Sep 11, 2015
I am new on this forum and I don't know if this is the right thread to ask my question so please excuse me on this.

I am a recent physics graduate (bachelor's degree) and I am currently working. Next year I am planning to go an MSc in Medical Physics (because it is cheaper than pre-med school plus I am not yet ready for it, as I am not confident with my medical knowledge) and would only take that for a year until my family absorb me to go to the US to study pre-medicine (I am from Asia).

Now I am working full-time on an irrelevant job and would want to save up for my masters degree in medical physics next school year. I am looking currently on materials (like Basic biology, basic anatomy and physiology and medical physics and nuclear medicine physics, also org chem and biochem).

So now:
1. I need you pre-med students to advise me what courses to look up into to prepare my self. If possible, please specify what course you all take for basic pre-medicine.
2. Any tips and suggestions on how to manage my time on studying while working from 8am to 5pm weekdays? I am tired after work so I have not touched my materials yet!!
3. If you guys will be so kind, can you suggest books which I can use for basic anatomy and physiology and basic biology (already have Campbell Biology book though I have not read it yet).



has an opinion
10+ Year Member
Oct 30, 2006
Resident [Any Field]
You're way, way ahead of yourself.

Sounds like:
1. You want to live in the US but you currently live elsewhere.
2. You want to practice medicine in the US, eventually.

Becoming a doctor in the US requires:
1. completing "undergraduate" medical education, which in the US is 8 years (4 years to get a bachelors, 4 years to get an MD or DO), and in other countries is 6-9 years
2. getting into, and completing, a US medical residency of at least 3 years (people argue you can practice after 1 intern year but good lord why go to med school if you just want to work in a prison on a reservation in a desert for a crap that for a retirement job if you want to can't pay off med school debt with those jobs)
3. successfully completing multiple board exams and lots of licensing steps, and possibly also immigration steps

You should not attempt to do medical school in the US, if you do not now have US citizenship or permanent residency. Why not?
1. 4 years of US med school costs $250k to $400k. You have to either be wealthy or eligible for federal student loans (usually both) to pay for it. You can't get federal student loans without citizenship or a green card.
2. US med schools are extremely competitive. International applicants (other than Canadians) who succeed are in the the top 5% of all candidates. There are about 55,000 applicants per year, and over 55% are rejected. There are about 1500 foreign applicants each year, mostly Canadians, and about 250 get acceptances, mostly Canadians. You'll respect the credentials of the rejected applicants if you are smart.
3. US immigration processes are notoriously unpredictable. If you anticipate getting a green card, that's not good enough for stable planning. Every summer on SDN we get desperate, terrified questions from kids who get accepted and then their green card doesn't come through. Rotten situation.
3a. Canada's education system is very, very similar to the US. That's why things are different for Canadians.
4. If you complete undergrad outside the US, you still have to do 1-2 years of full time undergrad inside the US, including the med school prerequisites, before applying to med school.
5. The med school entrance exam (MCAT) includes not just science and math but sociology and humanities. This requires an exceptionally strong comprehension of written English subtleties.

Around 5000 foreign-trained non-US-citizen/greencard doctors get medical residencies in the US each year. The vast majority are in primary care in undesirable locations. The rejection rate for foreign applicants to US medical residencies is over 50%, and frequently success takes multiple years of attempts. US medical schools are growing; the number of residency spots is not.

You will get more appropriate guidance from SDN's international forum, or another website such as

Best of luck to you.
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