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Pre-Health Resource Center

Pre-health career paths

If you are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare, we are ready to connect you to pre-health career path options and opportunities at the University of Dayton.

Prospective students, plan a visit. Current students, contact UD's Pre-Health Resource Center (PHRC) to schedule an appointment today.

Additional career discernment and networking opportunities on campus:

Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between the body’s main structures – the skeleton, the muscles and the nerves – and the patient’s health. Chiropractors believe that health can be improved and preserved by making adjustments to these structures, particularly to the spinal column. They do not prescribe drugs or perform surgical procedures, although they do refer patients for these services if they are medically indicated.


Most chiropractic programs require that applicants have at least three years of undergraduate education and an increasing number require a bachelor’s degree. Undergraduate studies must include a prescribed number of prerequisite courses, as defined by the field’s accrediting body, the Council on Chiropractic Education.

Current entrance requirements for the Doctor of Chiropractic degree program are listed below:

  • Completed the equivalent of three academic years of undergraduate study (90 semester hours) at an institution(s) accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or an equivalent foreign agency with a GPA for these 90 hours of a minimum of cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • The 90 hours will include a minimum of 24 semester hours in life and physical science courses. These science courses will provide an adequate background for success in the DCP, and at least half of these courses will have a substantive laboratory component.
  • The student’s undergraduate preparation also should include a well-rounded general education program in the humanities and social sciences, and other coursework deemed relevant by the DCP for students to successfully complete the DCP curriculum.

Students who choose to pursue a career in dentistry will be trained in maintaining patients’ oral health. Dental students can train to be general dentists and begin practicing upon graduating with a four-year DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or a DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. DDS and DMD degrees are equivalent, and holders of these degrees have the same scope of practice. Additional training after obtaining a DDS or DMD is required for specialization in a variety of areas such as orthodontics and oral surgery. Most dental schools require applicants to obtain a four-year degree from an accredited undergraduate institution. Successful dental school applicants have a balanced portfolio of strong academics, shadowing or work experience related to the dental field, and service.


Though specific course requirements vary, some commonly listed prerequisite courses are listed below. Please check individual programs’ websites for their unique requirements as they will vary from program to program. For example, some schools require additional English or specific upper-division science courses such as microbiology, anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. Applicants are encouraged to take a range of courses in the arts and sciences to demonstrate breadth and depth of interest.  Below is a short list of courses generally required by most dental schools and their corresponding University of Dayton Course Numbers. Consult individual schools’ websites for specific course requirements and whether they accept AP credit, online courses, and community college courses.

  • One year of Biology and lab (BIO 151, BIO 151L, BIO 152, BIO 152L)
  • One year of Physics and lab (PHY 201, PHY 201L, PHY 202, PHY 202L)
  • One year of General Chemistry and lab (CHM 123, CHM 123L, CHM 124, CHM 124L)
  • One year of Organic Chemistry and lab (CHM 313, CHM 313L, CHM 314, CHM 314L)

Students interested in becoming physicians can choose one of two established tracks: attending an allopathic medical school and earning an MD or attending an osteopathic medical school and earning a DO. Both MDs and DOs are trained to provide care for the entire human body and can pursue general medicine or specialize in a range of areas. DOs receive an additional 200 hours of training in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM), which is defined as “the therapeutic application of manual pressure or force.”


Most medical schools require completion of a four-year degree from an accredited institution. However specific coursework requirements will vary. Below is a short list of courses generally required by most medical schools and their corresponding University of Dayton Course Numbers. Consult individual schools’ websites for specific course requirements and whether they accept AP credit, online courses, and community college courses.

  • One year of Biology and lab (BIO 151, BIO 151L, BIO 152, BIO 152L)
  • One year of English (ENG 100 and ENG 200 sequence OR ENG 198/114 and additional ENG)
  • One year of General Chemistry and lab (CHM 123, CHM 123L, CHM 124, CHM 124L)
  • One year of Organic Chemistry and lab (CHM 313, CHM 313L, CHM 314, CHM 314L)
  • One semester of Biochemistry*(CHM 420, CHM 420L*) *lab required by some programs

Besides a strong academic record, successful applicants also have significant shadowing experiences to indicate they are familiar with the field of medicine and diverse service and volunteer experiences.

Students pursuing a career in nursing have many diverse options, ranging from entry-level positions to doctoral-level nurse researchers. A career in nursing offers great flexibility and diversity in terms of setting and practice while also providing a high level of patient-care interactions. Nurses collaborate with all members of a health care team and usually are responsible for the majority of direct patient contact and direct communication to the patient’s family members. Nurses also have promising opportunities for career advancement because after becoming a nursing professional, additional training in a number of specialties is available. 


