They say everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes opportunities to thrive studying pre-med.
Pre-med is not a major but rather an advising track that helps students apply successfully to medical school. This means students don’t have to major in natural sciences, though most pre-meds do. They have the choice to major in whatever subject they want, as long as they take the required pre-med courses.
These courses vary slightly from one institution to the next, but generally, they include a certain number of biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, math, and English classes. Students may check the specific course requirements for their medical programs of choice here.
The following pre-med schools in Texas offer strong pre-med programs: rigorous coursework, personalized advising, ample clinical shadowing, and volunteer opportunities are at the heart of these offerings.
Pre-meds studying at certain schools in Texas also benefit from the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP), a statewide initiative helping students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds become doctors.
Undergraduates are eligible to apply for JAMP if they are Texas residents and their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA is 8000 or below.
Support comes in the form of undergraduate scholarships, medical school scholarships, MCAT preparation, placement in JAMP summer internships, and more.
Here are 10 of the best pre-med schools in Texas.
University of Texas at Tyler (Tyler, TX)
Studying a pre-med track is ideal at UT Tyler, a medium-sized public research institution with access to University of Texas system funding and resources.
UT Tyler’s Pre-Med Academy is relatively new — launched in 2019 — but it has been educating pre-med students for much longer. The academy serves aspiring health professionals in medicine, dentistry, physician assistantship, pharmacy, optometry, chiropractic, veterinary, physical therapy, occupation therapy, and podiatry.
Through this intensive program, pre-med students will have a better chance of getting accepted to med school and improve their readiness for the rigors of learning to become a doctor. In fact, the academy even hosts outreach workshops for East Texas high school students interested in a career in medicine.
For enrolled pre-med undergraduates, the academy delivers exclusive symposia on topics such as altruism and ethics, matches students with clinical shadowing and research opportunities, and provides specialized advising from freshman year until med school acceptance.
Southwestern University (Georgetown, TX)
Southwestern University boasts a 70% acceptance rate for first-time applicants to medical, dental, and veterinary schools.
In addition to receiving guidance on the MCAT, application materials, and interviewing, SU students also gain hands-on experience through internships and research positions at nearby medical institutions.
At Houston Methodist Hospital, St. David’s Medical Center, and the University of Texas Health Science Center, students get a taste of the fundamentals of patient care and have the chance to decide what healthcare profession they want to pursue.
As a result of these extracurriculars, SU students get admitted to their med school of choice at a higher rate than the national average, which hovers around 43%.
Pre-meds mostly major in natural sciences, but the private research university offers 40 other majors and 36 minors through which they can explore different academic interests besides health.
Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)
TCU attributes its 80% acceptance rate for med school applicants to rigorous coursework, access to high-impact clinical and volunteer experiences, and personalized advising from mentors in the Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Physics and Astronomy departments.
Faculty at this private university advertise an open door policy, so students are welcome to visit at any time. Fostering close-knit relationships allows faculty to write detailed letters of recommendation to help students get into med school.
TCU students are well-connected to the 15+ clinical institutions in the Fort Worth area. Through the student-run Pre-Health Observation Program, students observe physicians and physician assistants. These are just some of the specialties at current observation sites: emergency medicine, gynecological oncology, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmic plastic surgery, neonatology, gastroenterology, pathology, and pediatric neurology.
Twice a month, a local healthcare professional or admissions dean gives a lecture at TCU. The school also offers seminars like Global Health and Ethical Traveler.
Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX)
TWU became co-educational in 1972, but it remains 90% female. One thing that hasn’t changed: TWU continues to prepare women for breakthrough professions in healthcare, education, nutrition, business, and arts and sciences.
TWU offers a couple of specialized degree plans for pre-med students, including the Biology Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Pre-Health track, and Biochemistry B.S., Pre-Health track. For students majoring in a subject outside of natural sciences, they can complete the pre-med minor.
These programs are designed to help students complete the required pre-med coursework and stay accountable throughout the med school application process.
On top of that, TWU offers a course specifically for pre-meds called BIOL4903: Medical Career Preparation. It’s taught by a practicing doctor and guides students through the med school application process.
University of Houston (Houston, TX)
UH established the Medicine & Society minor to help pre-med students contextualize healthcare within various historical, economic, and cultural factors.
