Regis students in biomedical sciences classroom

Preparing for a Future in the Health Sciences

Regis’ pre-health sciences offer an exceptional environment in which to develop the skills and complete the requirements for further schooling in medicine or other health sciences. There are no official pre-health majors, rather any major can be suitable, provided students satisfy the minimum course requirements for post-graduate work.
Classroom

Pre-Health Sciences

Program Overview

At Regis College, pre-health sciences offers small classes that allow students to get to know their professors and acquire skills that prepare them for health-science careers and admission to graduate health programs. Many of our pre-health and pre-med students become involved in research with faculty, assist in the preparation of science laboratories as teaching assistants or complete internships in health-science settings.

The university's location in Denver, a major metropolitan area, provides students with many opportunities to volunteer, complete internships or conduct research at multiple hospitals and health care centers. The university's emphasis on service, reflecting its Jesuit tradition, gives students valuable experience in health-related community service.

Health-sciences graduate programs offered by medical, dental and physical therapy schools select students based on their intellectual abilities, motivation, understanding of the nature of a career in health care and past academic and personal achievements. Regis College pre-health sciences students are encouraged to engage in coursework that fulfills their goal graduate program’s prerequisites and has a strong foundation in the sciences.

Graduate admissions officers will often ask students directly, “Why do you want to become a health care professional?” Graduates of Regis College pre-health sciences will be well-prepared to answer.

Regis College Pre-Health Sciences

At Regis College, it is possible for students to prepare for a wide variety of healthcare careers. In addition to general degrees and majors such as biology and chemistry, specific tracks are available for pre-nursing and pre-pharmacy students.

Regis College students pursuing other graduate level health sciences degrees such as medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, public health and more will consult with advisors and choose an undergraduate area of study that will match their interests and goals. Learn more about additional pre-health sciences paths and careers below:

Pre-Dentistry

Pre-Dentistry Preparation at Regis

A strong background in the natural sciences is needed to continue on to become a dentist. Students will also need to prepare for and take the DAT exam. Our pre-health sciences advisory team will be happy to work with pre-dental students to plan their coursework, experiential learning opportunities, exam preparation timeline and other aspects of the dental school application process.

Pre-Medicine

Pre-Medicine Preparation and Advising

Students interested in pre-medicine will find an excellent preparatory and advising program ready to help them at Regis. Pre-medicine advising includes course scheduling, exam timeline preparation, help with essays, interview preparation and individualized meetings and direction throughout your undergraduate career and beyond, if necessary.

Pre-Nursing

Nursing at Regis

The Regis University Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions offers several options to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. For freshman who enter knowing they want to pursue a degree in Nursing, the Traditional BSN is a four year degree consisting of two years of pre-nursing course work, and two years of upper division nursing specific course work. Freshman that meet the Seamless Progress requirements are automatically accepted to the professional phase of the program without further application. Given the competitive admission to BSN programs this is a huge benefit!

Learn more about the Traditional BSN program.

The Accelerated BSN program is for individuals who have completed a prior bachelor degree in another field, but want to pursue a career in nursing. This is a one year, full time program.

Learn more about the Accelerated BSN program.

Pre-Optometry

What is Optometry?

As primary eye care providers, doctors of optometry examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eyes and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. Optometrists examine the internal and external structure of the eyes to diagnose eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts and retinal disorders; systemic diseases like hypertension and diabetes; and vision conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. They also determine the patient's ability to focus and coordinate the eyes, to judge depth and to see color accurately. They prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses, low vision aids, vision therapy and medications to treat eye diseases as well as perform certain surgical procedures. Optometrists work in private practices, multidisciplinary medical practices, hospitals, teaching institutions, research positions, community health centers and the ophthalmic industry, while others choose careers in the military, public health or government service. There is a need for optometrists in all types of practice as well as in all parts of the country. (Taken from the American Optometric Association internet site.)

What is an Optometric Program Like?

Optometrists are required to complete a four-year post-graduate degree program to earn their doctor of optometry (O.D.) titles. The four-year program includes classroom and clinical training in geometric, physical, physiological and ophthalmic optics, ocular anatomy, ocular disease, ocular myotology, ocular pharmacology, neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the vision system, color, form, space, movement and vision perception, design and modification of the visual environment, and vision performance and vision screening.

