Successful matriculation through medical school can be achieved through paths other than the traditional undergraduate premedical education track with its courses in organic chemistry, physics and calculus. In fact, medical students who major in the humanities or social sciences can perform just as well as those who enter medical school with traditional premed majors. And, perhaps not surprisingly, humanities majors are more likely to choose primary care specialties. Those are the key findings from a study published in the August Academic Medicine.
According to the study by researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine of New York University in New York City, nontraditional and traditional premed majors had no significant differences in clerkship or commencement honors or in graduating with distinction in research.
The nontraditional majors did, however, gravitate to residencies in primary care and psychiatry and away from surgical subspecialties and anesthesiology.
"It is clear that relieving students of the burdens of traditional premed requirements in college will provide them the opportunity to pursue multiple and more diverse paths to success in medical school," the researchers said.
According to the study, medical education leaders have long questioned the value of traditional premed requirements for practicing physicians or scientists, but little has been done to challenge the prevailing wisdom.