Prehealth Academic Preparation

Prehealth Academic Preparation


Choose a major of study you are passionate about. Health profession schools are interested in broadly-educated students, which is what Pomona College provides with a liberal arts education. The best prehealth major is the one that reflects your strongest academic interests, rather than one that you think will make you a strong applicant.

Kara Toles Alumni Story: Pick a Major that you love


*Be sure to check individual school and admissions requirements.

Some schools and programs have additional requirements beyond the basic prerequisites. For a comparison chart of courses needed for all health professions, click on this link to the file in Box. Here are some general examples of courses that MAY be required or recommended for medical schools.

Medical Schools

  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • Organic Chemistry II (2nd semester)
  • Upper Level Biology
  • Behavioral or Social Sciences and Humanities (e.g. PSYC051, SOC051)
Subject Duration Sample Pomona Courses
General Biology w/ Lab 1 Year BIO 40, 41C
Chemistry w/Lab 2 Years CHEM 1A, 1B or 51,110A, 115
Physics w/Lab 1 Year PHYS 41 & 42 for non-majors, or PHYS 70, PHYS71, 72 for majors
English/Writing Intensive .5 - 1 Year ID1, English

Sample Schedule

*Please email or schedule a meeting with the Health Sciences Advisor to discuss your course options.

Schedule Appointment with the Health Sciences Advisor

First-Year Students Course Options for Different Aspiring Majors

Aspiring Major Fall Spring
Neuroscience Chem 1A/51, Bio 40, ID1, Elective Chem 1B, Bio 41C, Electives
Physics & Astronomy Chem 1A/51, Physics 70, ID 1, Elective Chem 1B, Physics 71& 72, Electives
Math/Computer Science Chem 1A/51, Math/CS, ID 1, Elective Chem 1B, Electives
Undecided/Social Science/Humanities Chem 1A/51, ID 1, Social Science, Humanities… Chem 1B, Language

1 Glide Year Timeline *Italic fonts are optional courses.

Year Fall Spring Summer
First Year Chem 1A/51, Bio 40, ID1, Elective Chem 1B, Bio 41C, Electives  
Sophomore Chem110A, Physics 41, Electives Physics 42, OChem 110B, Electives  
Junior Chem115, Electives, or Study Abroad

Study Abroad

Senior Upper-Level Courses Upper-Level Courses Apply
Year of Application Medical School Interview Medical School Interview Matriculate to Medical School

Direct Entry

Year Fall Spring Summer
First Year Chem 1A/51, Bio 40, ID1, Elective Chem 1B, Bio 41C, PSY051, Elective  
Sophomore Chem110A, Physics 41, Electives Chem115, Physics 42, Electives MCAT
Junior Upper Level Courses, MCAT, Or Study Abroad Study Abroad Apply
Senior Upper-Level Courses, Medical School Interview Upper-Level Courses, Medical School Interview Matriculate to Medical School

When and How to Develop Competencies

Year Academic Year Plan Summer Plan (After)
First year Chem, Bio (if you want), Learn to study and be successful in college, explore clubs. Start exploring research opportunities around campus; ask professors about their research and about joining their labs Shadow, clinical experience or research experience, summer camp
Second year Org chem, Intro Bio (If didn’t take first year), decide on major and take courses for major. Join club, volunteer at PVHMC or other extracurricular healthcare org, get EMS license with EMS club. Talk to study abroad office if you want to go abroad junior year. SURP to do research at Pomona, PCIP for volunteer work at clinic or service site, REU or enrichment programs elsewhere (apply in Dec-Feb). Useful certifications to get include EMS or CNA to work in health fields.
Junior year Physics, BioChem. Continue volunteering at same place to build consistency, start to get leadership in clubs, orgs, or athletics. Develop relationships with letter writers by going to office hours, taking a second class with a prof, or working in their lab. Start thinking about thesis topic – if experimental STEM major you may want to start your research over the summer. Study for MCAT AND do part-time job, volunteer work or shadowing
OR: full-time opportunity for more research or healthcare work. Scribing can be a great way to have patient contact and a physician mentor. Summer research could be connected to senior thesis.
Junior year for Direct Entry to Medical or Dental school Begin Pomona committee letter process in September and take MCAT or DAT in Spring Submit primary application in June and write secondary essays in July
Senior Year *if applying to MD/DO/DDS school, begin Pomona committee letter process. Finish pre-reqs, thesis. Continue volunteering, athletics, clubs.
**apply for gap year jobs or fellowships
* submit primary application in June and write secondary essays in July
**graduate and celebrate!!
Alum years Work, continue to do healthcare experiences Apply WHEN READY

Academic Support Resources

Writing Center: The Pomona College Writing Center offers free, one-on-one consultations to all students enrolled in Pomona College courses. Their service includes all kinds of writing, including academic, creative, professional, and personal, in all stages of development, from brainstorming to the final draft.

Quantitative Skills Center: The QSC is here to help you get a handle on those quantitative methods, concepts, and questions that many Pomona College courses cover. Quantitative skills are not limited to just math and physics. Many courses in biology, chemistry, computer science, psychology, neuroscience, economics, politics, and sociology use quantitative methods (often having to do with statistical data analysis).

Sage Fellows: The Sage Fellows' mission is to facilitate connections among students, faculty, staff and other school resources as well as to motivate students to discover new and creative ways to define and achieve success at school. The Sage Fellows Program is available to help all Pomona students become more effective and efficient learners.

Learn more about Academic Support Resources.

Class Dean Contact

First-Year students

Joelle Balthazar, Assistant Dean of Students
Telephone: (909) 621-8017
Email Dean Balthazar

Sophomore Students

Cassandra Godinez, Assistant Dean of Students

Email Dean Godinez

Junior Students

Maura McDinger, Assistant Dean of Students
Email Maura McDinger

Senior Students

Tracy Arwari, Senior Associate Dean of Students
Email Tracy Arwari