For New Students

Fall 2020 Registration for new students

As you prepare to register for your Fall 2020 courses, please be sure that you have thoroughly reviewed the academic information on Opening the Gates. Also make note of our information on pre-health advising for course selection. Other key academic planning resources include:

Planning your pre-health courses

Every health profession and each individual school will have their own variation of prerequisite courses. (See common prerequisite courses, by profession.) Frequently required courses among health profession schools include biology and chemistry.

Students who are confident in their desire to pursue a career in a clinical profession, such as nursing, physician assistant, dentistry, physical therapy and human and veterinary medicine, will be well served by taking biology and chemistry early in their undergraduate years.

Students with interests in nonclinical professions, such as global health, health education, environmental health or health administration, might also look into biology and/or chemistry, or they may prefer to select first-semester courses from disciplines such as anthropology, international relations, environmental studies, statistics or a language.

Beyond your career interests, consider your specific academic interests, potential majors you wish to explore and your high school preparation. Taking courses across a variety of academic disciplines during your time in college is recommended for pre-health students. Using the suggestions below, work with your academic advisor and the pre-health office to create your first fall schedule.

  • Are you a transfer student or Francis Perkins Scholar? Please contact the pre-health office directly to discuss your prior studies and upcoming fall courses.

First-year students: planning your first semester

There are many academic pathways toward health profession school. While determining your first-semester schedule, carefully assess your academic background and your comfort level with each of the academic subjects you are considering.

For clinical professions

These recommendations are based on the most common prerequisite courses for clinical professions (those that involve directly treating individual patients, whether human or animal).

Step 1: Pick your first-year seminar (should already be done).

Step 2: Assess your high school science and math background as it relates to your readiness to enter college-level science courses with labs. Consider which science courses you took, how many, at what level and what grades you earned in the courses. While most students begin with the courses listed in Step 3, below, successful completion of advanced STEM coursework in high school (e.g., Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual enrollment) may indicate that you should begin your Mount Holyoke College science courses at a more advanced level. You may wish to take a placement exam in math. It is wise to discuss your readiness with an advisor.

Step 3: Most students hoping to become a clinician (e.g., dentist, veterinarian, physician, nurse practitioner, optometrist, physical therapist) will take biology or chemistry, or both, in their first semester. The following biology and chemistry courses are available for first-year students this fall:

  1. NEURO-100 (four credits, no separate lab): Introduction to Neuroscience and Behavior is a comprehensive survey course that explores the brain and the biological basis of behavior. Students interested in pursuing a major in neuroscience should register for this course.
  2. BIOL-145 (four credits, including lab): Introductory Biology is a liberal arts introduction to biology in a small-class atmosphere.
  3. CHEM-150 (four credits, including lab): This course, Foundations of Chemistry, is the first chemistry course for an entering student.

Students may select CHEM-150 and either BIO-145 or NEURO-100. You may also choose to take only one of these courses. Speak with an advisor if you don’t think you should take any of these courses.

BIO-145, NEURO-100 and CHEM-150 are all offered in both Module 1 and Module 2, thus it is up to the individual student to decide in which module you would like to take your course(s). We strongly advise against taking two of these courses in the same module. Therefore, if you choose two for the semester, you will take one in Module 1 along with your First Year Seminar, and the other in Module 2.

Step 4: At this point, you should have selected two to three courses. Choose one to two additional courses of interest. You may wish to select something related to a potential major and/or something that fulfills Mount Holyoke College general distribution requirements. If you would like to study a language, and particularly if you hope to study abroad, you might select a language course.

Look widely across the curriculum! Some fall courses that are pre-health related and available to first-year students include:

  • ANTHR-105: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTHR-216HP Feminist Health Politics / GNDST-241HP Women and Gender in Science: 'Feminist Health Politics' (must have taken 4 credits in gender studies in Mod 1)
  • COMSC-150: Introduction to Computer Science
  • CST-249BE Topics in Critical Social Thought: Buddhist Ethics / RELIG-267-01 Buddhist Ethics
  • ECON-110: Introductory Economics
  • ENVST-150PH Environmental & Public Health
  • GEOG-105: World Regional Geography
  • GEOL-107: Environmental Geology
  • GNDST-101: Introduction to Gender Studies
  • MATH-101: Calculus I
  • PHIL-181: Medical Ethics
  • PSYCH-100: Introduction to Psychology
  • RES-210 Great Books: Literature of 19th Century Russia (can fulfill a pre-health English requirement)
  • SOCI-123: Introduction to Sociology
  • STAT-140: Introduction to the Ideas and Applications of Statistics

