College Center for Advising Services

Health Professions Advising


Please see the health professions website for additional details regarding health professions advising.

All of the pre-requisite courses necessary for admission to medical, dental, optometry, veterinary and other health professions schools are regularly offered here. There is no “pre-medical” or “pre-dental” major, and it is not necessary to major in a science in order to improve one’s preparation or chances for acceptance. Medical school applications are very competitive, so students should choose their courses and major carefully, paying attention to their interests and strengths. Students tend to do best in courses that match their passions, and the wise student selects courses with career alternatives in mind.


Health professions advisers are available in the Office of Health Professions Advising, located in 203 Lattimore Hall. Advisers provide students with specialized academic and career information related to health professions fields and graduate programs. General questions can be sent to: In addition to individual appointments, regular advising workshops discussing required courses, career exploration, and the health professions applications process are offered. See also the Health Professions web page at


Membership in the Charles Drew Pre-Health Professions Society is open to all students interested in the health professions. A large and active organization, the Drew Society hosts events throughout the year.


For students who are interested in research, both the River Campus and the Medical Center offer a wealth of opportunities, and many students have been able to engage in research for academic credit or as paid employees hired through our Student Employment Office in the Financial Aid Office. Stipends are also available from a variety of University and outside sources.

Clinical Opportunities

It is essential that students interested in the health professions acquire hands-on experience before making a firm commitment. Our Strong Memorial Hospital and other area hospitals are always in need of volunteers, as are many local service organizations. The volunteer ambulance companies in the neighboring suburbs, for example, welcome volunteers and are excellent sources of experience. For students interested in mental health, the Compeer program pairs volunteers with troubled individuals who need companionship and emotional support. The nearby Al Sigl Center houses several organizations that serve the physically challenged. There are many, many ways in which students may explore health-related careers while helping others.


Schools of medicine, dentistry, optometry, podiatry, and veterinary medicine have similar foundational prerequisites for admission. Because individual programs may vary, however, students should investigate the requirements of their programs or schools of interest and speak with a health professions adviser. Students can meet most pre-professional requirements by taking any one of the sequences shown for each subject listed on our pre-requisite page. Students should consult a departmental adviser or an academic adviser in order to choose the most appropriate sequence for a student's ability and intended major. Please also refer to the provided sample schedules.

General Program Planning Guidelines

It is important that students intending to apply to health professions schools make an early start on science courses. There is no “one size fits all” schedule (especially since so many entering freshmen have AP and/or transfer credit), but here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Students should consider from the beginning that they may be better, more mature, more competitive applicants if they wait until their senior year or later to apply. There is no preferred time-table to prepare for medical, dental or other health professions schools, and spreading your pre-requisite coursework over four years of study allows for greater flexibility in your course selection. The average age of first-year medical school students in 2013 was 24.5.
  2. Any student considering a biology or biological sciences major should take biology in the freshman year. Students majoring in a social science (e.g., public health, psychology) or humanities (English, etc.) may be better suited to consider an alternate course sequence. The biology department strongly recommends that a student enrolling in BIO 110 or BIO 112 also enroll in CHM 131. If there is concern about a student’s ability to handle more than two science/technical courses in a semester, consider one of these alternatives:
    1. Take biology and chemistry in the freshman year and calculus in the summer or in the sophomore year.
    2. Take calculus with chemistry in the freshman year and biology in the summer.
  3. Students need only two semesters of mathematics for most health professions schools.
  4. Many Rochester students who apply to health professions schools complete general chemistry in the freshman year, organic chemistry in the sophomore year, and physics in the junior year. This “timetable” may be altered to fit individual needs. What is most important to remember is that admission tests for health professions schools must be taken no later than a year before expected matriculation, and all required science courses must be completed prior to taking tests.
  5. Most health professions schools do not treat repeated courses as the College does. Both grades are included in the cumulative average, so even an “A” in a second attempt does not raise the average that much.
  6. Health professions schools are not troubled by a few grades of “W” in an otherwise strong record, and they will certainly “forgive” course withdrawals resulting from circumstances beyond a student’s control (e.g., illness, family emergency). Students should keep in mind that a grade of “W” indicates that an effort was made to complete a course. When a course is dropped (deleted) from a 16-credit program, the student appears to have carried an “underload” for the entire semester. This is usually more detrimental than a grade of “W.”
  7. Students should investigate how health professions schools treat AP credit, as most will expect additional coursework in a subject if a student uses AP credit to satisfy a preprofessional requirement. Some schools will not accept AP credit at all.

Post-baccalaureate Pre-medical Program

The Post-baccalaureate Pre-medical Program is designed for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree, who recently discovered an interest in medicine, dentistry or veterinary science, and who lack the science classes required for medical school admission. This program is not intended for students who have already completed the necessary pre-requisites for medical school and who wish to improve their academic record. Students seeking information on record-enhancer programs should consult the Post-baccalaureate Pre-medical Programs search engine through the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Students with further questions about the UR Post-baccalaureate Program should be referred to the Post-baccalaureate Adviser. For additional details on the program, please visit

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