|This article does not cite any references or sources. (October 2006)|
Pre-health sciences refers to the undergraduate courses to prepare American college students for admission in medical, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, veterinary, and physical therapy schools, and for training as a physician assistant. In the United States, colleges have moved away from the impractical designation of students as "Pre-med" majors, as only a small percentage of applicants actually achieve admission into medical schools. As such, students are given the choice to focus on the coursework required for admission.
Standard pre-health courses
Students focusing on pre-health can often major in any subject; however, they will also take a broad range of science courses including general chemistry and organic chemistry, often earning a minor in chemistry, mathematics, often up to basic calculus, general biology with overviews of genetics and taxonomy, and calculus or trigonometry-based physics. More rigorous pre-health students may also take biochemistry and human or vertebrate physiology courses. The requirements beyond the sciences are often light, many schools require a human sciences or psychology course. No schools actually require anatomy or diagnostic courses as these are universally regarded as first year medical courses.
Science and non-science pre-health majors
Although medical schools do not require any specific degree, only a bachelors and the required coursework, students majoring in the sciences, especially biology, are much more likely to score better on the physical and biological sciences portion of the MCAT. Non-science majors tend to score better on the verbal and written portion of the MCAT, which are often considered more difficult to prepare for (i.e. the written and verbal sections test not a standard knowledge base but an appreciation of analytical and critical thinking skills).
- Pre-medical, for the general requirements for admission to US medical schools