Students can choose to earn a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in nursing by applying directly to a BSN degree granting program during high school. After earning a BSN, student are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and become a registered nurse (RN). Students can also enter the nursing field through accelerated degree programs which are geared toward applicants who have obtained bachelor degrees in fields other than nursing. Accelerated nursing degrees typically take 1-2 years to complete.  Consult individual program websites for any admissions or pre-requisite course requirements and whether online, community college and/or AP credit is accepted for specific courses. Most programs will require biology and chemistry lecture and laboratory courses such as the following courses listed below (shown with corresponding UD course numbers) along with specific courses in psychology, statistics, and/or nutrition:

  • Microbiology (BIO 411, BIO 411L)
  • Inorganic Chemistry (CHM 123, CHM 123L)
  • Organic or Biochemistry (CHM 313, CHM 313L, CHM 314, CHM 314L, CHM 420, CHM 420L)
  • Human Anatomy (BIO 475, BIO 475L)
  • Physiology (BIO 403, BIO 403L)

UD Nursing School application

Students seeking to make a real difference in improving peoples' lives through high-quality vision care should consider a career than optometry. Only one degree qualifies you to become an optometrist: the Doctor of Optometry (OD), a four-year, doctoral-level degree. While concentrating primarily on structure, function and disorders of the eye, students in a professional OD program will also take basic science courses in human anatomy, biochemistry and physiology to prepare for their role as primary-care healthcare providers contributing to patients’ overall health and wellness.


General coursework requirements for most optometry programs include at least one year of Biology or Zoology, General Chemistry, General Physics, English and College Math. Applicants should contact the schools or colleges directly by visiting their websites to confirm prerequisite courses and to learn whether AP credits and/or on-line credits are accepted to complete prerequisites.

Pharmacists are trained to help people live healthier, happier lives through the proper delivery of prescribed medications and the monitoring of patients’ health for adverse reactions. Pharmacists can work in a number of diverse settings, from store-front commercial pharmacies, to medical clinics and hospitals, to research institutions. They play an essential role in delivering high-quality healthcare by ensuring that patients are receiving the appropriate medications to treat their illnesses or chronic conditions. 


Though some pharmacy schools do not require a bachelor’s degree in order to apply, some pharmacy schools do require a completed bachelor degree and other programs give preference to applicants that have earned a bachelor’s degree. All applicants need to have a strong background in math and science with a well-rounded exploration of other topics in the social sciences and humanities. Successful applicants also possess excellent written and verbal communication skills. Though introductory chemistry and biology lecture and lab courses are usually required, there is great variation in admission requirements. Students should spend time carefully researching program-specific admission policies and pre-requisite requirements.

Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

Physician Assistants are trained medical providers that work under the supervision of a physician. Their scope of practice differs by state, but they typically diagnose, treat and prescribe medication for patients under the guidance of a licensed physician. After completing a four-year undergraduate degree which includes the prerequisite courses for admission to the PA program, students interested in pursuing a career as a PA will complete an approximately two-year masters program and pass the national certification exam to earn a PA-C degree. A career as a PA provides great flexibility since PA school programs are modeled after training in general medicine. Successful applicants have strong academics, typically over 20 hours shadowing a PA, service hours and significant and meaningful clinical experience or patient care interactions.


There is great variety in PA program course requirements. Applicants should carefully consult individual program requirements. Successful applicants have a strong science background with a C+ or better in all pre-requisite courses. A medical terminology course that is awarded a letter grade is a typical course requirement for most programs.  Students can fulfill the medical terminology requirement by taking the UD course number HSS 201 offered through the Health and Sport Science Department.

A podiatrist is a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), known also as a podiatric physician or surgeon, qualified by their education and training to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg. Within the profession, podiatric physicians can specialize in a variety of areas such as surgery, orthopedics, or public health. Besides these certified specialties, podiatrists may practice a subspecialty such as sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, radiology, geriatrics, or diabetic foot care. Podiatric physicians are the only doctors to receive specialized medical and surgical training, and board certification in the care of the lower extremity.


To enter a podiatric medical school, one must first complete a minimum of three years or 90 semester hours of college credit at an accredited institution. Over 97% of the students who enter podiatric medical school have a bachelor’s degree. Many have also completed some graduate study. Actual minimum semester credit hour requirements for all of the schools and colleges of podiatric medicine include the following prerequisites (all science courses require a lab): 

  • Biology (eight semester hours)
  • Chemistry (eight semester hours)
  • Organic Chemistry (eight semester hours)
  • Physics (eight semester hours)
  • English (six to eight semester hours)

The science courses you take should be those designed for health professional students (pre-medical students) and must include laboratory experience. Courses for non-science majors are not accepted.

Students entering into Veterinary Medicine will put their knowledge and compassion into preventing disease and healing animals. To prepare for veterinary school, in during your undergrad studies take pre-vet or comparable curriculum, one that includes math and several science courses such as biology and chemistry. Maintain a high GPA, gain broad exposure to vet medicine by shadowing with veterinarians, working on a farm or volunteering at an animal shelter.


Pre-Health Resource Center

Science Center
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 2361