Academic Preparation

Choose a Major

Academic course requirements for health professional programs may be integrated into any major at Northeastern.

Students admitted to U.S. health professional programs come from ALL undergraduate majors. Medical schools appreciate academic diversity. Choose a major based on your interests. Undergraduate students should meet with both their major advisor and a PreMed/PreHealth Advisor to determine the best way to successfully complete their required coursework.

College of Professional Studies (CPS) students should consult with the CPS Career and Academic Coaching Staff for Academic Advising.

Common Courses

The courses listed below meet the course requirements of many health professional programs.

These are intended to provide a foundation in subject areas relevant to the student’s intended health professional program and its corresponding entrance exam.  It is the student’s responsibility to research the academic requirements for specific schools of interest, and work with their advisors to determine an appropriate course of study.

Most health professional programs will consider a grade of C or higher in required coursework as passing (for some PA programs, the lowest passing grade may be higher than a C, and applicants are encouraged to confirm this information with individual program websites). If your final grade in any required course is below a C, you may be required to retake the course. More information on coursework standards and expectations can be found on our FAQ webpage.

A typical course of study may include the following:

  • 2 semesters of Biology with labs
  • 2 semesters of Chemistry with labs (or a combined General Chemistry course)
  • 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Physics with labs
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry with lab (prerequisites: Genetics & Molecular Biology with lab and Organic Chemistry II with lab)
  • 2 semesters of Math (1 semester of Calculus and 1 semester of Statistics)
  • 2 semesters of Writing-Based Social Science or Humanities/English Composition coursework
  • 2 semesters of behavioral science coursework are recommended, but traditionally not required (1 semester of Psychology and 1 semester of Sociology)
  • Additional coursework across disciplines is often required or (e.g. natural science, behavioral science, social science and humanities coursework).

Prerequisites to medical school are school specific. Please refer to the relevant website below for detailed course requirements.

  • 2 semesters of Biology with labs
  • 2 semesters of Chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Physics with labs
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry with lab (prerequisites: Genetics & Molecular Biology with lab and Organic Chemistry II with lab).
  • 2 semesters of Math (1 semester of Calculus and 1 semester of Statistics)
  • 2 semesters of Writing-Based Social Science or Humanities/English Composition coursework
  • Additional coursework across disciplines is often required or (e.g. natural science, behavioral science, social science and humanities coursework).

Prerequisites to dental school are school specific. Please refer to the relevant websites below for detailed course requirements.

  • 2 semesters of Biology with labs
  • 2 semesters of Chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Physics with labs
  • 1 semester of Organic Chemistry with Lab
  • 1 semester of Anatomy & Physiology
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry with lab (prerequisites: Genetics & Molecular Biology with lab and Organic Chemistry II with lab)
  • 1 semester of Microbiology with lab
  • 2 semesters of Math (1 semester of Calculus and 1 semester of Statistics)
  • 2 semesters of Writing-Based Social Science or Humanities/English Composition coursework
  • 1 semester of Psychology

Prerequisites to optometry school are school specific. Please refer to the relevant website below for detailed course requirements.

  • 2 semesters of Biology with labs
  • 2 semesters of General Chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Anatomy & Physiology with labs
  • 1 semester of Microbiology with lab (prerequisites: Genetics & Molecular Biology with lab)
  • 2 semesters of Math (1 semester of Calculus and 1 semester of Statistics)
  • 2 semesters of Writing-Based Social Science or Humanities/English Composition coursework
  • Proficiency in Medical Terminology (Check with individual programs to determine how you can satisfy this requirement)
  • Additional coursework across disciplines is often required or recommended (e.g. Psychology, Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, English, Spanish, etc.)

Prerequisite coursework for PA programs is largely school specific. Due to this, we recommend creating a spreadsheet of 10-12 PA programs to help guide your academic plan and needed prerequisites. Get started by using the tracking document below.

Please refer to the relevant websites below for detailed course requirements

  • 2 semesters of Biology with labs
  • 2 semesters of Chemistry with labs (or a combined General Chemistry course)
  • 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Physics with labs
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry with lab (prerequisites: Genetics & Molecular Biology with lab and Organic Chemistry II with lab)
  • 2 semesters of Math (1 semester of Calculus and 1 semester of Statistics)
  • 2 semesters of Writing-Based Social Science or Humanities/English Composition coursework
  • 2 semesters of behavioral science coursework (1 semester of Psychology and 1 semester of Sociology)
  • Additional coursework across disciplines is often required or (e.g. natural science, behavioral science, social science and humanities coursework).

Prerequisites to podiatry school are school specific. Please refer to the relevant website below for detailed course requirements.

  • 2 semesters of Biology with labs
  • 2 semesters of Chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with labs
  • 2 semesters of Physics with labs
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry with lab (prerequisites: Genetics & Molecular Biology with lab and Organic Chemistry II with lab)
  • 2 semesters of Math (1 semester of Calculus and 1 semester of Statistics)
  • 2 semesters of Writing-Based Social Science or Humanities/English Composition coursework
  • Additional coursework across disciplines is often required or (e.g. Microbiology, Animal Nutrition, social science and humanities coursework, etc.

Prerequisites to veterinary school are school specific. Please refer to the relevant website below for detailed course requirements.

Supporting Information

Not all health professional schools will accept core science (Biology, Chemistry, Math or Physics) prerequisite coursework taken outside of the U.S. or Canada.

If you are planning to take core science prerequisite coursework abroad, it is recommended you enroll in Overseas US Institutions (i.e. American College of Thessaloniki, John Cabot University in Rome, Italy, etc.). Despite the fact these institutions are physically located outside of the U.S. these schools have received accreditation from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and are treated like any other U.S. or Canadian school.

If you are considering attending a foreign institution outside of the U.S. or Canada, please contact the schools you are interested in applying to before going overseas to ensure that your coursework will be accepted.

Each school will have their own policy regarding AP and/or IB credit, and it is best to consult with their individual website or admissions office to find out more about their policy.

Generally, applicants may use AP or IB credit toward prerequisite courses. However AP/IB credit often does not reduce the required coursework needed at the college level. Applicants may be expected to take the equivalent number of upper-level courses within that subject if they’ve have been granted AP/IB credit.

 

College-level, dual enrollment courses taken during high school can often be used to satisfy academic requirements for health professional programs.

You must confirm that you received academic credit, a grade, and a corresponding college transcript for the course(s). Centralized application services will include the credit hours and grade earned in their GPA calculations, even if the course was not transferred to Northeastern or used toward your undergraduate degree.

Strong grades and experiential preparation are integral to acceptance to a health professional program. Once you begin your medical studies, you will find that this remains equally important.

Northeastern has a number of resources on campus to help you succeed both in and out of the classroom: