Pre-health Professions

College of Science and Engineering
Dean: Sheldon Axler

Health Professions Advising Committee
HH 548
Chair, Health Professions Advising Committee: Barry S. Rothman


Pre-health Professions (listing of courses)

Program Scope

The Health Professions Advising Committee (HPAC) has designed programs to meet the course requirements for the following types of health professional schools: medicine (Human), including allopathic and osteopathic; dentistry; veterinary medicine; pharmacy; optometry; podiatry; chiropractic; physician assistant; and dental hygiene.

The pre-health professional programs are not academic majors, and do not by themselves lead to a certificate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree. However, these programs may be included as part of a recognized academic major. Official requirements of all majors and programs are published in this Bulletin.

Academic majors with significant overlap with pre-health professional requirements include: biology, especially concentrations in cell and molecular biology or physiology; biochemistry and chemistry; and physics.

Role of HPAC

The Health Professions Advising Committee (HPAC) helps students prepare for admission to health professional schools in the areas listed above. The committee offers informal advice, presents workshops at various times during the academic year, distributes test forms, and manages an office that transmits to health professional schools letters of evaluation submitted on the student’s behalf by on- or off-campus references. For fee information, contact HPAC.

HPAC works with both undergraduate and graduate students, including those registered as second baccalaureates and post-baccalaureates (unclassified graduate students).

The office is located in Hensill Hall 548 and the telephone number is (415) 338-2410.


Minimum preparation for health professional school includes course work in biology, chemistry, and physics. Although most applicants to health professional schools major in a natural science (biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics), majors in other fields (social sciences, behavioral sciences, humanities) have also been successful in gaining admission provided that these applicants have completed the prescribed course requirements. It is recommended that the final choice of the undergraduate major reflect the true academic interests of the student.

Minimal Science Requirements

The program listed below is recommended for admission to allopathic and osteopathic medical schools and dental schools. Catalogues from individual schools should be consulted for specific requirements.

Program Units
BIOL 230 Introductory Biology I (with laboratory) 5
BIOL 240 Introductory Biology II (with laboratory) 5
CHEM 115 General Chemistry I: Essential Concepts of Chemistry (with laboratory) 5
CHEM 215 General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts 3
CHEM 216 General Chemistry II: Quantitative Applications of Chemistry Concepts Laboratory 2
CHEM 333 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 334 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory 2
CHEM 335 Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 336 Organic Chemistry II Laboratory 3
PHYS 111 General Physics I 3
PHYS 112 General Physics I Laboratory 1
PHYS 121 General Physics II 3
PHYS 122 General Physics II Laboratory 1
Total units 39

Schools for veterinary medicine, pharmacy, optometry, podiatry, chiropractic, and physician assistants may have somewhat different requirements than those listed above. Applicants should consult the catalogue for the school(s) they are considering for accurate information on course requirements.

Additional Science Courses

Beyond the above minimal requirements it is recommended that the student select other science courses in consultation with an adviser. Many health profession schools prefer more extensive preparation in biology, chemistry, and/or mathematics. Some foreign schools require appropriate language courses.

Recommended Courses Units
BIOL 327 AIDS: Biology of the Modern Epidemic and/or 3
  BIOL 330 Human Sexuality
BIOL 328/329 Human Anatomy 4/5
BIOL 349 Bioethics 3
BIOL 350 Cell Biology 3
BIOL 355/356 Genetics/Honors Genetics 3/2
BIOL 357 Molecular Genetics and/or 3/3
  BIOL 361 Human Genetics
BIOL 380 Comparative Embryology and/or 3/3
  BIOL 382 Developmental Biology
BIOL 401/402 General Microbiology/Laboratory 3/2
BIOL 420/421 General Virology/Laboratory 2/2
BIOL 430 Medical Microbiology 5
BIOL 343 Cellular and Molecular Immunology (3) or 3/2
  BIOL 435/436 Immunology/Laboratory
BIOL 439 Medical Mycology and/or 4/3
  BIOL 464 Medical Entomology
BIOL 453/454 General Parasitology/Laboratory 3/1
BIOL 612/613 Human Physiology/Laboratory 3/2
BIOL 614 Vertebrate Histology 4
BIOL 615 Molecular Pathophysiology 3
BIOL 616 Cardiorespiratory Physiology 3
BIOL 620 Endocrinology and/or 3/3
  BIOL 622 Hormones and Behavior
BIOL 621 Reproductive Physiology 3
BIOL 640 Cellular Neurosciences I or 3/3
  BIOL 642 Neural Systems Physiology
BIOL 699 Special Study in Biology or 1-3
  CHEM 699 Special Study in Chemistry
BIOL 861-884 Graduate Biology Seminars 1-2
CHEM 340/341 Biochemistry I/Biochemistry II or 6/3
  CHEM 349 General Biochemistry
CHEM 347/348 Clinical Biochemistry/Laboratory 2/2
CHEM 338 Organic Chemistry II: Special Projects Laboratory 3
MATH 124/
BIOL 458
Elementary Statistics/
MATH 226-228 Calculus I-III (4 each) 12

Health profession schools prefer that students take advanced courses because they are in area(s) of interest rather than as an attempt to duplicate material that will be covered in their curricula. There are other advanced science courses that might be considered in consultation with an adviser.

Qualities of Successful Applicants

Listed below are the qualities that health profession schools are seeking in their applicants. These qualities can be determined from a variety of sources including the applicant’s personal statement, answers given in secondary applications, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Successful candidates:

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Last modified July 05, 2012 by