Health Professions Advising: Timeline
Your Major and Course Planning
It is important to be aware of health professional school admission requirements early in your college years, so that you can arrange your coursework appropriately. Applicants are responsible for researching specific requirements to ensure they have completed the necessary coursework for their particular health profession, as well as the requirements for each individual school to which they are applying. Please also refer to the Commonly Asked Questions Guide attached to the weekly health professions listserv for more information regarding requirements. You can also use the Health Professions Candidacy Assessment (ACE) handout to plan and organize your course requirements.
Resources to Research School Requirements
Programs vary on whether they will accept Advanced Placement (AP) credit as completion of a pre-requisite requirement. Students with AP credit in science coursework will still need to complete lab courses at the university level. In addition, many health professions will require you to take a years worth of upper level lecture coursework to supplement the AP credit, but this can vary based on the subject matter. Some students choose to retake science coursework they have already received AP credit for in order to prepare them for upper level coursework, as well as for entrance exams which may requrie a better understanding of the material than was expected on the AP examination. One potential exception may be the math requirement. If you have two terms of AP in math, many health professions schools will accept it in this subject. However, an extra class in math or statistics would still be recommended. All requirements must be taken for a grade, not P/F.
There is no single way you should complete your coursework! Your individual plan depends on many factors. Many non-biology majors take math and general chemistry in their first year, then take organic chemistry and biology before going on to take physics in their third year. Unless your science background is particularly strong, we recommend taking one science course per semester in your first year (usually general chemistry). By the time you apply to health professions program, it can be helpful to show that you were successfully able to take multiple sciences at one time.
A majority of U.Va. applicants to health professions programs do not apply after their third year and do not plan to matriculate into a program immediately upon graduation. These individuals take the time in between to work in clinical settings, conduct research, travel, etc. Waiting until after you graduate to apply has plenty of advantages – including that prerequisites can be taken over four years instead of three. To read more about how U.Va. students and alumni have spent their bridge year(s), check out this blogpost from our Health Professions Advising Opportunities Blog.
- Health professions programs tend to vary the most when it comes to requirements in English, Math, and upper level biological science coursework. We encourage you to begin researching individual program requirements as early as possible. If you are a resident of a particular state, you should start with those public insitutions.