Pre-Health Sciences Programs

Clarkson offers a range of pre-health science programs preparing you for medical school, occupational therapy school, physical therapy school or a physician assistant program.

Our pre-health programs are concentration tracks within our majors and departments. Our programs prepare and qualify you for continued education in the health sciences. Offering classes and training that suits your goals is what we strive to achieve with every program, and our pre-health sciences programs are no different.

Pre-Medical Program

About Our Pre-Medical Program

We have majors in biology, psychology and environmental health science, as well as a concentration in pre-physical therapy. This gives you the option to explore other aspects of healthcare and other healthcare professions. We offer a series of seminar courses, called Introduction to Healthcare, that introduces students interested in all areas of healthcare to issues such as professionalism, health delivery systems, medical ethics and the research basis for clinical care.

Pre-Medical Advising

Through the many years of advising pre-medical students, we have found a certain format that best helps students decide the right role for them in healthcare (medical school isn't right for everyone) and assists in successful application to medical or other health professional schools. One of the reasons that Clarkson students have been so successful in getting into good health professional school is that they get personal attention and guidance throughout this procedure. Students should begin preparing for the application process in their first year at college. In general, during their first two years at college, students should be developing their credentials through coursework and experiences in the medical community. In their junior year, students should be building a portfolio to draw from in crafting their applications. In their senior year, students will be involved in the application and admissions process.

What Are Medical Schools Looking For?

Generally speaking, medical schools are looking for students who have demonstrated interest in medicine, with some working knowledge of what the profession demands of its practitioners. This usually involves actual experience in the medical community. Medical and other health professional schools also want to see that students can balance academics with involvement in outside interests, and that students have a commitment and service record to the community at large.

Course Requirements for Pre-Medical Students

These basic courses will begin to prepare you for continuing education in the medical sciences.

  • Introductory Biology with Laboratory (two semesters)
  • Introductory Chemistry with Laboratory (two semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with Laboratory (two semesters, one lab)
  • Physics (two semesters)
  • Biochemistry
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

Pre-Physician Assistant Program

About Our Pre-Physician Assistant Program

High school seniors who apply to Clarkson University for undergraduate studies are eligible to apply for the pre-physician assistant plan as part of their application. Applicants must demonstrate scholarship in math and science and a representative SAT/ACT score. Participation in health-related courses and activities is encouraged.

The pre-physician assistant plan is not a major or minor. Students must declare a major in an area of interest, but will be required to take the 10 prerequisite courses for the physician assistant program as part of their degree. At least three prerequisite courses must be completed by the end of the second year. Patient care hours must be acquired during the first two years as well. At least 100 hours of the 500-hour total is required by this time. 

Student advising will be done by the department of the declared major with input from the health science advisor and the physician assistant advisor when needed. Pre-physician assistant students will be expected to participate in physician assistant program activities when possible.

What Do I Need to be in the Pre-Physician Assistant Program?

Students must achieve and maintain a GPA of at least 3.25 throughout their undergraduate years. No grade less than B is acceptable for prerequisite courses. The students must also be free of any disciplinary problems. At the end of the second undergraduate year, students will meet with the physician assistant faculty to determine their continuation in the pre-physician assistant plan. They must continue to acquire patient care hours and finish prerequisite courses while maintaining the above-mentioned GPA.

During their senior year, students must still formally apply through the centralized process (CASPA). Ten of the available seats in each cohort will be held for Clarkson University pre-physician assistant students. Each student that successfully completes the prerequisites of the pre-physician assistant plan will be granted an interview and then compete for the available seats with other pre-physician assistant applicants. Applicants that are not Clarkson pre-physician assistant students will compete for the remaining seats with hundreds of other applicants. Successful candidates will be accepted for the cohort beginning the following January.

Pre-Physical Therapy Program

About Our Pre-Physical Therapy Program

Our program is for highly qualified and motivated incoming high school students who wish to pursue continuing education or a career in physical therapy. As you apply to the undergraduate programs, you can also apply for this program by providing all required materials for the freshman undergraduate admission application and checking the box on the application for pre-physical therapy as a "special advising option," in addition to selecting the undergraduate major of your choice. You are free to pursue any major with the pre-physical therapy track added on to your coursework.

