Prerequisite Courses

Click on your profession of interest to learn about the courses you will need to take in preparation for your application to professional school. The recommendations provided here are generalized to be most applicable to the greatest number of schools within a particular profession. Specific requirements will vary by school.

Allopathic (M.D.) and Osteopathic (D.O.) Medicine

For school-specific information on prerequisite courses for D.O. schools, please see the DO Explorer. For M.D. schools, you will need to visit individual school websites or purchase a subscription to the Medical School Admission Requirements (usually not necessary until you’re closer to applying).  

Complete these prerequisites prior to taking the MCAT: biology, general and organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, psychology and sociology.

What medical schools require

  • Most common requirements:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Organic chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Biochemistry: one semester, no lab
    • General physics: two semesters with lab
    • College math: two semesters
    • English: two semesters
  • Additional recommendations:
    • Introduction to Psychology: Because 16 percent of questions on the MCAT are on psychology topics, we recommend strong preparation in introductory psychology. While MCAT preparation does not have to come from a graded, for-credit course, more than 20 U.S. medical schools do require at least one course in the behavioral sciences.
    • Other valuable courses include sociology and ethics, as well as courses with strong writing and speaking components.

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 or NEURO-100
    • For second and third courses: BIOL-200 and BIOL-230
    • Although medical schools typically require only two biology courses, in order to be effectively prepared for the MCAT and the first year of medical school, pre-medical students should plan to complete, at minimum, through BIOL-230.
    • Most students are well served by taking one additional biology class beyond 230. Some relevant courses include BIOL-307, 319, 327, 328, and 333.
  • Chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • For all other courses: CHEM-202, 302 and 231
  • Biochemistry:
    • Biochemistry majors will take BIOL-311 and BIOL-314.
    • Non-biochemistry majors will take CHEM-312/BIOCH-312.
  • General physics:
    • PHYS-100 and PHYS-150 are algebra-based physics courses designed for pre-health students. They follow MCAT physics topics.
    • Students majoring or minoring in physics or mathematics, pursuing the engineering Nexus, or who otherwise have a strong background in mathematics and/or a strong interest in physics, may need or choose to take PHYS-110 and PHYS-201. These courses are calculus-based. The first semester requires Calculus I as a prerequisite, and the second semester requires Calculus II.
  • College math:
    • Few medical schools require a specific course in mathematics or statistics, but nearly a quarter of them require one to two semesters of “college math.” Most students looking to complete two semesters of college math will find that a semester of statistics and a semester of calculus will be the right courses for their academic background and will fulfill most, if not all, medical school mathematics requirements. If you are considering different math courses, please speak with a pre-health advisor.
    • Statistics options: STAT-140, STAT-242, PSYCH-201 (required for psychology majors)
    • Calculus options: MATH-101, MATH-102, MATH-203
  • English:
    • Two English courses is a common, though flexible, requirement. Any English courses will fulfill this requirement. Occasionally, a course with a nonspecific prefix, such as FYS (First-Year Seminar), will also fulfill this requirement. We strongly recommend that you meet this requirement with writing-intensive courses. Discuss questions and options with a pre-health advisor.
  • Psychology: PSYCH-100
  • Sociology: SOCI-123
  • Ethics: PHIL-260ME or PHIL-205

Dentistry (D.D.S., D.M.D.)

For school-specific information on prerequisite courses, please see this chart from the American Dental Education Association and the ADEA Dental School Explorer.

Complete these prerequisites prior to taking the DAT: biology, general and organic chemistry and statistics.

What dental schools require

  • Most common requirements:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Organic chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Biochemistry: one semester, no lab
    • General physics: two semesters with lab
    • English: two semesters
  • Other frequent requirements include:
    • Microbiology: one semester, usually no lab
    • Anatomy: one semester, lab requirements vary
    • College math: one to two semesters

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 or NEURO-100
    • For second and third courses: BIOL-200 and BIOL-230
    • Although dental schools may require only two biology courses, in order to be effectively prepared for the DAT and the first year of dental school, pre-dental students should plan to complete, at minimum, through BIOL-230.
    • Most students are well served by taking one additional biology class beyond 230. Often required by dental schools are microbiology (BIOL-327) and/or anatomy (BIOL-307).
  • Chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • For all other courses: CHEM-202, 302 and 231
  • Biochemistry:
    • Biochemistry majors will take BIOL-311 and BIOL-314.
    • Non-biochemistry majors will take CHEM-312/BIOCH-312.
  • General physics:
    • PHYS-100 and PHYS-150 are algebra-based physics courses designed for pre-health students. They follow MCAT physics topics and are appropriate for pre-dental students.
    • Students majoring or minoring in physics or mathematics, pursuing the engineering Nexus, or who otherwise have a strong background in mathematics and/or a strong interest in physics, may need or choose to take PHYS-110 and PHYS-201. These courses are calculus-based. The first semester requires Calculus I as a prerequisite, and the second semester requires Calculus II.
  • English:
    • Two English courses is a common, though flexible, requirement. Any English courses will fulfill this requirement. Occasionally, a course with a nonspecific prefix, such as FYS (First-Year Seminar), will also fulfill this requirement. We strongly recommend that you meet this requirement with writing-intensive courses. Discuss questions and options with a pre-health advisor.
  • College math:
    • Few dental schools require a specific course in mathematics or statistics, but close to one third of them require some amount of “college math,” and statistics topics will appear on the DAT. Most students looking to complete two semesters of college math will find that a semester of statistics and a semester of calculus will be the right courses for their academic background and will fulfill most, if not all, dental school mathematics requirements. If you are considering different math courses, please speak with a pre-health advisor.
    • Statistics options: STAT-140, STAT-242, PSYCH-201 (required for psychology majors)
    • Calculus options: MATH-101, MATH-102, MATH-203

