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Campus: Columbus

Program: Pre-Professional

The physi­­­cian’s responsibilities cover a wide range of functions in the maintenance of health, including diagnosing disease, supervising patient care, prescribing treatment and participating in improved delivery of health care. Although most physicians provide direct care, some Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree recipients concentrate on basic or applied research, become teachers or administrators, or combine various elements of these activities. Often, medical students make their final decision when near completion of medical school.

Pre-professional programs

Pre-professional is a category for any student who intends to enter professional school after graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Pre-health is the pre-professional program for students interested in the health professions, including dentistry, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy and veterinary medicine. 

At Ohio State, pre-medicine is not a major but is an officially recognized area of academic interest.

Identifying your pre-professional interest will enable your college advisor, major advisor and pre-professional advisor to provide you with a wide range of support to realize your goals.

Learn more about pre-professional programs at

Contrary to popular belief, there is no one “right” major at Ohio State in preparation for the College of Medicine. Students often select a course of study that is somewhat related to the professional area, such as biology, chemistry or physics, but there really are no limits as long as the necessary prerequisite course work is completed prior to entering medical school. 

Traditionally, students pursue a medical degree after completion of the bachelor’s degree. A medical school candidate should follow an undergraduate curriculum that is broad, yet comprehensive, in preparation for a very people-oriented profession. Candidates are urged to take advantage of academic opportunities in history, art, literature, creative writing, philosophy, social sciences and communications.

Admission to the College of Medicine is competitive and based on undergraduate academic performance, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), participation in health-related experiences (such as clinical, research, community service or leadership), faculty recommendations and a personal interview. 

The undergraduate preparation for medicine should include a solid science foundation. As a result, undergraduate course work at Ohio State should include:

  • one course in biochemistry
  • one year of biology
  • one year of general chemistry with laboratory
  • one year of organic chemistry with laboratory
  • one year of physics with laboratory

Ohio State’s Lead.Serve.Inspire (LSI) curriculum has been developed to prepare tomorrow’s physicians to deliver the highest quality care to a diverse population of patients. Presented as a three-part, four-year experience, the LSI curriculum fully integrates foundational and clinical science throughout the four-year period. 

Ohio State medical students begin learning about the various body system disorders, including bone and muscle, neurological, cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal and renal, endocrine and reproductive disorders and begin seeing patients who actually have these disorders early in the first and second years of the program. This type of longitudinal practice reinforces understanding of the foundational concepts while integrating procedure-based training, history taking and physical examination. Small-group case discussions help to integrate core foundational concepts into clinical reasoning, patient care and patient management. Anatomy is integrated across the curriculum so students learn their regional anatomy associated with the foundational and clinical science they are learning as they apply these concepts to patients.

Throughout the curriculum, students participate in a variety of longitudinal projects including health coaching with patients, studies in patient safety, understanding health systems and solving problems through interdisciplinary teamwork.

As students progress through the curriculum, they will begin to focus on gaining an understanding of patients with specialized medical needs, patients with reproductive and surgical needs, and patients within special, vulnerable populations, such as victims of abuse, addiction, poverty, low literacy, etc. 

Students will also have the ability to develop advanced competencies in clinical management, including hospital-based care and ambulatory and relationship-centered care. 

An advanced clinical track allows students to experience the full spectrum of clinical application through interdepartmental rotations in specialty areas. An advanced competency track built into the curriculum gives students a dedicated block of time to pursue longitudinal studies, international rotations or research projects.

The curriculum employs an evaluation system that facilitates student self-assessment and individualized education plans. Evaluation is competency-based using multiple domains to measure progress toward mastery. Students see their progress in different competencies along the way by receiving immediate and frequent feedback.

Students at the Ohio State University College of Medicine can earn MDs or joint degrees that combine an MD with another advanced degree. The MD/PhD program trains physician scientists, and the MD/MBA program helps students pursue healthcare management in partnership with the Ohio State Fisher College of Business. Through other dual degrees, med students can earn an MBA along with a JD from the Moritz College of Law, a master of health administration, or a master of public health. There is also an accelerated three-year curriculum for those interested in a career in family medicine called the Primary Care Track.

In addition, students are encouraged early on in their undergraduate years to participate in some type of observation, volunteer and/or paid work experience in a medical setting. An opportunity for this might involve lab or research work with a faculty member. The experience gained with a professional could lead to contacts needed as the student gets closer to the medical school application process. 

Pre-medicine students at Ohio State are also encouraged to participate in the pre-medicine Alpha Epsilon Delta club coordinated out of the College of Arts and Sciences. The club is student run with a physician advisor. A variety of activities are sponsored by the club to help students become more aware and knowledgeable of the medical profession. Possible speakers at meetings might include a practicing doctor, a faculty researcher sharing his or her research, or someone from admissions to talk about the application process for medicine. The club also coordinates social functions to help pre-medicine students get to know one another outside the academic setting, as well as community service activities.

A career as a physician offers great personal satisfaction, as well as the opportunity to work with all types of people. Graduating students select an area of specialization for further training and eventual practice. The United States is particularly short of physicians in the specialties of general internal medicine, general pediatrics and family practice. A few of the other 24 specialties include allergy and immunology, neurology, urology, obstetrics and gynecology, and emergency medicine. 

New patterns of practice are emerging. A physician may choose from such varied settings as private practice, group practice, a managed care system, clinic, hospital, laboratory, industry, military, university, government or various combinations of these. These physicians may be self-employed, in partnership or salaried.

Physician incomes vary based on the type of practice and the level of training and certification. Beginning salaries range from $60,000 to $150,000. 

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The College of Medicine is ranked 33rd among the nation’s medical schools and schools of osteopathic medicine and 28th in Primary Care by U.S. News & World Report in its 2022 “America’s Best Graduate Schools” listing.