Undergraduate Preprofessional For Medicine And Biomedical Research
The following recommendations are for students at New Mexico Highlands University interested in careers in medicine, including plans to attend medical, veterinary or dental school. This curriculum will prepare a student to enter many other biomedical careers if admission to a professional school is not desired or achieved. Recommendations are similar, with few modifications, for students interested in graduate programs in biomedical research or other biomedical careers requiring an advanced science degree. Although students may be accepted to professional degree programs with any degree as long as the prerequisites are met, the bachelor of science (B.S.) in biology and a minor in chemistry will enhance scores on standardized science exams like the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Dental Admissions Test (DAT), and Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Admission into most professional schools depends on a student’s grade point average, standardized exam scores, oral and written communication skills, relevant work experience, and letters of recommendation. The minimum acceptable overall grade point average is generally a 3.0 although the average of those accepted is 3.5. It is very important that preprofessional students take courses that will help them attain good exam scores and get an A or B grade in all courses. Students should research specific requirements for their school of interest. Students should take advantage of opportunities to volunteer or work in medically-related fields or in research laboratories.
The preprofessional advisers at Highlands recommend a major in biology and minor in chemistry or a double major in biology and chemistry. Specific electives recommended may vary with a student’s area of interest, but the basic curriculum remains the same. Emphasis is on courses that will help students maximize their MCAT scores, increase their likelihood of acceptance into professional school, and prepare them for their chosen field of study. This curriculum is more than most medical, dental, or veterinary schools list as “minimum requirements” for application. This four-year curriculum assumes that students are dedicated and have a good educational background. Introductory courses to prepare students for this curriculum, Biology 110, Chemistry 105 or 100, Physics 105, English 100, Math 120 and Math 140, are available and students should consult their academic advisers if they are concerned about their academic preparedness. Lower-level courses will help students prepare for this curriculum but will result in additional semesters of study.
The requirements for a B.S. in biology and a minor in chemistry with recommended electives are listed here. Other schedules are possible, but students should plan carefully and enlist the aid of their academic advisers. It is important to be aware that, as at any small university, some courses at Highlands are available only once each academic year, or once every two years. With reasonable planning, students can avoid the trap of taking courses out of order. Without the prerequisite 100- and 200-level course fundamentals, understanding and success in 300- and 400-level courses suffer and grade point averages fall.
Students wishing to take additional courses or to lighten their course load during any given semester are encouraged to take core courses during the summer. Generally, few non-core courses are offered during the summer term. In the approximately 35 hours of required university non-science core classes, students are encouraged to take courses that will maximize reading comprehension, writing skills, and computer literacy.
For more information, contact
Ben S. Nelson, DVM
NMHU Biology Discipline Coordinator and Preprofessional Adviser
This major is under the College of Arts and Sciences