What Are Prehealth Professional Concentration Biology Majors?
Prehealth Professional students (often referred to as “preprofessional students”) are students who are preparing to enter into a health professional program after graduating from UCF. There are a variety of professional health programs that these students plan to attend, and to matriculate from, so as to succeed in their dreams of serving in the professional health field. These programs include: Allopathic Medicine, Chiropractic Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine, Optometry, Osteopathic Medicine, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, and Podiatric Medicine.
There are many pathways that a prehealth professional student may take to succeed at UCF. Regardless of what some believe, there is no one major that ensures a student’s success at this endeavor. In fact any major with the appropriate courses may allow a student to achieve his/her goal. However, due to academic strength, science majors tend to prepare prehealth professional more effectively. Prehealth professional programs tend to prefer students who have shown that they have the potential to handle the rigorous demands of their programs by having been exposed to a science-based curriculum. At UCF we have a number of undergraduate programs that can serve to prepare a preprofessional health student for the next step in his/her education. These programs include: Biology, Chemistry, Molecular Biology & Microbiology, Psychology, and Liberal Studies.
The Department of Biology has a Biology-Preprofessional concentration that is well designed to assist a student in gaining admission to and succeeding in a professional health program. The program has a number of core courses that will prepare a student for the required standardized entrance examinations and will give the student a firm foundation for the scientific requirements of the health professional program. These core courses include: Biology 1 (BSC 2010), Biology 2 (BSC 2011), Chemistry 1 (CHM 2045), Chemistry 2 (CHM 2046), Organic Chemistry 1 (CHM 2210), Organic Chemistry 2 (CHM 2211), Genetics (PCB 3063), Physics 1 (PHY 2048 or PHY 2053), Physics 2 (PHY 2049 or PHY 2054), and Molecular Cell Biology (PCB 3023). In addition, the Biology-Preprofessional concentration allows for studying in a number of upper division restricted electives that are extremely beneficial to the serious prehealth professional student. Upper division restricted electives such as: Biochemistry (BCH 4053), Human Genetics (PCB 5556c), Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (ZOO 3713c), Embryology (ZOO 4603c), and General Microbiology (MCB 3020c); give the student an extensive knowledge base to get him/her off to a very good start in any health professional program.
In addition, the graduation requirements of the Biology-Preprofessional concentration give the student a degree of academic flexibility. UCF requires a minimum of 48 credit hours of 3,000 and above level courses for graduation. The basic requirements of the Biology major require a minimum of 35 hours of 3,000 and above level courses. That leaves a 13 credit hour discrepancy that a student can use in any way that he/she feels will best prepare him/her to succeed in a health professional program. It typically is most beneficial if the student works closely with his/her academic advisor to choose these courses.
The Department of Biology has a number of faculty serving as academic advisors who are well versed in the requirements of a health professional program and the requirements for acceptance into such programs. These advisors have many years of experience advising preprofessional health students and assisting them in reaching their goals.
The Department of Biology has a number of other resources that will also assist the prehealth professional student to prepare for a professional health program and to separate himself/herself from other applicants. These resources include: internships, independent studies, and research opportunities. All of these resources demonstrate scholarly interest and academic initiative of the nature favored by professional health program admittance committees.
The prehealth professional concentration of the Biology undergraduate program possesses many resources and opportunities that will benefit the prehealth professional student. The concentration in particular, and the degree program in general, will serve the serious student well in achieving his/her goal of entering into, and succeeding in, a professional health program.