Medical School Acceptance Rates By Major

Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

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What Majors Do Medical Schools Prefer

Studying medicine can prepare scholars for a wide range of careers, but most people choose to pursue their education before entering the workforce. Depending on the education and work history of graduates, graduates may become general practitioners, registered nurses, health educators, medical researchers, allied health managers, forensic science technicians and clinical laboratory technologists.

It might be because of the salary and prestige, or it may even be the popularity of Grey’s Anatomy, but getting into medical school is one of the most common topics we encounter in the college careers space. With the high competition, hopeful premeds look for every advantage, even which majors will give them the best chance of getting into dental and medical school.

We’ve gone through the data and compiled this list of the most popular majors for doctors. And even though it surprisingly has one of the worst acceptance rates — more on that later — the most popular major for doctors is, unsurprisingly, Biology:

  1. Biology
  2. Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology
  3. Psychology
  4. Chemistry
  5. Nursing
  6. Health/Medical Preparatory Programs
  7. English
  8. Biomedical Engineering
  9. Economics
  10. History

So why are the humanities on the bottom of our list, despite having the highest admissions success? More about that and the complete top twenty list below, but first let’s talk a little bit about those popular majors and acceptance rates.

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Pre Med Majors

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) is pretty mysterious about major-level data — to determine the most popular majors, we had to dig through 7.5 million resumes to determine what current doctor’s majored in the most.

Best Majors For Med School

Medical school acceptance rates by major

1. Physical sciences applicants: 4,937

Matriculants: 2,355

Acceptance rate: 47.7%

2. Math and statistics applicants: 344

Matriculants: 163

Acceptance rate: 47.3%

3. Humanities applicants:1,678

Matriculants: 780

Acceptance rate: 46.4%

4. Biological science applicants: 30,693

Matriculants: 12,484

Acceptance rate: 40.6%

5. Social sciences applicants: 5,001

Matriculants: 1,995

Acceptance rate: 39.8%

6. Other applicants: 8,754

Matriculants: 3,371

Acceptance rate: 38.5%

7. Specialized health sciences applicants: 1,964

Matriculants: 721

Acceptance rate: 36.7%

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Pre Med Acceptance Rate By School

As demonstrated by the medical school acceptance rates by major section, acceptance rates vary between 36.7% – 47.7%. Specialized health sciences majors have the lowest acceptance rate while physical science majors have the highest acceptance rate. Biological science majors are the most popular in terms of both applicants and matriculants, however, the acceptance rate of these individuals falls somewhere in the middle of the majors. Interestingly, math and statistics majors are the least common, with only 344 applicants, however, they have the second-highest acceptance rate of 47.3%.

Specialized health science majors also have the lowest applicant and matriculant MCAT score, which may be part of the reason why those with this major have the lowest acceptance rate. Matriculants with math and statistics, physical science and humanities majors scored the highest on the MCAT, with scores of 514.8, 513.1 and 512.9 respectively. The average accepted GPA between majors is close across the board with math and statistics and physical sciences majors tied with a 3.61. Social science majors have the lowest mean GPA of 3.52. It’s important to remember that the GPA and MCAT scores mentioned above refer to the mean scores of accepted students. If you choose to major in the physical sciences it doesn’t mean that you have an advantage and are guaranteed admission. Similarly, if you major in the specialized health sciences, it doesn’t mean that you’re at a disadvantage and won’t get accepted. You are an individual, with individual scores and experiences. Regardless of your major, you’ll be a competitive applicant if all areas of your application stand out, including your grades, test scores, extracurriculars for medical school, primary essays, and medical school secondary essays. Make sure to read over some medical school personal statement examples to get some inspiration to write your own outstanding statement. If your school requires its applicants to submit CASPer test scores, make sure to use CASPer sample questions to get ready for the test. 

Medical School Acceptance Rates By Major in 2021 | BeMo®

Why Humanities Majors Have An Edge In Medical School Admissions

It’s your MCAT and GPA that matter the most, and according to the AAMC (and us), you should study what you love for two reasons. First, you’re most likely to maintain a high GPA in it, and secondly the odds are against you getting in, so having a backup career path is probably a good decision.

But before you dismiss Humanities majors has taking the easy road — fluffing their GPAs to get ahead — consider this little fact: they also have the highest total MCAT scores of all of the major groups. And this is despite having middling overall GPAs and, together with the Social Sciences majors, also the lowest science GPAs.

But consider for a moment the work ethic that an English major must possess to major in something other than a pre-requisite heavy field, and then to ace the MCAT. Med schools do consider your narrative, medical work experience, and leadership — all things equal, a candidate who demonstrates passion for med school admissions is more likely to maintain sanity through the rigors of medical college.

How Important Is Your Major For Getting Into Med School

Well, not at all really, which is the case with most majors and careers. Even in med school, you’re going to be retaking your science classes anyway, so majoring in a science field doesn’t give you an advantage.

We turned to the AAMC for major-level admissions data, but it doesn’t list matriculation data for specific majors, In fact, it’s some of the only data it doesn’t provide, even by specific request. We contacted them for it, but the response was a concise “no”.

They intentionally mask this information, because they don’t want young people basing their lives’ trajectories on the relatively slim chances of admission to medical schools — according to AAMC data, med schools accepted only 39 percent of applicants in 2017.

So if you’re considering med school, maybe consider pursuing a degree in something you care about concurrently. Who knows, you might find something you love more — even at Harvard, between one and two thirds of pre-med students end up dropping the program before they graduate.

Check back in when we do a similar comparison for and dental schools and pre-dental applications.

20 Most Popular Majors For Doctors

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology2
Health/Medical Preparatory Programs6
Biomedical Engineering8
Physiology And Anatomy12
Cell Biology And Anatomical Science13
Electrical Engineering15
Political Science16
Biomedical Sciences18