Curriculum Guide for Pre-Professional Students
What should I major in?
Traditionally many pre-professional health science students at UIS major in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, or Clinical Lab Science. We also have an Exercise Science track that is specifically designed for physical therapy or medical school. However you can major in just about anything. English, Liberal Studies, Psychology, and Sociology/Anthropology are popular options. Sometimes students with non-traditional majors are more attractive as applicants to professional schools because it helps them stand out in a crowd. The bottom line is that you need a good general educational background with some scientific expertise (see core courses below).
That said, with the number of science courses you will be taking you should consider at least a minor in Biology or Chemistry. You should also consider that in 2015 the MCAT changed to emphasize much more biochemistry, making a major in Chemistry -or- Biochemistry a very attractive option. It is only smart to get credit on your degree for the courses you take and most pre-professional students take enough courses in one of those areas to earn a minor.
Another consideration is your fall-back position. You should always give yourself plenty of options. A large number of students start their freshmen year identifying themselves as pre-medical but as time goes on many of them discover that being a medical doctor might not be what they really want to do. You should pick a major with this in mind. If you decide that the professional health sciences are not for you then it is smart to have earned a degree that has prepared you for an alternate career you could be happy with. In this respect, our Clinical Lab Science program is an excellent option for students who are interested in the laboratory science side of medicine. The Exercise Science major is an excellent option for those interested in fitness and physiology and yet prepare for physical therapy or medical school. Discussing your interests with a faculty member will also make you aware of other options available to you.
There are many possible disciplines and specialties in the professional health sciences. This should by no means be considered a fully comprehensive list.
- Dental Assistant/Hygenist
- Medical Doctor
- Occupational Therapist
- Osteopathic Medicine
- Physical Therapist
- Physician Assistant
- Veterinary Doctor