Unique to the educational requirements for optometrists is the advanced study of optics, the science of light and vision, and extensive training in lens design, construction, application and fitting.

Since optometrists are members of the primary health care team, optometric education also includes a thorough study of human anatomy, general pharmacology, general pathology, sensory and perceptual psychology, biochemistry, statistics and epidemiology.

After graduation from an accredited school or college of optometry, optometrists must successfully complete a state board examination to become licensed to practice in that state. (Taken from the American Optometric Association internet site.)

Pre-Pharmacy

Pharmacy at Regis

Our School of Pharmacy offers a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD), the entry level degree for pharmacists. The Doctor of Pharmacy program at Regis University is a 2+4 format meaning that applicants must complete a minimum of 2 years (68 semester hours) of prerequisite coursework prior to applying to the four year professional program. Applicants do not have to earn a Bachelors degree prior to applying to the entry level Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program at Regis University. However, many applicants to PharmD programs across the country and at Regis hold Bachelor and/or Masters degrees prior to applying .

The presence of a School of Pharmacy in the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions provides our undergraduates with a special opportunity. While the School of Pharmacy does not offer an early assurance program for entrance into the Doctor of Pharmacy program, Regis University pre-pharmacy students are afforded a guaranteed opportunity to participate in interviews for admission provided they have completed at least three semesters of full-time study at Regis, meet minimum admission requirements and have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their prerequisite mathematics and life sciences courses.

Pre-Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy at Regis University

The presence of a School of Physical Therapy in the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions and the involvement of some of its faculty in Regis College courses provides our undergraduates intending a career in Physical Therapy (PT) with a special opportunity. This relationship allows Regis College students to get to know the PT faculty and take some courses that anticipate graduate PT coursework.

Students interested in pursuing the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) graduate degree can major in any field of study. No academic major is given priority consideration during the selection process for our DPT program. The requirements for the entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy program are a baccalaureate degree and the program prerequisites.

Regis University’s School of Physical Therapy does not offer guaranteed admission to any students; however, all Regis College undergraduates who apply to the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) graduate program are given special consideration as Jesuit University alum. Additional consideration is given to students completing the BS in Health and Exercise Science and/or the Exercise Science Minor. Other majors that may be of interest to pre-PT students include biology, neuroscience, or psychology, but any majors are considered. It’s important to do well in your major, so pick one that matches your interests and allows you to excel as a student in all coursework, including DPT prerequisite requirements.

Pre-Physician Assistant

What is a Physician Assistant?

Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and in most states can write prescriptions.

PAs are trained in intensive education programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (previously the American Medical Association's Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation.)

Because of the close working relationship PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in the medical model designed to complement physician training. Upon graduation, physician assistants take a national certification examination developed by the National Commission on Certification of PAs in conjunction with the National Board of Medical Examiners. To maintain their national certification, PAs must log 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and sit for a recertification every six years. Graduation from an accredited physician assistant program and passage of the national certifying exam are required for state licensure. (Answer taken from the American Academy of Physician Assistants)

What is a Physician Assistant Program Like?

Physician assistants are educated in intensive medical programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (previously the American Medical Association's Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation). The average PA program curriculum is 111 weeks, compared with 155 weeks for medical school. Because of the close working relationship PAs have with physicians, PAs are educated in a medical model designed to complement physician training. PA students are taught, as are medical students, to diagnose and treat medical problems. (Text taken from the American Academy of Physician Assistants)

Entry into a Physician Assistant Program

PA programs look for students who have a desire to study, work hard, and to be of service to their community. Most physician assistant programs require applicants to have previous health care experienceand some college education. The typical applicant already has a bachelor's degree and over four years of health care experience. Commonly nurses, EMTs, and paramedics apply to PA programs. (Text taken from the American Academy of Physician Assistants)

Pre-Public Health

What is Public Health?

