Too late...?

Hi there!

I am new here, just joined a few days ago.

Was happy to find out this community exists, thank you!

About myself: I am an immigrant from Eastern Europe, have Masters in Engineering, work in High Tech.

I always wanted to become a doctor (there are lots of doctors in my Family, so passion to medicine is in my blood, so to speak), but was busy with my current job and family.

Now my kids are older and I started thinking to go back to school.

I would love to start taking prerequisites, but have no idea where to start.

I am in my late forties, and afraid that it is too late for me to start.

Did anyone feel the same and did not give up?

Am I right about my doubts?

What would you start with, if you would?

I had lots of hours of Applied math, Physics, Geometry in the University, but it was a while ago, to say the least. I am not sure it can be even considered.

Can you please suggest what should I take first? Biology and Chemistry 1? Math?

What else is ‘on the list’?

Thank you,


You have several challenges here. To me, the key one is that your undergraduate education was done outside the U.S. Yes, your age makes the process challenging but the first thing is to determine what exactly you would need to do to apply to a U.S. school. Many U.S. medical schools would like an applicant to have an undergraduate degree from a U.S. institution, and if that is not possible, at least a very significant number of credits from a U.S. institution. This requirement will vary considerably from one school to another. (For example, I looked briefly at Harvard’s website and they did not have any such requirement.)

So first thing is to consider med schools you might consider applying to, and research very carefully their requirements for students with foreign degrees.

Our collective on the forums to date has been almost entirely U.S. citizens applying to U.S. or Caribbean schools, and so I don’t know if anyone here will be able to provide the more detailed information that would help you to start your quest. I tried to look on the AAMC website for some sort of general statement regarding foreign degrees but could not find anything, perhaps because it does vary a lot from one school to another.

Anyway, once you get a sense of what educational hoops you will have to jump through initially, you’ll be able to see what sort of timeline you’re talking about, and will be much better able to figure out if it’s an endeavour that’s worth your time. Good luck!



Thanks for your reply.

I evaluated my diploma a while ago, and it was considered equivalent to US Masters Degree (not to mention that I am US citizen, if it matters).

Thanks again!



your evaluation is good, but it is the schools’ perception of it that matters. So you will definitely need to look into this.

And it is helpful overall that you are a U.S. citizen, but it won’t change the way a ‘foreign’ degree is looked at. So please be persistent as you explore this!


Thank you so much for your advise, Mary.


Your US Citizenship will help you in that you are able to apply for medsch. However, a foreign degree is still considered such (unless it is from an “accredited” institution.) And your degree evaluation may also not help much.

Seven years ago when I wanted to appear for the PE (engineering license) I ran into a brick wall similar to the pre-req situation. There were almost as many policies as there are states in the US. Some wanted me to spend cash to get my degree evaluated, and if favorable were willing to let me take the exam immediately (OR and KY.) Some like CA did not care about an “evaluation” and simply told me that I’d receive 50% credit for a foreign degree. I’d have to make up the rest with US work experience, year for year. Yet others did not care for an evaluation and mandated that foreign degree holders must accumulate 8 years of work experience in the US to be permitted to take the exam.

Medschs will be somewhat similar. A foreign degree holder may need anywhere between 20-90 credits at a US institute to be eligible to apply. Personally I don’t want to spend time getting 90 credits – that’s almost a 4-yr undergrad. My plan is to do a 2-yr informal postbac, get about 36-40 credits and see who I can convince to give me a chance. You should read up on the info posted by “Gonnif” in response to a similar question by “BioProdigy.” I think there may also be info in some of the earlier posts by “Dazed.” Post back here if you don’t find those links and I’ll try to dig them up.

Thank you for your support.

I did not find those posts, though.

Would appreciate if you are able to find them.

Best of luck!

Per your request. These are the topics I was talking about. Please update your post if you find any new information that supersedes or adds to these discussions.………


I’m from Eastern Europe as well, contemplating of going back to school at the age of 38. However, I work in healthcare as a respiratory therapist, got my degree here in USA so my situation may be a bit different than yours.I’m writing to you because you may consider applying to some of the schools in Eastern Europe ( Poland has several medical schools designed after the American school system). They teach in English and after graduation you are eligible to stand for USMLE and apply for a residency spot.