Can You Go to Medical School with a Nursing Degree? Exploring the Possibilities

Have you ever wondered whether it’s possible to go to medical school with a nursing degree? If so, you’re not alone. As healthcare continues to evolve, the line between different roles, such as doctors and nurses, is becoming increasingly blurred. Many nurses aspire to become doctors, and vice versa. It all comes down to the idea of expanding your knowledge and capabilities to provide better care for patients. So, the question is, can you go to medical school with a nursing degree?

In short, the answer is yes. It’s possible to go to medical school with a nursing degree, but it’s not a straightforward path. The journey from a nurse to a doctor requires a lot of dedication, time, and effort. You’ll be taking on a challenging task, but the reward of becoming a physician is well worth it. You’ll be able to provide a more comprehensive approach to care as a doctor, while still bringing the compassionate bedside manner of a nurse. If you’re passionate about healthcare and want to take your skills and knowledge to the next level, pursuing medical school while holding a nursing degree may be the right move for you.

However, before you take the leap, there are a few things to consider. Medical school is an expensive and time-consuming commitment that requires rigorous coursework and clinical experience. It’s important to research and weigh your options before deciding to pursue a medical degree. Don’t forget to consider the financial burden and potential limitations of balancing school with work and personal responsibilities. That being said, if you’re willing to work hard and have a strong passion for medicine, the possibility of going to medical school with a nursing degree can lead to a fulfilling career that combines your love of science, healthcare, and helping others.

Overview of Nursing Degrees

Nursing is one of the most popular career choices among healthcare professionals. As such, it offers a variety of degree programs. The most common nursing degrees are the associate degree in nursing (ADN), the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), and the master of science in nursing (MSN). Each degree has different requirements and goals. It is important to understand each degree to make an informed decision about your career path in nursing.

Prerequisites for Medical School

While pursuing a nursing degree, it is possible to change career paths and attend medical school. However, it is important to note that medical schools have their own set of prerequisites that must be met in order to be considered for admission.

  • Science Courses: Medical schools require students to have a strong foundation in the sciences. It is typically required to have taken courses in biology, chemistry, and physics.
  • Mathematics Courses: Students are also expected to have taken calculus.
  • English Courses: Medical schools require applicants to have taken at least one course in English.

In addition to these core courses, medical schools may require or recommend other classes such as biochemistry, genetics, psychology, or sociology. It is important to research the requirements of each school you are interested in applying to in order to ensure that all prerequisites are met.

Many medical schools require students to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) as part of the application process. This exam tests knowledge and skills in areas such as biology, chemistry, physics, and critical thinking. Achieving a high score on the MCAT can greatly increase the chances of being accepted to medical school.

Science Courses Math Courses English Courses
Biology Calculus At least one course in English

Overall, having a nursing degree can provide a strong foundation in the sciences and healthcare, but it is important to fulfill all of the prerequisites required by medical schools in order to be considered for admission.

Medical Schools that Accept Nursing Degrees

Going to medical school with a nursing degree is not the most common path, but it is becoming more popular. Nurses make up an ideal pool of applicants for medical school since they typically have acquired the necessary prerequisite coursework and clinical experience. However, not all medical schools accept nursing degrees as a suitable prerequisite for enrollment. In this article, we will explore some of the medical schools that accept nursing degrees.

  • Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine: This school accepts nursing degrees, but also requires the completion of additional math and science courses before admission. They offer an MD-PhD program that can be completed in seven years.
  • Georgetown University School of Medicine: This school offers a unique program called the “Special Master’s Program” for students who have a degree in nursing or other healthcare-related fields. The program provides a rigorous education in the biological sciences, preparing students for the MCAT and medical school.
  • University of Utah School of Medicine: This school offers a special admissions program for registered nurses who want to become physicians. The program provides an accelerated path to medical school with a focus on primary care.

Before applying to medical school, it’s important to research which schools accept nursing degrees. In some cases, additional coursework may be required before admission. While it may take extra effort to pursue a medical degree with a nursing background, the rewards can be significant for those who are committed to the rigors of both fields.

In the table below, we have listed some of the medical schools that accept nursing degrees and the prerequisite coursework requirements that must be met:

Medical School Prerequisite Coursework Requirements
Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Additional math and science courses
Georgetown University School of Medicine “Special Master’s Program” in the biological sciences
University of Utah School of Medicine Accelerated path to medical school with a focus on primary care

If you have a nursing degree and are interested in pursuing a medical degree, there are options available. Researching schools that accept nursing degrees and the necessary coursework requirements is a good first step. With dedication and hard work, a career in healthcare as both a nurse and physician is attainable.

Advantages of Having a Nursing Degree in Medical School

If you are considering pursuing a medical degree, having a background in nursing can give you a unique advantage. Here are some of the advantages of having a nursing degree in medical school:

  • Knowledge of patient care: As a nurse, you have experience providing direct patient care and managing patient needs. This experience can be invaluable when transitioning to medical school, as you already have a solid foundation in patient care.
  • Familiarity with medical terminology: As a nurse, you are familiar with medical terminology and the abbreviations commonly used in healthcare. This can give you a head start when it comes to studying for the MCAT and mastering the material in medical school.
  • Ability to work under pressure: Nurses work in fast-paced environments and are accustomed to handling high-stress situations. This skill can be incredibly valuable in medical school, where you will be faced with a rigorous curriculum and high-pressure situations.