For example, your might study engineering and management to gain a better understanding of how physical therapy equipment works and how the mechanical principles apply to the human body. Or you might choose to study psychology to learn how to motivate and direct patients and their families. Whatever you study, the specialized knowledge and skills you acquire as an undergraduate will broaden your career opportunities as a physical therapist.

Pre-Physical Therapy Program Advantages

As a pre-physical therapy student, you also enjoy the following advantages:

  • At least 50 percent of the available seats in each cohort will be held for Clarkson University pre-physical therapy undergraduate students who successfully complete all of the necessary prerequisite requirements.
  • You will have a physical therapy program adviser. In addition to your major adviser, you'll be assigned a second faculty adviser from the Department of Physical Therapy. This extra mentoring relationship adds another dimension of support to your experience. You and your physical therapy adviser will work together to define your career goals, balance your physical therapy course requirements with major requirements and make a successful transition to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program.
  • You will obtain a solid foundation in problem-based learning (PBL), which is a cornerstone of the graduate program. The pre-physical therapy courses (PT 105 & PT 305) will introduce you to this student-centered, collaborative and self-directed education model. PBL, based on patient case studies, more closely resembles actual clinical experience. It better prepares you to be a self-motivated lifelong learner, which is essential to being a competent healthcare professional.

Course Requirements for Pre-Physical Therapy Students

The Department of Physical Therapy offers two undergraduate physical therapy seminars that pre-physical therapy students must take. One is offered in the fall and one in the spring. These seminars introduce students to PBL, physical therapy, research in physical therapy and healthcare systems. 

  • PT105 Introduction to Physical Therapy I: Introduction to the profession of physical therapy, the pre-physical therapy and doctor of physical therapy programs at Clarkson, the PBL curricular model and the U.S. healthcare system.
  • PT305 Introduction to Physical Therapy II: Introduction to the requirements and process of graduate physical therapy education, participation in the PBL curricular model, and issues of professionalism in physical therapy practice.

Transition into the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

Our students must meet the following criteria in order to be accepted into the Doctor in Physical Therapy program:

  • Complete a baccalaureate degree at Clarkson University with an overall grade point average (GPA) of greater than or equal to 3.2.
  • Have a GPA of greater than or equal to 3.2 in all prerequisite courses and no grade lower than a C in these courses.
  • Successfully pass PT105 and PT305.
  • Submit documentation of a minimum of 50 hours of observation, volunteer or work experience in physical therapy and/or another healthcare setting, of which a minimum of 30 hours must be completed under the supervision of a physical therapist.
  • Submit three letters of recommendation. One must be from a physical therapist and one from a faculty member. None can be from family, friends or clergy.
  • Submit an application to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program through the Physical Therapy Common Application Service by September 20 of your senior year.

Pre-Veterinary Program

About Our Pre-Veterinary Program

Acceptance into any veterinary program is highly competitive. Having a pre-veterinary concentration ensures that you meet all the requirements for application to veterinary school. In addition, you will receive guidance throughout your undergraduate career that will strengthen you as a candidate for graduate admissions.

Our Potsdam location affords prospective veterinary students the opportunity to volunteer and gain experience in both large and small animal settings. Experience in the field is a key requirement for admission to any veterinary school. In addition, Clarkson offers a wide variety of extracurricular activities. Becoming involved in these activities and participating in community service is an integral part of the student's growth and demonstrates the student's desire to become an active member in the community.

What Are Veterinary Schools Looking For?

Veterinary schools look at a number of different criteria in considering an applicant. As in any competitive curriculum, a strong GPA and competitive scores on the GRE are certainly factors. However, it is important to realize that familiarity and genuine interest in the profession as demonstrated by exposure to practice, research or other areas of veterinary medicine is essential.

Course Requirements

  • Biology with Laboratory (two semesters)
  • Chemistry with Laboratory (two semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with Laboratory (two semesters, one of lab.)
  • Physics (two semesters)
  • Mathematics (two semesters, including one semester of Calculus)
  • English (two semesters, including one semester of Composition)

Other Schools Might Require

  • Humanities (two semesters)
  • Social Sciences (two semesters)
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry

Pre-Dental Program

About Our Pre-Dental Program

Pre-dental studies at Clarkson can be fit into any major in any school. The requirements for entry into a dental school vary a bit from school to school, but in general, the requirements are as listed in the following. The most important thing to remember is that each of the prerequisites is either a requirement of the specific major you are in or can be completed in the normal academic time-frame as an elective. Thus, planning to apply to dental school is a simple process of completing the requirements of your major and working with the pre-dental advisor to be sure the required courses are completed prior to submitting an application.

