For MD Applicants Only

Competency Based Medical School Prerequisites (AAMC)

The requirements for admission into MD programs are currently undergoing revision. The changes proposed by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) involve a move away from a prescribed list of courses to a set of competencies. As medical schools adopt new admissions requirements (tentatively effective for the 2016 entering class), the PreHealth Advising Program will provide you with information to help you decide on an appropriate program of study.

We will update this page periodically as new information becomes available.  Regardless of the AAMC Recommendations, you should complete the course requirements that are listed in the Academic Requirements Section in order to prepare for the MCAT 2015.

The following information has been excerpted From the AAMC/HHMI Report: Scientific Competencies for Future Physicians. The complete report is available HERE.


There is widespread agreement that it is important to: (1) educate future physicians to be inquisitive; (2) help them build a strong scientific foundation for future medical practice; and (3) equip them with the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to integrate new scientific discovery into their medical practice throughout their professional lives and to share this knowledge with patients and other health care professionals. With these issues in mind, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) formed a partnership to examine the natural science competencies that a graduating physician needs to practice science-based medicine effectively with the goal of achieving greater synergy and efficiency in the continuum of premedical and medical education.

The AAMC and HHMI convened a group of scientists, physicians, and science educators from small colleges, large universities, and medical schools around the United States to determine the most important scientific competencies required of students graduating from college prior to matriculating into medical school as well as the scientific competencies required of medical school graduates as they enter postgraduate training.

This group, known as the Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians (SFFP) Committee, has defined eight major competencies that premedical students, no matter what their primary fields of study, should learn before entering medical school, including the major concepts and skills of science and mathematics, leaving to medical schools the task of building on this scientific foundation the further scientific competencies that provide them the ability to practice science-based medicine.

Overarching Competency at the Time of Entry into Medical School

Demonstrate both knowledge of and ability to use basic principles of mathematics and statistics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and biology needed for the application of the sciences to human health and disease; demonstrate observational and analytical skills and the ability to apply those skills and principles to biological situations.

Major Competencies Have Been Identified

  • Competency E1:Apply quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world.
  • Competency E2: Demonstrate understanding of the process of scientific inquiry, and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated.
  • Competency E3: Demonstrate knowledge of basic physical principles and their applications to the understanding of living systems.
  • Competency E4: Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of chemistry and some of their applications to the understanding of living systems.
  • Competency E5: Demonstrate knowledge of how biomolecules contribute to the structure and function of cells.
  • Competency E6: Apply understanding of principles of how molecular and cell assemblies, organs, and organisms develop structure and carry out function.
  • Competency E7: Explain how organisms sense and control their internal environment and how they respond to external change.
  • Competency E8: Demonstrate an understanding of how the organizing principle of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of life on earth.

To review the specific learning objectives for each of the eight (8)competencies, please click here.

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