Willamette University offers students interested in graduate studies in medicine, dentistry and other healthcare professions considerable flexibility in pursuing their goals. Rigorous courses and informed advising provide an excellent foundation for strong applications to post-graduate healthcare-related programs.

Although students may apply to these programs from within any major, administratively initial advising for medical, dental, optometry, and veterinary school is the responsibility of faculty in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry. Faculty in the Department of Exercise Science fulfill the same role for students interested in physical or occupational therapy, athletic training, nursing, physician assistants, pharmacology, podiatry, nutrition, anatomy and physiology, and alternative medicine.

However, the departments have a coordinated and reciprocal process to ensure students have continuous guidance as they move toward their post-graduate objectives.


A student planning to enter dental school should follow essentially the same program as outlined under Medicine. Students planning to apply to OHSU must also complete Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, and Biochemistry.


A student planning to apply to medical school should consult the Pre-Med website or Professor Kirk of the Chemistry Department. The following are typical minimum requirements for admission to most medical schools: a year sequence in Biology, four credits in chemistry (CHEM 115, 116, 225 and 226), one credit in mathematics, and two credits in Physics (PHYS 221 and 222). In addition, many medical schools require one credit of biochemistry (CHEM 351). The courses above should be considered minimum requirements. Additional recommended courses in Biology include Gene Structure and Function (BIOL 333), Microbiology (BIOL 348), Research Methods in Animal Physiology (BIOL 451W), Research in Cell and Developmental Biology (BIOL 458W). Most medical schools have English, humanities, and social science requirements, but these are typically satisfied by completion of Willamette's General Education Program. Because there can be variations to the typical requirements listed above, students should check the specific requirements of the schools to which they plan to apply.


Willamette provides several courses that satisfy prerequisites for nursing programs. Students wishing to attend nursing school should check the specific requirements of the professional school they wish to attend and consult with Professor Harmer of the Exercise Science Department.

Physical Therapy

Specific courses to satisfy requirements for entrance into a physical therapy program vary. However, as a general rule, one year each of biology, chemistry and physics (all with laboratory sections) and an upper division psychology class related to abnormal psychology are common prerequisites. Additionally, extensive internship/practicum experience in a physical therapy setting is required. These requirements can be fulfilled at Willamette. Consult with Professor Harmer of the Exercise Science Department.

Veterinary Medicine

A student planning on admission to veterinary school should consult the preveterinary advisor, Professor Sharon Rose of the Biology Department, and admission requirements of the veterinary schools of his or her choice. The preveterinary program at Willamette is essentially the same as the program outlined under medicine.

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