Choosing a Major
At Xavier, the Premedical Program is not an academic major, and the Premedical Office is not an academic department. The Premedical Office provides systematic and comprehensive application advice/support to Xavier students (regardless of major) who are interested in careers in the health professions (with the exception of pharmacy). The term "pre-med” is an internal designation which refers to a minimum schedule of commonly required/recommended courses for students who hope to gain admission into medical, dental, veterinary, optometry, podiatry, and other types of health professions schools. Therefore, a premed student at Xavier may pursue an undergraduate degree in ANY program of study (i.e. academic major) as long as the student completes the 1) required courses for the health professions schools that he/she plans on applying to AND 2) courses that are necessary to adequately prepare for the entrance exam that is required by those health professions schools.
Although medical, dental, and other types of health professions schools do NOT require an undergraduate degree in a specific academic discipline, premeds at Xavier frequently choose to enroll in programs of study that are formally designed to give them the opportunity to fulfill their degree requirements and course requirements for health professions schools and related entrance exams and to take some additional recommended courses, while also being on track to graduate from the University in four (4) years. The following programs of study at Xavier, which can be found in the University Catalog, formally incorporate the premed schedule of courses into the academic major:
- Biology Pre-Medical
- Chemistry Pre-Professional (Pre-Medical)
- Premedical Psychology
- Biochemistry (w/biology minor)
While these programs of study are common for Xavier students who are interested in the health professions, as mentioned above, you are NOT required to major in a specific academic discipline in order apply to medical, dental, or another type of health professions school or to receive guidance from the Premedical Office. Regardless of your program of study, it is your responsibility to ensure that you satisfy a) the degree requirements for your major; b) the courses that are required by the specific health professions schools you are interested in applying to; and c) the courses that are listed as content areas on professional school entrance exams like the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Dental Admission Test (DAT), Optometry Admission Test (OAT), and Graduate Record Exam (GRE). At Xavier, premeds are also encouraged to enroll in additional upper-level science courses to build a stronger foundation for the transition into the rigorous medical science curricula at professional schools.
To view the semester-by-semester schedule of courses for majors at Xavier, go to the University Catalog and click on “Programs of Study” on the right side of the page. If you decide to enroll in a major in which the premed schedule of courses is NOT formally incorporated, you may use the general premed “schedule of courses,” which appears at the bottom of the aforementioned “Programs of Study” page, as a guide for planning your premed coursework. The general premed “schedule of courses” is designed so that students are prepared to take the MCAT, DAT, and other required entrance exams by the end of junior year and apply to professional school the summer between junior and senior years (provided there is a readiness to do so). Regardless of major, premeds should also be familiar with the requirements for the specific health professions schools they are interested in applying to and the content areas of required entrance exams when planning what courses to take and when. Consistent engagement with your academic advisor in your major department and in the comprehensive advising activities conducted by the Premedical Office, starting freshman year, will aid you in navigating the process of strategically planning coursework to maximize success in your program of study and with the professional school application process.