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 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 excel in their academic work
    Whether their major is in science or non-science, students need to demonstrate excellent academic performance and a genuine interest in scientific understanding. The median GPA for US medical school matriculants can be found here.
  • 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, the Leadership Certificate 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, successful applicants intern, work, or volunteer with doctors and/or in hospitals. In fact, the first year at Yale-NUS is the best time to explore your interest in the medical profession through non-academic learning experiences as subsequent years require an intensive focus on the academic preparation.

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


There is no ‘pre-med’ major at Yale-NUS College, so you may major in any subject. In fact, Yale-NUS students who have been admitted to graduate medical (MD) programs have majored in a variety of subjects such as psychology, life sciences and MCSS. In selecting your major, do remember that you need to be able to satisfy any subject requirements for your graduate school of choice and prepare to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), if you intend to study in the US. See below for the typical pre-med requirements at most US medical schools.

Premedical Requirements for US Medical Schools

US Medical Schools generally require:

  • At least two semesters each of General 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

Suggested Pathway for Yale-NUS students Considering Medical Studies in the US

  • First Year: Explore your options. Consider research, clinical experience, community service, or leadership experiences.
    • First Year Summer: Apply for CIPE’s summer research program (at Yale-NUS, or in any of the programs offered on campuses abroad). Continue volunteering and service interactions and reflect on these experiences as they will help you determine if you want to pursue medicine.
  • Sophomore Year: Take Genetics and Human Bio/MCB (if offered). Take biochemistry and a psychology course, if possible.
    • Sophomore Summer: General Chemistry I/II. Obtain clinical experience in the US (shadowing is crucial to gain awareness of the healthcare system in the US).
  • Junior Year: If you didn’t take biochem earlier, consider taking it now. If planning a semester abroad, consider taking Organic Chemistry I/II, Physics I/II and an upper-level biology course.
    • Junior Year Summer: Take the MCAT before May of your junior year. Dedicate 3-6 months of full-time study (longer if you are not majoring in the sciences). Plan to take the exam once (it’s expensive to take the test, ALL scores are recorded, you’ll need senior year to complete applications).
    • There are resources in the Yale-NUS library to help you prepare for your MCAT. Speak to Nilanjana Pal if you’d 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.
  • Senior Year: Application Year (see below)

Application Process

Many students would like to apply for medical school in their senior year, with the intention of starting their medical training directly after graduating from Yale-NUS College. However, it is perfectly reasonable to take a gap of 2-3 years to acquire more clinical experience and strengthen your application. We highly recommend taking a gap year (or more) as it provides opportunities for further intellectual and personal growth, while building relevant capabilities. Here are a few ways you may use your gap year: obtain clinical experience, complete pre-requisite courses, obtain a research fellowship, participate in public service, attend a post-bacc course and study for the MCAT.For those of you who are keen to apply during senior year, here are some tips to help you:

Suggested Timeline for Senior Year (Application Year)

May American Medical College Application System (AMCAS) opens: Familiarize yourself with the platform as most medical schools use this service for their application processes.
JuneAMCAS submission begins: You should take your MCAT this month.
JulyAMCAS is transmitted to schools: Yale-NUS Pre-health Committee letters completed this month. See below for submission requirements.
July - December (really October)Secondary Applications: Allocate adequate time to complete secondary applications (roughly equivalent to one full course at Yale-NUS)
August - MarchInterviews: Budget funds and time to fly back to the US for interviews. Medical schools offer very little flexibility in interview schedules so plan ahead (and speak to your Yale-NUS professors at the start of the semester).
October 15thFirst decision day
April 31Waitlist movement day

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

Health Profession Resources

Selecting Medical Schools
Resources for students interested in health professions

Have Questions?
Nilanjana Pal

Contact with questions about graduate school in medicine.