Prehealth Academic Support
Academics are a key component of application to health professional schools, which expect their applicants to complete specific courses prior to application, and which look for overall scholastic excellence. Each prehealth student will work with academic advisors and a health professions advisor to create an academic plan that allows them to take full advantage of Barnard’s many academic opportunities while they prepare for applications to graduate programs.
Exploring Prehealth Academic Support
Prospective applicants to health professions programs are not required to complete a major in the natural sciences. We encourage all students to pursue fields of study that they find genuinely engaging. Successful applicants to health professions programs come from widely varying academic backgrounds, and each year Barnard’s applicant pool is comprised of students majoring in the natural sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Barnard students in all majors take a wide range of liberal arts coursework, and prehealth students can complete the coursework that is appropriate for their professional goals alongside any major they choose. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Studying outside of the United States can enrich an undergraduate education, and prehealth students are welcome to explore this option. It is, however, important to note that incorporating study abroad into your schedule requires careful advance planning. We encourage you to discuss your options early with your academic advisor, a health professions advisor, and a study abroad advisor.
Health professions programs typically require a specific set of prerequisite courses in order to prepare applicants to enter rigorous graduate training. Prerequisite courses vary substantially between health professions disciplines (for instance, prerequisites for nursing and medicine are quite different) and can vary between individual schools in the same discipline. Applicants to medical and dental schools will typically complete a set of courses including:
- Two semesters of biology (with lab)
- At least four semesters of chemistry (with lab; including general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry)
- Two semesters of physics (with lab)
- Two semesters of English or writing-based coursework
- Up to two semesters of mathematics (typically calculus and statistics)
We also strongly recommend that students who major in fields outside the natural sciences complete one to two upper-level science courses, and all students who plan to take the MCAT for application to medical school are encouraged to take one to two semesters of social science coursework, like introductory psychology or sociology, in preparation for the exam.
Because program prerequisites and individual academic goals vary, each student will create an individualized plan to complete their coursework prior to application to professional schools. Students should work with their academic advisors as well as a health professions advisor to identify appropriate courses and create their schedules. Our advice for all prehealth students is:
- Pay careful attention to individual course prerequisites so that you can adequately plan when to take each course.
- Research your professional programs of interest so that you are aware of any institution-specific requirements that you will need to meet before applying.
- Take your prehealth courses at Barnard whenever possible!
Questions? Email email@example.com.