Majors for Aspiring Surgeons

Surgeons are responsible for treating injuries and diseases through operations. To enter this field, you'll need to earn a bachelor's degree and attend medical school. Through this process, you'll study the functions of the human body and gain practical experience in many areas of medicine before eventually undertaking a residency in general surgery. Read ahead to see areas of study and what you'll need to do after medical school to become a surgeon. Schools offering Surgical Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Bachelor's Degree Programs Can Lead to Advanced Training in Surgery?

To become a surgeon, you must complete medical school after earning an undergraduate degree at a university. To get into medical school, you'll need to take a series of courses at the undergraduate level in the natural sciences. Some possible college majors that will prepare you for entrance into medical school include chemistry, biology and pre-medicine. Regardless of which major you select, you'll want to consult with an academic advisor to make sure that you'll be adequately prepared for taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Bachelor's Degree OptionsDegree major is not as important as making sure you take all of the necessary prerequisite science and math courses to prepare for the MCAT and gain admittance to medical school
Common Course TopicsThe immune system, genetics, organic compounds, major organ systems, human cell function and structure
Medical School PrerequisitesMCAT results, undergraduate coursework, undergraduate GPA, leadership capabilities, school activity participation

What Will I Learn?

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), courses you'll need to take to prepare for medical school include biology, physics, general chemistry and organic chemistry (www.aamc.org). Through these courses, you'll study atomic theory and ways to measure chemical reactions. You'll study the chemical makeup of the human body, including proteins, enzymes, and metabolism. In other courses, you'll learn about newly discovered diseases, including genetic mutations, and how they affect the human body. Other areas of study include:

  • Calculating statistics of disease and treatment success
  • The anatomy and major organ systems of the human body
  • The immune system
  • Human cell function and structure
  • Organic compounds
  • Genetics

What Happens When I'm Done with My Undergraduate Degree?

To be admitted into medical school, you must also pass the MCAT exam, which is administered several times between January and September, according to the AAMC. The multiple choice exam tests your understanding of the prerequisite science knowledge, including biology, chemistry and physics. In addition to your MCAT scores, acceptance is based on your character, your undergraduate GPA, your leadership capabilities and your participation in other school-related activities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (www.bls.gov)

After passing the exam, you can apply to medical schools and begin completing the 4-year program. While there, you'll start preparations for becoming a surgeon by completing clinical rotations in several areas, including surgery. After medical school, you'll complete a 1- to 3-year residency at a hospital in general surgery. This is when your true hands-on surgical training begins as you work with post-residency doctors in a surgical room. If you're interested, you can continue your studies to select a specific area of surgery, such as neurosurgery, or you can look for employment.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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