school admissions test, and in medical school in the future.

•   If, however, you know you’ll be devoting the rest of your life to the medical field, you may prefer to explore other interests in college, such as the humanities or math. Having a degree in a non-sciences field could also potentially help you stand out among the pool of applicants to medical school, especially if it equips you with a unique perspective or experiences.

Here’s a perspective to consider: In an article for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Dr. Leila Amiri, Assistant Dean of Admissions & Recruitment at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, writes, “You don’t have to be a science major to apply to medical school … Medical schools want students who are authentic with genuine interests, so it’s best to major in what you want, not what you think they want.”

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Best Pre-Med Major Based on Matriculation Rate

When considering the best majors for medical school, one statistic you can look at is matriculation rate. This lets you know, of incoming students with various majors, how many enrolled as a student. Here’s how the data breaks down by undergraduate major.


Total Applicants

Total Matriculants

Matriculation Rate

Biological Sciences 30,054 13,050 43%
Humanities 1,661 861 52%
Math and Statistics 344 180 52%
Other 9,064 3,767 42%
Physical Sciences 4,228 2,094 50%
Social Sciences 4,844 2,065 43%
Specialized Health Sciences 2,382 964 40%

As you can see, humanities and math majors have the highest matriculation rates into medical school, while specialized health sciences majors have the lowest. This data doesn’t necessarily mean that humanities and math are the best pre-med majors, though.

There are a lot fewer humanities and math majors applying to medical school in the first place, which could suggest that those who do apply are highly motivated to study for the MCAT and accept admission.

By contrast, health sciences students have various fields open to them and may choose to go to nursing school or another alternative program rather than enrolling in medical school. The cost of medical school and the length and rigor of the program can mean it’s not for everyone.

For these reasons, you may find that the best major for med school is the one that you find most motivating and satisfying.

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Best Pre-Med Major Based on Graduation Rate

Although the AAMC doesn’t share data on graduation rates by pre-med majors, it does reveal that the four-year graduation rate among all medical school students ranges from 81.7% to 84.1%. Six years after matriculating into medical school, the average graduation rate is 96% for non-dual degree MD students.

It’s worth considering how your choice of a major as a pre-med student will impact your chances of graduating on time. The medical school curriculum is science-based and will require you to understand scientific terms and use them in a sophisticated way in papers, projects, and exams.

If you choose a non-sciences undergraduate major, make sure to get up to speed on scientific concepts and terminology through your prerequisite courses, preparation for the MCAT, and other outside studies and experiences. While some sciences could seem like the best major for pre-med, they aren’t the only possibility.

Best Pre-Med Major Based on GPA and MCAt

Your GPA and MCAT play a major role in your chances of admission to medical school. Choosing a concentration where you can get good grades, then, may be a top priority when considering good majors for applying to a graduate school pre-med program.

According to AAMC data, math and statistics majors have the highest average GPA at 3.69. They also score highly on the MCAT, with an average total score of 511.9 (total MCAT scores range from 472 to 528).

Biological sciences and humanities majors follow close behind, with an average GPA of 3.65. Humanities majors beat out biological sciences majors in terms of MCAT scores, with an average score of 509 as compared to 506.3.

As with the other data points in this guide, remember that correlation does not equal causation. In other words, a math or humanities major doesn’t necessarily prepare you to score higher on the MCAT.

Since there are a lot fewer math and humanities applicants to medical school, this group may be more self-selecting and represent some of the most academically strong students. At the same time, this data should reassure you that choosing a non-sciences major won’t necessarily be a roadblock on your journey to medical school.


Total MCAT Score


Biological Sciences 506.3 3.65
Humanities 509.0 3.65
Math and Statistics 511.9 3.69
Other 505.1 3.64
Physical Sciences 509.5 3.67
Social Sciences 505.8 3.59
Specialized Health Sciences 503.3 3.62

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Best Pre-Med Major Based on Number of Applicants

In the 2023 to 2024 school year, 52,577 students applied to medical school, according to the AAMC. Here’s how many of those students majored in the biological sciences, humanities, social sciences, and other majors.


Total Applicants

Percentage of Total Applicants

Biological Sciences 30,054 57%
Humanities 1,661 3%
Math and Statistics 344 <1%
Other 9,064 17%
Physical Sciences 4,228 8%
Social Sciences 4,844 9%
Specialized Health Sciences 2,382 5%

As you can see, more than half of applicants to medical school majored in the biological sciences. Majoring in biology can help you meet your prerequisite course load, as well as prepare you for the types of classes you’ll be taking in medical school.

However, majoring in biology isn’t required, and choosing an alternative major could help you stand out among applicants. When choosing a major, whether you’re aiming for a B.A. or a B.S., consider what will best prepare you to meet your future goals, and commit yourself to earning a strong GPA and MCAT score.

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Are there best majors for med school? While the majority of medical school applicants (57%) major in the biological sciences, that’s not required to get into medical school. While you may have to take some science class prerequisites as an undergraduate, your choice of major is entirely up to you.

As the data shows, choosing a non-science major isn’t necessarily an obstacle, as humanities and math majors had some of the highest GPAs and MCAT scores among all medical school applicants.

When choosing your college major, consider your personal interests and aptitudes, and work closely with your advisor to make sure you’re fulfilling all your major and pre-med requirements.

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