In today's rapidly changing health care environment, population-based initiatives are playing an increasingly important role in improving the nation's health. Going beyond the medical traditions of individual diagnosis, treatment and cure, health professionals are now focusing on societal approaches to the promotion of health and the prevention of disease and injury among diverse populations and the communities in which they live. Wide-ranging initiatives are taking place in states and communities across the nation, emphasizing such issues as:
  • Control of diseases like cancer, coronary artery disease and stroke
  • Improvement and redesign of health services integration and delivery
  • Prevention programs in schools and at work sites
  • Cessation of risky behaviors such as cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and substance abuse
  • Improving the health of mothers, children and families
  • Evaluating and redesigning public and private insurance and funding mechanisms
  • Outreach and intervention in populations at risk, such as the aged and the mentally ill
  • Reductions in domestic violence
  • Improving the quality of the environments, in which people live and work
Public health careers could include working in:
  • Consulting firms
  • Consumer advocacy organizations
  • Health clinics and voluntary agencies
  • Hospitals and integrated health care agencies
  • Long term and extended care and health insurance companies
  • Medical service organizations
  • Physician management organizations
  • Private businesses and industry
  • Public health agencies and ministries
  • Universities
(Answer taken from Saint Louis University, Public Health)

What is a Public Health Program Like?

Public Health programs vary significantly. The most common degree is a Master's of Public Health (MPH). However, some schools offer MS, MA, and Ph.D. programs in public health. Due to the great diversity that exists, it is best to explore the programs at various schools to determine how programs are structured.

Entry into a Public Health Program

Requirements for entering a public health program can vary significantly based upon the degree sought and the nature of the program. Pay close attention to any recommendations from schools to which you think you might apply. The prerequisites outlined below would apply to most prorgams with a natural science or social science emphasis. Programs with a business emphasis (i.e., Health Care Administration) may differ significantly and may require coursework or a major in Business Administration.

Getting Ready for Graduate School

The Importance of Standardized tests, course work and extracurricular activities

Preparing students for graduate school in the health sciences is an important part of the Regis College pre-health sciences program. Suggestions for success vary from discipline to discipline, and school to school; however, there are a few general recommendations that can apply to most graduate programs. These are listed below and are not necessarily ranked in order of importance.

  • Study for and do well on any required standardized examinations (e.g., MCAT, DAT, GRE, PCAT).

    Graduate programs put a lot of emphasis on these test scores in initial consideration and elimination of applicants. DO NOT take a standardized examination for practice because all scores are sent to any school to which you apply. Minimally use a commercial reparation guide with practice tests. Although expensive, many students find commercial preparation course to be very helpful.
  • Get good grades in your courses, especially in science and math courses.

    Most programs require students to report a separately calculated math/science grade point average.
  • Consider taking additional and relevant science, social science or mathematics courses.

    Do well in these courses.
  • Write a strong, error-free personal statement or essay for the application.

    Revise it at least two or three times and have others read it. Students with good grades and test scores can be denied admission because of a poor personal statement.
  • Show that you are mature, dependable and truly interested in a health care profession.

    Show your passion and commitment to the discipline to which you're applying in any way possible (especially in your personal statement/essay and non-academic activities).
  • Show that you understand the research basis of health science.

    Become involved in undergraduate research. It does not need to be research in health science. It simply needs to be scientific research.
  • Show a dedication to service.

    Prove that you understand that a health care profession is a service profession by being involved in service activities.
  • Consider joining an honor society.

    Become involved with the Regis chapter of the pre-health honor society, Alpha Epsilon Delta.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of what a health care profession entails.

    Get real health care experience. Volunteer or work in an appropriate health care setting (this is required for some programs.) Contact the Regis College Service Learning Office or the Academic Internships Office or use the links below to find relevant Denver volunteer opportunities.
  • Take prerequisite courses early in your academic career.

    Know which courses are prerequisite for entry into your program in of interest. Start taking the prerequisite courses as early in your academic career as is reasonable. This will allow you to complete them before you take any standardized entry exams such as the MCAT.

