Preparing for a Career in Medicine

Tiger Tracks for careers in Medicine



  • You will need a tireless work ethic, sharp academic background, and strong interpersonal skills to provide treatment to patients.
  • Practicing medicine is as much a lifestyle as it is a career; practicing medicine calls for around the clock availability and a commitment to life-long learning.


  • According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, although exact course requirements will vary by school, nearly all meical schools require that students have taken one year of Biology, one year of Physics, and two years of Chemistry - including one year of Organic Chemistry. Each course must include a corresponding lab.
  • In addition to these core courses, as of 2015, the Medical College Admission Test will also emphasize Biochemistry as well as Psychology/Sociology, and students are encouraged to take courses in these areas to assist with their preparation.
  • Completion of other higher-level classes in the natural sciences, such as Microbiology, Immunology, Virology, Anatomy, Physiology, Cell Biology, and Genetics is also encouraged by many medical schools. While it is not expected that all of these courses will be completed prior to entering medical school, admissions representatives from several medical programs frequently stress that the most successful medical students are those who have solid backgrounds in many of these advanced areas of coursework. At the same time,these courses have not been made strict prerequisites for admission to medical school so that students are still able to pursue other passions.
  • Students will find Classics 201, English Etymology, useful for understanding medical terms. Hampden-Sydney's Economics and Business department and Wilson Center for Leadership also endow aspiring doctors with financial acumen and leadership skills necessary to open and run an entrepreneurial medical practice.

Programs and Extracurricular Activities

  • The Pre-Health Society encourages students to begin developing knowledge of pertinent issues and ethical quandaries in the medical industry while also building a professional network through exposure to practitioners on trips and through speaking engagements.
  • The Hampden-Sydney Volunteer Fire Department, in coordination with Prince Edward County, offers an opportunity to receive training as an emergency medical technician and to practice as a first-response healthcare provider.
  • Southside Community Hospital in nearby Farmville regularly seeks volunteers from Hampden-Sydney College to assist with clerical responsibilities and to shadow physicians as they attend to their patients.
  • The H-SC/Centra Pre-Health Rotational Shadowing Program was established in 2015 to provide pre-health students with an opportunity to obtain substantial shadowing experience during the academic year in a variety of departments at the local Centra Southside Community Hospital.  Students may apply each year to participate in this program, which will provide significant healthcare exposure in several departments that include Family Medicine, General Surgery, Cardiovascual Group, the ER, ICU, Gastroenterology, OB/GYN, Radiology, and Pharmacy. 
  • The Wellness Center hires student workers and provides them direct exposure to a family medicine while simultaneously engaging them in the confidential patient-doctor relationship.

Graduate Study

Hampden-Sydney College's Pre-Medicine students have a unique opportunity to apply to three non-binding early-acceptance medical programs: at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (formerly known as "MCV," the Medical College of Virginia), at The George Washington School of Medicine, and at Eastern Virginia Medical School

After graduating from Hampden-Sydney students, attend a four-year medical school program. Medical students spend their first two years of medical school in basic sciences and the final two years in clinical rotations. By the end of their third year, medical students select a specialty and apply to residency programs. Typical residency programs and their duration include Internal Medicine (three years), Family Medicine (three years), Pediatrics (three years), Emergency Medicine (three years), Anæsthesiology (four years), Obstetrics and Gynecology (four years), Diagnostic Radiology (five years), and General Surgery (five years).

Students who are interested in Physical Therapy are eligible for two guaranteed positions into Lynchburg College's Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. They must meet certain GPA and curricular requirements and work with the College's Health Sciences Committee just as if they were applying to med school.

Alumni with careers in medicine