The pre-health program is administered jointly by the Committee for the Health Professions and by the Center for Advising, Internships & Lifelong Career Development. Any student interested in a career in the health professions (medicine, dentistry, optometry, veterinary medicine, nursing, etc.) should contact the center as soon as possible.
At the beginning of the academic year, first-year students who have expressed an interest in a health-related career receive a notice to attend an informational meeting. At this meeting, we will cover information regarding required coursework and the pre-health advising program. Following group advising, we will add interested individuals to the pre-health student list after receiving completed entry materials.
We will assign each student to one of the committee members as their pre-health advisor. The advisor will work with the student each semester on course selection and will draft the committee letter of recommendation when the student/alum applies to professional school. The committee also provides advice and prepares evaluations for students interested in any of the health professions. The pre-health professions advisor in the center supports all pre-health students with health career information and assistance as requested by students during the professional school application and interview process.
Most students accepted into medical or other professional schools in the healthcare industry major in one of the sciences. Pursuing other majors is possible, but students must show their ability to do superior work in biology, chemistry and physics.
If planning to attend professional school immediately following graduation, students in all majors should finish their science courses by the end of junior year to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) or other professional exams. At the earliest, candidates should take these tests in the spring of the junior year. Many professional school applicants choose to wait until after graduation to take their tests and apply for professional school programs.
Common courses to complete before professional school application
Chemistry: 5 semesters (inorganic - 131, 132 or 141 plus 243; organic - 241, 242 and biochemistry – 331, no lab, or 342, with lab) *See notes below
Biology: 2 semesters (131, 132 - these courses are not sequential)
Physics: 2 semesters (sequence 141, 142 preferred; however, 131, 132 will suffice)
Mathematics: 2 semesters (choose a sequence: 170, 171 or 170, 121)
English/writing: 2 semesters
Psychology/sociology: Discuss options for specific courses with your pre-health advisor.
Explore prerequisite courses for potential schools in the first year. Some additional prerequisite courses suggested by individual professional schools might include those in statistics, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, histology, vertebrate anatomy, metabolism, physiology and humanities courses.
* Chemistry notes: Students with appropriate placement scores may substitute CHEM 141 Accelerated General Chemistry for the CHEM 131/132 sequence resulting in three of the four required courses for medical schools and other health professions programs. Whenever scheduling the advanced course, students should explore whether schools to which they plan to apply to will still require four undergraduate chemistry courses. If so, the Committee recommends CHEM 244, Thermodynamics and Kinetics, or CHEM 243, Modern Chemical Analysis as the “additional course.”
Chemistry 111 will not satisfy this requirement.
Professional schools and the committee will also accept CHEM 343, Metabolism, to meet the biochemistry requirement; however, CHEM 342, or a combination of both courses would be preferred by the professional and medical schools in preparation for entry into their programs.
Learning opportunities outside of coursework
Both the pre-health program and Pre-Health Society, the student club for those with an interest in pursuing health professions, provide workshops with alumni and guest speakers discussing treatments, techniques and educational opportunities. Many of these programs are interactive and offer students opportunities to connect directly with professionals in various medical and healthcare fields. Career interest groups are available for students exploring dentistry (the DDS Group), veterinary medicine (VET) and those exploring professions such as physical and occupational therapy, among others (Allied Health).
The Dickinson MAPS (Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students) chapter, formed in 2018 by a small group of student leaders, focuses on creating a space where underrepresented individuals can receive advice, resources, and mentors on their path to their respective health careers. The chapter hosts events on internships, service in the community, finding mentors, and other beneficial opportunities to better prepare underrepresented students for their health careers. Dickinson’s MAPS chapter is part of a larger organization called the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) that hosts multiple conferences for their MAPS chapters in efforts to provide a network and even more resources to our members.
Experiential opportunities exist locally with three hospitals as well as non-profit healthcare-related organizations. Our students also begin exploring internships, clinical-related opportunities, and research work following their first year on campus.