    If you are unsure about which non-nursing health career to pursue, you can plan your curriculum to maintain multiple careers as options (because nursing is an undergraduate program, the coursework differs from other health-science fields.) The following courses are required for most non-nursing health-science careers.
    • 1 year of Introductory Biology (BL 262/263 & BL 260/261)
    • 1-2 years Chemistry (CH 210/211, CH 250/251,CH 350/351, & CH 460/461)
    • 1 year Introductory Physics (PH 204A/205A & PH 204B/205B)
    • 1 year Mathematics - usually Statistics for Sciences (MT 272) and Calculus (MT 360A)
    • 1 year English Literature (EN 210 & EN literature elective requirement)
To identify the prerequisite requirements for a specific career path or graduate program please contact your academic advisor or a pre-health advisor.

Pre-Health Sciences FAQ

What percentage of Regis students who apply get into medical school?

This is indeed a very frequently asked question. Please be aware however, that institutions will add these numbers up in different ways, so direct comparisons are difficult. Also, med school admissions are so competitive that every year many well qualified students are declined, so there are no guarantees. The bottom line is that students who do very well at Regis will generally also do well in the med school applicant pool.

The Regis pre-health advisors do not recommend that students apply to medical school (MD) unless they have earned at least a 3.5 undergraduate science and cumulative GPA AND an MCAT score of 26 or above. National medical school averages for matriculating applicants are 3.7 GPA and an MCAT of 32.

MD acceptance rates for Regis students who applied January, 2004-May, 2013

GPA 3.5+ and MCAT 26+ 60%
GPA 3.6+ and MCAT28+ 75%
GPA 3.8+ and MCAT 30+ 100%

For students who need an extra year of preparation before continuing on to medical school, we encourage them to look into Regis College graduate programs such as the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program.

Does Regis “get students in” to the top tier schools?

The short answer is yes, we do have graduates who achieve acceptance to excellent universities, including some of the most competitive medical schools in the nation; however, Regis plays a supportive role for their student’s individual talents and, while we feel that a Regis undergraduate degree is excellent preparation, students need to “get in” on their own merits. Also, we encourage students to evaluate and apply to schools as a match for their own professional goals, rather than just based on general reputation, competitiveness or cost.

Do you have pre-health advisors to help me with the graduate application process?

Yes, we have several NAAHP (National Association of Advisors of the Health Professions) member advisors and a broader committee of interested advisory faculty that are distributed through various departments in the college. These advisors help with many aspects of your pre-health career planning including coursework scheduling, exam timeline planning, finding good volunteer and internship opportunities, help with entry essays and letters of recommendation.

If I want to go into nursing, physical therapy or pharmacy, what should I major in?

Regis has majors specifically geared toward nursing, exercise science and pre-pharmacy that will best help students to achieve their career goals in these areas. For more information about these majors, follow the links below.

If I want to go to a graduate program such as medical school, dental school or PA school, what should I major in?

Choose a major that you will enjoy, in which you will do well and that will allow you to complete your prerequisite courses. Historically, the most popular pre-health sciences majors at Regis College have been biology, chemistry, biochemistry and neuroscience; however, any pre-health sciences major will work as long as you keep your goals in mind.

If an eventual career in medicine or dentistry is your goal, we encourage students to earn a more general degree with an emphasis in the sciences, rather than a specific degree in something like nursing or exercise science (which are geared toward entering nursing and PT careers respectively). We have pre-health advisory faculty in many departments to help students stay on track. Please see our pre-health advisory contacts list for more information.

What if I have AP, IB, community college or dual credits for prerequisite courses? Will I need to re-take them?

This answer varies depending on the intended program and school, so you will need to meet with your advisor for help with this. Many institutions will accept AP, IB, community college or dual credits, but will want to see them supplemented with higher level coursework to prove your academic abilities.

If you feel there is an area in which your foundational knowledge is lacking, you may want to retake those courses. If you have a choice as to where you will take your prerequisite courses, we highly recommend taking them at a four-year college such as Regis, as that is much preferred by the professional school admission committees.

What should I be doing NOW to prepare for becoming a healthcare professional?

Develop your interests and experiences in the natural sciences. Read articles, books, blogs and other resources that will encourage your scientific curiosity and awareness (e.g. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman).

Explore the variety of careers that are open to you by shadowing, volunteering, visiting sites like www.explorehealthcareers.org and asking questions.

