Academics & Majors


Health Professions Student Center
Offered as:
Specialization track


WSU provides excellent preparation for medical school and other health care fields (such as optometry, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, or physical/occupational therapy).

Pre-medicine is not a major in itself. It is a preparatory track that can be incorporated into any major. (Most other fields of professional health care are the same way.) As long as you complete the general core requirements for schools in your professional area, you can select any major you like.

Whatever major you choose, be sure to register in the pre-health advising program when you enroll at WSU. Whether you're deciding on a major, working pre-med core requirements into your schedule, or putting together a strong professional school application, expert advisors in the Health Professions Student Center can help you plan for success.


To become a medical doctor, you first have to complete a bachelor's degree, then go through professional school in your medical field.

When it comes to your bachelor's degree, professional programs in medicine, optometry, and dentistry don't give preference to any particular major — in fact, national statistics show that there is no “best” major for getting into medical programs. They welcome applicants with majors in a wide variety of areas.

Of course, there are benefits to a major that incorporates medical school prerequisites in its core courses. Several majors at Washington State University have tracks specifically for pre-med students:

If you're exploring your options, these are good places to start — but remember, as long as your pre-med prerequisites are covered and your academic record is strong, literally any major can get you into medical school.

The bottom line: choose a major that reflects your interests and strengths.

Admission to medical, dental, and optometry schools is highly competitive, so strong academic performance is an absolute must. Medical schools expect applicants to excel in all their courses — and the more you enjoy your studies, the better your grades will be.

Be sure to visit the Health Professions Student Center early and often. The expert advisors there will help you enroll in the prerequisite courses you need and select a major that matches your personal interests.

Prerequisites for medical schools

You'll need to complete a set of basic science prerequisites to be eligible for admission to most professional schools. Completing other related electives (especially the science electives) can help as well, both as preparation for admission tests and overall preparation for professional school.

When you enroll at WSU, come to the Health Professions Student Center first thing and meet with an advisor. Your pre-health advisor can help you schedule the medical school prerequisites and integrate them with the University’s general requirements and your major’s requirements.


A few professional schools have different or additional requirements. Be sure to get specific information about any school you're considering applying to. (The pre-health advisors at WSU can help.)

Science prerequisites

General Biology
General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
Introductory Genetics and Cell Biology
Microbiology Lecture and Lab
Introductory Biochemistry

Recommended electives

These science electives are especially recommended:

Human Anatomy
Mammalian Physiology
Comparative Anatomy

These non-science electives are especially recommended:

Contemporary Social Problems
Human Sexuality
Psychology of Aging
Biomedical Ethics
History of Medicine
Professional and Technical Writing
The Biology of Women

Note: These prerequisites and recommendations are for example only. Contact the WSU Health Professions Student Center and speak to an advisor before planning your courses.

All students must meet degree requirements as outlined in the WSU Catalog in order to graduate.

Applying to medical school

There are many more applicants than available spaces in medical, dental, and optometry schools (some have acceptance rates of 10% or less). Because admission is so competitive, good preparation is essential.

The Health Professions Student Center will help you prepare a strong application for the school(s) of your choice. It’s your central location for academic advising, information about the requirements and characteristics of professional schools, internship and volunteering information, preparation for admission interviews, and collecting letters of recommendation.

Admission tests

Before applying to professional school, all students must take the appropriate admissions test: the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT),  Dental Admissions Test (DAT), or Optometry Admissions Test (OAT).

These tests are normally taken between the spring of your junior year and the early fall of your senior year. A good score on your admission test will be a critical element of your success at application time.

You should view each basic science course in the professional school prerequisites as part of your preparation for the test. Taking the recommended electives, especially the science electives, can contribute to a better score on the life science sections of these tests.


All medical, dental, and optometry schools require a personal interview. The Health Professions Student Center offers preparation through mock interviews and other practice techniques.

Internships and hands-on experience

Internships, volunteer activities, and leadership experiences can also help your candidacy for medical schools. In fact, experience in a health care setting is an important consideration (if not a requirement) for many schools.

The Health Professions Student Center can help you find opportunities to develop the skills and characteristics that will help you get admitted to a medical school and prepare you for long-term success as a health-care professional.

Scholarships and financial aid

A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs.

For all students at WSU

Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.

To get all the financial help WSU can provide, start by doing these two things:

  • Complete the University's general scholarship application so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration.
  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need.

More about scholarships and financial aid

For pre-med students

In addition to general university scholarships and other financial aid, the University's academic units offer scholarships to students who have an interest in their programs.

Check the departmental scholarship page to see what's available in the areas that interest you.

Campus organizations and activities

Several campus organizations and professional societies are available for WSU students who want to interact with others in the health science fields, network with current professionals, and build leadership skills.

The Pre-Health Club brings together a group of driven students with an interest in health-related fields. The purpose of the club is to help pre-health students gain information and support while preparing for professional school.

The American Medical Student Association Pre-Med Club provides resources specifically for pre-med students: for instance, a national conference, unique internship and research opportunities, and community outreach in the health care field.

Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), the pre-health honor society, is a national organization that recognizes students for their academic achievements. With an emphasis on community service and leadership opportunities, AED membership is a perfect complement to the other pre-health clubs.

The WSU Pre-Dental Club is about forming important contacts in the dental world and making a positive impact on our community. The club aims to provide opportunities for members to expand their dental knowledge through presentations, school tours, and public service.

Other groups at WSU that might interest pre-med students include:

  • Microbiology Club
  • Neuroscience Club
  • Institute of Biological Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering Society
Suggested strengths, interests, and preparation

A strong interest in helping people, a good sense of teamwork, and the ability to communicate well are essential for success in college, professional school, and a medical career.

If you're planning to study health sciences in college, you should prepare with:

  • A strong foundation in science, mathematics, and communication
  • At least three years of science in high school
  • At least three years of math in high school
  • Strong reading, writing, reasoning, and computer skills