• academic - nursing 05
Pre-Health Professions
  • As we enter the 21st century, medicine has begun to take on a new look. The allied health professions are becoming increasingly important in the delivery of health care, and the practice of medicine is becoming increasingly complex. It is predicted that all areas of allied health will see increased need over the next 20-30 years, making these career choices as attractive as or even more attractive than traditional medicine once was. At the same time, areas such as physician assistant or pharmacy, which once required only a bachelor's degree, now require a master's degree or a doctorate to find placement in the job market. Thus, the need for well-prepared undergraduates is increasing steadily, and Capital University is responding with outstanding academic programs designed specifically to meet these challenges by offering preparation for professional degree programs in:


    Students interested in pursuing any of these health professions generally major in biology, chemistry, behavioral sciences or health sciences. The Capital program is constructed in such a way that the first two years generally consist of the core courses required for all schools, whereas the last two years involve mostly specialty courses. This system allows flexibility for students to choose a career path after having experienced the core knowledge base and an optional sophomore biology career seminar, which is an introduction to the many professional careers available. No backtracking in course work is necessary if a student changes career paths during the first two years. Likewise, should a student start in one of these programs and then decide not to pursue professional school placement, a complete biology or chemistry major is earned and the student will be well-prepared for an exciting job market.

    Opportunities exist for pre-health professional students to hear additional career speakers – including Capital alumni currently enrolled in professional programs – and be involved in community service projects through the Life Science/Biology Organization and through the Capital University American Student Dental Association chapter. In addition, pre-professional students in biology may be inducted to the prestigious national honor society Beta Beta Beta, which recognizes achievement in academics, research and service. Pre-professional students in psychology may be inducted into Psi Chi, the national psychology honor society.

    Faculty advisors in the biology, chemistry, behavioral sciences and health sciences department work closely with pre-professional students to monitor their progress. Each student receives a comprehensive Handbook for Pre-Health Students, outlining the steps needed to be a successful graduate school applicant, as well as the resources available to help the student achieve this goal. Seminars, student clubs, help with applications, internship placement, and mock interviews are some of the services provided.

    Our pre-professional programs have been designed specifically to prepare students for the following graduate programs:


    Dentistry is the field of medicine that specializes in the teeth and associated tissues. Dentists can earn a doctor of dental science degree and practice either solo or in a group setting. They also may be employed by the public health service or the military. Dental school is four years, followed by optional specialty training or practice. Required or recommended courses for continued dentistry study include:

    • Embryology
    • Immunology
    • Sociology
    • Pottery, ceramics or hands-on art


    An optometrist earns a doctor of optometry degree and studies the human eye and its function. Optometry school is four years. Optometrists are employed by private industry, as well as by hospitals and clinics. They also may be self-employed. Required or recommended courses for continued optometry study include:

    • Histology
    • Optics
    • Statistics


    Pharmacists study drugs and drug interactions in the human body and help to educate the public about drug interactions and effectiveness. Many pharmacists work for pharmaceutical companies, as well as hospitals and drug stores. A doctor of pharmacy degree may be earned in four years. Required or recommended courses for continued pharmacy study include:

    • Chemical analysis
    • Biochemistry
    • Immunology
    • Advanced writing
    • Statistics

    Physician Assistant

    The most rapidly growing specialty area in allied health is the physician assistant. Physician assistants do nearly everything a physician does in treating patients, but under direct supervision. Physician assistants must earn master's degrees. Most physician assistants also are allowed to prescribe drugs. Required or recommended courses for continued optometry study include:

    • Developmental psychology
    • Sociology

    Public Health

    A rapidly growing interdisciplinary field, public health provides training to professionals who keep people safe from diseases that threaten our communities. Specialty areas include epidemiology, biostatistics, health education, environmental health and health services administration. A master's degree, which takes 2 to 2.5 years to complete, is required.

    Veterinary Medicine

    Veterinary physicians treat non-human patients, from cats and dogs to exotic animals in zoos. This program is the most difficult to gain admission to, and four years are required to earn the doctor of veterinary medicine degree. Opportunities for specialty training are available. In addition to private practice, veterinarians work for the government and industry as food and public health inspectors, as well as in zoos, aquaria and animal parks. Required or recommended courses for continued veterinary medicine study include:

    • Animal science
    • Animal behavior
    • Biochemistry
    • Embryology

    The common core of required and elective courses for many pre-health professional students includes:

    • Foundations of Biology I and II
    • Principals of Chemistry I and II
    • General Physics I and II
    • Calculus I
    • Genetics
    • Microbiology
    • Organic Chemistry I and II
    • Intro to Psychology
    • Anatomy and Physiology
    • Biochemistry
    • Medical Terminology

    Most graduate health professions schools require the same basic preparation as medical schools. That is, they require the fundamentals of science (biology, chemistry and physics) within a context of a well-rounded education.

    Pre-Health Professional Schools

    All allied health schools also require/recommend as much volunteer/internship experience as possible. This is especially true of veterinary and physician assistant programs, which generally require several hundred hours of experience. Therefore, it is important that this experience be started early in one's college career. Faculty advisers help each student with finding these opportunities.

    Entrance Exams

    Each type of professional school has its own entrance exam. These are similar to the ACT or the MCAT exams, but the subject matter varies in each one. Entrance exams are generally taken at the conclusion of the junior year, prior to submitting applications to the programs. Detailed information on the content of each exam and registration forms for each exam also are available from the health professions adviser. These exams include:

    • DAT: Dental Aptitude Test
    • PCAT: Pharmacy College Admission Test
    • OAT: Optometry Admission Test
    • GRE: Graduate Record Exam (used by physician assistant, public health programs and veterinary medical schools)

    Capital's Placement Program

    Due to the work of the faculty advisers, along with the flexibility and academic strength of Capital's program, students have been highly successful in being admitted to a variety of schools and programs in recent years. Admission rates for Capital graduates are well above the national averages. Some of these programs include:

    • Duquesne University
    • Harvard University
    • Indiana University
    • Medical College of Ohio
    • Meharry University
    • The Ohio State University
    • St. Francis University
    • Tufts University
    • University of Florida
    • University of Kentucky
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Minnesota
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • University of South Alabama
    • University of Texas