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Pre-Professional Advising

Pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-veterinary medicine, and pre-law are not undergraduate majors at the University of Washington. However, these programs require different forms of preparation, and our advisers are committed to helping you with this process. They will assist you along the way—pointing you in the right direction, helping you with timelines, giving you insights into the application process—and they will be a resource for you as you make your choices.

About pre-professional programs

Many professional programs prefer or require a bachelor's degree, so you should plan to complete an undergraduate major as well as the prerequisites of the professional program in which you are interested. In all cases, your choice of major does not affect your chances of admission to a professional program; choose a major in which you are interested, with coursework you enjoy.

Although the UW has a medical school, a dental school, and a law school, no preference is shown toward students who complete their undergraduate degrees at the University of Washington. The UW does not have a veterinary school; UW students apply to the veterinary school at Washington State University.

Elementary and secondary teacher certifications are master's degree programs at the UW. Students planning on applying to the elementary certification program may complete almost any undergraduate major. Students planning on secondary teaching normally major in the subjects they plan to teach in high school, and are strongly encouraged to complete minors as well. For both programs, some specific undergraduate courses and some teaching experience are required before application to the master's programs.

UW's School of Pharmacy offers a Pharm.D. degree. Students pursuing pre-pharmacy complete two college years of prerequisites and then apply to the program, which is four years long (NOTE: these requirements may increase soon). UW also has a master's degree program in occupational therapy and a doctoral degree in physical therapy; students interested in applying to these programs must complete a number of prerequisite undergraduate courses, but can complete any undergraduate major.

Although there are no schools of osteopathic medicine, optometry, or podiatry in the state, UW students can complete the prerequisites and apply to schools in other states. The book Careers in Health Care, by Barbara Swanson, covers nearly every allied health area from anesthesiologist's assistant to surgical technologist. Copies are available at the undergraduate library.

Health care

Health care students dedicate themselves to improving the lives of others by alleviating human suffering—one person at a time. They listen, investigate, and help us understand ourselves and our bodies better. They search for answers—in the rhythm of our hearts, the patterns of our speech, even the composition of our blood. They ensure that the places we live and work will not harm us. They listen to how we speak and even to how we hear. They help us walk again. Sometimes they save our lives.

We have an entire section of our site dedicated to providing information to students interested in pursuing a career in health care. Pre-health advising is offered by a variety of advisers on campus.

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There are no preferred majors for law school. Law schools are looking for a diverse class of bright, motivated and accomplished students. Pick a major that matches your interests and strengths. But no matter what you major in, take courses that involve a lot of reading, writing and research. Beyond the required English composition and W courses, take as many courses as you can to improve your reading comprehension and writing skills.

Our office will help you prepare for a career in the legal profession.

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Photo by UW Admissions