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School of Natural Sciences

Information for Prospective Students

Are you considering becoming a nurse, physician, pharmacist, dentist or medical lab technician? What about an occupational therapist, public health educator or health administrator? Or becoming the person who discovers a new treatment for asthma or heart disease or discovers what makes a normal cell become a cancer cell?

The innovative and modern curriculum at UC Merced provides excellent academic preparation for health professional schools. Research experiences and opportunities for leadership in the first American research university of the 21st century provide competitive advantages for all students interested in careers as health professionals.

There is rarely a "pre-med," "pre-dental" or "pre-pharmacy" major at any college. When a student is "pre-med," that usually means he or she is taking the classes required for admission to medical school, but also has a major in a specific subject matter.

When deciding which undergraduate institution to attend, we recommend prospective students consider the quality of the educational experiences, research and community involvement opportunities, and academic and pre-professional support and advising available to students.  We suggest that you ask these questions of each college you’re considering: 

How does this university advise and support students who are considering careers in healthcare?

UC Merced’s Pre-Health Advising holds regular meetings for students considering health professions, starting with the ASCEND New Student Conference and Welcome Week. We help you decide whether this is the best career for you and show you how to meet academic and other requirements for medical school.

In collaboration with other campus services, we offer practice interviews and guide you through the application process. There is a mailing list and website dedicated to pre-health advising. Alumni in health professions visit campus and meet with students. Students attend health career fairs in the region, and professional-school admissions reps visit the campus.

What will I need to do in order to get into a health-related professional school?

  • Take the required courses and do well in them;
  • Prepare for the standardized exams (MCAT, DAT, PCAT, GRE)  and do well on them;
  • Have a consistent record of good work in human service internships or volunteer experiences;
  • Get some exposure to healthcare work while in college;
  • Apply in a timely manner to a reasonable mix of schools matching your interests and accomplishments;
  • Develop the kinds of relationships with your professors and others that will enable you to get good recommendations;
  • Practice your interviewing skills until you can interview well;
  • Have a clear understanding of your motivations for choosing a healthcare profession and the ability to articulate this in writing and in interviews

Check out the Pre-health Advising brochure here!