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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. However, since competition for admission to professional school programs is keen, it is important to maintain a strong academic record.

Advisory Services

Students interested in a health career should contact Health Professions Advising, PAI 5.03, for course and career advising designed to prepare them for admission to professional schools. Health Professions Advising maintains a Web site, a reference collection of information on health careers, and an 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 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 Advising provides guidance concerning courses that meet professional school admission requirements; advising for degree requirements is available in the student’s major department. Students are encouraged to register using the special advising area code appropriate to the health career they are pursuing.

A student planning to pursue a degree in dietetics, medical laboratory science, nursing, or public health at the University should consult an adviser in the appropriate department or school.

Transfer of Professional School Coursework Toward an Undergraduate Degree

All students preparing for graduate health professions schools should plan to complete a bachelor’s degree in the field of their choice before entering professional school, since the number of students admitted without a degree is small. Most professional pharmacy programs, including those in Texas, do not require a bachelor’s degree for admission.

If a preprofessional student undertakes work leading to an established undergraduate degree in the College of Liberal Arts or the College of Natural Sciences but is accepted into the professional school before finishing the degree, it may be possible by special petition for the student to use professional school coursework toward the degree as transfer hours. In this instance, to graduate the student must meet, without exception, all requirements for the degree. If the petition is approved, limited transfer of unspecified upper-division credit in chemistry and biology is allowed as applicable and necessary to the degree.

In a few cases in which a bachelor’s degree is not required to enroll in a professional program, a student who completes his or her studies at a University of Texas System school of health professions may be either eligible or required to receive a bachelor’s degree jointly awarded by UT Austin and the health professions school. If a student has received an undergraduate or graduate degree from a UT System general academic institution before enrolling at a UT System health science center to pursue a second bachelor’s degree, the health science center awards the second degree. For more information, students should contact their college’s advising office.

Applying to Professional School

The Health Professions Advising Web site  lists the minimum admission requirements for most dental, medical, occupational therapy, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and veterinary programs in the state. Articles of current interest, admission statistics, and information on application procedures are available for reference in Health Professions Advising.

All applicants to health professions programs should consult the schools’ Web sites and catalogs as well as the most recent editions of admissions guides such as Admissions Requirements of United States and Canadian Dental Schools, Medical School Admission Requirements, Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements, and Pharmacy School Admission Requirements. These publications are available in the Health Professions Advising resource library.