What Classes Should I Take in High School to Become a Doctor?


Being a high school student often gets you wondering what career path to follow. While some struggle to figure this out, other students know their strengths and how to apply them in a future career. If you’re one who is keen on becoming a doctor, this blog post is for you. 

For future medical students, choosing the right high school courses is key to building the base for advanced learning. Subjects like biology, chemistry, and physics introduce important concepts, while math sharpens analytical skills. 

Want to know more? Keep reading to discover how to maximize high school courses to benefit your path to becoming a doctor, and find the answer to the question “What classes should I take in high school to become a doctor?” and more. This article has it all!

Science Courses

Understanding the science behind health and disease is paramount to excel in the medical field. This journey begins with mastering the basics in three key areas: biology, chemistry, and physics.


Understanding basic biology is crucial for anyone aspiring to enter the medical field. It covers essential topics like cellular biology, where you learn about the building blocks of life; genetics, which explains how traits are passed down; and anatomy and physiology, which offer insights into how the body works and interacts. Grasping these fundamentals paves the way for advanced medical studies, linking everything together in the vast world of healthcare.


Chemistry, especially organic chemistry, is fundamental for medical studies. It teaches you about the reactions and compounds that make life possible. Organic chemistry, focusing on carbon-containing compounds, is particularly important because it’s the basis of all living organisms. Understanding these concepts helps you grasp how medicines work, how the body functions at a molecular level, and how different substances affect our health. It’s a crucial step towards understanding complex biological systems in medicine.


Physics offers vital principles that apply directly to human physiology and medical concepts. For instance, understanding forces and pressure explains how blood pumps through the body, and principles of electricity help us understand how nerves communicate. Why is this important? Because grasping these basic physics concepts is crucial for doctors to comprehend how the human body works and to diagnose and treat patients effectively. It bridges the gap between abstract physical laws and their real-world application in medicine.

Mathematics Courses

Embarking on a medical journey requires more than knowledge of science. You must have a strong foundation in various other fields, like the branches of advanced mathematics.  


Algebraic skills and problem-solving abilities are essential in medicine, helping doctors make quick, life-saving decisions. These mathematical tools allow healthcare professionals to understand dosages, calculate heartbeats or blood flow rates, and interpret graphs and data. Applying algebraic functions helps medical students and doctors analyze and predict health outcomes, ensuring precise and effective treatment plans. Essentially, math is a critical tool in diagnosing and treating patients accurately.


In the medical field, it’s also important to visualize and understand space. This means seeing how body parts fit together and move, which is key for surgery or understanding how injuries affect the body. Geometry helps with this by teaching about shapes, sizes, and arrangement. For example, understanding geometric principles can help doctors read X-rays or plan surgeries by picturing how everything lines up inside the body. These skills make treatments more precise and safe.


In more advanced studies, medical students dive into complex mathematical concepts like calculus, which is necessary to understand medicine. Calculus focuses on how things progress over time, like a patient’s disease or the rate of a drug’s effect. This is like having a mathematical microscope to see the tiny, continuous changes in biological systems. Having good command over this branch of math is crucial for developing treatments, measuring how fast a patient improves, or predicting the spread of diseases. In essence, calculus also gives doctors and researchers the tools to tackle medical problems with precision.

English and Communication Courses


Whether it’s presenting complex medical information to patients in understandable ways or collaborating with colleagues on patient care, having strong communication skills in medicine can get you far. 

English Literature

Analyzing literature encourages thinking by teaching you to examine stories closely and find deeper meanings. This skill is important in medicine because doctors need to notice small details to help their patients. Also, reading and talking about books improves how you write and speak, which is necessary for explaining complicated health conditions and treatments to patients and working with other doctors. These skills gained from literature are very useful for anyone wanting to be good in the medical field.

Writing Composition

Good writing is key in medicine for keeping clear records, sharing research, and explaining health information to patients. Through practicing writing, you learn to organize your thoughts, make your points clearly, and communicate complex ideas in easily comprehensive ways. These skills help write patient notes, research papers, and even emails to colleagues. Being a strong writer means you can help others understand health better, making it a crucial skill for any medical professional. 

Public Speaking/Debate

Medicine is a field that also requires good public speaking skills and presentation skills. It helps doctors explain health information clearly to patients, making sure they understand their health and treatments. Doctors often need to talk about their work with other doctors or nurses, so being able to speak well and clearly is a must. Good speaking skills make sure everyone is on the same page, which is crucial for taking care of patients as effectively as possible. 

Additional Courses

For medical professionals, practicing what they preach about health and wellness is crucial, and so is being knowledgeable and skilled in the field of psychology.


Understanding psychology can aid doctors in grasping human behavior and emotions. It allows them to better understand why humans act the way they do, which is important for improving patient care. Knowledge on psychological principles will help doctors and patients bond as it opens the door to empathy and makes them connect on a deeper level. When doctors know about psychology, they can take care of the whole person, both their body and their mind, in a kind and understanding way. 

Health and Physical Education

It’s really important for doctors and medical students to stay healthy, too. Eating well, staying active, and preventing sickness are necessary. Understanding nutrition helps them choose better foods. Exercise keeps them strong and reduces stress. Learning about preventing diseases helps them stay healthy and teaches patients to do the same. When doctors take care of their own health, they’re better equipped to take care of others.

Electives and Extracurricular Activities

Finally, to strengthen your path to becoming a doctor before applying to any program, it’s important to choose elective courses wisely and dive into extracurricular activities.

Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses

Taking Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) courses is a great way to challenge yourself and get ahead. By passing these classes, you can earn college credits before even starting college, saving time and money. These courses make you ready for college-level work, showing them you’re serious and ready for tough classes. Plus, doing well can help you win scholarships and get into better programs. It’s important to give yourself a boost before starting your medical journey. 

Volunteer work or internships in healthcare settings

Getting hands-on experience in the medical field is like getting a sneak peek into a future career as a doctor or nurse. It means actually seeing what the work is like, not just reading about it. You learn by doing—like shadowing doctors, helping in clinics, or even just watching surgeries. This real-world experience is invaluable, giving you a head start and making sure this is the path you really want to take.

Participation in science clubs, research projects, or medical-related organizations

Joining science clubs, doing research projects, or being part of medical organizations lets students dive into what they’re curious about. It gives you a taste of being a scientist or doctor before actually becoming one. You get to try different things, see what you love, and learn useful skills along the way. These activities teach you how to think critically, solve problems, and work with others, all skills that will set you apart in any medical or science career.


High school courses lay the foundation for future medical studies, teaching you key subjects like biology and chemistry. Other courses like communication or psychology will help you build skills for fostering doctor-patient interactions. To really prepare for a career in medicine, also dive into extracurriculars like science clubs and volunteer work. This mix of classes and activities builds the skills and knowledge you’ll need to succeed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How can volunteering in medical-related organizations help me prepare for a career in medicine?

Volunteering in medical-related organizations exposes you to the healthcare environment, helping you gain firsthand experience and understand the realities of a medical career. It also demonstrates your commitment to medicine.

Do I need to take advanced math courses in high school to pursue a career in medicine?

Advanced math courses aren’t strictly required for a medical career, but they can enhance your problem-solving skills and prepare you for the rigorous analytical thinking needed in medical studies.

How do I know if pursuing a career in medicine is the right path for me?

To determine if a career in medicine is right for you, reflect on your passion for science and helping others, and seek out hands-on experiences in healthcare settings to gauge your interest in the field.

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