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 pursuing a career within 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. Interested students will receive invitations to several group advising sessions throughout the fall semester, covering a variety of pre-health topics. Following group advising, we will add interested individuals to the active Pre-Health Program student list after receiving completed entry materials.
We will assign each student to one of the committee members as their Faculty 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 are accepted into medical or other professional schools in the healthcare industry after majoring in one of the sciences. Pursuing other majors is possible; however, students must prove their capability to perform superior work in the required science courses.
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.These students often participate in "post-baccalaureate (post-bac)" programs to gain more experience prior to their chosen program.
COMMON COURSES TO COMPLETE BEFORE PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL APPLICATION
Chemistry: 5 semesters (inorganic - 131, 132 or 141, 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 *)
(* Students planning to major in Neuroscience should take Biology 132 in the Fall and Psychology 125 in the spring of their first year.)
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 Faculty Pre-Health Advisor.
Students should explore prerequisite courses for attending potential professional 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 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.
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, hosts activities focusing on creating a space where underrepresented individuals can receive advice and resources while interacting with mentors on their path to their respective health careers. The chapter hosts events on internships, service in the community, and finding mentors to prepare for their future healthcare careers. Dickinson’s MAPS chapter is part of a larger organization called the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). Medical student mentors from SNMA host multiple conferences for their affiliated MAPS chapters to provide a network and greater resources to our members.
Experiential opportunities exist locally with four hospitals as well as non-profit, healthcare-related organizations. Our students begin exploring internships, clinical-related opportunities, and research work following their first year on campus. They may explore options with the Pre-Health Professions Advisor and find roles that are locally, regionally, or nationally based.
Dickinson provides a well-rounded program that allows you to develop and implement a plan to explore and to choose the ways that you will find your authentic interests. The Pre-Health Program and the Committee for the Health Professions members are here to support our students in the exploration and achievement of their professional accomplishments. After graduation, our alumni pursue medical and other healthcare education programs across the US.