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Recommendations for First-Year Students Interested in Pre-Health

Recommendations for First-Year Students Interested in Pre-Health

Pre-medical, pre-dental, and other pre-professional health science students are encouraged to explore and to pursue academic fields they enjoy and in which they will perform well. To meet the admission requirements of professional health science schools, a student may major in any subject, but must include certain prerequisite courses in their undergraduate curricula. Both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science programs provide strong preparation for professional health science schools.

Although there are requirements for all professional health science programs, there is also a considerable amount of variation in the prerequisites beyond the general core (e.g., some pharmacy schools require a course in economics, others do not; many, but not all, physician assistant programs require a course in medical terminology). Consequently, as a first-year student it is not possible to anticipate every requirement you will need to complete, and it is important to work with Mr. Wes Schaub (pre-medicine) and Dr. Steven Scherger (pre-health other than medicine) to identify unique program requirements and when they should be fulfilled.

General requirements for most professional health science schools include:

  • 2 semesters of inorganic chemistry with lab
  • 2 semesters of organic chemistry with lab
  • 2 semesters of biology with lab
  • 2 semesters of physics with lab
  • 1 semester of biochemistry
  • 2 semesters of English composition
  • 1-2 semesters of calculus
  • 1 semester of statistics
  • 1-2 semesters of behavioral sciences

AP and IB credit

If you receive AP or IB credit for courses that are science requirements for professional health science schools, be aware that some programs do not accept such credits. It is most common with the biology and chemistry requirements. However, this does not mean you should waive such credit and repeat the courses at CWRU. Professional schools prefer applicants who challenge themselves as undergraduate students. Therefore, if you feel you are ready to take the next course beyond the one for which you received credit, it would be to your advantage to accept the AP or IB credit and take more advanced courses at the undergraduate level. For example, if you receive AP credit for CHEM 111 (which meets the requirement of CHEM 105), and you feel ready to take CHEM 106 in your first semester, you should plan to take an advanced course in chemistry or biochemistry in your second or third year in order to replace the AP credit.

Recommended course sequences

The recommended sequences of courses for pre-health science students are listed below for various academic areas. These sequences cover the general requirements for most professional health science schools and prepare students to take the professional school admission examinations (e.g. MCAT, DAT, PCAT, OAT) at the end of their junior year.

Biological and Chemical Science Majors (BA and BS)
Year Fall Semester Spring Semester Other Coursework
First Year MATH 125 (or 121)
CHEM 105
BIOL 214/214L1
MATH 126 (or 122)
CHEM 106
BIOL 215/215L1
  • CHEM 113 should be taken either fall or spring semester of the first year.
  • SAGES Seminars cover English composition requirement.
  • PSCL 101 and SOCI 101 should be taken by the end of the third year.
  • One course in Statistics3 by the end of the third year if possible, but the fourth year is okay.
Second Year CHEM 223 (or 323)
CHEM 233
BIOL 216/216L1
CHEM 224 (or 324)
CHEM 234
Third Year PHYS 115 (or 121)
BIOC 307 or CHEM 3282
PHYS 116 (or 122)

 

Mathematical and Physical Science Majors (BA and BS)
Year Fall Semester Spring Semester Other Coursework
First Year MATH 121 (or 125)
CHEM 105
PHYS 121 (or 115)
MATH 122 (or 126)
CHEM 106
PHYS 122 (or 116)
  • CHEM 113 should be taken either fall or spring semester of the first year.
  • SAGES Seminars cover English composition requirement.
  • PSCL 101 and SOCI 101 should be taken by the end of the third year.
  • One course in Statistics3 by the end of the third year if possible, but the fourth year is okay.
Second Year CHEM 223 (or 323)
CHEM 233
BIOL 214/214L1
CHEM 224 (or 324)
CHEM 234
BIOL 215/215L1
Third Year BIOL 216/216L1
BIOC 307 or CHEM 3282
 

 

Engineering Majors
Year Fall Semester Spring Semester Other Coursework
First Year MATH 121
CHEM 111
PHYS 1214
MATH 122
ENGR 145
PHYS 122
  • CHEM 113 should be taken either fall or spring semester of the first year.
  • SAGES Seminars cover English composition requirement.
  • PSCL 101 and SOCI 101 should be taken by the end of the third year.
  • One course in Statistics3 by the end of the third year if possible, but the fourth year is okay.
Second Year CHEM 223 (or 323)
CHEM 233
BIOL 214/214L1
CHEM 224 (or 324)
CHEM 234
BIOL 215/215L1
Third Year BIOL 216/216L1
BIOC 307 or CHEM 3282
 

