Radford University pre-medical students have a unique opportunity to engage in research, complete medical school course prerequisites, participate in pre-medical clubs and so much more; all while studying in a community-based educational environment. Radford’s small class sizes and demanding laboratory experiences allow students to connect with faculty and students in a way that prepares pre-medical students for the rigors of medical school.

While there is not a Pre-Medical degree, most students choose to major in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Psychology and often minor in programs that celebrate their individual interest. However, pre-medical students have the opportunity to select a major that reflects their primary interests, so long as the specific medical school’s prerequisite courses are complete. Medical school prerequisites often include biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, but all pre-medical students must investigate the specific requirements of all institutions where an application will be sent.


Student Testimonal from Alum, Alex Atwood:

Hi everyone, I am Alex Atwood (RU Class of 2018)! I am currently a 4th year medical student at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, Virginia. I had my sights set on a career in medicine from the moment that I enrolled at RU. The small class sizes, ability to conduct research alongside faculty, and seemingly limitless study abroad opportunities were what truly stood out to me. If I could give any advice to current RU students, it would be to get to know your professors and the faculty in your department. They truly care about your success and are always willing to help. Also, get to know your peers who have similar interest and do not be afraid to reach out to previous RU graduates. We are always happy to give advice or help however we can! Feel free to email me if you have any questions related to resources at RU, careers in medicine, or just general advice (


The typical trajectory of a pre-medical student at Radford University:

  • Freshman year: Meet with pre-medical advisor to select a major that aligns best with individual interests and allows for completion of all medical school prerequisite courses. Engage in volunteer activities and student organizations that grow individual interests and give back to the local community. 
  • Sophomore year: Meet with pre-medical advisor to check individual progression, continue with major and prerequisite coursework as well as participation in volunteer and student organization activities. 
  • Junior year: Meet with pre-medical advisor to check individual progression, continue with major and prerequisite coursework as well as participation in volunteer and student organization activities. Begin MCAT study and take the MCAT examination during the second semester of junior year (typically during April, May, or June). 
    • Summer between Junior and Senior year: MCAT scores take one month to return to the test taker. Medical school applications open  
  • Senior year:
  • Optional gap year(s): Gap years are not required for students applying to medical school, but this time after graduation may provide useful hours for MCAT preparation and test taking, medical school applications, and medical-related work or volunteer opportunities such as scribing, shadowing, and RAM.

** Pre-medical students interested in applying to osteopathic (DO) medical schools must shadow and receive a letter of recommendation from at least one practicing DO physician.

What does it mean to be a Physician?

Medical doctors are respected members of society that have earned either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. While both MDs and DOs earn the title of doctor, there are a few notable differences in the application and education pathways. MDs will follow application and education guidelines as dictated through AMCAS whereas DOs will follow application and education guidelines as dictated through AACOM. It is also important to note that pre-medical students may apply to both allosteric and osteopathic programs using the respective application sites as denoted above.  

After medical school, students apply for residency specialties that align with their interests. These residency programs range from 3 years for Internal Medicine to 7 years for Neurosurgery, with multiple specialty types falling within this time spectrum. As of 2020, the DO and MD residency programs merged, creating more opportunity as well as more competition for all medical students applying to residency specialty programs. The physician career path involves a large educational time commitment with demanding and likely unpredictable hours throughout the career. Physicians must be lifelong learners that recognize the sacrifices required of this challenging profession.  

A physician's salary depends on the specialty and employment type of the individual and ranges well above $100,000+ as a yearly salary. It is important to note that salary is subject to change based on residency program, fellowship opportunities, hospital or individual affiliation, and area of practice. Demand also increases salary and AAMC data suggests there will be a substantial shortage of physicians across specialty types by the year 2034 (source). More information about specialty opportunities through match rate data can be found here

While there are many considerations that go into applying to medical school, pre-medical students need to be aware of the student applicant statistics that display the number of pre-medical students versus the number of students that are accepted and matriculate per cycle. Recent application and matriculation data can be viewed here for MD applicants and here for DO applicants.

Student Opportunities: