online science courses?

Does anyone have any experience with or thoughts on taking the basic science courses online or in a hybrid online/traditional format? I have heard this being an option taken by some pre-med students.

In particular with the online only format, I wonder how the lab section of the course is handled.

Wouldn’t getting quality LORs also be a challenge?

I could see where one might consider taking a few of the first year Chem or Biology courses this way and at some point take as many of the upper division science in a traditional setting.

In the end I think what matters is that the material is learned, high grades are made, and one is ready for the MCAT, and if online/hybrid serves that purpose that is a feasable way to go.

Thanks for your thoughts and advice…


This is from my local Medical School FAQs (remembered your question when I read it):

Are on-line courses acceptable?

On-line courses from an accredited college or university may be accepted. However, the Committee on Admissions values much more highly those courses taken in the classroom setting.

I would interpret that as “no” since you want to maximize your chances… with no room for “maybe.”


I am currently taking a Chem I course online and intend to take Chem II online in the spring at my University.I find that the online course actually teaches the material better than a lecture does because you can learn at your own pace. In terms of the lab portion of the course, I still have to go to the lab on campus. I love the online format and I have spoken with the med school admissions office and they’ve explicitly told me it makes absolutely NO difference to them at all if the course is lecture or online, in fact, she said they have no way of knowing whether it was online or lecture when they read a transcript. She said “if you take it online or the traditional lecture, the transcript still just says CHM2045 and your grade. So don’t sweat it at all.”

Now, if you’re asking if the local private college is acceptable, I would say absolutely not. None of these “online universities” are accredited, or if they are, they are “accredited” by some third-party accrediting body that doesn’t carry any weight with Adcoms. If you’re going to a major university and they offer the course online, I’d jump all over it. It’s the same course, same credits and most importantly, the same accreditation behind your course credits.

Hope this helps.


Thanks for sharing Justso, esp that you are finding the online format a good learning option.

I spoke with an advisor at U of Arizona and heard basically the same as you did, even if the course are taken at the community college (not the private U of Phoenix kind)…so this is very encouraging. But they do wan’t to see at least a few upper division University science courses.

All the best


I just had a couple of questions about the online courses which would be a lot more convenient for me due to my work schedule. Where are some decent universities that offer them? I tried searching for a few but wasn’t able to come up with much. Also, do these courses cost as much as the regular classroom ones? Are the exams online or proctored in some way? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Here in Phoenix, there are a couple community colleges that offer ‘hybrid’ formats where the lectures, assignment and forums are online, and the testing and labs meet once a week. I would imagine you could enroll at one of these. If you are outside Arizona, I believe the non-resident hourly rate is $150/hour.

Here is a link to GCC:

Good luck PharmDoc

Hi Neil

Thanks for the response. I’m going to look it up and also try to find out about other places as well. Thanks.


I am taking all of my classes at a local community college but found out that there’s an Online Physics class that’s offered as well and will likely look into it.


How are you going to do the required lab?