Pre-professional Programs

Pre-med/Pre-dental/Pre-vet | Pre-nursing | Pre-law | Pre-business | Engineering
  | Education

Pre-medical, Pre-dental, and Pre-veterinary Medical Programs

Students interested in medicine, dentistry, or veterinary medicine should register with the chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee soon after matriculation. Meetings with the chair of this committee benefit students who seek academic advice, summer program recommendations, permission to take courses at other institutions, and other help in preparing for a career in these fields.

Since entrance requirements may vary from one medical/dental/veterinary school to another, the student should become acquainted with the requirements of likely candidate schools for graduate work. The following materials on reserve in the duPont Library or available in the office of the committee chair list requirements for these three types of schools: 1) Medical School Admission Requirements, United States and Canada; 2) ASDA's Guide to Dental Schools: Admission Requirements; and 3) Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements in the United States and Canada. Students should also consult the requirements posted on the website or consult the Dean of Admissions at the schools that you plan to attend.

Students who expect to apply to professional programs in the health sciences during their senior year must take the appropriate admissions test before the beginning of their senior year. Preparation for both the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) includes two semesters of biology with a laboratory component (usually Biology 133 and Biology 233 and an advanced biology course chosen in consultation with the chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee), a year of general chemistry (Chemistry 120 and an upper level laboratory chemistry course like biochemistry), a year of organic chemistry (Chemistry 201 and 202), and a year of physics (Physics 101 and 102). These courses need to be completed prior to the senior year so that the student can take the MCAT before the fall of that year. Although not required, additional courses in biology can provide excellent preparation for the MCAT. The MCAT also requires one semester each of introductory psychology (Psychology 100), introductory sociology (Non-departmental 110), and statistics (Statistics 204). Students who are planning to take the Veterinary Admissions Test (VAT) may postpone physics until the senior year, since physics is not required for the VAT. Preveterinary students should note, however, that many veterinary schools require the MCAT or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) instead of the VAT.

Courses that medical and dental schools are most likely to require, in addition to the eight listed above, include math (or calculus), two English courses (writing across the curriculum does not meet this requirement), and biochemistry. Courses that veterinary medical schools are most likely to require, in addition to the ones above, are microbiology, biochemistry, and animal science. A student who expects to apply to a school with an animal science requirement needs to consult the chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee about methods of meeting this requirement. For admission to schools requiring animal science courses, a student may attend summer school at, or take a correspondence course from, a university with a program in this field. The student should receive approval of the veterinary school that he/she is applying to before enrolling in a summer school or correspondence course. In addition to completing these courses, premedical students are expected to complete the general requirements of the college and the requirements of their major.

Students should be aware that medical schools generally expect a letter of evaluation from the Health Professions Advisory Committee in addition to any individual letters that a student may have submitted on their behalf. During the spring semester of the junior year or the fall semester of the senior year, all students applying to professional schools will be interviewed by members of the committee. This process is intended to assist the student in preparing for interviews at professional schools and to help the committee in preparing a letter of evaluation.

Students in the college who plan to register with the Health Professions Advisory Committee for its evaluation and who plan to take at another institution any of the courses required for admission to a professional school must consult the chair of the University Health Professions Advisory Committee and the Sewanee registrar to obtain their approval.

A suggested sequence of courses for medical preprofessional students:

First Year

General chemistry, or Physics, or Biology*, Introductory Psychology, Language, Mathematics, Humanities (or other core course requirements), Physical Education

Second Year

Two courses from Biology, Organic Chemistry, and Physics, Language, Humanities (or other core course requirements)

Third Year

Completion of the Chemistry, Physics, and Biology requirements*, Introductory Sociology, Major Courses College Requirements

Fourth Year

Advanced Sciences Major Courses Electives


*At least one year of biology, two years of chemistry, and one year of physics should be completed by the end of the junior year in order to take most admissions tests.

Pre-nursing Program

Under the Vanderbilt Liberal Arts-Nursing 4-2 Program, a student spends the first four years of college at Sewanee and the remaining two calendar years at Vanderbilt studying in one of the nursing specialty areas that Vanderbilt offers. In addition to a bachelor's degree from Sewanee, students successfully completing the program earn a master of science in nursing from Vanderbilt.

Pre-law Preparation

The Association of American Law Schools (AALS) does not prescribe specific courses or activities for preparation to study law. The undergraduate is best advised to concentrate on areas of study aimed at developing oral and written expression, language comprehension, critical understanding of the human institutions and values closely related to law, and a logical and systematic approach to solving problems.

The choice of a major field of study is far less important than the choice of courses designed to achieve these ends. The pre-law advisor consults with students interested in a career in law about appropriate courses of study and about specific law schools.

The Wm. P. Carey Pre-business Program

The Wm. Polk Carey Pre-business Program prepares students for careers and leadership positions in business, finance, and entrepreneurship. The Program embraces three key components: the Business Minor, the Babson Center for Global Commerce, and the Carey Fellows Program. The Business Minor, which is outlined elsewhere in the catalog, offers a program of academic study meant to provide both practical skills and a deeper understanding of the business environment. Business minors can apply during the fall of their sophomore year to become Carey Fellows. 

The designation as a “Carey Fellow” signifies that the student has qualified for the honors track in the Business Minor and brings with it both a mark of distinction (including a certificate of recognition and scholarship assistance to defray costs associated with the off-campus internship) and a more in-depth and rigorous curriculum for the student. More information about the Carey Fellows Program can be found in the Business Minor section of the catalog.

The Babson Center for Global Commerce provides advice and guidance to pre-business students, works with the Office of Career and Leadership Development to facilitate internship opportunities, and manages the transition of graduates to business-related jobs and careers. The Center also hosts campus visits of distinguished business leaders and speakers, and supports various business-related programs and events at the college.

Engineering Program

Engineers put to practical use the discoveries of science and, by so doing, alter our way of life. Because of the narrow scope of many engineering programs, several leading engineering schools cooperate with selected liberal arts colleges to combine the professional training found in the usual four-year engineering curriculum and the breadth of education given in liberal arts colleges. Such a program requires five years — three years in the liberal arts college and two years in the engineering school.

The University of the South offers such programs in association with the following institutions: Columbia University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University in St. Louis.

Sewanee has a four-member faculty committee that works closely with these institutions to advise prospective engineering students on their academic programs and help them decide whether engineering is an appropriate professional choice. After successful completion of three years of academic work recommended by the Sewanee 3-2 engineering committee, the student is eligible for admission to one of the above engineering schools, on recommendation by the committee. After two years in engineering school, the student receives baccalaureate degrees both from Sewanee and from the engineering school. Some students opt to complete four years of work at Sewanee, then go to engineering school.

The 3-2 program is compact, and it is not always easy for a student to arrange a schedule in such a way as to include all necessary pre-professional courses as well as all courses that Sewanee requires for the degree. Entering students who are considering engineering as a profession should consult a member of the engineering committee before registering for their first classes. In general, all freshmen in this program take a foreign language, Physics 101, 102, or Chemistry 101, 102, and Mathematics 101, 102. Physics is preferable to chemistry the first year, except for those students who plan to study chemical engineering or some related field.

A student in the 3/2 program may major in physics or mathematics or computer science. For details, see mathematics and computer science or Program “C” in physics and astronomy.


Sewanee offers a minor in education that prepares students for graduate programs in teaching, research, administration, and other areas of education.  The University also has an agreement with the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University for those wishing to pursue graduate study in elementary, secondary, early childhood, special education, and additional fields.  For information, visit: Or contact Mae Wallace, professor and chair of education