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 an 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. Academic advisors are available to guide students planning to pursue careers in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, clinical science, or veterinary medicine.

Academic Advising

Your primary academic advisor is assigned to you by the department in which you plan to attain your degree. Additional guidance on the specific requirements of professional schools is available from the following persons: pre-veterinary students should contact Joyce Bohr Massie, Admissions Coordinator, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine; students interested in human health care areas should contact the Office of Pre-Health Advising located in the Smith Career Center. Students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences should contact Mike Denbow, Ph.D., Professor, 3470 Litton-Reaves Hall. Students interested in other health professions should discuss their plans with their departmental advisor to determine if they need additional advising.

Choosing a Major

Any major is acceptable to health professional schools as long as students satisfy admission requirements. Although pre-health professions students tend to be concentrated in a few disciplines (biochemistry; biology; chemistry; engineering; human nutrition, food 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 college (only high achievers are successful), performance on national standardized tests, motivation, and letters of recommendation. Normally, successful applicants have obtained some experience in their chosen field prior to admission.

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 matriculate into the 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) most of the other health professions. Additional information for individual schools are found on respective web sites.

Related URLs

  • Considering and learning about health professional careers that require education beyond the bachelor's degree, including: medicine (allopathic and osteopathic), dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, chiropractic, occupational therapy, nursing, physician assistant, and more. Selecting your major and other academic prep, co-curricular and extra-curricular prep, applying, events.