Graduate and Professional School

Applying to Health Professions

Due to the variety of health professions and the vastly different requirements to enter these professions across countries, Yale-NUS students interested in pursuing a health profession should make an appointment with Nilanjana Pal at nilanjana.pal@yale-nus.edu.sg as soon as possible.

Applying to any health profession can be a complex, demanding, and competitive process.

No single pathway guarantees acceptance into these institutions. However, there are certain qualities that successful applicants to health professions possess:

  • They engage enthusiastically during their undergraduate education
    Please note that there is no premedical major at Yale-NUS. Therefore, our guidance to students is that they should choose a major— science or non-science—that interests them, and supplement their learning with challenging courses outside the major. Medical schools are looking for well-rounded applicants, so use this opportunity to fully benefit from the broad liberal arts curriculum at Yale-NUS College. Your experiences and performance in the classroom are the perfect way to get to know your professors better. This interaction then serves as a foundation for a strong recommendation letter in the future. See more about our guidance on seeking recommendation letters here.
  • They do well in the required premedical courses
    The course requirements for premedical or pre-health professional paths vary immensely and students are responsible for knowing what the specific requirements are for their preferred path and institution. Whether their major is in science or non-science, students need to demonstrate ability and genuine interest in scientific understanding in these required premedical or pre-health courses.
  • They demonstrate accomplishment and leadership outside the classroom
    They get involved in a sustained way to pursue an activity that they love doing and are good at doing—volunteering, mastering a musical instrument and performing, doing research, or many other things. There are excellent opportunities on campus and off-campus: Summer Research Opportunities and Internships are examples on campus, but speak to Nilanjana for opportunities to collaborate with NUS Medical School or the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health off-campus. Engaging in community service is an essential part of preparing for medical school or, for that matter, any health profession.
  • They have contact with health professionals, hospitals, and clinics
    During the two or three years prior to applying to medical school or another health profession, they understudy, intern, work, or volunteer with doctors and/or in hospitals.

The following information provides some guidance on the academic preparation and application process for US medical school and additional resources to help students pursue their interest in a health profession.

Academic Preparation

MajorsYou may major in any subject while satisfying the pre-med requirements as set by the top medical schools and that will prepare you for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Majoring in science would be required if you wanted to go into the field of medical research or enter a PhD programme.

Premedical Requirements for US Medical Schools

US Medical Schools generally require:

  • At least two semesters each of Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology and Physics (all of these classes should be taken with labs); and English
  • One semester each of Biochemistry, Calculus, Statistics, Psychology, and Sociology

Students who choose not to complete their science pre-requisite courses during their undergraduate years can complete the requirements in a Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Programme before applying. These programmes allow students to complete pre-med requirements after graduation. They are offered by many institutions and can be found on this list provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Timelines to Consider

Year 3, Semester 1Start planning to take the MCAT, take free online practice test, make arrangements for formal prep if needed
Year 3, Late Semester 1 (October – December)Register for MCAT
Year 3, Semester 2 Take the test, if you are dissatisfied with score, register for the next exam, start doing research to find schools that are a good fit for you, visit potential schools
Year 3, Late Semester 2 (March – May)Identify and contact potential recommendations. Make sure they know deadlines
Year 3 Summer Break Decide your chosen schools complete the AMCAS application. If applying through early decision, deadline is August 1. Regular deadlines stretch between now and December
Year 4, Semester 1If med schools like your candidacy, they will send you their own secondary application. You’ll have some essays to write. Give yourself enough time to revise and to allow someone else to read them. Send thank you notes to your recommenders as a gentle reminder to submit recommendations. Prepare for interviews
Year 4, Semester 2Acceptances and rejections arrive

Application Process

The Medical College Admission TestThe Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is an exam given by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is required by most medical schools. There are resources in the Yale-NUS library to help you prepare for your MCAT. Also, contact Nilanjana if you would like to apply for some funding available to subsidise the cost of MCAT prep courses. These funding opportunities are limited and available on a first-come, first serve basis every year. The funding limit is S$500 per student.

The Application (AMCAS and Non-AMCAS)

The American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) provides a centralised application service to which most medical schools in the US subscribe to. All applications are done online starting in May and should be completed no later than end of June.

Most medical schools will require students to complete a secondary application after the AMCAS with a fee ranging from USD$50 – $100. Schools not participating in AMCAS have their own forms which must be requested via the schools’ websites.

It is recommended that you complete your application earlier than the deadline. Plan to have all applications, including secondary applications, completed no later than August.

Yale-NUS Pre-health Committee (PHC) letter: If requested by the student, the PHC will write a recommendation cover letter, endorsing your application to medical school in the US. The cover letter contains information about Yale-NUS College and its unique curriculum and provides a holistic view on your application. The PHC will need a great deal of information from the student/applicant before the letter can be composed. For more information about the documents that must be submitted to the PHC, please contact Nilanjana Pal at nilanjana.pal@yale-nus.edu.sg.

Health Profession Resources

Selecting Medical Schools
Resources for students interested in health professions

Have Questions?
Nilanjana Pal
Director, Leadership & Global Citizenship

Contact with questions about the Yale Silver Scholars Program and graduate school in medicine, law and business.