A physician performs a wide variety of functions, including diagnosing and treating disease, educating patients on disease prevention and treatment, supervising patient care, prescribing medications, and improving the delivery of health care.  Although most physicians provide direct patient care, some concentrate on basic or applied research, become teachers and/or administrators, or combine various elements of these activities.

The education to become a physician is rigorous.  After completing an undergraduate degree, you will be required to complete four years of medical school (“undergraduate medical education”) and will then enter residency programs of three to eight years for additional training in a specific medical specialty (“graduate medical education: or “GME”).  Residents are paid roughly $50,000/yr while in residency.

Physicians shoulder a great deal of responsibility and should display certain personality characteristics. Physicians should be able to recognize their own limitations, respect the rights of others,  and have tolerance of personal belief systems and life experiences different from their own. Other important characteristics include maturity, integrity, perseverance, honesty, compassion and empathy. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are paramount, along with a basic background in science.


Every prehealth student struggles somewhat with knowing what to do and where to begin in order to accomplish their goal of practicing medicine.  There are many obligations all prehealth students must meet, from job shadowing, to performing well in coursework, to community service, however, it is possible to do everything you need to do by starting now and working persistently throughout your undergraduate years.  Please review our prehealth orientation meeting packet or explore the following information to learn what it means to be a premedical student.

Prehealth Preparation Overview

Choosing a Major

Prerequisite Coursework

Creating a four-year plan


Allopathic Medicine (MD) versus Osteopathic Medicine (DO)

Extracurricular Activities

Letters of Recommendation

Acceptance statistics for previous entering classes


The process of applying to medical school can be quite challenging, however, the students that methodically investigate and prepare almost always find success.  Below are links to the information you will need for this profession. If you need additional information, please contact the advising office.

Prehealth Evaluation Committee Process

Letters of Recommendation

MCAT - Medical College Admissions Test

Choosing Schools

Application Tips 

Acceptance statistics for previous entering classes

University of Utah School of Medicine Diversity Elective

Interview Tips