Interested in med school? Start with public health


Interested in becoming a doctor but not sure how to get there? A wide misconception is that students have to be “pre-med” in undergraduate studies, but there are many routes you can take to get into medical school. 

Not only do many colleges and universities not even offer a pre-med major, but more and more medical schools are looking for candidates with diverse educational backgrounds. The public health field offers those unique backgrounds, including majoring in public health, community health, global health, nutrition, and more.  

Read on to learn more about the specifics of a public health degree, why earning a public health education is a great start to medical school, and the best pre-med degree option available to you at George Mason University. 

What is Public Health? 

Public health promotes and protects the health of all people and their communities. This science-based, evidence-backed field houses many different careers and professionals all working toward the same goal: to educate people on how they can stay healthy and avoid illness. 

Rather than the traditional way we think of health care as treating people once they are already sick, public health is about prevention and empowering the public by giving them the tools to maintain their own health and safety. Let’s dive into why the public health field is an excellent launching pad into medical school. 

Why Study Public Health Pre Med? 

As medicine shifts to a more proactive mindset, physicians are focusing on prevention and keeping patients healthy, rather than caring for people once they’re already unwell. With this new trend comes a higher demand for doctors knowledgeable in the field of public health. 

Medical schools are looking for diversity in their student populations. They want to recruit students with unique backgrounds who can see medicine and the way we treat the public from different perspectives. This shift in the medical field may be a contributing factor to many colleges seeing more pre-med students studying tracks like public health and human sciences, rather than traditional science tracks, like chemistry and biology.  

Additionally, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) has added new emphasis in psychology, psycho-social dimensions of health, and medical ethics — topics covered in a public health education. 

Does Mason Offer a Public Health-Related Pre-Med Program? 

Mason offers a Bachelor of Science in Community Health with a concentration in Clinical Science as a public health-centered, pre-med program option. 

In the Community Health program, you’ll acquire the competencies and skills necessary to develop, apply, and evaluate evidenced-based approaches to improving public health. You’ll explore all aspects of public health, including community health, global health, health education, health promotion, advocacy, program planning, and epidemiology. 

The Clinical Science concentration can prepare you for graduate clinical training in multiple health professions, such as: medicine, dentistry, nursing, optometry, occupational and physical therapy, and pharmacy. This concentration provides the flexibility to design your curriculum to satisfy prerequisites for these programs.  

Upon acceptance to the B.S. in Community Health program at Mason, we encourage any students interested in medical school to talk with their advisor about the best route for them. 

Public Health at Mason  

At Mason, public health is an interprofessional field. This means students are prepared for a variety of paths within one major, including medical school preparation. We provide a curriculum focused on evidence-based, interdisciplinary research and practice, the social determinants of health, and leadership development. 

Students also have ample opportunities for hands-on learning and gain a variety of real-world experience that broadens their knowledge of many different fields of health care and public health. As a result, our graduates are equipped with problem-solving and leadership skills to address public health and health concerns around the corner and around the globe.  

Learn more about our College of Public Health programs and how our interprofessional approach and commitment to inclusive excellence will set you up for success. 

Read about Safa Yosufzai, who intends to use her Community Health degree to become a doctor.