Major and Post Bacc


I have really been wondering lately about what I should do about a degree and medical school. I have always wanted to be a doctor. However, playing a NCAA D-1 sport has really kept me from being able to take many labs. I am currently majoring in psychology. However, I am wondering if I should do neuroscience instead? I have really struggled with a major and in order to keep my scholarship I have to keep a 3.5 GPA which I have done for two years. However, should I continue to pursue any degree or should I switch to a science based degree as I have two years left. Or should I attend postbacc medical school after I graduate to get the prerequisites for medical school???Help please : )

Hello Alexis,

You can major in any field and still go to med school; your major doesn’t matter. You simply need to fulfill the required prerequisites for med school.

Whether you should try to cram in the science courses you need in your remaining two years is a personal and logistical decision. You should map out exactly when you’d take the classes (especially considering your time constraints as a D-1 athlete–congrats on that!) so you can figure out if it’s possible. If not, you may want to consider post-bac classes but that entails more money, of course. I would also recommend that you seek out the counsel of your premed advisor, who will be familiar with the curriculum at your school and the requirements of various majors. Good luck!


Given today’s economy, I don’t think Psych is the best choice for a college major. If for some reason you aren’t admitted to med school on your first try, it’s going to be VERY difficult to get a job paying decent money with a degree in this field. Not only that, my personal opinion is that course requirements for a Psych degree won’t prepare you well for the rigors of med school they way a degree in Neuroscience will.

I’m not trying to be a dream killer in ANY way and I’m all for being optimistic when applying to med school, but planning for not being admitted is a good idea too.

Hmmm…a difficult question, which will, by nature, receive a myriad or responses given the opportunity.

No major is required of a any med school that I know of. In fact, many do not even require a degree - though they will also say that, basically, they have almost never admitted someone who did not have a degree upon matriculation. As long as you have the pre-reqs, and are competitive in regard to GPA and MCAT, with respect to the schools to which you intend to apply, then you will have a fair shot. In fact, a pre-adcom-committee member for Keck at USC told me that they look favorably upon extracurriculars such as sports (he specifically said sports, and gave even more preference to being a team captain for any length of time. In fact, he insinuated the same preference for being a staff member of church, specifically a worship team member — point being you seem to have an advantage by virtue of the commitment you have displayed to your extracurricular of choice).

Additionally - it would be wise to consider the possibility of not being accepted the first cycle that you apply. In which case, I am reminded of my current C++ instructor (he is the founder of Omniplatform, used by many, many hospitals for interface with on-site patient e-records), who told my class just this week that he is hiring two recent psychology grads (one from Stanford, for what it’s worth) for the purpose of communication between his programming staff and clientèle. His point? There are no jobs for psych majors right now - of course, this is just his opinion.

My limited advice:

  1. Compile a list of med schools you want to attend.

  2. Compile a list of the pre-reqs that each of those schools wants you to have.

  3. Knock those pre-reqs out with great grades.

  4. Submit applications early!!

  5. Do what you can to insure yourself against an uncertain future - i.e. you don’t get accepted first cycle (Murphy’s law: expect the worst, hope for the best! Sometimes, you are just at the mercy of the personal opinion of the adcom who/whom interviews you).

  6. Enjoy your life to the fullest before MS-1!!!