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Required and Suggested Courses


“Pre-Health” is not a major and students from any major can opt to take the pre-health curriculum in conjunction with their major and general education requirements.

Professional schools expect applicants to have maintained a challenging, broad-based undergraduate course load, however, you should be careful never take more credits than you can manage successfully. Successful applicants will achieve a grade point average of 3.5 and above.


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Required Courses

These are the courses that are required by nearly every graduate level health program in the country. They provide a solid foundation for more advanced study, but should be supplemented by other, suggested courses. Talk to your major advisor and Kathleen Maher for more information or help in choosing courses.

Biological Sciences

Two semesters are required. We recommend additional courses in genetics, cell biology, microbiology, molecular biology and physiology. The minimum requirement is:

  • BIO 101
  • BIO 102


Two semesters general chemistry and one or two semesters organic chemistry (requirement varies by program). We recommend delaying chemistry until you have successfully completed precalculus (MTH 111) and are concurrently (or previously) enrolled in calculus.

  • CHM 101 w/ 102
  • CHM 112 w/ 114
  • CHM 227
  • CHM 228 w/226

Biochemistry (Required by some programs, strongly recommended by most.)

  • BCH 311


Two semesters with labs required. (If you're considering a MD/PhD program then consider taking more advanced Physics and Mathematics courses, as these are often required for PhD applicants.) Minimal requirements are either:

  • PHY 111 w/ 185
  • PHY 112 w/ 186
  • PHY 203 w/ 273
  • PHY 204 w/ 274
  • PHY 205 w/ 275


Not all programs stipulate a calculus requirement (although PhD programs usually require several advanced math courses), but the most competitive candidates complete at least two semesters of calculus. Either:

  • MTH 131
  • MTH 132
  • MTH 141
  • MTH 142


Some programs require statistics. Any of the following is usually acceptable:

  • STA 307, 308,409 or 411


  • WRT 104, 105, or 106 (or other writing intensive course)
  • An upper-level ENG Literature course (3 credits)


The courses listed above should be taken before before taking the required entrance examination or applying to programs. Ideally, students should begin math and chemistry courses in their freshman year, in order to be ready to take the necessary standardized tests (such as the MCAT or DAT) on-time during their junior year. Other courses, such as psychology, may be required. This is only a guideline to the requirements of most programs. It is strongly recommended that the courses listed above be taken during the regular semesters (not summer) at URI

Prerequisites for Physician Assistant graduate programs vary. Physics is not usually required, however human anatomy, physiology, microbiology and upper-level psychology usually are. A single semester of calculus followed by a course in statistics is acceptable and one semester of organic chemistry (CHM 124) is adequate for PA programs. Most PA programs have strict guidelines for direct patient-contact hours, ranging from 50 to 2,000 verifiable hours.


Recommended Courses

The following courses are suggested for students preparing for professional school in the health fields. In addition, students must also complete all requirements for their chosen major and general education requirements.

Biology/Microbiology (Choose 9-12 credits)

Strongly recommended:

MIC 211 Microbiology

BIO 352 Genetics (Cross-listed as BCH 352/ASP352/ PLS 352)

BIO 341 Principles of Cell Biology
BIO 437 Fundamentals of Molecular Biology

Other good options:

BIO 201 Animal Physiology or BIO 242/244 (Human Physio.)

BIO 302 Animal Development                   
BIO 121 Human Anatomy or BIO 304 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
BIO 445 Endocrinology
BIO 453 Advanced Cell Biology

MIC 333  Immunology & Serology

MIC 334 Virology

MIC 335/BCH 435 Biology & Genetics of Cancer

Additional Requirements

In addition to strong academics and standardized test scores, applicants to graduate health professional programs are expected to have shadowed practitioners, sought out other medically-related experiences and demonstrate a strong desire to serve others.  Research experience is not required, but competitive applicants often partake in research.


Pre-health Program