Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Regarding Health Profession

Do I have to major in biology or a life science? 

No. Health professional schools do not require or prefer a particular undergraduate major, on the contrary, they are interested in well-rounded students who master their area of study. However, professional schools recognize the importance of a strong foundation in the various sciences, including social and behavioral and the demonstrated ability to manage a rigorous curriculum successfully. 

Will I be able to study abroad? 

Yes. However, most medical schools will not accept premedical requirements taken at a foreign institution that do not appear on their Wesleyan transcript (or any other U.S. accredited college or university's transcript). Students are certainly encouraged to enroll in other courses that fall within their broader interests to expand their general knowledge. Please note that study abroad entails planning well ahead of your preferred semester abroad, but adding an international perspective to your undergraduate experience is invaluable; it will enhance your global awareness, hone your foreign language skills and contribute towards your understanding of other cultures. Wesleyan students are encouraged to move outside of their comfort zone and take advantage of this enriching opportunity. For students interested in taking science related courses while abroad, take a look at the Danish Institute of Study Abroad, or for students interested in global health, you may be interested in the School for International Traning.


I am interested in many different subjects and will be hard-pressed to complete the prerequisite courses for my health professional school application. What options do I have?

Good question. You may incorporate as many science courses as you can into your desired schedule within four years at Wesleyan. Thereafter, you may take the remaining science courses at a college or university near to where you will be living and working (but generally not a community college). Another option is to apply to a post-baccalaureate premedical program and complete the courses as part of a post-baccalaureate cohort.

Is it common to take some time between graduation and the start of the application process for a health professional program?

Yes. Many Wesleyan graduates take on average one to three years for growth and professional development (GAP) before enrolling at a health professional program. This time may be employed in gaining more healthcare and patient care exposure, life experiences, strengthening your professional development, learning new skills, paying down your current student loans, registering for some upper level coursework to enhance your academic credentials, preparing for the required standardized test for your application, obtaining research experience or simply taking time to step back for renewal and reflection before the next step in your formal health profession education process. Throughout this time, it is important to continually consider how your GAP year(s) are "improving" you and helping you to become a better future health professional. 

How soon should I get involved in a shadowing, clinical or hospital experience? 

The sooner the better. You need to explore the health professions that you are considering. Only by volunteering in a clinical setting and shadowing health professionals in your career of interest as often as possible will you get a better idea of what you know or do not know about the profession. Obtaining hands-on experience over a substantial length of time in the area of healthcare that most interests you will give you a sense of the daily demands, the nuances of the patient - healthcare professional interaction, familiarity with terminology, procedures/instruments and most of all, if it is the right environment for you. It will also provide you with talking points whereupon you can reflect on your experiences and how they have impacted/enriched your perspective. It is important to note that some health professional programs require a set number of clinical or direct patient contact hours which you will need to document (e.g. many physician assistant programs require between 200-1,800 hours).