This interdisciplinary program is open to all UH undergraduates and utilizes the Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical complex.
The program allows students to intern at Texas Medical Center, Abramson Center for the Future of Health, University of Houston Center for Public History, and John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center.
They can also find clinical and research opportunities through the school’s partnerships with the Memorial Health System of East Texas (Lufkin), Fox Chase Cancer Center, Temple University Hospital, and the Research Medical Library at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
UH also hosts the annual Medicine and the Arts series, which connects the arts to health. It consists of readings, movies, roundtable discussions, and theater and museum trips.
Trinity University (San Antonio, TX)
A whopping 90% of med school applicants from Trinity with at least a 3.6 GPA get accepted to med school. That’s no small feat coming from a small liberal arts university.
This statistic puts it on a par with the likes of Yale University in terms of how well it prepares students for the med school application process and med school itself.
Trinity supports its pre-med students with peer tutors in every required pre-med course, and a good student to faculty ratio (9:1) to facilitate excellent letters of recommendation. The majority of classes have fewer than 20 students.
Plus, the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) chapter at Trinity pairs students with shadowing, volunteer, and networking opportunities.
Some of the major pre-med course topics at Trinity are Health, Illness, and Society; Biomedical Ethics; and Health Economics. These interdisciplinary courses are designed to raise prospective doctors’ awareness of their future patients’ health and non-health issues.
Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX)
SMU’s solid 57% acceptance rate for med school applicants in 2020 is especially notable because of the majors of the accepted applicants, which included biochemistry, business, dance performance, electrical engineering, journalism, music, political science, psychology, pure mathematics, and theatre studies.
It really goes to show that you can major in anything — pursuing your passions — and still have a good chance of getting into med school.
Pre-med students at SMU have access to numerous volunteer opportunities in the greater Dallas area. They can serve the community at North Dallas Shared Ministries — a charity providing emergency services to the homeless and other underserved populations — or DFW Area Health Education Center (AHEC), which helps expand healthcare to medically underprivileged communities.
SMU students also participate in clinical volunteering, like at Agape Clinic, Baylor Health Care System, Parkland Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
Rice University (Houston, TX)
As one of the most prestigious universities in Texas, Rice offers a number of elite pre-med programs. One of them is the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program, which selects six incoming freshmen per year to earn a four-year bachelor’s degree at Rice, after which they receive guaranteed admission to Baylor College of Medicine.
Pre-med advising at Rice is personalized for every student, giving them the resources and information they need to stay on their pre-med track and successfully gain admission to med school.
The Rice Pre-Medical Society (RPMS) offers unique programming for pre-med students. The Big Owl/Little Owl Program is a mentorship program that connects Rice students with current medical students, physicians, residents, and med school committee members. The annual Medical Speaker Conference features discussions with a diverse group of physicians and healthcare leaders, and students can ask questions and network with them.
University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX)
Pre-med students attending UT Austin have the advantage of attending a large public university within the sprawling University of Texas system.
With over 156 undergraduate degree programs to choose from, pre-meds are free to explore their academic passions outside of health before committing to med school. Being one among 50,000 other students can be intimidating, but the challenge drives students to find unique ways to stand out.
For example, pre-med students can choose from over 25 different pre-health student organizations where they can find diverse communities of students dedicated to health professions.
For clinical volunteer opportunities, students are encouraged to utilize the school’s connections with Dell Children’s Medical Center, Heart Hospital of Austin, Texas Osteopathic Medical Association, Provident Memory Care, and other clinics and hospitals in the Austin area.
Baylor University (Waco, TX)
Baylor’s Pre-medical/Pre-dental Advisory Committee is specially designed to interview and evaluate students applying to medical and dental school.
The committee compiles composite evaluations of students based on their interview and application materials and sends these reports to the students’ requested schools through the Pre-Health Office. These evaluations have helped students stand out significantly to their medical programs of choice.
The same committee is also involved in selecting four incoming freshmen every year for the “Baylor Square” program, in conjunction with Baylor College of Medicine. The committee whittles down the candidates from a few hundred to 50-60 who interview on campus with faculty.
After the committee chooses four who will receive provisional acceptance to Baylor College of Medicine, they select just one of them to receive an $80,000 scholarship.
These special programs are on top of regular pre-med advising that the committee oversees.