 

Arts, Humanities, and Social Science Majors
Year Fall Semester Spring Semester Other Coursework
First Year CHEM 105
MATH 125
CHEM 106
BIOL 214/214L1
  • CHEM 113 should be taken either fall or spring semester of the first year.
  • SAGES Seminars cover English composition requirement.
  • PSCL 101 and SOCI 101 should be taken by the end of the third year.
  • One course in Statistics3 by the end of the third year.
Second Year CHEM 223 (or 323)
CHEM 233
BIOL 215/215L1
CHEM 224 (or 324)
CHEM 234
BIOL 216/216L1
Third Year PHYS 115 (or 121)
BIOC 307 or CHEM 3282
PHYS 116 (or 122)

Other courses of interest

The list below contains fall 2017 courses that will allow you to enhance your knowledge of various health-related or professional development topics. These courses are not required, but are suggested for additional personal and professional development during your undergraduate career. A more extensive list of courses beyond your first semester will be provided at the Pre-Health Welcome Sessions during orientation in August.

  • ANTH 102 – Being Human: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTH 215 – Health, Culture, and Disease: An Introduction to Medical Anthropology
  • BETH 210 – Perspectives on Health: Intro to Medical Humanities & Social Medicine
  • BETH 271 – Bioethics: Dilemmas 
  • COGS 101 – Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • COSI 109 – Introduction to Communication Disorders
  • EBME 105 – Introduction to Biomedical Engineering
  • NTRN 201 – Nutrition
  • PSCL 230 – Child Psychology
  • PHED 60B – CPR/First Aid

To-Do List for First-Year Students Interested in Pre-Health

  1. Take courses recommended for first-year students pursuing professional health sciences.
  2. Explore and take courses that are genuinely interesting regardless of whether or not they fall into fields associated with the health science professions.
  3. Attend the pre-health information sessions during the new student orientation Wednesday, Aug. 23.
  4. If not already enrolled by the middle of October, get access to the CWRU pre-medical, pre-dental, and pre-health professions Blackboard page by sending a request to Mr. Wes Schaub or Dr. Steven Scherger.
  5. Volunteer in a clinical environment such as the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospital Medical Centers, the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, MetroHealth Medical Center, the CWRU Dental Clinic, Judson Manor, Hope Lodge, or the Ronald McDonald House.
  6. Shadow at least one professional in your health science field of interest in order to learn more about the rewards and demands of the career.
  7. Explore opportunities to engage in research by talking to your professors and advisors and through the SOURCE (Support of Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors) Office.
  8. Consider joining student organizations with a variety of focuses (not only health- or science-based) to explore academic interests, develop leadership skills, and to HAVE FUN!
  9. Attend information sessions held throughout the first year focused on career exploration, applicant preparation, and professional development in medicine, dentistry, and other health professional areas.
  10. During your first year, meet at least once with Mr. Wes Schaub (pre-medicine) or Dr. Steven Scherger (pre-health other than medicine) to discuss your interests and goals related to the health science professions. To schedule an appointment call 216.368.2928 or stop by the Office of Undergraduate Studies in Sears Building 357.

1Although most professional health science schools require only two semesters of general biology, students should take the third semester of the BIOL 214, 215, 216 sequence. Material from all three courses is covered on the MCAT and DAT. Students should take at least two labs from BIOL 214L, 215L, and 216L. Biomedical engineering students do not need to take BIOL 216 as this material is covered in EBME 201 and 202.

2Students may take either BIOC 307 or CHEM 328 for their introductory biochemistry course. BIOC 307 is offered only in the fall semester; CHEM 328 is offered both semesters.

3Statistics can be fulfilled with ANTH 319, OPRE 207, PSCL 282, STAT 201, STAT 201R, STAT 312, or STAT 312R.

4Some engineering majors recommend that students enroll in PHYS 121 during the spring semester of their first year. Pre-Health engineering students should refer to recommended courses for their intended major as to when it is best to start their physics sequence.