- Course Requirements
There are specific course requirements for students applying to medical schools. The 90 credit curriculum established by the Puerto Rico Medical Examination Board is:
English* 12 Spanish*, ** 12 Biology*** 8 General Chemistry**** 8 Organic Chemistry 8 College Physics with Lab. 8 Advanced Social Sciences****, ***** 12 Electives****** 28
* Students that obtain an A or B grade in the Spanish Honor course (SPAN 3111-3112) and/or English Honor course (ENGL 3111-3112) don’t have to take a second year of these courses. However, they must add these 6 or 12 credits to their elective courses.
** The School of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences campus requires 12 credits in Spanish courses; however the Medical Examination Board Committee only requires 6.
*** Recommended Biology courses include: General Biology (BIOL 3101-3102), Genetics (BIOL 3349), Microbiology (BIOL 3705), Cell Biochemistry (BIOL 4545), Cellular Molecular Biology (BIOL 3010), Human Biology (BIOL 3711-3712; 3781-3782), Immunology (BIOL 4056) or Immunobiology (BIOL 4475). Approval of these courses can help students obtain a better MCAT score.
**** Chemistry has a Pre-calculus pre-requisite
***** Advanced Social Sciences courses require an introductory Social Sciences course (SOCI 3121-3122). Advanced course should be introductory courses in Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Economics or Political Sciences. The Medical Examination Board Committee increased the required number of credits from 6 to 12.
****** Registration in Science courses additional to those required is recommended. These additional courses allow for extra points in the Medical Sciences Campus Admission Formula if they are approved with an A or B. A maximum of 6 credits per discipline (CHEM, BIOL, PHYS, MATH) are accepted.Free elective courses that do not considerably repeat subjects from other approved courses should be considered; some examples include credits in Ethics, Art, Music, History, etc.
- Other Requirements
A. Medical College AdmissionTest (MCAT)
The MCAT is offered about 22 times each year; applications are available at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) website. Students must make an appointment at Prometrics the center where tests are offered. Prometrics is located at the Metro Office Park 11th Building, Metro Square, Suite num.114, Guaynabo, PR. Students may take the MCAT up to 3 times; scores are valid for three years.Students must study very hard to obtain a high score in the exam and increase their competitiveness as Medical School applicants.
Applicants must apply through the American Medical College Application Services (AMCAS) by December 1st.
Division of Students Services
1776 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036-1989
C. Additional Application Requirements
The Schools of Medicine at the Medical Sciences Campus, the Caribbean Central University and the Ponce School of Medicine have secondary application forms that students must submit. These include specific formats for the required recommendation letters. The San Juan Bautista School of Medicine doesn’t have a specific recommendation format but does require recommendation letters. An official university credit transcript is also required. Some schools also include a personal interview as part of the candidate’s evaluation process.
Application deadlines are usually during December: before December 1st for the Medical Sciences Campus and before December 15th for the Caribbean Central University and the Ponce School of Medicine.
Completion of a Bachelor’s degree before entering Medical School is recommended. In addition, students are encouraged to register more English courses than those required in order to help them obtain a higher score in the MCAT’s verbal reasoning portion. This is usually the part of the tests where Puerto Rican students obtain their lowest scores.
In terms of Science electives, Biochemistry, Genetics and Cellular/ Molecular biology are very important course for students to take before entering Medical School and are strongly recommended. They will be especially useful during the first year of medical studies.
Team work is also a skill that the students must develop as part of their extracurricular activities. Research courses such as BIOL 4990 and CHEM 4999 can aid in promoting these skills. There are several summer programs where the students can develop leadership skills too. The American Medical Students Association (AMSA) University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras campus chapter is housed in the College of Natural Sciences and targets students interested in applying to medical schools. They coordinate various extracurricular activities including opportunities to carry out volunteer work in hospitals or institutions providing various social services. Participation in these experiences can also help the students in determining their study interests, for example identifying if their vocation is in a particular specialty in medicine (MD), scientific research (PhD), medical research MD/PhD or a combined medical and law degree (MD/JD).