USC mol bio and biochem requirement ?

Hi there -
Anyone know if it is ok to take “Introduction to Biochem” and “Principles of Mol Bio” (instead of just “Biochem” and “Molecular Biology” to fulfill USC’s matriculation requirement for these classes? I’m in the app cycle now and need to finish these just in case I do end up there. These were the only classes I could find - given I have to attend night classes. I called USC and they said I would have to email “all questions regarding requirements” - none could be answered over the phone, so I thought I’d see if I’d get a quicker answer this way.
Thanks very much! Good luck to everyone…

I wonder what USC would take as biochem. I would feign ignorance on this as most schools would like regular Medical or general Biochemistry as a fulfillment of their pre-matriculation requirements.

UNECOM has a distance learning biochem course that is good and can be started any time and lasts for 13 weeks. It pretty much the same course we as medical students take here and it is very reasonably priced. Go to for information then to distance learning. This course is accepted at most medical schools as a requirement.

Thanks for the info… it's just what I'm looking for!

This “distance learning” has come up before. It’s not a good idea. Most med schools do not accept it. Whenever you have a question about a particular course (e.g. biochem) and wonder if school xyz (e.g. USoCal) will accept it, CALL the admissions office and ask. That way you will know exactly what the school will accept. My information from the latest “Premedical Advisor’s Reference Manual” explicitly states for the USC requirements that they do NOT accept distance learning classes, CLEP, on-line, etc. etc. etc.
Hope this helps.

Thanks for the info, Judy! Unfortunately, USC's admission office is not helpful when you call and I've also emailed to no avail, so yes, your insight is helpful. Thanks!

Be careful about trying to substitute courses for pre-req requirements! If a med school specifies a required course, then that is what you should take…unless you are able to obtain info directly from them that what you are wanting to take is a-OK. I would also strongly suggest that that confirmation come from the Dir or Dean of Admissions and not an Admin Asst…nothing against them, but if it comes down to it, the AdCom will not likely accept an Admin Asst’s approval of course substitution.
Most med schools, at least when I applied, required that their pre-reqs ve taken as the “majors version” of that course – meaning that OChem could not be OChem for pre-nursing, it had to be the same OChem that Chem majors took; Physics could not be “Physics for liberal arts folks”, it had to be the same physicis that physicis majors would take and so on. So, if you “Intro to BioChem” is not what the Chem majors take, I would not risk it. It would truly suck to be on threshold and learn that you are rejected for a simpe oversight!
You will simply have to be persistent. Call them on the phone and instead of merely asking whomever answers the call, ask to schedule an in-person or telephone appointment with an admissions officer. Then, have a list of questions to ask…this is grand opportunity to begin networking with the school. Heck, ask if they can schedule you for tour of the school and facilities and then ensure that you slot in a breif meeting with the Dean/Dir of Admissions as a part of the tour day. If you succeed in this, bring along a couple of professional looking CVs to share with the Dean/Dir as a part of your meeting.
“Distance Learning” courses are a huge questions mark, as Judy pointed out. The names smacks to closely to “correspondance course” - a definite pre-med no no. Yes, more & more reputable universities are offering them…but I do not think that the notion of acceptance has trickled down to the med school AdComs yet…if they ever do.

Most med schools, at least when I applied, required that their pre-reqs ve taken as the "majors version" of that course -- meaning that OChem could not be OChem for pre-nursing, it had to be the same OChem that Chem majors took; Physics could not be "Physics for liberal arts folks", it had to be the same physicis that physicis majors would take and so on.

Dave makes a valid point specifically regarding classes for nurses - courses for nursing students will not fulfill a medical school's requirements.
However, I must respectfully disagree with the rest of the paragraph. I'm applying this year, and these conclusions are based on my recent experience.
For 22 medical schools in the upper Midwest, you do not need to take the "department major" version of the prereq classes. You do need to take the labs, and make excellent grades, to meet and exceed the prereq requirements.
If you do not consider the nursing school, many undergraduate schools offer a single general chemistry sequence, and everyone takes the same one, major or not. But if there is a separate general chemistry for majors and non-majors, the non-major version is fine. Same with introductory biology.
However, physics for physics majors is calculus-based physics, and most medical schools DO NOT require your physics to contain calculus. (Exception: the joint Harvard-MIT program. I did not encournter any others.) So physics for non-majors (aka "Physics for liberal arts folks" OR physics w/ trig) courses are totally acceptable.
Your biochemistry does not need to be biochemistry for chemistry majors; it does not need to have a CHEM department number. Biochemistry for biologists, with a BIO department number, will fufill every school's Biochem prereq.
Please check with the admissions directors at the schools you are considering.
Hope this helps.
Susan - Chicago

As long as they are year-long series for science majors I think you are fine.
I’ve seen some MSAR entries say that if there is a rigorous & a less rigorous option, the rigorous option is preferred. but never that it was required.
for instance - at my school, there are 3 physics series - 3 qtr for bio & chem majors, 5 qtr for physics majors, 5 qtr for eng. majors (all calc based). I took the one for bio majors.
I think my rule of thumb would be, if there is more than 1 series avail for things like chem & physics, take the one that bio majors would take - and you should do fine. This should keep you out of any perception of being in a science-“lite” liberal arts / general ed class instead of a science major class.
as far a BIOCHEM goes, my personal opinion - take BIOchemistry over bioCHEMISTRY if you possibly can.
USC’s office is very cooperative at other times of the year - I called them last summer when filling out secondary about the molec bio / biochem requirement - and they were more than willing to answer my questions of how to fill out their secondary since my course names would not match exactly to the category.