Nursing (B.S.N., M.S.N., D.N.P.)

Programs for nurses, nurse-practitioner and certified nurse-midwives can vary significantly in their prerequisite courses. Students interested in pursuing nursing should look at nursing education programs early to ensure that they understand the prerequisites for different schools. The common requirements listed below are a good starting place.

What nursing programs require

  • Most common requirements for entering accelerated B.S.N. or direct-entry M.S.N. programs:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Anatomy and physiology: two semesters with lab
    • Microbiology: one semester with lab
    • Nutrition: one semester
    • Statistics: one semester
  • Additional recommendations: Nursing programs can vary significantly in their prerequisite courses. Additional required courses may include one or more of:
    • Human growth and development across the lifespan
    • Organic chemistry I
    • Introductory psychology
    • Ethics
    • Courses in the humanities and social sciences

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145, BIOL-160 or NEURO-100. Please discuss options with a pre-health advisor.
    • For a second course: BIOL-200
  • Chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • Second course: CHEM-231 (Inorganic Chemistry) or CHEM-202 (Organic Chemistry I)
    • Your choice of chemistry courses will depend on the requirements for specific nursing programs. Please discuss options with a pre-health advisor.
  • Statistics:
    • STAT-140, STAT-242, or PSYCH-201
  • Introductory psychology: PSYCH-100
  • Ethics: PHIL-260ME or PHIL-205
  • Microbiology:
    • BIOL-327 is appropriate for students who have completed BIOL-230.
    • For those who have not taken BIOL-230 or the equivalent, please speak with a pre-health advisor.
  • Anatomy and physiology:
    • KIN 270 and 272 at University of Massachusetts-Amherst is acceptable for all nursing programs that require Anatomy & Physiology.
    • Many programs will also accept the following combination of courses:
      • BIOL-328: Human Physiology AND
      • ANTHRO-290A: Anatomy of the Human Body at University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • Nutrition:
    • NUTRITN 130: Nutrition for a Healthy Lifestyle at University of Massachusetts-Amherst or
    • ESS 250: Nutrition and Health at Smith College
  • Human growth and development across the lifespan:
    • Nursing 210: Human Development Throughout the Life Cycle at University of Massachusetts-Amherst or
    • PSY 264: Lifespan Development at Smith College (this course is best for psychology majors, as statistics and psychology research methods are both prerequisites)
  • Courses in the humanities and social sciences:
    • There are many options for fulfilling such a requirement. What courses you select will depend in part on your interests and in part on each nursing school’s specific requirements. Many of the courses already listed above would fulfill this more general requirement.

Optometry (O.D.)

For school-specific information on prerequisite courses, please visit the Optometry Centralized Application Service.

Complete these prerequisites prior to taking the OAT: biology, anatomy and physiology, general and organic chemistry, physics, statistics.

What optometry schools require

  • Most common requirements:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab
    • Microbiology: one semester with lab
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Organic chemistry: one semester with lab
    • Biochemistry: one semester, no lab
    • General physics: two semesters with lab
    • Statistics: one semester
    • Calculus: one semester
    • English: two semesters
    • Psychology: one semester
  • Other frequent requirements:
    • Anatomy and physiology: two semesters, may or may not require lab

