Undergraduate Course Catalog 2008-2009
Special University Programs
The Pre-professional Health Programs Advising Office in Hood House provides advising for all students preparing for postgraduate careers in medicine, dentistry, optometry, chiropractics, podiatry, physical therapy, and physician assistant programs (for information on the preveterinary medicine option in animal sciences, see Animal Sciences major). There is no premedical or predental major at UNH, so students are encouraged to major in the subject of most interest to them. A student’s major is not considered in the medical school application process and students from majors in all five UNH colleges have been admitted to postgraduate health professional programs. Though premedical/predental is not a major, interested students are expected to register with the Pre-professional Health Programs Advising Office in Hood House as soon as possible so as to be kept informed of important events, opportunities, and deadlines regarding preparation for application.
A premedical/predental program at UNH consists of the following:
1. Taking the prerequisite courses for admission to a health professional program. Medical and dental schools generally require biology, physics, general chemistry, and organic chemistry-all two semesters each with laboratory. A semester of biochemistry is also required. A year of English is required, as is one year of math including at least one semester of calculus. Prerequisite courses can be taken as part of a student’s major curriculum, as part of the general education requirements, or as electives.
2. Gaining volunteer/health care experience. Applicants to health professional programs will be expected to demonstrate a sustained involvement in volunteer and community service. A significant portion of this experience must take place in a health professional setting and include direct patient contact. Most students gain this experience by volunteering at a hospital, though volunteer opportunities are available in a wide range of settings, including nursing homes and community clinics.
3. Preparing for the requisite entrance exam. Students applying to medical school are required to take the MCAT exam. Students applying to dental programs are required to take the DAT, and applicants to optometry programs take the OAT. The MCAT, DAT, and OAT are standardized, comprehensive exams that test students’ knowledge of biological and physical sciences as well as verbal reasoning and writing skills. Exams are usually taken by students no earlier than the spring of their junior year and should be taken only if the student has completed or is within a month of completing prerequisite coursework. Students applying for physician assistant and physical therapy programs may be required to take the GRE, a more general exam similar to the SAT in structure and content.
The Pre-professional Health Programs Advising Office works with the Premedical/Predental Advisory Committee—a body of 10-12 UNH faculty members with interest and/or experience in medical/dental education-to provide students with comprehensive confidential recommendation services at the time of application. An orientation meeting is held each September to outline the application process and establish timetables/deadlines. Students should note that the medical and dental school application process begins a full two years before matriculation; i.e., in the fall of a student’s junior year if they wish acceptance following graduation. However, a delay of a year or more between graduation and admission is neither unusual nor detrimental, and in many cases, students can use this time to improve their credentials by taking additional courses and/or gaining exposure to the profession.
It is important that students understand that in order to gain admission to a health professional program they must not only satisfy the prerequisite requirements, they must satisfy these requirements at a high level of achievement. The Pre-professional Health Programs Advising Office can provide students with information on competitive grade-point average and entrance exam scores for each of the postgraduate health professional programs.
The Pre-professional Health Programs Advising Office is located in Hood House and can be contacted by phone at (603) 862-2064 or by e-mail at Premed.Advising@unh.edu. The office also has a Web site at www.unh.edu/premed-advising.