UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

The Pre-Health Professional Curriculum

The Biology major- Biomedical track includes courses to meet the requirement for a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, as well as prepare the student for a career in many areas of biomedical research or Graduate/Professional School. Students in the Biomedical track must declare a minor and meet all of the requirements for that as well. Pre-med, pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, pre-physician assistant etc. are not majors on their own.

Minor

The choice of a minor is completely up to the student.  Because some of the health-professional schools require several courses from many departments (PT, OT etc.), an "Option B" Interdisciplinary Minor is advised, allowing students to compile a selection of classes to meet the requirements.  Medical schools in particular appreciate a student that is well-rounded and broadly educated, and although most minor in Chemistry, many others choose minors in psychology, art, history, Spanish, philosophy and more.

The health professions schools and programs are not concerned with what your major or minor is, they look solely at the classes you take.  It does not help to double major, particularly in two sciences.  They are looking for students that have a strong ability in science and are broadly educated.  They value students who have breadth in their classes.

Pre-requisites

The courses listed in the following pages are the pre-requisite courses required by most professional schools in a particular field.  Your primary advice regarding courses and preparation for future careers should be obtained from your faculty advisor.  Advisors are equipped to give suggestions as to selection and sequence of courses that will match your abilities and interests.  However, advisors will give advice, but the final responsibility for proper course selection and completion of graduation requirements rests with you.

Grades

A high GPA is important if you are to be a competitive applicant for a health professions program.  It is important to get off to a good start, and to learn/adopt good, strong study habits right away.  If you run  into trouble, there are many resources available on campus to help you, and you should seek them early on and not wait until failure of a class.  Having said that, GPA is not the only thing that professional schools consider when examining an application for admission, but it is an important consideration. The professional schools have to be convinced you are capable of success in their harder, faster curriculum.

Other Skills

Skills such as writing and speaking clearly, leadership experience, problem solving ability, good judgment, listening and teamwork are also critical for working in the health fields. In addition, volunteering shows commitment to humanity and to the community.  Shadowing is of great value in exploring a field and determining if you are suitable for a particular profession, and professional schools will look for this experience in making sure you understand that career path.

Involvement

The Pre-Health Professions, the Pre-Physical Therapy, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Pharmacy students at River Falls have active clubs and welcome new members to join.  They can be found on the OrgSync Web site, or look for their bulletin boards on the 4th floor of AgSci.  These clubs can be a wealth of information and experiences.

Pre-Health Curriculum PDF

 

 

Curriculum

Pre-Health Professions

Allied Health Sciences

Allied Health Sciences

There are many other Health Professions that afford very rewarding careers. Most require another semester or year of training for certification, and some require a graduate (Master's Degree). A partial list includes:

  • Surgical  (First) Assistant
  • Cardiovascular Specialist
  • Pathologist Assistant
  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Radiologist, Sonographer
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist
  • Echocardiologist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Emergency Medicine Paramedic
  • Public Health Specialist
  • Medical/Clinical Laboratory Scientist
  • Audiologist
  • Neurophysiology
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Histology Technician
  • Respiration Therapist

The following web sites can also give you more information about preparing for a health career:

For more information, contact:

Dr. Betsey Gerbec Department of Biology 400 Agricultural Sciences Buildingbetsy.gerbec@uwrf.edu

Audiology

Audiology

An audiologist is a doctor that specializes in hearing and balance issues. There is a great deal of variety in the field, and many specializations. Audiologists work with children, veterans, geriatric patients, and many others in clinics, private practice, schools, workplaces, recreation, and other settings. Someone who is caring, competent, personable, flexible, a good patient advocate, and willing to educate and continue learning (as technology and knowledge is always changing) will make a great audiologist. Below is a pre-audiology course outline.

Audiology Course Outline
Chiropractic

Chiropractic

UWRF has an affiliation agreement with Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa, which requires a fairly strict sequence of courses.  This means that the student attends UWRF for 6 semesters to take specific prerequisite classes needed for entrance into chiropractic school, as well as meet the general education, liberal arts, and university requirements of UWRF.  After one year at Palmer, the credits transfer back to UWRF, and the student graduates from UWRF with a BS in Biology.  The student continues on with chiropractic training at Palmer. UWRF does not have an affiliation agreement with other schools.

The following pdf presents a suggested sequence of courses.

Chiropractic Course Outline
Dentistry

 Dentistry

The recommended curriculum in the pdf below is suggested to meet the required and recommended pre-requisites of most schools, as well as to prepare you for the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Additional courses are needed to meet requirements for the biology degree and for graduation.

The Biology Department has an Early Provisional Acceptance Agreement with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Dental Medicine.

Dentistry Course Outline

 

Resources
University of Minnesota School of Dentistry
The American Dental Association

Echocardiology

Echocardiology

UWRF has an affiliation agreement with the Mayo School of Health Sciences (MSHS) for students who are interested in a career as an Echocardiologist (an ultrasound technologist who specializes in the examination of and diagnosis of heart conditions and diseases). This agreement will allow UWRF students to take three years of specific classes here, then attend MSHS required classes and clinical experiences at MSHS for 21 months. Credits will be transferred back to UWRF and the student will earn a BS from UWRF, certification as an Echocardiologist, and be eligible to sit for the national licensing exam. The course outline below is an example schedule with a biology major, chemistry minor.

