Thinking About The Health Professions?


Many students enter college with the intent to pursue a career in a health care field, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Optometry, Pharmacy, or Veterinary Medicine. All of these careers are the result of graduate programs, not specific undergraduate majors. Since these are popular career paths, admission to the professional schools is very competitive. In order to have a good chance of getting into a professional school, a student will need to complete all prerequisite course in a timely fashion and with good grades. The average student admitted to a medical school has an undergraduate GPA of about 3.5 and a score of 8-10 in each part of the MCAT exam. In addition many schools will be looking for evidence of commitment to a health care career through volunteer work in hospitals, nursing homes, or animal shelters. Other programs may place emphasis on extracurricular activities.

Medical school admission prerequisites are fairly uniform. Most schools specify one year of each of the following topics (The corresponding CSU courses are listed in parentheses):

  1. Biology (BIO1801 and BIO1802)
  2. General Chemistry (CHM1201 and CHM1202)
  3. Organic Chemistry (CHM2401 and CHM2402)
  4. Mathematics (MTH2502 and MTH2503)
  5. Physics (PHY2211/12 and PHY2213/14)
  6. English. (ENG1100/01 and ENG1102)

Some schools also ask for Quantitative Analysis (CHM2200), Biochemistry CHM4300), and/or Molecular Genetics (BIO2650). Courses in psychology are also useful but not usually specifically required. Since most or all of these courses would be part of a biology or chemistry major, many students come to medical schools through those two majors; however, some medical schools have a policy favoring other majors in order to get more diversity in their student body. Requirements for dental, optometry, pharmacy, or veterinary schools are similar to those for medical schools. Students are urged to consult the websites of any schools of interest to see what those schools request.

Medical schools also require that applicants take the MCAT exam. (Similar exams are used by dental, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary schools.) A student who plans to enter medical school in the fall immediately after graduation would normally take the MCAT in April of the junior year. Since the MCAT is based on the prerequisite courses listed above, a student should try to complete as many as possible before that time. The specific sequence of courses a student should take will depend on the students choice of major and the results of placement exams. The student should work closely with his or her major advisor on scheduling, but, regardless of major, a student who wishes to go to medical school needs to complete the admission prerequisite courses by the end of the junior year. Some of these courses need to be done in sequence, so planning is needed. The sequence below is suggested. In addition to the courses listed, a student would need to take courses to meet the general education and major requirements.

Freshman year

  • ENG1100/01 and ENG1102
  • BIO1801  and BIO1802
  • CHM1201 and CHM1202
  • MTH2502 and MTH2503

Sophomore year

  • take English Proficiency Exam (EPC) and ENG3000
  • CHM2401 and CHM2402
  • PHY2211/12 and PHY2213/14(move to junior year if math is not completed)

Junior year

  • CHM2200 (recommended but not required)
  • PSY1200 and PSY2200 (recommended GE choices)

For more information about preparing for the health care professions at Central State University contact:

Dr. Cadance Lowell (937)-376-6274
Dr. Gary Pierson (937) 376-6656

Each of the health care professions has an association of its professional schools. These associations have websites that will also provide useful information.