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 or NEURO-100
    • Additional courses: BIOL-200, BIOL-230 and BIOL-327 (microbiology). For some students, BIOL-230 will be one biology course more than their optometry schools require. However, this course is important in order to be effectively prepared for the OAT and the first year of optometry school. It is also a prerequisite for Mount Holyoke College’s microbiology, anatomy and physiology courses.
  • Anatomy and physiology:
    • KIN 270 and 272 at University of Massachusetts-Amherst is acceptable for all optometry programs that require Anatomy & Physiology.
    • Many programs will also accept the following combination of courses:
      • BIOL-328: Human Physiology AND
      • BIOL-307: Vertebrate Anatomy OR ANTHRO-290A: Anatomy of the Human Body at University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • Chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • For all other courses: CHEM-202, 302 and 231
  • Biochemistry:
    • Biochemistry majors will take BIOL-311 and BIOL-314.
    • Non-biochemistry majors will take CHEM-312.
  • General physics:
    • PHYS-100 and PHYS-150 are algebra-based physics courses designed for pre-health students. They follow MCAT physics topics and are appropriate for pre-optometry students.
    • Students majoring or minoring in physics or mathematics, pursuing the engineering Nexus, or who otherwise have a strong background in mathematics and/or a  strong interest in physics, may need or choose to take PHYS-110 and PHYS-201. These courses are calculus-based. The first semester requires Calculus I as a prerequisite, and the second semester requires Calculus II.
  • English:
    • Two English courses is a common, though flexible, requirement. Any English courses will fulfill this requirement. Occasionally, a course with a nonspecific prefix, such as FYS (First-Year Seminar), will also fulfill this requirement. We strongly recommend that you meet this requirement with writing-intensive courses. Discuss questions and options with a pre-health advisor.
  • Statistics:
    • For psychology majors: PSYCH-201
    • For all others: STAT-140 or STAT-242
  • Calculus: MATH-101, MATH-102, or MATH-203
  • Psychology: PSYCH-100

Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)

For school-specific information on prerequisite courses, please see the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s prerequisite course information.

Complete these prerequisites prior to taking the PCAT: biology, anatomy and physiology, general and organic chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, calculus.

What pharmacy schools require

  • Most common requirements:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab
    • Microbiology: one semester with lab
    • Anatomy and physiology: two semesters with lab
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Organic chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • General physics: one semester with lab (a few schools require two semesters)
    • Statistics: one semester
    • Calculus: one semester
    • English: two semesters
  • Other common requirements (required by at least 30 percent of pharmacy programs):
    • Economics: one semester
    • Public speaking: one semester
    • Humanities: one to four semesters
    • General education/elective courses: one to four semesters
  • Also recommended:
    • Biochemistry: one semester

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 or NEURO-100
    • Additional courses: BIOL-200, BIOL-230 and BIOL-327 (microbiology). While schools may not explicitly require Mount Holyoke College’s BIOL-230, this course is important in order to be effectively prepared for the PCAT and pharmacy school in general. It is also a prerequisite for Mount Holyoke College’s microbiology, anatomy and physiology courses.
  • Anatomy and physiology:
    • KIN 270 and 272 at University of Massachusetts-Amherst is acceptable for all pharmacy programs that require Anatomy & Physiology.
    • Programs may also accept the following combination of courses:
      • BIOL-328: Human Physiology AND
      • BIOL-307: Vertebrate Anatomy OR ANTHRO-290A: Anatomy of the Human Body at University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • Chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • For all other courses: CHEM-202, 302 and 231
  • Biochemistry:
    • Biochemistry majors will take BIOL-311 and BIOL-314.
    • Non-biochemistry majors will take CHEM-312/BIOCH-312.
  • General physics:
    • PHYS-100 and PHYS-150 are algebra-based physics courses designed for pre-health students. They follow MCAT physics topics and are appropriate for pre-pharmacy students.
    • Students majoring or minoring in physics or mathematics, pursuing the engineering Nexus, or who otherwise have a strong background in mathematics and/or a strong interest in physics, may need or choose to take PHYS-110 and PHYS-201. These courses are calculus-based. The first semester requires Calculus I as a prerequisite, and the second semester requires Calculus II.
  • Statistics:
    • For psychology majors: PSYCH-201
    • For all others: STAT-140 or STAT-242
  • Calculus: MATH-101, MATH-102, or MATH-203
  • English:
    • Two English courses is a common, though flexible, requirement. Any English courses will fulfill this requirement. Occasionally, a course with a nonspecific prefix such as FYS (First-Year Seminar) will also fulfill this requirement. We strongly recommend that you meet this requirement with writing-intensive courses. Discuss questions and options with a pre-health advisor.
  • Economics: ECON-110
  • Public speaking:
    • ENGL-248: Effective Public Speaking - half semester 2 credit course, offered every other spring
    • COMM 260: Public Speaking at University of Massachusetts-Amherst - 4 credit course offered every semester
  • Humanities and general education/elective courses:
    • There are many options for fulfilling these requirements. What you select will depend in part on your interests and in part on each pharmacy school’s specific requirements. Mount Holyoke College distribution requirements, and many of the courses already listed above, would fulfill this more general requirement.

Physical Therapy (D.P.T.)

For school-specific information on prerequisite courses, please visit the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service Course Prerequisite Summary and the PTCAS List of Programs.

