First-Year Course Registration Advice for Students Interested in the Health Professions

Students interested in health professions (human medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing, PT, OT, pharmacy, etc.) have many curricular options. Although there are certain courses students must take to prepare for the MCAT exam or to be considered for admission to health science post-graduate programs, pre-health students can major in any discipline, not just the natural sciences. Detailed information about pre-health programs and the support Allegheny provides for pre-health students can be found at http://sites.allegheny.edu/health. Students interested in pre-health professions should arrange to meet with the pre-health advisor in the Allegheny Gateway early in their first year to discuss their specific interests.

If you are a pre-health student, you should enroll in courses that are intrinsically interesting to you while adhering to the following guidelines:

1. Math courses

  • If you place into Math 160 or higher, take Math 160 or the higher level course into which you have placed.
  • If you place into Math 159 or lower, and if you are interested in majoring in biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics, or physics, take Math 159 in the fall followed by Math 160 in the Spring. Note that you must earn a C or higher in Math 159 in order to take Math 160. If you are not interested in one of those majors, Math 157 followed by Math 158 in the spring is a good alternative. Math 157-158 meets requirements for a biology, neuroscience, or environmental science major, but it will not prepare you for a major in mathematics, computer science, or the physical sciences: biochemistry, chemistry, geology, and physics. Note that you must earn a C or higher in Math 157 in order to take Math 158.

2. Introductory Chemistry

  • If you place into Math 160 or higher and are considering a major in biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, or chemistry, take introductory chemistry in the fall (Chem 120). If you are not interested in majoring in these areas and there are other fall courses that interest you more, you may defer Chem 120 to the spring semester.
  • If you place into Math 159 or 157, it is recommended that you take Chem 119 during the second half of the fall semester to be sure that you are prepared for Chem 120.

3. Biology

If you are planning to major in Biology, you should begin taking biology classes as soon as you have completed the chemistry pre-requisite (Chem 120). If you plan to major in another discipline, then take the biology courses as your schedule allows.

4. English Literature

English literature is a requirement for medical professional schools, and we recommend that you complete it as soon as your schedule allows, and no later than the end of your sophomore year. Many first and second year students find that a literature course (English 110 is the most common) provides welcome variety to their schedule, which is often heavily weighted in the sciences.

5. Psychology

The current MCAT includes a behavioral science section. Additionally, behavioral science courses are required for some professional school programs. Our students have found Psych 162 (Human Social Behavior) to be especially helpful in preparing for the MCAT. Other helpful courses for the MCAT include Psych 110 and Psych 172.

Sample First-Year Schedules for Pre-Health Students

Fall of First Year Spring of First Year
Pre-Health Students beginning in Math 157 FS 101
Math 157
Chemistry 119
Elective*
Elective
FS 102
Math 158
Chemistry 120
Elective
Pre-Health Students beginning in Math 159 FS 101
Math 159
Chemistry 119
Elective*
Elective
FS 102
Math 160
Chemistry 120
Elective
Pre-Health Students placing in Math 160— biochem., chem., math, physics, geo. majors FS 101
Math 160
Chemistry 120
Elective*
FS 102
Math 170
Chemistry 122
Biology 220 or elective
Pre-Health Students placing in Math 160—biology major FS 101
Math 160
Chemistry 120
Elective*
FS 102
Chemistry 122
Biology 220
Elective
Pre-Health Students placing in Math 160—all other majors FS 101
Math 160
Elective (or start CHEM 120)
Elective*
FS 102
Chemistry 120
Elective (CHEM 122 if CHEM 120 was taken 1st semester)
Elective

*Consider taking English 110