First-hand experiences in clinical or research settings are an excellent way to determine your interests and talents. Don’t be shy to ask about potential opportunities.

Does Regis do committee letters?

No, like many other smaller, liberal arts institutions, Regis does not have a committee letter process. We feel that you will get to know your professors well enough in our small classes that our faculty will be able to write very effective and personalized individual letters of recommendation. As you go through your coursework at Regis, be sure to develop good relationships with your professors as they will be important voices in support of your application.

Does Regis have a pre-health professional honors society?

Yes! We highly encourage students to join Alpha Epsilon Delta early in their academic careers. AED meetings provide a place for pre-health sciences students to share resources, learn about different aspects of healthcare careers and get assistance with the continuing application process. AED service projects also provide opportunities for health care-related volunteer work. We also have a pre-pharmacy club on campus that is a great resource.

Learn More about AED

I have heard the MCAT is changing; should I be worried about this?

Incoming freshmen to Regis will indeed take the new competency based version of the MCAT, which will begin to be administered in 2015. However, we recommend saving your panic mode for other things, as you will have the opportunity to work with an informed advisor to set up your course schedule and study timeline to account for the changes. For more information on the exam itself, please visit the AAMC website.

Pre-Medicine/Health students should major in an area of interest.

The best major for most pre-health science students is the major in which the student is most interested. Most health-science graduate programs require prerequisite courses that can be taken while completing any major. Many pre-medical students major in the sciences, and most of the prerequisites are in the sciences. However, for most programs any major is acceptable and it is important for students to pursue their interests.

There are a few pre-health-science areas where specific majors are required. For medical research a student must major in one of the most directly relevant sciences (biochemistry, biology, chemistry, neuroscience, psychology). For public health a student must major in a directly relevant discipline (biochemistry, biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, mathematics, neuroscience, psychology, or sociology with a quantitative emphasis). Nursing is a major at the bachelor's level (BSN).

Consider these options at Regis University:

Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Health and Exercise Science, Neuroscience, Nursing, Psychology

Pre-Medicine/Health students take courses in science, math & english.

Educate yourself about the prerequisite requirements for entry into specific pre-health science programs by contacting a Regis College Pre-Health Science Advisor to plan your curriculum. If you are unsure about which career to pursue, the following courses are required for most health-science careers and are good courses to focus on while deciding on a career.

1 year Introductory Biology (BL 262/263 & BL 260/261)
1-2 years Chemistry (CH 210/211, CH 230/231, CH 250/251, & CH 420/421)
1 year Introductory Physics (PH 202A/205A & PH 202B/205B OR PH 304A/305A & PH 304B/305B)
1 year Mathematics - usually Statistics for Sciences (MT 272) & Calculus (MT 360A or 360B)
1 year English Literature (EN 210 & EN literature elective requirement)

Regis does not offer Pre-Medicine/Health Majors

Explicitly pre-health science undergraduate majors, for example a pre-medical major, are not attractive to medical schools and other post-graduate schools and are rarely offered as majors by undergraduate institutions. Medical and other post-graduate schools are looking for broadly educated individuals who understand a major discipline (biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, psychology, philosophy, etc.). Graduate schools do not want undergraduate schools to teach graduate health-science material. Often graduate health-science programs are taught with a particular philosophical or thematic emphasis that might conflict with the emphasis of health care courses taught in an undergraduate setting. To put it simply, most medical and other graduate health schools want to teach you their field THEIR WAY.

An additional concern colleges have about offering pre-health science majors is the possibility that a student will not gain entry into her/his chosen graduate program. For example, a student who obtained a "pre-medical" major and did not go to medical school would have a college degree in no-specific discipline and a degree that implied "failure." It is much better to have a degree in "something" as opposed to a degree in a "pre-something."

Health science careers include medicine as well as a wide variety of other careers.

Medicine is the most commonly pursued health science career by college undergraduates. However, many other careers exist such as chiropractic, dentistry, medical research, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, public health, and veterinary science. All of these careers have different educational requirements and distinct roles in providing health care.

 

 

Students interested in applying for undergraduate pre-health sciences admission should speak to an enrollment counselor.

Find an Enrollment Counselor