Preparation for Health Professions

The rapid expansion and diversification of services designed to meet the health needs of society provide students with a variety of career opportunities in health care. Competition for admission to professional school programs is keen. It is important to explore and determine fitness for a health profession career path by becoming academically well-prepared and by participating in extra-curricular activities that develop knowledge of healthcare and the profession, leadership and collaboration with others, and community involvement.

Advisory Services

Students interested in health careers in dentistry, medicine, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, and veterinary medical schools should contact the Health Professions Office, PAI 5.03, for career coaching designed to prepare them for admission to professional schools. The Health Professions Office maintains a website, including resource information on health careers. The HPO communicates with students via various social media platforms and their e-mail distribution list. The office sponsors a lecture series, an annual Health Professions Fair, and other programs.

In general, professional schools do not indicate a preferred undergraduate major, leaving the student free to choose a degree program suited to his or her interests and abilities. The student should complete at least the minimum professional school course requirements before taking a nationally standardized admission test such as the Dental Admission Test, Medical College Admission Test, Pharmacy College Admission Test, or Graduate Record Examinations. Health Professions Office provides information on courses that meet professional school admission requirements. Academic advisers in the student's major department provide guidance to incorporate pre-health professions courses into their degree plan.

Completion of an Undergraduate Degree and Admission to Professional Schools

It is rare for a student to be admitted to graduate health professions schools without a bachelor's degree. A notable exception is that most professional pharmacy programs, including those in Texas, do not require a bachelor's degree for admission. However, many who are admitted to PharmD programs complete a bachelor's degree before starting Pharmacy school.

The Health Professions Office encourages students in all pre-health professions areas to complete a bachelor's degree in an area of interest that supports flexibility in career options.

Applying to Professional School

The Health Professions Office provides a variety of application resources and tools to assist students in the application process.

All applicants to health professions programs should consult the schools’ websites and catalogs, as well as the most recent online editions of admissions guides such as ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools, the AAMC Medical School Admission Requirements, the AAVMC Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements, and the AACP Pharmacy School Admission Requirements.