Pre-Professional Programs and Specialized Advising

Medicine

Hendrix College provides a full array of services to support students planning a career in medicine. In addition to offering all the required courses, we have a Pre-professional Advising Committee to help students fulfill the extra-curricular requirements and prepare their medical school applications. There is associated chapter of AED, the national pre-medical honorary society. This group hosts monthly meetings with medical professionals and provides service opportunities within the community. We offer an MCAT preparation program to help students prepare for this important medical school entrance exam. Hendrix students have an excellent history of success in being accepted to medical school and doing very well both in school and in their professional careers. 

Look to the Future

The classes students take to prepare for medical school usually meet requirements for a major in either biology or chemistry. It is not mandatory, however, that pre-med students major in one of these departments. Many successful medical school candidates from Hendrix have chosen to major in other fields such as religion, English, and history while staying on the pre-med track.

Working closely with faculty helps students develop relationships that lend themselves to impressive and genuine letters of recommendation from faculty. This gives a competitive edge that students may have only when they attend a small undergraduate school such as Hendrix.

Aside from wonderful research opportunities, Hendrix students benefit from an active chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta. The purpose of this national honor society for pre-medical students is to encourage and recognize scholarship, as well as to serve as a resource for undergraduates interested in any health-related professional program. Alpha Epsilon Delta organizes informational meetings on campus, arranges tours of medical school facilities, and provides aids used in preparation for national professional school exams such as the MCAT.

In 2015, the MCAT changed significantly. In the Natural Science sections of the test, Biochemistry and statistics will also be tested. Other sections of the test will require students to be familiar with fundamental concepts of psychology, sociology and ethics, so at least one course in these three areas is strongly recommended. There are numerous courses that will provide students with the concepts they need in these latter sections. In Psychology, appropriate courses would include Introduction to Psychology, Childhood and Adolescence, Adult Development and Aging, Social Psychology and Comparative Animal Behavior. In Sociology, appropriate courses include Introduction to Sociology, Gender and Family, Racial and Ethnic Minorities, Medicine and Culture, and Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. The Philosophy Department offers several 200-level ethics courses, both as recurrent courses and as occasional topics courses; any of these would be appropriate. The new MCAT will emphasize critical reading skills, so students should have at least one and preferably two English courses prior to taking the MCAT.

Questions?

For additional information, please select contact Dr. Laura MacDonald in the Biology Department, Dr. Mark Sutherland in the Biology Department, or Dr. Rick Murray in the Biology Department.


Examples for Course Selection

Students interested in pre-medical or other health-related fields requiring the MCAT, DAT, VCAT, OAT, PCAT or similar exams in the spring of the junior year or the fall of the senior year usually need to take at least the following in the first three years:

  • 2 or 3 biology
  • 4 or 5 chemistry
  • 2 physic
  • 1 statistics
  • 1 mathematics course

Biology Courses

Some schools require 3 or more biology courses. Thus, they need at least 10 science courses in six semesters, many of which have laboratories and need to be sequenced properly, regardless of the student’s major. These 10 courses are typically the following: 

  • Cell Biology and Genetics (we strongly recommend Animal Physiology as well) 
  • Chemistry I and II, and Organic Chemistry I and II
  • Biochemistry (for the MCAT) 
  • Physics I and II (algebra or calculus-based) 
  • One or two mathematics courses 

Mathematics Courses

While some professional schools no longer list any specific math requirement, some list “Calculus I” and a very few “Calculus II” as requirements. Many programs also require statistics. Proper course sequencing throughout the first three years of the four-year curriculum is crucial. One should consult course requirements for any specific major in the Catalog. Once a major has been decided upon, the student should consult with a faculty member in that department for further information on optimum course sequencing.

Recent MCAT Changes

The MCAT has 4 major sections:

  • Physical Science (chemistry, physics and biochemistry)
  • Biological Science (biology and biochemistry)
  • The Psychology and Sociology of Human Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning

There are numerous course options that will provide students with the concepts they need in these latter two sections.

Statistics is required to do well on the first 3 sections of the test.

Other Recommended courses

Appropriate Courses for Psychology

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Childhood and Adolescence
  • Adult Development and Aging
  • Social Psychology 
  • Comparative Animal Behavior

In Sociology, appropriate courses include

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Gender and Family
  • Racial and Ethnic Minorities
  • Medicine and Culture
  • Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 

The Philosophy Department offers several 200-level ethics courses, both as recurrent courses and as occasional topics courses; any of these would be appropriate.

As long as the minimum science requirements are met, one’s major is not a criterion of professional school admission, but overall grade point average, science grade point average, and the standardized exam scores (which have science sections covering courses listed above) are critical. Students with equivalent credentials (e.g., MCAT, GPA, and grades in science courses) who major outside of the sciences will be a little unique when their applications are considered, and this could be an advantage. 


First-Year Course Recommendations

Generally, first-year students need to start at least two science sequences and to take at least four science/math courses in the first year regardless of their projected major. An absolute maximum is six science courses (three per term), but this is rarely recommended. Taking fewer than three science courses the first year will make it difficult for students to be prepared for the professional school standardized exams in three years.

For Biology courses, it's recommended pre-professional school students take Cell Biology and Chemistry I and II. Other science courses which are often taken by first-year students include:

  • Botany (Biology majors)
  • Functions and Models
  • Calculus I and Calculus II

Physics may be an appropriate choice for Physics or BCMB majors. 

Final Notes

While the courses listed above are the most frequently specified prerequisites by professional schools, students should check for additional prerequisites when they have chosen the particular school to which they want to apply.