Pre-Health Professions

College of Science and Engineering
Dean: James C. Kelley

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 notacademic majors, and do notby 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 currently enrolled SFSU students and SFSU alumni the fees for the letter forwarding service are $50 to open a file and $3 for each school to which letters are sent. Fees are 50% higher for non-SFSU students.

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.

Health Career Opportunity Program

During the period of 1996 to 1999, SFSU has been granted funds from the Health Resources Services Administration in the Department of Health and Human Services to create a Health Career Opportunity Program (HCOP). This program is for financially disadvantaged undergraduates who wish to enter a health profession program. The program provides supplementary academic course work and counseling support for a student's entire stay at SFSU. For more information, call 338-6824.


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.


BIOL 230	Introductory Biology I (with 
laboratory) 5
BIOL 240	Introductory Biology II (with 
laboratory) 5
CHEM 111	General Chemistry I (with 
laboratory) 5
CHEM 113	General Chemistry II		3
CHEM 114	General Chemistry II 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 consultaiton with an adviser. Many health profession schools prefer more extensive preparation in biology, chemistry, and/or mathematics. Some foreign schools require appropriate language courses.


BIOL 328	Human Anatomy		3
BIOL 350	Cell Biology		3
BIOL 355	Genetics		3
BIOL 401	General Microbiology		3
BIOL 402	General Microbiology Laboratory		2
BIOL 430	Medical Microbiology		5
BIOL 612	Human Physiology		3
BIOL 613	Human Physiology Laboratory		2
BIOL 615	Molecular Pathophysiology		3
BIOL 620	Endocrinology		3
BIOL 621	Reproductive Physiology		3
BIOL 640	Neurosciences I and/or
BIOL 642	Neurosciences II		3-6
BIOL 699	Special Study in Biology or
BIOL 897	Research		1-3
CHEM 340	Biochemistry I or
CHEM 349	General Biochemistry		3
CHEM 338	Organic Chemistry II: Special 
Projects Laboratory 3
MATH 124	Elementary Statistics		3
MATH 220	Calculus and Analytic Geometry I		3
MATH 221	Calculus and Analytic Geometry II		3

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 02, 2012 by