Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, Pre-Veterinary

Pre-Medical, Pre-Dental, Pre-Veterinary
Chair, Health Careers Committee: Prof. David Hornung
Phone: 315.229.5291
Campus Address: 125 Johnson Hall
Web Site:

Thinking about Pre-Health

St. Lawrence University is justly proud of its preparation of students for medical, veterinary, dental, physical therapy and graduate nursing programs. Health professional schools expect students to have an outstanding background in the sciences (which St. Lawrence provides), but they are also quick to tell college students that perhaps the single most important quality for health care provider is good judgment. Some of the ways in which judgment matures are through acquaintance with other disciplines, by developing an understanding of human and social behavior, and by learning to express oneself well in both speech and writing.

Your job for the next four years, then, is to acquire as broad and as deep a background as you can to provide a context for the medical, dental and veterinary medical training that will come afterwards. After all, health professionals (including veterinarians) really deal with people, not just bodies or parts of bodies.

Pre-Health and the SLU Curriculum

St. Lawrence has developed a number of international opportunities that provide “pre-health” students the opportunity to meld their academic experience with a semester away from campus. You might consider this possibility during your tenure with us. Choose courses that interest you and that expose you to the wide range of disciplines in the liberal arts. Many pre-health students find it more comfortable to major in the sciences, but a science major is not obligatory. (You do not, of course, have to worry about choosing a major at this time.) It is important that you embrace your education for its own sake.

A good program for entering first-year students who are considering medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine or physical therapy should likely include both biology and chemistry, so you should plan to enroll in both Biology 101 and Chemistry 103 in your first semester.  Students planning to major in biology, biochemistry or neuroscience should review the information under these majors on the Academic Departments/Programs and Courses pages of the NSG&F.  If you feel qualified for a more advanced course in either biology or chemistry, check with the appropriate department for advice when you arrive.

It’s important for health professionals to be able to write well; your academic advisor can help you meet this requirement. Foreign languages are no longer required by most health professional schools, but if you wish to continue study of a language begun in high school or would like to begin a new one, feel free to do so.

Health-Related Careers

There are many rewarding career opportunities in patient care and public health in addition to a career as a physician, dentist, veterinarian, or physical therapists. Increased appreciation of the importance of preventive medicine and the growing problems of the expanding population have placed new emphasis on the role of the planning, organization and administration of health care. Many universities now have special graduate programs in public health administration and hospital administration. Many other interesting health career opportunities are to be found in podiatry, chiropractic medicine, optometry, medical social work, pharmacology and medical technology. The liberal arts program at St. Lawrence is an appropriate undergraduate preparation for all of these health careers.

Your Education Beyond SLU

No doubt you have questions about the relationship between your St. Lawrence education and future study. When you arrive on campus, faculty members of the Health Careers Committee will be glad to help you. They give group briefings every year for first year and transfer students, and are available for individual conversations with students who want to talk about a career in one of the health professions.