Creating a plan is an important component of completing your undergraduate education and preparing to apply to health professions schools. This plan should include your major, the courses you will take, and the timing of applying to professional schools. You should also be aware of the need to be involved in extracurricular activities and plan to spend time in service, research, and exploring the profession during each of your undergraduate years. The following information is meant to help you create your academic plan on DegreeWorks:
1. Obtain your major requirements from your advisor, the general catalog, or directly from DegreeWorks.
The first step here is choosing a major. Once you have done this, you may need to rearrange the typical progression of your major requirements to include the science prerequisites for health profession schools. We highly encourage you to enlist the help of your major advisor in this process. Andy and Yvonne are biology advisors and are unable to offer feedback or planning for other degree programs. NOTE: You may need to take more than four years to complete both your major requirements and school prerequisites. This will not lessen your chances of acceptance.
2. Log on to DegreeWorks
To access the DegreeWorks planner, you must log on to your banner account. From the main menu, select student, then student records, then DegreeWorks. This screen shows the courses required for your declared major and your progress towards them. Select the planner tab at the top left in order to create your four year plan. You can click and drag courses from the requirements on the left to empty spaces in the planner on the right or just type the course name and number (e.g. BIOL 1610) yourself. Don't forget to save your plan before you log out!
3. Layout the progression of basic science coursework
Table 1 reflects a typical progression of science coursework, but is not only way to complete the science prerequisites. We also have a flowchart detailing the progression of courses for prehealth students. If you have not completed the appropriate math prerequisites, you may need to take physics or general chemistry during a different semester than they are shown in the table. Use tables 1 and 2 to arrange your science courses in a manner that will allow you to be successful. NOTE: the courses in these tables are commonly required by many professional schools, but this is not a comprehensive list. Because requirements vary from school to school, you may not need to take some of the courses that are listed and you may need to take courses that are not listed. You will have to research the schools you are interested in and plan to fulfill their requirements.
Table 1 - Typical Progression of Science Courses
|BIOL 1610||BIOL 1620|
|Freshman||CHEM 1210 and 1215||CHEM 1220 AND 1225|
|MATH 1210 - Calculus|
|CHEM 2310 AND 2315||CHEM 2320 AND 2325|
|Sophomore||BIOL 3060 - Genetics||BIOL 3300 - Microbiology|
|PHYS 2110||PHYS 2120||Admissions Test|
|Junior||CHEM 3700 AND 3710||Apply|
Table 2 - Common Science Prerequisites
|General Chemistry w/ lab||CHEM 1210 and 1215 AND||F, Sp|
|CHEM 1220 and 1225||F, Sp, Su*|
|Organic Chemistry w/ lab||CHEM 2320 and 2315||F|
|CHEM 2320 and 2325||Sp|
|Biochemistry w/ lab||CHEM 3700 and 3710 OR||Sp|
|CHEM 5700 and 5710 and 5720||F, Sp|
|Physics w/ lab||PHYS 2110 and 2120 OR||F, Sp|
|PHYS 2210 and 2215 and 2220 and 2225||F, Sp, Su|
|Genetics||BIOL 3060||F, Sp, Su|
|Microbiology||BIOL 3300||F, Sp|
|Cell Biology||BIOL 5210||F|
|Human Anatomy||BIOL 2320||Sp, Su|
|Human Physiology OR||BIOL 2420 OR||F, Sp, Su|
|Advanced Human Physiology||BIOL 4600||Sp|
|Math||MATH 1210||F, Sp, Su|
|English||ENGL 1010 and 2010 OR||F, Sp, Su|
|ENGL 2010 and 3040 or 3080||F, Sp|
|Psychology||PSY 1010||F, Sp, Su|
*CHEM 1220 in the summer semester is an online course. Some schools will not accept online courses as fulfilling prerequisites.
4. Work your major requirements around the science prerequisites
Once you have planned the basic progression of your science courses, you should add the introductory courses for your major and then fill in general and depth education requirements. Because the science coursework is progressive in nature and you must take the courses in order, it is often simpler to plan when to take your science courses before planning your other courses. Remember, the timing of some of the science courses can be adjusted depending on your major and the type of professional school to which you will apply. For example, some schools require less chemistry and you can push chemistry back if it conflicts with courses essential for your major. Again, you should ask your advisor for their expertise. They are a valuable resource.
5. Plan the approximate date of your admissions test.
Students will sit for the admissions exam their school requires when they have completed the necessary preparatory courses and have reviewed all of the material that will be included in the test. Test scores are typically accepted by professional schools for 2-3 years from your test date.
6. Plan when to apply
Students typically apply for professional school either after their junior year or after graduation. Tables 3 and 4 detail the possible timing of the admissions test and application to professional school. A gap year is a great way to strengthen your resume by getting involved in extracurricular activities, spending more time studying for the MCAT, and gaining exposure to the medical field. This is common for students applying to professional school and will not reflect negatively on you. If you need to take five years to finish your undergraduate degree, either option for the timing of your application will work.
Table 3: Application after your junior year
|Year Three||Committee||Admissions Test|
|Start Professional School|
Table 4: Application after your senior year
|Year Four||Committee||Graduation||Admissions Test|
|Gap Year||Interviews, classes, service, research,|
|shadowing, internships, work, etc.|
|Start Professional School|
7. Plan when to participate in the committee process
The committee process begins in the fall semester prior to application to professional school. The end product is a letter of recommendation to be used in your application. Typically medical and dental schools are the ones that look for a committee letter.
You now have a basic academic plan. This is meant to be fluid and adaptable as you learn more about the schools to which you wish to apply, so be willing to change it as you progress towards a degree. You should be consulting with your advisors often to make sure you are on track with coursework and with extracurricular activities.