No particular undergraduate major is required for these programs. Most programs require a specified set of prerequisite coursework that we offer at Penn State Behrend. Due to the advanced biology requirement for many programs, a biology or biology-related major is often pursued. Prerequisite courses for most programs include:
Humanities and social science classes (6-9 credits is typical)
* The student needs to check the requirements of the individual programs for which they are applying. Not all PA schools require the same level of microbiology or organic chemistry, for example. It is ALWAYS in your best interest to take more difficult courses in preparation for a graduate level program!
Our Pre-Health Option of our Bachelor of Science degree in Biology covers all of these prerequisites. However, other biology, chemistry and physics degree programs can easily be customized to meet these requirements. At Penn State Behrend, you will have a dedicated, personal Pre-Health Advisor who will guide you through the process!
The more rigorous the academic preparation in the sciences, the more prepared students are for advanced coursework in these programs. The student must demonstrate a consistent and high GPA.
A strong candidate:
Applies to 4-7 schools with a mean GPA >3.3. The candidate also has 500+ hours of shadowing or work experience in a health professions setting. The student should have a demonstrated capacity for physical manipulation and dexterity.
The minimum GPA considered on average is 3.0
To answer the question of “why do you want to be in a health-care career,” it is necessary to observe a dentist at work for as many hours as you possibly can schedule. Most dental programs are taking a holistic “whole candidate” approach to admissions. Simply having a high GPA and standardized test score is no longer sufficient for acceptance.
You should also try to shadow different individuals within your chosen field that work in the various specializations. Most schools are looking for at least 500 hours of shadowing/clinical experience.
Volunteering is a great way to show your dedication to helping people! Opportunities at local hospitals, nursing homes, and schools for special needs children require some research on your part, but can really set your application apart.
To determine if the candidate has a diverse set of skills necessary to be a dentist, they look for evidence of leadership, involvement in professional organizations and participation in scholarly activities like research.
Pre-Health Advisor for PA/PT/OT: Vicky Kazmerski, Behrend Pre-Health
Coordinator of Pre-Health Advising: Michael W. Justik, Behrend Pre-Health