Pre-Professional Pathways

Medical Professions


Kerry Bruns

Professor of Chemistry

Kerry Bruns

Professor of Chemistry

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 (CHE51-151, 153, 161, 163)
  • Organic Chemistry (CHE51-544 and 554 or 564)
  • Biochemistry (CHE51-571, 573 or BIO50-571, 573)

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 (BIO50-102, 112, 122, 162)
  • 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)
  • Calculus or Statistics (MAT52-154 or 114)

Note: The Calculus/Statistics requirement does not apply to dental schools.  Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine now requires a calculus-based statistics course, MAT52-574 at Southwestern.

  • Two courses in English (8 credits).

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.

Fall Semester

UST05-012 First Year Seminar
CHE51-153,151 Principles of General Chemistry
BIO50-102 Cell Biology
BIO50-112 Biodiversity
MAT52-154 (or 114) Calculus I or Statistics or Elective

Spring Semester

CHE51-163,161 Chemical Kinetics and Equilibrium
BIO50-162 Genes and Molecules
BIO50-122 Genetics and Evolution
MAT52-154 (or 114) Calculus I or Statistics or 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 now computerized, and several 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.


Most 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. Ben Pierce (Biology)
  • Mr. Dave Seiler (Center for Academic Success)


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