Pre-Health Professions FAQs
Can a student with a bachelor’s degree in another major prepare for application to medical (dental, etc.) school through the SCE?
SCE offers all of the prerequisite science and math courses for admission to medical, dental, optometry schools, as well as those for other health professions.
- Medical school prerequisites usually include a full year of general biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, general physics, and English. Some schools require a year of calculus, as well.
- Additionally, biochemistry, sociology, psychology, and statistics are components of the MCAT beginning in 2015. Dental schools have similar requirements and often also recommend microbiology.
What is the cost of the program?
Tuition in SCE is highly affordable and is on a per-course basis. Current charges are listed here (please note that laboratory courses have additional fees).
When are classes held?
SCE offers primarily evening classes. Most of our students are working professionals, and study part-time. During the academic year, classes or labs are typically held one night a week. During the summer, SCE offers intensive sections which allow you to complete one year of a science courses over two five-week terms.
What are the admission requirements for the different health professions schools?
Each profession has its own admission requirements. Be sure to review the Health Professions Prerequisites Chart. Most require Chemistry and Biology. Medical and veterinary schools tend to accept students with the highest grades, usually 3.5 or better –medical schools because of the large number of applicants, and veterinary schools because of the small number of schools. They also require evidence of a working knowledge of the health professions (volunteer or paid), commitment to service, and leadership. All health professions schools want strong students.
Admission test scores are another important criterion. Professional schools are looking for scores that reflect strong grades a student has earned, or for scores that may suggest academic strengths that do not show up on a student’s transcript. Admission tests may be taken more than once, but require preparation and, in the case of the Medical (MCAT), Dental (DAT), Optometry (OAT), Pharmacy (PCAT) admission tests, are subject based exams. Many professional schools (e.g. PT, NP, Veterinary) now require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), which is not subject based but tests verbal, analytical and quantitative skills.
How long does it take to complete the required courses and apply to medical school?
The timeline below assumes that a student already has courses in English, psychology, sociology and a background in statistics. Depending on work schedules, course sequencing and availability, the most compressed timeline is as follows:
- Year 1 (fall and spring): General Biology I and II, General Chemistry I and II
- Year 1 summer: Organic Chemistry I and II
- Year 2 (fall and spring): Biochemistry, Physics I and II
- Year 2 spring: MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) following completion of the science coursework above.
- Year 2 June: AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service), AACOMAS (American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Application Service), AADSAS (American Association of Dental School Application Services) application process begins.
- Year 3 fall: Enter professional school.
I received poor grades in my undergraduate science and math courses. Can I enroll in this program to improve my academic record?
The minimum GPA for admission in to the program is a 3.0. This program is designed for career-changers — those who did not take the courses required for medical and other health profession programs as an undergraduate student. The program is not designed for students who graduated from a pre-health studies undergraduate program who seek to repeat pre-requisite courses in order to improve their academic records.
Is financial aid available to help me finance these courses?
Unfortunately, no. Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program to qualify for federal financial aid. Certificate programs are not eligible.
If I have some science background from my bachelor’s degree program, can I complete the process more quickly?
This depends on how much and what.
- Organic chemistry requires completion of general chemistry.
- Biochemistry requires background in organic chemistry.
- General physics may require completion of calculus.
If you have completed the prerequisites, then you can start with more advanced courses. If you can complete the courses in the first year, then the process becomes a two-year process instead of three. However, you may only transfer in up to two courses [six credits]. If the science courses were taken more than five years ago, it may be beneficial to retake them. Some medical schools will not accept coursework that is “too” old, but this is generally school specific.
Can I complete the prerequisites more slowly?
These courses can be taken over a longer time period, but it is important to remember that professional schools are looking for candidates who can handle multiple challenges, including a heavy course load.
Should I take more than the minimum required science?
Additional advanced science courses will provide evidence that you are capable of the advanced coursework required by professional schools.
Can I take SCE Pre-Health Courses without being in the Certificate Program?
You may register for SCE classes without being in a certificate or degree program. However, if you are not a certificate student, you do not have access to the advising services offered through the Pre-Professional Advising Office.
How can I learn more?
Visit and “Like” the PC – Premedical Sciences & Health Professions Advising (PCPSHP) Facebook Page for information about programs, events, admissions and more.