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Pre-Health Professions

Pre-dentistry, Pre-veterinary medicine, and pre-medicine are routed to this page. For more information on these subjects, contact Health Professions Advising.

Note: This is a career path option at Virginia Tech. Undergraduate students will choose a major and receive guidance on the specific requirements of professional schools from a health professions advisor.

For students interested in the human health professions or veterinary medicine, undergraduate study at Virginia Tech provides a solid academic background for graduate or professional school. Health Professions Advisors are available to guide students planning to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, clinical science, veterinary medicine or any of the healthcare professions on how to be a competitive applicant.

Academic and Health Professions Advising

Your primary academic advisor is assigned to you by the department in which you plan to attain your degree and will work with you to ensure you graduate from Virginia Tech. Additional guidance on the specific requirements of healthcare professional schools is available from Health Professions Advising, located in the Smith Career Center. Students interested in health professions should discuss their plans with their departmental academic advisor in conjunction with a Health Professions Advisor. This combination ensures that students fulfill the requirements of their major while completing the pre-requisites of their post-graduate healthcare program and gaining the experiences that will make them a competitive candidate.

Choosing a Major

Any major is acceptable to health professional schools as long as students satisfy admission requirements. Although many pre-health professions students tend to major in scientific disciplines (biochemistry; biology; chemistry; engineering; human nutrition, foods, and exercise; and psychology), recent research demonstrates that the non-science major not only has an equal opportunity for admission to medical school, but also performs at the same level as the undergraduate science major.

Admission to Health Professions Schools

In general, admission to health professions schools depends upon academic achievement in undergraduate or post-baccalaureate programs, performance on national standardized tests, motivation to pursue a career in healthcare, and substantive letters of recommendation. Highly competitive applicants have obtained some experience in their chosen field prior to admission, show a commitment to serving others, and demonstrate the qualifications that these programs consider when looking at applicants holistically.

Most medical and dental schools and other health professions programs include the following college courses among their admission requirements:

  • Mathematics
  • Biology + lab
  • Biochemistry
  • English
  • General Chemistry + lab
  • Organic Chemistry + lab
  • Physics + lab

Specific prerequisites vary slightly among the medical and dental schools. The student should review the prerequisites for the specific school(s) of their interest to make certain all such courses have been accounted for by the time of application.

Most health professional schools require students to take a standardized admissions test. Normally students take this test in the spring of the year they plan to apply to their professional school. Students take the Dental Admission Test (DAT) for dental schools, Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for medical schools, Optometry Admission Test (OAT) for optometry schools, Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT) for pharmacy schools, and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for most of the other health professions. Additional information for individual schools are found on their respective web sites.