Echocardiology Course Outline
Medical Lab Scientist

Medical Lab Scientist

UWRF has an agreement with the University of Minnesota Department of Medical Lab Sciences for students who are interested in a career as a Medical Lab Scientist (MLS). This agreement will allow UWRF students to take 3 years of specific classes here, then attend MLS requried classes and clinical experiences at the University of Minnesota for 15 months. Credits will be transferred back to UWRF, and students will earn a BS from UWRF, certification as a Clinical Lab Scientist, and be eligible to sit for the national MLS exam. Below is an link to an example schedule with a Bio major, Chem minor.

Medical Lab Scientist Course Outline
Medicine (Osteopathic and Allopathic)

Medicine (Osteopathic and Allopathic)

The recommended curriculum in the pdf below meets the required and recommended pre-requisites of most schools, as well as prepares students for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Additional courses are needed to meet requirements for the biology degree and for graduation.

Notes: Having a double major in Bio and Chem WILL NOT increase your chances for getting into med school. Schools would rather see you take more non-sciences to broaden your perspective and interests. As a bio or Chem major, you have already demonstrated your academic ability to do well in challenging science courses. Demonstrate that you are broadly educated.

 
Medicine Course Outline

 

Resources
MomMD Connecting Women in Medicine
Taking the MCAT Exam
American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS)

Nursing

Nursing

UWRF does not offer an undergraduate program in nursing. For students who are interested in pursuing nursing, there are a number of options:

  1. Transfer as soon as possible to a school with an undergraduate nursing school
    • See the pdf below for more specific credit requirements.
  2. Complete some of the requirements for admission to an undergraduate nursing program at UWRF, then transfer to an undergraduate program in nursing at another school.
    • Students should look up the requirements for their particular chosen schools, because the prerequisites vary.
    • See the pdf below for more specific credit requirements.
  3. Pursue an Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing/Registered Nurse degree. These are nursing degrees for students with a Bachelors of Science Degree in an area other than nursing, such as biology. These programs typically take between 11-18 months.
    • This is a good route for someone who may be interested in a specialty, such as nurse anesthetist, since it affords the necessary science background.
    • Many employers value graduate of accelerated programs because they are typically more mature, possess strong science and clinical skills, and are quick studies on the job.
    • These students are also encouraged to pursue roles as nurse educators.
    • There are over 300 accelerated nursing programs in the US, with more in the planning stage.
    • See the pdf below for more specific credit requirements
Nursing Course Outline

 

Resources

Nursing Careers - BSN Education

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy

The curriculum below is suggested to meet both the required and recommended pre-requisites of most schools. Additional courses are needed to meet requirements for the biology degree and for graduation.

A minor in psychology is most appropriate. If you minor in psychology, there are different classes for Development and Abnormal Psychology required.

Occupational Therapy Course Outline

 

Resources
The American Occupational Therapy Association

Optometry

Optometry

The curriculum in the pdf below is recommended to meet the required and recommended pre-requisites of most schools, as well as to prepare you for the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT).  Additional courses are required to meet requirements for the biology degree and for graduation.

Optometry Course Outline

 

Resources
Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry

Pharmacy

Pharmacy

The recommended curriculum below is suggested to meet both the required and recommended pre-requisites of most schools. Additional courses are required to meet requirements for the biology degree and for graduation.  Students may choose any major as long as they fulfill the pre-requisite classes, most choose to major in Chemistry and minor in Biology, and others choose to major in Biology and minor in Chemistry

*Note- Most pharmacy schools WILL take AP credit, as long as it is noted and credited on your college transcript.

The departments of Chemistry and Biology have an Early Provisional Acceptance Agreement with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, School of Pharmacy.

Pharmacy Course Outline
Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy

At UW-River Falls, students interested in a career in physical therapy have major options in both the Biology and the Health & Human Performance departments.

The curriculum in the pdf below is suggested to meet both the required and recommended pre-requisites for physical therapy at most schools. Additional courses are needed to meet requirements for the biology degree and for graduation.

Note:  A Biology major/Biomedical Sciences option will provide good preparation for physical therapy programs, and provide students with good preparation for many other fields of health care.  Physical Therapy Programs look favorable on students who have successfully taken and demonstrated competence in upper level science classes.

In the Health and Human Performance department, students major in Exercise and Sport Science and add a pre-physical therapy interdisciplinary minor. Visit the Exercise and Sport Science Page for more information about the Health and Human Performance option.

 

Pre-Physical Therapy Course Outline
Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant

The curriculum in the pdf below is suggested to meet both the required and recommended pre-requisites of most schools. Additional courses are needed to meet requirements for the biology degree and for graduation.

Physician Assistant Course Outline

 

Resources
American Academy of Physician Assistants
The Central Application Service for Physician Assistants

For information about Biology focused Physical & Occupational Therapy, contact:

KAren-Klyczek-160

Karen Klyczek

karen.k.klyczek@uwrf.edu715-425-4021407 AGS

For information about all other Pre-Health professions, contact:

Betsy-Gerbec-160

Betsy Gerbec

betsy.gerbec@uwrf.edu715-425-4204400B AGS