Dr. Jody Hughes (Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care) examining unidentified patient in hospital room; two unidentified residents are in background, 2011.With a world-renowned medical center on campus, UAB attracts many students interested in health care careers. If medicine, dentistry, or optometry is what you want to do, we have a pre-health support program to help you meet your goal. This program is designed to help you become a competitive applicant for health professional programs.

Pre-Health is Not a Major

While many of our students express an interest in Pre-Health, it is important for you to understand that it is not an actual major. Instead, your advisor will help you choose the best major possible to help you become a good candidate for one of UAB's many health-related graduate programs. This could mean you will be majoring in Biology, English, Math, or another program through the College of Arts and Sciences — or you could chose a major through the Schools of Business, Health Professions, Nursing, or others.

What Do Pre-Health Advisors Do?

While your academic advisor guides you through your degree coursework and helps you register for classes, your pre-health advisor guides you through all of the requirements outside of the classroom that will make you a well-rounded applicant to the professional program of your choice. Your pre-health advisor can:

  • help make sure that you complete all of the pre-requisite courses for medical, dental, or optometry school (or another professional program) while you are meeting your degree requirements
  • help you find community service opportunities, leadership roles, and research positions on campus by referring you to a wide variety of resources

All of these activities are important in the development of extracurricular skills that the admissions boards of professional school are seeking.

Health Programs are Selective

It is important to understand that admission to these programs is very competitive, and requires high academic performance and mastery of extracurricular skills. You must work hard to maintain a high GPA and get a competitive score on the national exam for your field. This means you must:

  • set and meet high academic goals from the moment you begin your college career
  • learn to prioritize and manage your time to include studying, volunteering, researching, and participating in campus organizations

It is important for you to understand that not everyone who applies to a professional program will be admitted — students often must reapply (sometimes more than once), and some are not successful. It is wise for you to have an alternate plan for your education and career if you do not get accepted into the program of your choice.