How old are old credits?

With a degree from 1982 and one from 1995 and 1996, I am wondering if I have to take some things over in order for the credits to be acceptable…or even for the GPA in some courses to be acceptable. As I look at web sites and admissions requirements, some schools say “no older than 10 years”, some apparently do not…Not too thrilled at the idea of needing to take things I already have, and have an excellent GPA in, over again. Any input??

I have made the decision to only look at schools that don’t require re-do’s of all of my older (18yo) pre-reqs. If I need refreshing in a subject (like biology), I would much rather invest my time and money in an upper division course like genetics than redo the generic freshman bio course. Also, it may be worth calling the admissions office at specific schools you are interested in to ask how your particular situation would be handled (eg “Some prereqs are old, but I have new upper level courses that show that I can still earn an A this far out from my original schooling.” There may be more wiggle room than the website reflects.

When discussing this with admissions personnel at couple of schools, their response was that they didn’t care how old the pre-reqs were as long as I had shown recent success in harder classes (I have current genetics, o-chem, physics courses) AND that I do well on the MCAT. The exact quote: “Your MCAT score must be within a three year window of matriculating, and this is how we know that your science knowledge is where it needs to be to be academically prepared for medical school.”

I don’t apply until this summer, so I don’t have proof that this approach works, but it makes the most sense for me at this point.


As mentioned above, the answer is “it depends”. You can call schools that you are interested in and you will likely get a variety of answers. Many a person has had gotten accepted because they worked as a biologist or chemist or got an exceptional MCAT score. If you call and say “I work as a research chemist and I got a 35 on the MCAT” you’ll probably get an answer that the pre-reqs don’t matter. If you call and say “I work in an unrelated field, haven’t taken an academic class in 15 years, and haven’t taken the MCAT”, you may get a totally different answer.

If you don’t have any recent college level coursework (probably in the last 5 years) you NEED to take some courses before applying. Preferably, these would be upper level science courses. You need to show med schools that you still have the academic chops to handle rigorous coursework. You then need to weigh whether or not you feel comfortable enough in your knowledge or the pre-reqs to do well in advanced level courses. You don’t necessarily have to retake the pre-reqs to get to that level if you are comfortable reviewing the material on your own.

There are multiple reasons to consider retaking at least some of the pre-reqs. First, biology has changed significantly since you likely took it. You NEED to have an up to date background in bio for the MCAT and med school. You could simply take upper level biology courses if you feel comfortable in getting up to speed on your own.

The second reason to consider retaking some of the pre-reqs is to prepare for the MCAT. I don’t know about you, but I have completely forgotten most of the organic chemistry I learned and a great deal of the gen chem and physics. I would have to devote a significant amount of time to those subject areas in order to be adequately prepared for the MCAT (if I were to take it again). It’s not unreasonable to retake a course for that reason.

And yes, the GPA will still count, even if a school won’t accept the pre-reqs as being recent enough.

Don’t do “do-overs” but instead take upper division bio classes that you haven’t already had. If you haven’t had any classes at all in xxx years, you need to show an AdComm that you still have the academic ability to do well in med school.



  • jcolwell Said:
Don't do "do-overs" but instead take upper division bio classes that you haven't already had. If you haven't had any classes at all in xxx years, you need to show an AdComm that you still have the academic ability to do well in med school.

Vicki maybe looking to SUNY Upstate which has on its website:

"Can other science courses like Bio Chem or Microbiology be used to complete your pre-requisites?

No. We will not accept any other science courses as substitutions for our required pre-requisites."

Some schools such as Einstein College of Medicine have a policy for courses over 5 years old.

"Applicants who have completed all of their pre-medical requirements more than five years prior to submitting their application must show evidence of participation in either academic or work experience in the biological sciences. Academic experience should include at least one course in a discipline such as cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, immunology or neuroscience. Work experience may include research in the biological sciences.

In addition to completing the minimal requirements in these subjects, it is recommended that students take at least another year of instruction at a more advanced level in molecular or cell biology, neuroscience, genetics or human physiology."

I am also seeing some schools in New York of going to a stated 10 year limit on courses such as NYU Medical School

"Courses will only be accepted up to 10 years back."

in sum as all the previous posters have stated checking with each medical school admissions staff would be prudent as you dont want to get rejected on a technical error for a course being too old other policy