Choosing an Academic Major
Health professions schools welcome applicants from all academic disciplines.
The best advice: Choose a major that you enjoy and in which you will do well academically.
UMaine students with majors as diverse as biology, English, chemistry, zoology, animal-veterinary sciences, biochemistry, psychology, physics and microbiology have gained admission to medical and other health professional schools. Modern medicine is based upon science, and the majority of students preparing for the health professions at UMaine choose a science as their major. When exploring majors please visit the Pre-Med website for information on commonly chosen majors.
Health professionals are frequently among the leaders in their communities and may be called upon to serve in a variety of capacities. For this reason a broadly based liberal education– whether in the sciences, the social sciences, or the humanities– is strongly recommended.
Although no specific curriculum is necessary, most schools in the health professions do share several academic requirements in common. These generally include:
- A minimum of two semesters of biology, with labs
- Two semesters of general chemistry, with labs
- Two semesters of organic chemistry, with labs
- Two semesters of physics, with labs
- Mathematics through calculus
- At least one course in psychology
- A minimum of two semesters of English (composition and literature)
For additional guidance on what courses are required for the career path you are pursuing, please refer to the Pre-Requisite Course Chart. You may also want to schedule an appointment with the Health Professions Career Consultant.
Pre-Medical Studies Minor
The University of Maine offers a minor in Premedical Studies. This minor is intended for students majoring outside the biological sciences, to ensure that they have the necessary math and science prerequisites for admission to health professions schools. Students must not make substitutions in this list. Students declaring a minor in Premedical Studies should consult with their academic advisor and with the Health Professions advisor regarding completing other major requirements and the General Education Requirement. All candidates should consult specific programs at medical and other graduate institutions of interest regarding additional requirements, which vary among institutions.
- BIO 100, Basic Biology
- BIO 200, Biology of Organisms
- BMB 322 and 322L, Biochemistry and laboratory
- CHY 121 and 123, Introduction to Chemistry and laboratory
- CHY 122 and 124, Molecular Basis of Chemical Change and laboratory
- CHY 251 and 253, Organic Chemistry I and laboratory
- CHY 252 and 254, Organic Chemistry II and laboratory
- MAT 126, Calculus I or MAT 151, Calculus for the Life Sciences
- PHY 111 and 112, General Physics I and II or
- PHY 121 and 122, Physics for Engineers and Physical Scientists I and II
The Department of Biological Sciences will certify the minor in Premedical Studies.
You should consider taking additional coursework that includes biochemistry, genetics, anatomy, physiology, developmental biology, physical chemistry, quantitative analysis, and microbiology. All of the required courses must be taken for letter grades.
Most professional schools require laboratory participation for all of the science courses. Specific requirements may differ from one school to another. Therefore, early in your program you should identify a list of eight to ten schools to which you plan to apply, and research the admission requirements of each in detail.
Health professions schools do not usually require foreign language proficiency as a criterion for admission, however, in the multi-cultural society of the United States persons who must communicate with the public should consider developing fluency in at least one language other than English.
Your advisor will help you to schedule the necessary courses in the appropriate sequence so that you meet health profession admission requirements while completing the requirements of your academic major.
For additional suggestions on helpful courses, please refer to the Elective Options for Pre-Health Students Handout.
GPA (Grade Point Average)
Good grades alone will not get anyone admitted to a health professions school, but they ARE very important.
- Your grades reflect your ability to learn; to some extent they are a predictor of how well you are likely to do in professional courses.
- Grades, and your transcript in general, are also an indication of how serious you were about your education. Even if you graduate with a good GPA, a transcript showing that you repeated courses often, withdrew from others, and frequently had incomplete grades does not reflect well either on motivation or work habits.
- The minimum GPA required for admission to a professional school varies somewhat from one profession to another, and from one school to another within a profession. However, for admission to medical or veterinary school (generally the most competitive), your goal should be a GPA of 3.5 or better (an A- to B+ average).