Pre-Dental Requirements

  • Biology with Laboratory (two semesters)
  • Chemistry with Laboratory (two semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with Laboratory (two semesters, one of lab.)
  • Physics (two semesters)
  • Calculus (two semesters)

How Can I Qualify for the Pre-Dental Special Advising Program?

At Clarkson, this is a simple process. Once you are accepted into a major, you need only contact the pre-dental advisor about your interest in dentistry. Then you meet with the advisor to get acquainted, map out your course plan and discuss other aspects of the program, such as community service and mentoring with dental professionals. Then you are on your way.

The advantage at Clarkson is that we do not differentiate between the different pre-medical science students. Pre-dental students take part in all the events and activities promoted by the Pre-Medical Science Advising Office. These include speakers in the specific health professions and health-related areas, general meetings to learn about changes in health careers and materials for preparation for the various admissions tests. In addition, there is an active pre-medical professions coed fraternity that recruits members from all aspects of the Clarkson community.

Pre-Occupational Therapy

About Our Pre-Occupational Therapy Program

Clarkson University offers a pre-occupational therapy program to highly qualified and motivated incoming high school students who wish to pursue a career in occupational therapy. Students accepted into the program will be invited to participate in activities in the Department of Occupational Therapy and will be granted preferential consideration for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program as long as they successfully complete the milestones and MSOT prerequisites.

Applicants will signify on their CU application for admission a request to be accepted into the pre-occupational therapy plan. The records/transcripts of those applicants will be forwarded to the occupational therapy department for review. The health professions graduate admissions coordinator will review the high school records and application and return an acceptance decision to Admissions. Those that matriculate at Clarkson and meet all requirements of this opportunity and formally apply will be granted an interview and given preferential consideration. Successful applicants will be granted a seat in the next cohort of the MSOT class following their May graduation from Clarkson University. Students that accelerate their graduation to December will be considered on a case-by-case basis for the cohort beginning the following fall semester. Ten seats will be reserved for Clarkson University graduates in each incoming class. Being a pre-occupational therapy student provides a significant advantage in gaining acceptance into Clarkson’s occupational therapy program.

Requirements and Milestones

  • Complete the application and essay (state your interest in the field of occupational therapy) for entry into the pre-occupational therapy plan.
  • At all times, remain in good standing with Clarkson University. 
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher at the end of each semester in all prerequisite courses, while maintaining an overall cumulative GPA of greater than or equal to 3.0.
  • In the first two years as a CU undergraduate, show satisfactory progress in completing occupational therapy prerequisite courses. A minimum of three prerequisite courses must be completed by that time.
  • Begin or continue gaining experience related to occupational therapy.
  • Meet at least once per academic year with the health professions graduate admissions coordinator to gauge progress.

After completion of your second year as a CU undergraduate, you will present yourself to the occupational therapy faculty for review of your progress. Upon approval, you will

  • Continue progress and complete all prerequisite courses with a grade of C or better.
  • Complete a minimum of 40 required hours of experience by the time of application.
  • Graduate in good standing from Clarkson University.
  • Formally apply to the Clarkson University occupational therapy program via the Occupational Therapy Centralized Application Service (OTCAS) at the appropriate time while meeting all deadlines and requirements of the application.
    • Submit three letters of recommendation (letters from a faculty member and an occupational therapy professional are required)
  • Have a successful interview following application.

Ten seats are reserved in each class for CU graduates. CU graduates not selected for the reserved seats will remain in the applicant pool for any remaining seats in the cohort.

Clarkson undergraduates that are not part of the pre-occupational therapy plan are also welcome to apply via OTCAS at the appropriate time with the applicant pool for that cohort. These requirements are in addition to the major that the student has declared. Occupational therapy advising is not intended to replace advising by faculty in the student’s declared major.

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