English and Medicine

We have heard from a number of Notre Dame alumni that majoring in English provides an excellent preparation for medical school. These alumni have either chosen English as a second major or have majored in English while completing the Arts and Letters Pre-Professional Program.

Here’s what one of our alumni now practicing medicine has to say about majoring in English:

“As an English major, I developed the skills necessary to digest the large volumes of material covered in medical school and honed one of my greatest skills, reading quickly with a high level of comprehension. My experience as a writer has also made me sought after for writing papers to submit for publication to medical journals. It is also a great asset as a physician to have spent hours reading, discussing, and writing, about the most complex human emotions and relationships. I draw upon that experience every time I have to deliver difficult news to a family or discuss a particularly challenging diagnosis with a patient.”

And here’s a comment from a graduate currently in medical school:

“I'm really glad I chose to study English . . . Having small classes where my teachers really ‘got to know me’ (and vice-versa) was refreshingly different from my larger, lecture-based science classes. Moreover, I appreciate how much these classes . . . helped me develop critical thinking, analysis, and communication skills that will be vital to me as a medical student and, in the future, as a physician.”

Recent English alumni are attending medical school, dental school, or veterinary school at Duke, Toledo, Florida, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, and Chicago.