Catalog • 2012-2013

Pre-Health Professions Program

For information contact Dr. Amy J. Reese

Program Description

The Pre-Health Professions Program is designed to provide students with individualized assistance in preparing and applying for postgraduate education in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and other health professions careers, while also exposing them to the various health-related fields.

While health professions schools require certain undergraduate courses as prerequisites (see below), they do not require or prefer a particular major. Therefore, each student should choose her major based on her interests and abilities. Students considering health professions careers should inform their academic advisors, and contact the Health Professions Advisor as early as possible. Faculty advising and support services for students enrolled in the program include course scheduling, pre-medical orientation sessions, personal statement workshops, application assistance, and committee recommendation letters (where appropriate).

Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Health Professions Program is to help women interested in health professional careers find the field that is the best fit for their interests, talents, and personality. The program provides opportunities for students to explore descriptions, qualifications, and traits of different health professional fields, including: medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physician assistant, podiatry, public health, optometry, and other health-related careers. Students can participate in individual and group advising events, and receive guidance in obtaining exposure to professional practice and gaining meaningful volunteer work. It is the goal that students will go onto a health professional program and future career that is an ideal fit for them and their level of preparedness, and that contributes to the overall health of society.

Total number of credits required by program: Minimum of 44

Program Requirements

Students who wish to graduate from the Health Professions Program from Cedar Crest must meet the required prerequisite courses listed below, fulfill an additional year of Biology coursework, and maintain a science and overall GPA of 3.300 or above.

Course Requirements

Students should become familiar with the requirements of the particular professional school in which they are interested. The Cedar Crest courses that fulfill undergraduate requirements for most health professions schools are:

BIO 121 Principles of Biology I 4 credits
BIO 122 Principles of Biology II 4 credits
CHE 111 Chemical Principles 4 credits
CHE 112 Chemical Equilibrium and Analysis, 4 credits
CHE 205 Organic Chemistry I, 4 credits
CHE 206 Organic Chemistry II, 4 credits
PHY 101 Introductory College Physics I, 4 credits
PHY 102 Introductory College Physics II, 4 credits
MAT 141 Calculus I, 3 credits
MAT 142 Calculus II, 3 credits
Two courses of college-level English or composition, 6 credits

The 2015 MCAT will come with a new list of courses that should be covered before sitting for the exam.  In addition to the courses listed above, this exam and the 2016 matriculation medical school requirements will now include:

BIO 236 Cell and Molecular Biology, 4 credits
CHE 307 Biochemistry, 3 or 4 credits
A course in statistics: BIO 248 Biostatistics, 3 credits OR MAT 110 Probability & Statistics), 3 credits
Introductory course in sociology, 3 credits
Introductory course in psychology, 3 credits

It is usually preferable for these courses to be taken at Cedar Crest, as part of a regular academic schedule. The Health Professions Advisor can answer questions regarding the suitability of AP or transfer credit, and part-time or summer study.  Coursework in genetics (BIO 236) is also recommended .   Some medical schools may have additional course or minimum grade requirements. Health professional schools other than medical schools may require all or some of these courses or could require other courses.  Information is available on individual schools’ admissions standards. 

Health professions education is extremely rigorous, and therefore schools expect a very strong record of undergraduate academic achievement, both in science courses and overall. Students should be aware that admission to schools in these areas is highly competitive, and participation in the Health Professions Program does not imply or guarantee acceptance.

Standardized Tests

Health professions schools usually require the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Dental Admission Test (DAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Examinations for other professional programs can vary. The appropriate test should usually be taken in the spring semester or early summer of the junior year.

Additional Preparation

In addition to their academic preparation, students should have a record of experience and service demonstrating an interest in, and commitment to, their field of choice, as well as clearly articulated reasons for choosing a career in their field. A sustained commitment to a meaningful volunteer activity, exposure to professional practice, participation in Health Professions Advisor-sponsored events, and active involvement in the student pre-health chapter is highly recommended.

Application Process

The application process for health professions schools begins the year prior to the intended start date (i.e., typically in the spring of the Junior year). Students should consult with the Health Professions Advisor initially and throughout the process. Most medical schools expect a confidential letter of recommendation from the Health Professions Advisory Committee, and it is inadvisable for students to apply without requesting a letter.