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 health care policy are essential for the health-care professional. Since the health professions seek individuals with 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-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, Classics, English, Foreign Languages (Spanish, French, Japanese), Geology, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Politics, Psychology, Religion, and Theatre.
Whitman’s liberal arts curriculum has prepared many of our graduates for successful careers 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 students have acquired an excellent reputation among the professional schools they have attended. We like to attribute this to our strong undergraduate curriculum that provides students with both the breadth and depth necessary to excel. In addition to foundation courses in biochemistry, genetics, microbiology, nutrition, or physiology, Whitman offers seminar courses in areas such as medical anthropology, the psychology of aging, biomedical ethics, biostatistics, and global infectious diseases.
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.
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.
Learn more at Post-baccalaureate Premedical Programs from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Health-related Student Groups on Campus
- Pre-Health Society
- Pre-Physical & Occupational Therapy
- Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club
- SOS Volunteer Club