Advising Services—Health Professions

Pre-Requisite Courses

A. Prerequisites:

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. The Career Center Library, websites of the professional organizations and application services for you chosen health profession, and health professions advisors in the Center for Academic Support are good resources for this information.

Students can meet most preprofessional requirements by taking any one of the sequences shown in the table for each subject. Do consult a departmental advisor or an academic advisor in order to choose the appropriate sequence for your ability and intended major.

Minimum Number of
Credits at Rochester
Courses Available
at Rochester
Two semesters of general chemistry with lab
CHM 131 and CHM 132
Two semesters of organic chemistry with lab
CHM 203 and CHM 204 with labs 207 and 208 or CHM 171Q and CHM 172Q with labs 173Q and 210
Two semester of general physics with lab
PHY 113 and PHY 114 or PHY 121 and PHY 122 with labs
Biology with lab
See section B below
Two semesters of math are strongly recommended but not always required
MTH 141 and MTH 142 or MTH 161 and MTH 162 or MTH 171Q and MTH 172Q
Two semesters of English
The College writing requirement satisfies the preprofessional English requirement.

B. Biology Requirement:

Students who plan to pursue a B.A. degree in biology or a B.S. degree in the biological sciences will complete more than enough biology courses to fulfill the preprofessional requirement. Those who choose to major in a discipline unrelated to biology should consult with a health professions advisor. Regardless of major, all health professions students should consult the Program in Biology and Medicine’s web page for the latest information on biology course offerings.

Please note that in order to satisfy the requirement of “two semesters of biology with lab” and to adequately prepare for standardized admission tests, more than two semesters of biology coursework is required. Many health professional schools recommend (and some require) specific courses in Genetics, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology and Microbiology.

C. English Requirement:

Completing WRT 105 or WRT 105E and the upper-level writing requirement of a major will satisfy the English requirement for most health professional schools (including medical schools). However, a successful applicant to a health professional school will be an effective writer and reader, and thus more training in these areas can be very beneficial. If your major is in the natural or social sciences, or requires little writing, consider completing a humanities cluster that involves substantial reading and writing.

D. General Program Planning Guidelines:

There is no “one size fits all” schedule, but here are some key points to keep in mind.

  1. Any student considering a biology or biological sciences major should take biology in the freshman year. 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 with organic chemistry in the sophomore year.
  2. You need only two semesters of mathematics for most health professions schools.
    1. MTH 141 or 161 is a prerequisite for PHY 113
    2. MTH 143 or 162 is a prerequisite for PHY 114
  3. 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.
  4. Students should consider from the beginning that they may be better, more mature, more competitive applicants if they wait until after their senior year to apply. There is no best time to apply except when you are best prepared.