What major should I choose?
There is not a specific “Pre-Med” or “Pre-Health” major. Medical schools seek well-rounded students. Medicine is taught as a scientific discipline, and you must do well in your undergraduate science courses, but there is no preferred major. SMU students preparing to enter one of the health professions pursue majors across the curriculum. Choose the field that interests you most! Interdisciplinary majors are appropriate, as are honors work and study abroad.
Some four-year plans for different majors can be found by selecting the Degree Plans page on this web site. More plans will be available soon.
What courses do I need to take?
Medical and dental school entrance requirements vary somewhat. Requirements for Colleges of Pharmacy, Veterinary Medicine, Optometry, Physician Assistant, and Physical Therapy are even less standardized. Normally, though, you should plan to take a basic curriculum consisting of: English (6-9 hours), mathematics (6 hours), introductory biology (8 hours), advanced biology (6-9 hours), introductory chemistry (8 hours), organic chemistry (8 hours), and physics (8 hours). Biochemistry is strongly recommended; some medical, dental, and veterinary schools require 3 hours. Pharmacy schools may require Microbiology. Check admission requirements for the schools you may want to attend. The Medical School Admission Requirements, published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the Official Guide to Dental Schools, published by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), provide authorized information on requirements and also contain a wealth of other information. Guides are also available for other health professions and you may want to check the web sites of some of the schools you would like to attend.
In addition, plan to take courses in the humanities and social sciences. These courses provide opportunities to round out your academic background and expose you to critical analyses of text.
Will courses I’ve already taken transfer to SMU?
There is no absolute, ironclad assurance of transferability that can be offered prior to admission. When you apply to SMU you will be required to send transcripts for all colleges previously attended. Your coursework will be evaluated formally at that time. However, if you attend one of the local community colleges or took courses in a local community we have articulation agreements and have established equivalency guides. Consult these guides for information on courses that SMU accepts.
Will medical schools accept advanced placement credit earned in high school and applied toward college graduation requirements?
In certain subject areas, many, but not all, medical schools will accept AP credits. You should check the admissions requirements for each school to which you intend to apply. A pre-health professions advisor can help you determine when you may want to retain earned credit or rescind credit you have earned and enroll in a class.
What should I be doing to find out if one of the health professions is right for me?
Explore! Read articles, pamphlets, and books. Participate in health professions special programs and activities, such as the pre-medical honor society events. If you are currently in high school, you are welcome to attend special meetings of the pre-med honor society. Talk with and observe physicians, dentists, podiatrists, optometrists, and other health professionals. Volunteer at hospitals or clinics. Apply for summer programs and internships.
What is the pre-med program at SMU?
The pre-med or pre-health program consists of Pre-Med Advising services, courses, the Health Professions Recommendation Committee (HPRC), and Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the pre-health honor society. This doesn’t quite tell the entire story, though, because you’ll find extensive support and a wealth of opportunities are available to pre-meds at SMU. For example, the Alschuler Learning Enhancement Center has experienced tutors in chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Faculty members hold help sessions, providing the opportunity for students to ask questions outside the regular class lectures. We also have a study lounge for pre-med/pre-health professions students. Students study, relax, check their e-mail on the computer, look through resources, or meet other pre-meds in comfortable surroundings.
How does SMU’s pre-med program compare to other colleges’ programs?
Health professions advisors are fortunate to have active associations on the state, regional, and national levels. Information is shared through participation in these networks and collegial relationships developed which ultimately benefit students. At SMU we support these organizations and do not rank ourselves in relation to other programs.
Dr. de Olivares is on the Board of Directors for the Southern Association of Advisors for the Health Professions and a member of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions Communications Committee.