Is it acceptable to take premedical course requirements online?

The short answer is: probably not. Results of a study conducted at Florida State University in 2009 demonstrated that medical schools significantly preferred applicants who earned their degrees in a traditional in-person setting compared to those who completed some of their courses online.

In another recent survey of 131 U.S. medical schools, 38 percent of schools responded that they would accept science courses taken online.

Common course requirements for any U.S. medical school includes one year of general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, general physics, calculus, and English. Each science course must include a laboratory component.

Admissions officers view performance in these courses as an indication of whether a student can handle a full medical school course load. In the Florida State study, schools generally perceived online courses as less rigorous than traditional classes. They also felt that online laboratory sessions could never replace the hands-on experience and social skills gained from working directly with peers and professors in a traditional lab setting.

Medical schools today are looking for applicants who have both the scientific knowledge and people skills desired in a physician. Online courses do not require students to communicate and work effectively with fellow students, skills that aspiring physicians need to develop positive relationships with their future patients and colleagues. While the quality and legitimacy of online courses may improve in the future, for now, the best option is to complete your coursework (especially prerequisites) in a residential setting.

More about online medical schools

Mini medical school programs are offered around the world and online.

Some medical schools are embracing online learning to complement in-class sessions.

Prepare for non-clinical careers in health care with online masters degrees.

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