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Preparing for a Career in the
Health Professions

"Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art.
It does not consist of compounding pills and plasters;
it deals with the very processes of life,
which must be understood before they may be guided."


Practicing medicine engages mind, heart and body. On your journey in that direction, you will need to:

  • Develop intellectually including critical thinking, problem solving and synthesis skills
  • Build a strong foundation in the sciences, as well as perspective about the world we live in through an array of courses
  • Explore your motivation and test your interest through related coursework, and especially through experiential exposures in clinics, labs and other health contexts
  • Develop your empathy, generosity, and compassion through community service and leadership
  • Deepen your other interests and personal qualities—they will complement your health professions-specific training


The Dartmouth College HEALTH PROFESSIONS PROGRAM is here to help you every step of the way.

The Health Professions Program exists to guide and prepare pre-health students from first explorations in the field of study through graduate school applications and beyond.

WHAT are the Health Professions?

Health Professions include both clinical and non-clinical paths such as: Physician (Allopathic and Osteopathic), Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Physician Assistant, Midwifery (and others); as well as, Public health; health care administration; biomedical research; etc. The journey is rich, fascinating and also complex, involving academic engagement, extracurricular activities, personal growth, and the actual process of application to a graduate program.

WHO is a "Pre-Health" student?

Approximately 1000 Dartmouth undergraduates and alumni/ae each year have either definite or potential, interest in a career in the health professions. Pre-health students come from every background, and have a wide array of majors and academic interests, talents and skills! 10% of Dartmouth students choose to apply to medical school, but we support those with all career goals inclusively. It is not a one size fit's all journey--Pre-Health students have different timelines, pathways, starting points and destinations.

IS medicine the right path for me?

Exploring your interest is a very important part of the "pre-health" journey. The pre-requisite coursework is certainly essential, but often it is not what will confirm your interest. Students do things like: sign up for medical exposure through the Nathan Smith Society Shadowing Program right here at Dartmouth to volunteer in medical settings locally, at home, or abroad on off terms; take courses that explore the nature of medicine and society; take upper level science courses that are especially relevant; gain experience in scholarly/clinical research experiences; and service experiences to help confirm that medicine is a path for them!

HOW to decide which classes to take first, and when?

Because there are a number of pre-requisite courses and many starting places and timelines for arranging them, please meet with a Pre-Health Advisor either before courses even start, or in your first terms at Dartmouth. We are here to help individualize your choices and a plan that assists with your success! Your Undergraduate Dean is another resource for getting feedback early on!

Interested in starting your Pre-Health journey?

Meet with a Pre-Health Advisor! And explore our Overview and Tips for Getting Off to a Good Start pages!

Last Updated: 5/16/18