Pre-Professional Pathways

Medical Professions

All of the medical professional schools have specific educational requirements that students must complete to prepare them for professional studies. Professional schools will not consider students for admission unless all of the course requirements are met. These required courses must be taken at an accredited university in the United States or Canada. The courses should be taken for a grade (not P/F).

There are some differences in the course requirements for medical, dental, and veterinary medical schools, and students need to be aware of those differences. A concise statement of educational requirements for Texas medical schools is provided at the Texas Medical and Dental Schools Application Service (TMDSAS) web site. The policy regarding credit for Advanced Placement Courses is described at the TMDSAS web site also.

Southwestern University regularly offers most or all of the courses required by the professional schools in Texas. Exceptions are two courses required by Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine: Animal Nutrition, and Technical Writing. Options for completing these courses as an undergraduate are given on the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine’s web site.  Please note that Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine also now requires a calculus-based statistics course for admission.

Courses offered at Southwestern University that fulfill professional educational requirements are listed below. Other information about requirements for admission to professional schools (other specific course requirements, Admissions Tests, work experience, deadlines for applications, etc.) are on linked pages.

  • General Chemistry (CHE51-101 Chemical Methods and Techniques Lab, -103 Principles of General Chemistry, -201 Chemical Kinetics and Equilibrium Lab, -203 Chemical Kinetics and Equilibrium)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHE51-311 Organic Chemistry I Lab, -314 Organic Chemistry I, -324 Organic Chemistry II, and either -321 Organic Chemistry II Lab  OR -331 Organic Chemistry II for Majors Lab)
  • Biochemistry (CHE51-604 Principles of General Chemistry OR CHE 51-614 General Biochemistry I; Biochemistry and Chemistry majors must take the latter, along with the second semester, General Biochemistry II)

One semester of Biochemistry is required at UT Dental Branch at Houston,  UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas Tech Health Science Center, Texas A&M Health Science Center, and UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.   It is a recommended course at other schools and can be used to fulfill an upper-level Biology requirement. Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine requires 5 semester hours of Biochemistry lecture, and thus two semesters of Biochemistry should be taken to fulfill the requirement for veterinary medical school.

  • General Biology (BIO50-123 Living Systems, -121 Investigation into Living Systems, -133 Molecular and Population Genetics, and -131 Investigation in Genetics)
  • Upper-level Biology (enough to total at least 14 credits)

Note: Microbiology (with lab) and Genetics are required upper-level courses for Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine.

  • General Physics (PHY53-154, -164)
  • Statistics (MAT52-114)

Note: Calculus, while not required for application to Texas medical schools, is a requirement for taking Physics at Southwestern. Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine now requires a calculus-based statistics course, MAT52-574 at Southwestern.

  • Two courses in English (8 credits).
Psychology & Sociology

While not required for medical school admission, Principles of Psychology (PSY33-104) and either Social Patterns and Processes (SOC34-124) or Social Problems (SOC34-114) are recommended to prepare for content on the medical school entrance exam. 

Typical First-Year Course Schedule

A typical course schedule for a first-year pre-professional student would be similar to what is outlined below. It is important for a student to work closely with their academic advisor to make sure Southwestern University degree requirements and required courses for professional schools are completed in a timely way. If the student has sufficient preparation, the Chemistry sequence is the most essential to begin right away, while Biology and Math could be postponed.

Fall Semester

UST05-012 First Year Seminar
CHE51-103, -101 Principles of General Chemistry
BIO50-123, -121 Living Systems and Lab
MAT52-114 Statistics or Elective/Other Gen Ed Requirement

Spring Semester

CHE51-203, -201 Chemical Kinetics and Equilibrium and Lab
BIO 50-133, -131 Molecular & Population Genetics and Lab
MAT52-114 Statistics or Elective/Other Gen Ed Requirement
Gen Ed Requirement/Elective

Standardized Exams for Professional Programs

All medical schools in Texas require applicants to submit their score(s) on the Medical College Admissions Text (MCAT) as part of their formal application. This exam is computerized, and numerous exam dates are available to students throughout the year. Information about the MCAT exam can be found at the web site for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Dental schools require that students take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) and submit their scores to all schools to which they apply. Information regarding the DAT and about careers in dentistry can be found on the American Dental Association (ADA) web site.

Students who apply to veterinary medical school must report their scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The Educational Testing Service administers this exam, and the ETS web site has lots of information regarding the GRE.


Many students apply to professional schools following their junior (3rd) year of college. Deadlines for applications differ, but students usually prepare themselves and take the standardized exams required for their applications before the summer between their junior and senior years.

Premedical Advisory Committee

The role of the Premedical Advisory Committee is to help students understand how to prepare themselves for careers in the health professions. The names of members of the committee for 2015-2016 are given below:

  • Dr. Kerry Bruns, Chair (Chemistry and Biochemistry)
  • Dr. Steve Alexander (Physics)
  • Dr. Maria Cuevas (Biology)
  • Dr. Martin Gonzalez (Biology)
  • Dr. Carmen Velez (Chemistry and Biochemistry)
  • Mr. Dave Seiler (Center for Academic Success)


Dr. Kerry Bruns, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Southwestern University
P.O. Box 770
Georgetown, TX 78627

Pre-Health Advising and Resources

The Center for Career & Professional Development also provides pre-health advising, resources and events to help students exploring and applying to health professions schools, including medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, nursing and more. For details, visit the CCPD page on medical school and other health professions.

The Health | Wellness | Life Sciences Career Community is a network of students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends of Southwestern interested in communicating around their shared career interests. Be sure to join the Community group on PirateConnect, Southwestern’s virtual networking and mentoring platform, for opportunities to engage with healthcare professionals and experiences.