Health Sciences Committee

Why Study Health Sciences?

The pre-professional program at PLU is a course of study (not a major) that prepares you for admission into a professional school or training program following your undergraduate study.

Except for pre-physical therapy, there are no specific pre-professional majors at PLU. You would not major in pre-medicine or dentistry or the like. Rather you should select a major which best matches your interests and talents, and which best prepares you for your career choices.

Professional schools will accept most majors offered at PLU as long as their required pre-professional courses are taken. You should have a broad educational background including a thorough preparation in the sciences, as well as the social sciences and the humanities.

The most popular majors selected by pre-health sciences students at PLU have been biology or chemistry; some students major in both. Some graduates admitted to physical therapy schools have also majored in movement studies and wellness education. If you are interested in a health sciences career, you should have a strong interest in and understanding of the sciences.

Why Study Health Sciences at PLU?

PLU offers the unique combination of a strong liberal arts curriculum and a high-quality science program set in a mid-sized university environment.

Solid Academics

The faculty of the Division of Natural Sciences at PLU are trained across the total spectrum of modern science and have professional teaching and research expertise in a full range of scientific disciplines. The diversity of courses in the seven departments in the division provides you with broad coverage of the biology, chemistry, and physics courses that you will need for your pre-professional preparation, as well as the supporting courses in mathematics and computer science that will be required.

Great Faculty

As a student at PLU, you have frequent, direct interaction with the faculty. Although a few introductory-level science courses may have as many as 150 students in the lecture class, the laboratory sections and discussion groups are always much smaller, usually less than 24, allowing for extensive faculty-student interaction. All lecture and laboratory classes in each department are taught by full-time faculty, almost all have Ph.D.’s. No courses are taught by graduate student teaching assistants.

Outstanding Facilities

In the Rieke Science Center, you will have access to modern laboratory facilities and instruments including:

  • A 2,500 square foot open laboratory
  • A research grade scanning electron microscope
  • A tissue processing microtechnique room
  • A microscopy room
  • Containment facilities for recombinant DNA experiments
  • A human cadaver morgue
  • FTIR, GC/MS, UV/VIS, 500 MHz FTNMR, and emission spectrometers
  • gas and liquid chromatographs
  • PC data acquisition systems
  • Pulsed molecular nitrogen laser
  • Dye laser workbench

Pre-med at PLU

While studying at PLU to prepare for medical school you will:

  • Successfully complete all of the courses required for admission to medical school in an academically rigorous environment
  • Be challenged and supported by faculty mentors who will work with you in class, in the laboratory and one-on-one
  • Engage in a major area of study that interests you and fits your talents
  • Participate in hands-on research with fellow students and faculty members
  • Find guidance and advocacy throughout your program of study from faculty advisors on the Health Sciences Advising Committee

What Health Science Professions Can I Prepare for at PLU?

PLU graduates have been accepted into a large number of professional schools. Approximately two-thirds of PLU students applying to medical school and about 90 percent of those applying to dental school have been granted admission.

Medical Schools
The University of Washington Medical School is the only regional medical school directly serving residents of the states of Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. The medical school currently admits 175 medical students to its first-year class. Since the mid-’50s, every entering UW medical school class has had at least one PLU graduate. In the last 10 years, approximately 40 graduates of PLU have attended the UW Medical School.

Graduates from PLU have also been accepted to a number of excellent medical schools outside of the region. Within the last 10 years, around 80 have attended other medical schools including: Oregon Health Sciences University, Northwestern University, Dartmouth College, Medical College of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, George Washington University, Creighton University, University of California at San Diego, University of North Dakota, St. Louis University, Medical College of Pennsylvania, Tufts University Jefferson Medical College and the California College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dental Schools
Recent students have attended the University of Washington, Oregon Health Sciences University, Loma Linda University, Creighton University, Northwestern University, Marquette University, University of the Pacific and Tufts University.

Veterinary Schools
Recent graduates have been accepted at Washington State University, University of Minnesota, and University of Wisconsin.

Optometry
Recently, PLU students have gained admission to Pacific University and the University of California at Berkeley.

Medical Technology
In the past most PLU graduates attended hospital-based programs in Seattle, Tacoma and Portland, as well as university programs at the University of Washington and Oregon Health Sciences University. However, most regional hospitals have closed their medical technology programs, but training is still available in Spokane and Yakima in addition to the universities menttioned above.

Pharmacy
Nearly every year students transfer from PLU to the School of Pharmacy at the University of Washington, having completed their two years of pre-pharmacy education at PLU. Other universities across the country also accept PLU’s pre-pharmacy coursework, including Washington State University.

Physical Therapy
Recent graduates can be found at the University of Puget Sound, University of Washington, Pacific University, Northwestern University, Mayo Clinic, Boston University, Duke University, Emory University, Texas Women’s University, the University of Colorado, and the University of Southern California.

Additional Opportunities for Health Sciences Majors

Student Research

As a science major at PLU you have the opportunity to participate directly in research with faculty. During the past twenty years, grants and endowed funds have funded summer undergraduate research. Recently undergraduate research has grown to include the social sciences. Many PLU students have presented papers at scientific meetings and a number of student research works have been published in scientific journals.

Course Requirements

In addition to the general university requirements and the courses needed to complete your major, the following college-level courses are generally required for admission to health sciences professional schools:

  • Principles of Biology (2 semesters)
  • General Chemistry (1 semester, some schools require 2 semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with laboratories (1 year)
  • Mathematics – an appropriate level course (typically pre-calculus)
  • General Physics with laboratories (1 year)
  • Other courses often required may include:
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology or Biochemistry