Davidson has a rich tradition in the preprofessional training of doctors, dentists and veterinarians, and its students are, and continue to become, leaders in these professions. In addition, interest in other health professions, such as physician assistant, pharmacy, nursing practice, physical and occupational therapy, are on the rise among Davidson students. The liberal arts education you receive here prepares you, as a future health care provider, to meet the challenges and shoulder the responsibilities that await you.
Below you will find answers to some common questions about our Premedicine and Allied Health Professions program. In addition, we strongly suggest that interested students meet with the director of Premedicine and Allied Health Professions, and attend programs, information sessions and health professions-related events early in their academic careers to begin exploring options.
Premedicine and predentistry students at Davidson have a wide range of majors from Neuroscience to Africana Studies to Art History. You should plan to major in a discipline that excites you and for which you have the most aptitude. However, you must plan to take one or two prerequisite courses each semester.
Students who have an interest in a career in medicine, dentistry, veterinary or an allied health profession should plan to attend the Premedicine and Allied Health Professions meeting in the fall (September), where you will hear from premedicine faculty and staff; faculty and staff from the Health and Human Values Department; directors of the Center for Civic Engagement, Center for Career Development, and the Dean Rusk International Studies Program; officers of prehealth professional societies; and local physicians, among others. Also, schedule a meeting with Premedicine and Allied Health Professions Director Naila Mamoon to discuss a plan of study that will equip you well for your future career.
Though many of the recommendations listed below are geared toward medical and dental programs, these recommendations are also applicable to veterinary medicine and other health professions. Remember that there are many options in healthcare and that health care professionals, irrespective of their roles and settings, apply their skills to reduce suffering and enhance quality of life. Here's an overview as you plan a course of study:
There are a lot of courses available for first-year students interested in the Premedicine and Allied Health Professions program, so please review the list of recommended courses on the Plan of Study page. You will be able to make adjustments to your schedule once you are here on campus.
Allopathic, osteopathic and podiatric medical schools require all candidates for admission take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), administered each year in January and March through September by the Association of American Medical Colleges. You should not take this exam until you have completed all premedicine and predentistry courses, which will likely be during the spring of your junior year. If you are interested in dental medicine, you are required to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), which is offered in the spring and fall of each year.
The conservative strategy is to take four semesters of Chemistry, two semesters of introductory Biology, a semester of Biochemistry, two semesters of English (WRI 101 counts as one), two semesters of Physics, and two semesters of college level Mathematics courses. Many medical schools currently accept a Biochemistry course in lieu of the second semester of Organic Chemistry and a Statistics course in lieu of the second semester of Mathematics. Introductory Psychology and Sociology courses are also strongly recommended. Review the list of recommended courses on the Plan of Study page.
If you use an AP/IB credit for a course, consider taking an upper level course in the discipline. Among the premedicine prerequisite/recommended courses, AP/IB credits for Calculus, Chemistry, Psychology and Statistics are accepted.
Yes, you may take premedicine, predentistry or preveterinary courses in the summer from rigorous academic institutions after receiving pre-approval from the Registrar’s Office. However, to receive an endorsement from the Premedical Advisory Committee (PAC) when you apply to medical, dental, or veterinary school, you must take 75 percent of your premedical/predental/preveterinary courses at Davidson College.
75 percent of the premedicine science prerequisite courses must be taken at Davidson for students to receive Premedical Advisory Committee (PAC) endorsement which translates to two courses. Often, when a course is not offered at Davidson College (such as Human Anatomy), which may be a requirement for a few allied health programs, a student may transfer credits for those courses from another institution. You should seek pre-approval from the Registrar’s Office to find out if your specific course will transfer back to Davidson College.
You may designate a premedicine/predental/preveterinary course pass/fail only if you retake the course. Also, keep in mind that you can only earn credit for a course once. Medical school admissions use grades from your premedicine/predental/preveterinary courses to compute your science GPA. It is often better for you to keep the grade and do well on a subsequent upper level course in the same discipline as it demonstrates resilience and your ability to learn from mistakes, two personal qualities highly valued in an applicant by medical school admissions.
Approximately 13-15 percent of the student body in each class apply to medical, dental or veterinary school each year. An average of 79 percent of first time applicants from the past three graduating classes have been successful in gaining admission to at least one medical, dental or veterinary school.
We offer the unique opportunity for Davidson students to be evaluated by our Premedical Advisory Committee (PAC), which is comprised of the Premedicine and Allied Health Professions program director and faculty members from a variety of disciplines. The evaluation assesses each student with respect to their academic ability, commitment to medicine, and development of humane instincts, and offers a rating that denotes the committee's appraisal of his/her overall preparedness to apply in the upcoming application cycle.
There are no weed-out classes. Medical and dental school prerequisite classes feel like ‘weed out’ classes because these classes are generally taken in the first two years when students are still developing effective study skills for college level courses. At Davidson, faculty members are easily accessible during office hours and eager to provide additional support should you need it. In addition, group and individual tutoring support through the Tutor Center and academic coaching is available through the Academic Access Office for any Davidson student who wishes to improve their scholastic performance. You will have an opportunity to discover your learning styles, develop personal time management techniques, learn broad efficient strategies for note taking, studying, reading, writing papers, preparing for and taking reviews. Learn more about academic access and resources available to students at the Center for Teaching and Learning.
Studying abroad for a summer or a semester are distinct possibilities, and Davidson students routinely do so with great success, learning much about themselves and the world, in the process. However, it requires careful planning and consultation with the Premedicine and Allied Health Professions director and professors within a student’s major department and the study abroad office.
Yes, since you are interested in working in healthcare, it will be important for you to demonstrate that you value service to others and that you have an in-depth understanding of the profession to which you aspire. A sustained track record of service to the sick, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged, and of exposure to clinical medicine will be of paramount importance. Also, seek and create opportunities that will require you to think holistically about health and health care and to develop problem-solving and communication skills.
The premedicine/predental/preveterinary track at any institution will require sustained commitment to your studies; think of it more as a marathon than a sprint. However, the premedicine/predental/preveterinary course of study is not just academic preparation but also helps you develop the intellectual stamina you will need to be successful in medical school. Rest assured that the fulfilment you will get from your career will compensate for all the hard work.
Yes, but only initially. We encourage you to limit your extracurricular activities until you have developed effective study habits. Successful students are judicious in their choice of extracurricular activities and the extent of their involvement in such activities, particularly early in their college careers.
You will not have to take any additional courses; most premedicine/predental/preveterinary students graduate with 32 credits similar to other students.
You do not have to register for the Premedicine and Allied Health Professions program. First-year students should attend the fall semester director's meeting, and then meet individually with Program Director Naila Mamoon early in your college career to discuss a plan of study. Students are encouraged to sign up for the email listserv to receive announcements of upcoming programs and meetings.
The director of Premedicine and Allied Health Professions serves as your academic adviser for the premed and allied health track, which includes veterinary medicine. You can reach us by email at email@example.com, by telephone at 704-894-2482 or by visiting the Premedicine and Allied Health Professions and Health and Human Values Department in Watson Building, Room 108. In addition, each first-year student is assigned a pre-major academic adviser.
We are located in Watson Building, Room 108.