Recommended Coursework


The following is a summary of the general and specific coursework requirements for students wishing to apply for medical and most other professional programs. There are specific requirements for some programs. A very few schools have unique admissions requirements and before seeking admissions to them you should review each school's literature for that information.

Generally, professional schools require completion of 90-100 semester credits of undergraduate work from accredited colleges or universities before applications will be processed. Exceptions are sometimes granted for extraordinary performance or where unique arrangements have been made with specific schools. (For instance, high school students with exceptional credentials can apply for acceptance to a program established between Pitt-Johnstown and the Pennsylvania College of Optometry that may allow entrance after the junior year if performance remains consistently superior.)

Usually, the following coursework must be completed before admissions exams can be successfully completed:

  • 2 semesters of introductory biology with lab (BIOL 0110, 0111, 0120, 0121)
  • 2 semesters of introductory chemistry with lab (CHEM 0111, 0112, 0113, 0114)
  • 2 semesters of organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 0231, 0232, 0233, 0234)
  • 2 semesters of introductory physics with lab (PHYS 0140, 0141, 0142, 0143)
  • mathematics through 1 semester of calculus (MATH 0221)

In addition, students are expected to have general education courses including composition and other courses typical of Arts and Sciences baccalaureate programs. Some professional programs may have special requirements (e.g. optometry requires microbiology [BIOL 1185] and statistics [MATH 0212]). Some schools may also have additional requirements.

It is advisable to take some additional science courses in preparation for the admissions exams. Most students take Genetics (BIOL 0350), Cell Biology (BIOL 0360), and Animal Physiology (BIOL 1125). Biochemistry (CHEM 1321, 1322) is often cited by professional students as helpful.