In addition to these advantages, having a nursing degree can make you a more well-rounded candidate for medical school. Admissions committees appreciate students with diverse backgrounds, and a nursing degree can set you apart from other applicants.

It’s also worth noting that many nursing programs offer courses that are relevant to medical school, such as anatomy, pharmacology, and pathophysiology. These courses can give you a solid foundation for the material you will cover in medical school.

Advantages of Having a Nursing Degree in Medical School Disadvantages of Having a Nursing Degree in Medical School
Experience in patient care May be perceived as less competitive than traditional pre-med students
Familiarity with medical terminology May have to spend more time studying certain subjects, such as physics and organic chemistry
Ability to work under pressure May need to adjust to a new mindset and approach to patient care

In conclusion, having a nursing degree can be a significant advantage when pursuing a medical degree. Your experience in patient care, familiarity with medical terminology, and ability to work under pressure can all serve you well in medical school. By leveraging your strengths and seeking out additional support where needed, you can position yourself for success in this challenging but rewarding field.

Challenges Faced by Nurses in Medical School

If you’re a nurse looking to further your studies and become a doctor, then you’ll be well aware of the challenges you will face when entering medical school. While there are certainly benefits to having a nursing degree when you start your medical training, such as having a solid foundation in patient care and medical terminology, the transition from nursing to medical school can be daunting. Here are some of the most common challenges faced by nurses in medical school:

  • Adjusting to a new learning environment: Medical school curriculum and teaching styles differ significantly from nursing programs. Nurses are often used to a more hands-on, practical approach to learning, while medical school tends to focus more heavily on lectures and textbooks.
  • Time management: Medical school is an entirely different ball game from nursing programs in terms of workload and time management. Whereas in nursing school, you may have had more downtime to study and complete assignments, medical students are typically juggling a combination of coursework, lab work, and clinical rotations.
  • Academic rigor: Nursing curriculums are rigorous in their own right, but the coursework and exams in medical school can be some of the most challenging you’ll face in your academic career. You may find that you need to adjust your study habits and put in more time and effort than you did in nursing school.

Support Systems for Nurses in Medical School

It’s important to remember that while these challenges can be difficult to overcome, there are also support systems in place for nurses who decide to pursue medical education. Many medical schools have resources available for non-traditional students, including mentorship programs, tutoring services, and academic advising. Additionally, you can lean on your nursing experience as a foundation for understanding complex medical concepts and patient care.

Studying Strategies for Nursing Students in Medical School

To make the transition from nursing to medical school more manageable, consider implementing these strategies:

  • Find a mentor: A mentor who is a practicing doctor or professor can provide invaluable guidance and support.
  • Develop a study routine: Set aside dedicated time each day for studying and homework. Stick to it as much as possible.
  • Collaborate with peers: Consider forming a study group with your classmates. Working with others can help you process and retain information more efficiently.

Table: Comparison of Nursing Programs and Medical Schools

Nursing Programs Medical Schools
Length of Program 2-4 years for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree 4 years for a medical degree
Curriculum Focus Patient care, health promotion, and disease prevention Basic sciences, clinical sciences, and patient care
Teaching Style Hands-on clinical experience supplemented with classroom lectures Traditional lecture-based classroom instruction supplemented with clinical rotations

As you can see, there are significant differences between nursing programs and medical schools. However, with dedication and hard work, nurses can make a successful transition to medical school and become highly skilled physicians.

Tips for Nurses Applying to Medical School

Many nurses aspire to become physicians and decide to pursue a medical degree. However, the path to medical school as a nurse applicant can be challenging. Here are some tips for nurses applying to medical school:

  • Research the requirements: Before applying to medical school, it is essential to check the application requirements of the schools that you are interested in. Some medical schools require extra courses or exams, such as the MCAT or GRE.
  • Bolster your academic credentials: While nursing provides an excellent foundation for a medical degree, academic prerequisites for medical school may differ from nursing school. Some applicants take additional courses in biology, chemistry, and physics to ensure they meet the requirements.
  • Showcase your clinical experience: Nursing provides a wealth of clinical experience that can differentiate you from other medical school applicants. Highlight your patient care experience and leadership abilities in your application.

Medical school admissions committees often want to know why a nurse would want to transition to a career in medicine.

Here are some common reasons why nurses pursue a career as physicians:

  • Desire to broaden clinical knowledge and skills
  • Ability to diagnose and treat patients independently
  • Wish to make a greater impact on patient care
  • Interest in research or medical education career paths.

While applying to medical school as a nurse requires dedication and perseverance, it is possible to be successful. Utilize your clinical experience, clearly articulate your motivations for pursuing medicine, and take time to research the application process.

