Pre-Med Q&ACategory: Letters of RecommendationLetter of Recommendation from Science Teachers
AvatarRashna Y Soonavala asked 4 years ago

 Hi!  I had a question regarding med school letters of recommendation. For reference, I plan on applying during either the 2020 summer or 2021 summer (depending on if I take 1 or 2 gap years).    I understand that med schools will need letters of recommendation from a professor, with many specifying a professor from a \”science class.\”  I was wondering if the \”science\” letters of rec need to come from professors that teach courses that fall under AMCA\’s BCPM list.    For example, I was thinking about getting a recommendation from a professor I took a climate science class with but I am unclear if that would count as a \”science\” letter of recommendation or not. 

1 Answers
AvatarLindsay answered 4 years ago

Hi Rashna,
Thanks for posting your question. Your question actually doesn’t have a cookie cutter answer. However, I’ll give you a simple answer first. My simple answer is that it is best to get “Science Letters” from professors who have taught you in your core, science courses which fall under the BCPM list. Since Natural and Physical Science courses (ie. agriculture, geography, and meteorology) fall under All Other (AO) courses, my best guess is that climate science would also be considered AO, not BCPM.
In the end though, letters of recommendation should come from people who know you very well, people who can dig deep and explain how you have mastered some of t the 15 Core Competencies. It would probably tell medical schools admissions teams more about your ability to succeed in medical school if the science letter comes from a biology, chemistry, or physics professor; however, if your climate science teacher knows you well and can speak on your ability to interact with challenging course material better than your other “basic science” professors, it may be worth pursuing the inquiry about whether his/her letter could count as a science letter.
Since your question is so niche, that further inquiry would look like calling or emailing a few of the medical schools you’re interested in applying to. Ask them directly whether they would allow your climate science professor’s letter to be a science letter. It may feel awkward to contact them, but the people on the admission teams are meant to clarify ambiguous aspects of the application process, and they are the best equipped to answer your specific question. Some may say yes, some may say no, all may say yes, and all may say no.
When I’ve had some questions the pre-health advisors at UMICH haven’t had definitive answers on, they recommended  call school directly too. Some of my question were: Can a professor who taught me but then retired write me a letter? Does a professor’s title (assistant professor, associate professor, full professor) matter? Each time I called, I got a clear answer from a very nice admission team member.
We would love to hear back from you on what you hear back! Please do post again or stop by our drop-in advising hours if you have any other questions.
Lindsay (Co-President)

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