General Pre-med Questions
Is Premed a major?
At the University of Pittsburgh, premed is not a major. However, it is a track that has its own advisors through the Honors College. This gives students with different backgrounds and majors the opportunity to interact with each other. Medicine should bring dedicated people together for the greater good of others.
Do all premed students major in a science field?
NO! As long as a student takes the designated premed prerequisite courses, volunteers, shadows, and takes the MCAT, he/she will be eligible to apply to most medical schools. Although the most popular majors are through the Department of Biological Sciences, one can major in anything before applying to medical school!
Is research required to get into medical school?
Most medical curriculums require their students to research at some point during their medical school journey -- so this requirement is encouraged across the board but may be more important for certain schools over others. It does not hurt to have some research experience or a publication or two, but it is not completely necessary. The University of Pittsburgh is quite a unique place because there is research in virtually every field. But to see if research is for you, Pitt offers quite a few research based courses that can help you get started. First Experiences in Research is a course that helps students find a lab and principal investigator (PI). Recently, the Department of Biological Sciences converted all of their preliminary laboratory courses into research-based courses. This will help you get a jumpstart on conducting research as well as getting used to reading and understanding research literature.
Does the premed curriculum actually try to weed people out?
This is a difficult question to answer. And it can be intimidating, but the premed courses are inherently weed out courses. For example, Biochemistry is a course that is in medical school curriculums, so to prepare students in the undergraduate level, it is appropriate to take the undergraduate version of this course. Granted, it depends on your professor, but the reason why premed students take these classes is to make sure this type of science is right for them. Medical school is not an easy endeavor, but with hard work and determination, it is quite possible for a premed student to make it to medical school.
What is required of a premed?
The prerequisite medical school classes are Foundations of Biology 1 and 2 (and labs), General Chemistry 1 and 2 (and labs), Organic Chemistry 1 and 2 (and lab), Biochemistry, Calculus 1, Human Physiology, and algebra-based Physics 1 and 2 (and lab). Other curriculums (such as the engineering curriculum) require calculus-based physics (which will obviously be acceptable for medical school). But the hard work does not stop with the classroom. It its essential to volunteer (200-300 hours), shadow physicians (10-20 hours), obtain letters of recommendation, and score well on the MCAT. The premed process is quite extensive, and it is best if you talk to someone about it personally - that why we have AMSA :).
How can i prepare myself for all this?
Organizations throughout the university can help you through this process, but AMSA is one of the best. It only has a yearly membership fee of $15 which will get you a t-shirt, mentor-mentee program, shadowing, volunteering, educational events, fun activities, and access to friendships/connections that will last a lifetime. The premed process is a lot, but it is important to remember that it DOES NOT happen overnight. Take your time with the course requirements and have fun with volunteering! The premed process should be an overall positive experience!
who can be a member?
Generally, the students in this organization are students who wish to attend medical school and become a physician. However, if you have uncertainties about premed or want to find the right niche into the medical profession, AMSA can help you out. We welcome anyone, member or not to attend GBMs if there are topics that interest them. Medicine is a team effort, and we strive to support you - whether you decide to go into medicine or not.
How much are dues?
Dues are $15. Please email our business manager at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
What are AMSA meetings like?
AMSA’s GBMs are once a week on Wednesday evenings at 9 PM. Every week will have a new topic. Some weeks a physician will speak and other weeks we just spend time to get to know each other in workshops to prepare for med school. On weekends (typically) we have volunteering events where we like to come together as an organization and help the community.
What kind of volunteering is amsa involved in?
AMSA has a wide variety of volunteering events. In the past we have volunteered at Animal Friends, Global Links, and nursing homes. See the volunteering webpage to get more information.
What shadowing opportunities does amsa offer?
AMSA also has quite a few shadowing opportunities that take place in a range of specialties and settings from the hospital to the clinic. Sometimes, we even have doctors come to lecture and provide more information about observing them. See the shadowing webpage to get more information.
What kind of research opportunities does amsa facilitate?
AMSA provides its students with many chances to learn about research and talk to principal investigators from a wide range of laboratories. There are two research fairs throughout the year, and there are even GBMs dedicated to research. See the research webpage to get more information.