Physics Prereqs

Does it matter what physics I take - by this, I mean with or without calc? I have heard opinions and advice leaning both ways. I am guessing that it is not important for the MCAT. I can see how it is important if someone is going after a simultaneous PhD, but for MD or DO admission?
Thanks in advance for any and all help smile.gif

It doesn’t matter. As you’ve already surmised, the MCAT tests non-calc physics so there is no reason to take calculus based physics unless you feel like you will be cheated by not having to apply yourself smile.gif
The minimal physics you will see in most medical schools will be rudimentary and definitely not calculus based.
Very few medical schools even require calculus these days.

I was under the impression that most schools required it. I know all my state schools require it. Just out of curiosity, which schools don't?

As with all indivdiual school requirements, it's best to consult the MSAR (you can search this site under MSAR because at the moment I am drawing a blank as to the full title…medical school admissions…something). My suspicion is that the number of schools that require physics with calc are in the vast minority.
Hope this helps,

My two cents is that I have never seen a med school that requires calculus based physics although they will not hold it against you if you choose to take it. Also, I don’t know if or how taking a calculus based physics would affect how you do on the physics problems of the MCAT.
There are some med schools that require at least one semester of calculus, but as Tonem said they are in the minority. You said that all of your state schools require it. I’m geussing that you are in Texas. Baylor and the osteopathic school in Texas do not require calculus. As tec said, check out the Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR) 2004-2005 at your local library or go to the AAMC link below and look at the websites of some other schools you are interested in. The link is for allopathic schools only.Medical Schools of the U.S.

state schools and calculus - depends on your state wink.gif
California - most UC require at least 1 qtr calculus
Texas - most if not all require some calculus
others that do: Harvard, Wash U, ? (check the MSAR)
most (that is a majority) do not require calculus - but if you are in a lucky “calculus req’d” state - we have to grin and integrate smile.gif

One issue to consider when taking calculus-based versus non-calculus-based physics is that often the calculus-based is a 3 semester course. That is, they do not cover topics such as radioactivity and optics (two things that are tested on the MCAT) until the 3rd semester. So check your course catalog well to be sure that whichever two semesters of physics you take, that all the MCAT topics are covered.
Another issue is that often the lectures of calculus-based physics includes a lot of formula deriving which is not important for the MCAT (although is helpful in general problem-solving skills). Again, this is something that you should look into by speaking to previous students, the professors, or the physics department.

I got this from UT Med School System
No requirement, just so long as the Physics course is for SCIENCE majors only.

Jennifer Hutchins
Texas Medical & Dental Schools Application Service
702 Colorado, Suite 6.400
Austin, TX 78701
Phone: (512) 499-4785
Fax: (512) 499-4786
>I have read the course admission requirements, but I am unsure about the requirements are for the Physics portion. >There are two paths offered by my local college (one based on calculus, and one based on algebra). Is there a >requirement to do one over the other?
They do require that you have taken Calculus, but it is not a requisite on the Physics course.

I think Harvard only requires calc-based physics for the joint MD-MST (something or other like that) program they have with MIT.
I took calc based and I’m still not really sure what the difference is between the two tracks. I tutor for the algebra-based class and it seems to be just as hard as my class was. In the calc based version we did spend a lot of time deriving equations though, and there are certain physics problems you can only do if you know how to do integrals and derivatives. But there’s so much physics to learn along the way that I don’t think being able to do a few extra math problems makes that much difference. If you’re interested in the math behind physics, go ahead and take the calc-based, but if not I wouldn’t sweat it.
At some schools there are also “introductory” physics classes that don’t require much math at all–I think those are the ones that might not count towards the pre-reqs.