Pros of Applying to Medical School as a Nurse: Cons of Applying to Medical School as a Nurse:
-Strong clinical experience
-Ability to connect with patients and understand disease processes
-Comfortable with complex medical terminology
-Experience working in an interprofessional team
-Additional coursework may be necessary
-May require time away from work or family
-Can be a competitive application process
-May need to explain why transitioning from nursing to medicine

Ultimately, the reasons for pursuing a medical degree as a nurse are specific to each individual. With the right mindset and preparation, it is possible to make a successful transition to medical school and ultimately into a career as a physician.

Career Opportunities for Nurse-Medical Doctors

If you are a nurse who has completed medical school education and earned a medical degree, you can consider various career opportunities available to you. Here are seven popular career options for nurse-medical doctors:

  • Primary Care Physicians: Nurse-medical doctors can work as primary care physicians, providing preventive care, diagnosis, and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses, as well as referring patients to other specialists when necessary.
  • Emergency Medicine Physicians: Nurse-medical doctors can also work as emergency physicians, managing acute medical conditions and injuries in emergency departments, urgent care centers, and ambulatory care settings.
  • Hospitalists: Hospitalists are physicians who specialize in the care of patients admitted to hospitals. Nurse-medical doctors can become hospitalists, taking care of patients with acute medical conditions and coordinating their care with other specialists and healthcare professionals, such as nurses, pharmacists, and social workers.
  • Surgeons: Nurse-medical doctors can also become surgeons, performing surgical procedures on patients with various illnesses and injuries, ranging from minor to life-threatening.
  • Medical Educators: Nurse-medical doctors can also work as medical educators, teaching and training medical students, residents, and other healthcare professionals on various topics related to medicine, nursing, and patient care.
  • Medical Researchers: Nurse-medical doctors can also pursue a career in medical research, conducting studies on various medical conditions and treatments, and publishing their findings in scientific journals and conferences.
  • Healthcare Administrators: Nurse-medical doctors can also work as healthcare administrators, managing healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes, and overseeing the delivery of patient care services and the implementation of healthcare policies and regulations.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Nurse-Medical Doctor

Being a nurse-medical doctor can be a rewarding and challenging career choice. Here are some pros and cons to consider if you are thinking of pursuing this career path:


  • Expanded career opportunities and earning potential
  • Opportunity to make a meaningful impact on patients’ lives by providing high-quality medical care
  • Opportunity to learn and apply a diverse set of skills and knowledge from both nursing and medical disciplines


  • Long and demanding education and training process, requiring significant financial investment
  • High levels of stress and pressure, with long working hours and potential for burnout
  • Greater legal and professional responsibilities, including the need to maintain and update medical licenses and certifications

Salary Expectations for Nurse-Medical Doctors

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for physicians and surgeons in May 2020 was $208,000. However, the exact salary of a nurse-medical doctor may vary depending on factors such as their specialization, geographical location, and employer type. For example, a neurosurgeon may earn significantly more than a primary care physician, and a nurse-medical doctor working in a rural area may earn less than one working in a large metropolitan area.

Specialization Median Annual Wage (May 2020)
Primary Care Physicians $209,010
Surgeons $252,040
Emergency Medicine Physicians $311,137
Hospitalists $268,887
Medical Educators $112,260
Medical Researchers $89,970
Healthcare Administrators $104,280

It’s important to note that salary is just one aspect of compensation, and other benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off may also be significant factors to consider when choosing a career as a nurse-medical doctor.

Can You Go to Medical School with a Nursing Degree? FAQs

Q: Is it possible to go to medical school with a nursing degree?

A: Yes, it is possible to attend medical school with a nursing degree. However, you will need to meet the standard admissions requirements for medical school, including completing the required pre-medical coursework.

Q: What pre-medical coursework is required?

A: The required pre-medical coursework typically includes biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. You will also need to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and submit letters of recommendation from professors and healthcare professionals.

Q: How long will it take to complete medical school with a nursing degree?

A: Medical school typically takes four years to complete, regardless of your undergraduate degree. However, your nursing degree may give you an advantage in certain coursework and clinical rotations.

Q: What are the benefits of having a nursing degree before attending medical school?

A: Having a nursing degree can give you a strong foundation in patient care and clinical skills, which can be beneficial when pursuing a medical degree. Additionally, your nursing experience can make you a more competitive applicant.

Q: Will I need to complete additional coursework or certification before attending medical school?

A: It depends on the specific medical school and program you are applying to. Some programs may require additional coursework or certification, while others may not.

Q: Can I work as a nurse while attending medical school?

A: It depends on the specific medical school and program you are attending. Some programs may allow you to work part-time as a nurse, while others may not.

Q: What career opportunities are available after completing medical school with a nursing degree?

A: After completing medical school with a nursing degree, you will be qualified to work as a medical doctor in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practice, and more.

Thank You for Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to read about the possibility of attending medical school with a nursing degree. We hope these FAQs have been helpful in answering your questions. Don’t forget to check back soon for more informative articles!