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Health Professions


Kimberly Mueller (Director of Health Professions Advising)

Careers in the health professions demand more than just achievement in the life sciences. Maturity, compassion, leadership, ethical practice, integrity, communication skills, and knowledge of healthcare policy are essential for the health-care professional. Since the health professions seek individuals with a broad liberal arts and science education in conjunction with a rigorous major area of study in the natural sciences, arts, humanities, or social sciences, Whitman College does not offer “pre-nursing”, “pre-med,” “pre-vet,” or any “pre-health” major. Although many students choose one of our life science majors — biology or biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology (BBMB) — more than one-third of our successful matriculants in medical or other health profession schools enter with majors beyond the life sciences, including anthropology, art, chemistry, English, foreign languages (Hispanic Studies, French and Francophone Studies), geology, history, music, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology and Theater.

Whitman’s liberal arts curriculum provides students with both the breadth and depth necessary to excel as physicians, nurses, physician assistants, dentists, veterinarians, physical therapists, pharmacists, and public health specialists. Clinicians must have the ability to communicate by speaking and writing effectively, to gather and analyze data, to continually update knowledge and skills, to work with a team of professionals, and to apply new information to the solution of scientific, clinical, and public health problems — all skills that can be acquired from a liberal arts education.

Whitman College is a founding member of the Walla Walla Clinical Shadowing Program, a collaborative effort with Providence St. Mary Medical Center, Walla Walla Clinic, and Family Medical Center/Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic to facilitate pre-medical student shadowing in Walla Walla County. To date, physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the Walla Walla Valley are participating in student observations. Opportunities exist for students to shadow in other health professional fields such as dentistry, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.

Students considering a career in a health profession should attend the health professions orientation meeting during the opening week of their first year and meet with the health professions advisor once per semester before application. Additional opportunities to explore the health professions are available through enrollment in the Interdisciplinary Studies 100 level Health Professions courses, attending Health Speaker Series lectures by healthcare professionals, and participating in advising workshops sponsored by the Office of Health Professions Advising. Students should consider joining one of the pre-health student organizations.

For more information on becoming a competitive applicant and making an application, email Kimberly Mueller.

Where do I start?

If you are interested in a career in the health professions, start by attending the health professions orientation meeting during the opening week of your first semester at Whitman. You’ll have a chance to sign up to the Health Professions email list in order to be kept informed about issues surrounding the health professions, events on campus,  and information about internships and applications.  

Next, make an appointment with Kimberly Mueller, Director, Health Professions Advising, to discuss your career plans, courses and major, internships, health care experiences, and application timelines. Plan to meet with Kimberly each semester to assess your progress.

For Alumni

If you have already graduated from Whitman and need to take prerequisite courses since you are changing career paths or are looking to improve your academic record in the sciences, there are many post-baccalaureate programs available to assist students who already have earned a B.A. or B.S. degree.

Health-related Student Groups on Campus

  • GlobeMed
  • Pre-Health Society
  • Pre-Physical & Occupational Therapy
  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club
  • SOS Volunteer Club


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