For public health or non-clinical careers

Schools of public health, health administration and other nonclinical health professions (i.e., those that do not involve the direct treatment of individual patients) typically do not have set lists of prerequisite courses. Instead, they look for background in the areas most relevant to their particular program. Because of this, our recommendation to first-year students interested in these professions is to plan your first semester around your first-year seminar (should already be selected) and other particular areas of interest.

Look widely across the curriculum! You may wish to select courses related to a potential major and/or something that fulfills Mount Holyoke College general distribution requirements. If you would like to study a language, and particularly if you hope to study abroad, you might select a language course. Some health-related courses available to first-year students in the fall include:

  • ANTHR-105: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
  • ANTHR-216HP Feminist Health Politics / GNDST-241HP Women and Gender in Science: 'Feminist Health Politics' (must have taken 4 credits in gender studies in Mod 1)
  • BIOL-145: Introductory Biology
  • CHEM-150: Foundations of Chemistry
  • COMSC-150: Introduction to Computer Science
  • CST-249BE Topics in Critical Social Thought: Buddhist Ethics / RELIG-267-01 Buddhist Ethics
  • ECON-110: Introductory Economics
  • ENVST-150PH Environmental & Public Health
  • GEOG-105: World Regional Geography
  • GEOL-107: Environmental Geology
  • GNDST-101: Introduction to Gender Studies
  • MATH-101: Calculus I
  • NEURO-100: Introduction to Neuroscience and Behavior
  • PHIL-181: Medical Ethics
  • PSYCH-100: Introduction to Psychology
  • RES-210 Great Books: Literature of 19th Century Russia (can fulfill a pre-health English requirement)
  • SOCI-123: Introduction to Sociology
  • STAT-140: Introduction to the Ideas and Applications of Statistics

Tips and resources

Register early! You may find yourself with limited options if you wait until the last minute.

Have a few schedule combinations in mind, in case your first-choice classes are full or have time conflicts.

If writing is challenging for you, consider taking one or more writing intensive courses in your first year. No matter what major you select or what profession you pursue, you will need strong writing skills. Start tackling doubts or fears now, and build your writing skills over four years so that by graduation you will write with confidence and strength.

The first semester of college is a time of significant transition. Build a schedule that will engage and challenge you without becoming overwhelming. Leave time in your week to build relationships with peers and professors, to involve yourself in meaningful social and cocurricular opportunities and to take care of yourself with good food, physical activity, down time and enough sleep. If you register for courses with labs, we strongly recommend no more than one per module.

Advising for course selection

While the pre-health office is available to you for advising at any time during our regular office hours, we have set aside the following times specifically to answer new students’ questions about registering for fall courses:

Thursday, July 16, 1:30-5 pm EDT
Friday, July 17, 9:30 am-1 pm EDT
Monday, July 20, 10:15 am-12 pm EDT

To make an appointment, please email our Office Coordinator, Jackie Collette, at jcollett@mtholyoke.edu. Advance appointments are appreciated, however for this advising period we will also be able to accommodate same-day appointments where space remains available. In your email to Jackie, please include the following information:

  • The reason for meeting
  • Your phone number
  • Your class year
  • Health profession(s) of interest (this is not a commitment!)
  • Any major(s) that you are considering (also not a commitment)
  • Let Jackie know if you are not available during any of our times set aside for course advising for new students

Jackie will then contact you during her regular working hours (Monday-Thursday 8:30 am-4 pm ET) to set up your appointment.

If none of the times we have set aside are possible for you, when you email Jackie please suggest 3 different times, given in Eastern Daylight Time, that you are available and we will do our best to schedule you.

You may also send course selection questions via email to the Director of Pre-Health Programs, Katie Lipp, at klipp@mtholyoke.edu.

To address questions not related to Fall 2020 course registration, please schedule a regular advising appointment for any time after July 20. In that case when you email, include a few days and times, between Monday-Friday 9:30 am-5:30 pm EDT, that you are available.