What physical therapy programs require

  • Most common requirements:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab
    • Anatomy and physiology: two semesters with lab
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • General physics: two semesters with lab
    • Psychology: one semester
    • Statistics: one semester
  • Other requirements (required by 15 to 20 percent of schools):
    • College math: one semester
    • Exercise physiology: one semester
    • Medical terminology: one semester
    • English composition/writing: one to two semesters

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 or NEURO-100.
    • Second and third courses: BIOL-200, BIOL-230. While schools may only require two biology courses, we recommend completing BIOL-230 for the best preparation for programs in physical therapy. It is also a prerequisite for Mount Holyoke College’s anatomy and physiology courses.
  • Anatomy and physiology:
    • Anatomy: BIOL-307 OR ANTHRO 290A: Anatomy of the Human Body at University of Massachusetts-Amherst AND
    • Physiology: BIOL-328 or
    • Anatomy and Physiology I and II: Kin 270 and KIN 272 at University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
    • Physical therapy programs vary widely in the specific types of anatomy and physiology courses that they will accept. Some will take only human anatomy and physiology. Some will only accept these courses if they are taught within departments of biology, neuroscience, anatomy or integrated physiology. To see specific requirements for each PT program, visit the Physical Therapist Centralized Application Service to select a program by academic institution, then select “course prerequisites.” We recommend discussing your options with a pre-health advisor.
  • General chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • Second course: CHEM-231
  • General physics:
    • PHYS-100 and PHYS-150 are algebra-based physics courses designed for pre-health students. They follow MCAT physics topics and are appropriate for pre-PT students.
    • Students majoring or minoring in physics or mathematics, pursuing the engineering Nexus, or who otherwise have a strong background in mathematics and/or a strong interest in physics, may need or choose to take PHYS-110 and PHYS-201. These courses are calculus-based. The first semester requires Calculus I as a prerequisite, and the second semester requires Calculus II.
  • Psychology: PSYCH-100
  • Statistics:
    • For psychology majors: PSYCH-201
    • For all others: STAT-140 or STAT-242
  • College math: MATH-100, MATH-101, MATH-102, or MATH-203
    • English composition/writing:
    • Select courses that are writing intensive. Occasionally, a course with a nonspecific prefix, such as FYS (First-Year Seminar), will fulfill this requirement. Discuss questions and options with a pre-health advisor.
  • Exercise physiology:
    • ESS 215: Physiology of Exercise at Smith College
    • KIN 470: Exercise Physiology at University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • Medical terminology:
    • There is no course in medical terminology offered within the Five Colleges. If you hope to apply to a PT program that requires such a course, check directly with the program to determine their specific requirement and how best to fulfill it.

Physician Assistant (M.S.)

Physician Assistant programs can vary significantly in their prerequisite courses. Students interested in pursuing a career as a physician assistant should look at the Physician Assistant Education Association’s program directory early to ensure that they understand the prerequisites for different schools. The Duke Physician Assistant Program provides an excellent template for keeping this information organized. The common requirements listed below are a good starting place.

What physician assistant programs require

  • Most common requirements:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab
    • Microbiology: one semester with lab
    • Anatomy: one semester with lab
    • Physiology: one semester with lab
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
  • Additional comments: Prerequisites for physician assistant programs vary widely by school. In addition to the courses listed above, many schools may require one or more of:
    • Genetics: one semester with lab
    • Organic chemistry: one to two semesters with lab
    • Biochemistry: one semester, may or may not require lab
    • Statistics
    • Psychology
    • Ethics
    • Medical terminology
    • Humanities and/or writing-intensive courses

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 or NEURO-100
    • Additional courses: BIOL-200, BIOL-230 and BIOL-327 (microbiology). While schools may not explicitly require Mount Holyoke College’s BIOL-230, there are several reasons to take it: 1) It may fulfill the genetics requirement, for any school that has such a requirement; 2) it is a prerequisite for Mount Holyoke College’s microbiology, anatomy and physiology courses; 3) it is important preparation for PA programs in general.
  • Anatomy and physiology:
    • KIN 270 and 272 at University of Massachusetts-Amherst is acceptable for all physician assistant programs that require Anatomy & Physiology.
    • Programs may also accept the following combination of courses:
      • BIOL-328: Human Physiology AND
      • BIOL-307: Vertebrate Anatomy OR ANTHRO-290A: Anatomy of the Human Body at University of Massachusetts-Amherst
  • Chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • For a second course to fulfill the requirement of a second semester of general chemistry: CHEM-231
    • If your schools require one to two semesters of organic chemistry: CHEM-202 and CHEM-302
  • Biochemistry:
    • Biochemistry majors will take BIOL-311 and BIOL-314.
    • Non-biochemistry majors will take CHEM-312/BIOCH-312.
  • Statistics:
    • For psychology majors: PSYCH-201
    • For all others: STAT-140 or STAT-242
  • Psychology: PSYCH-100
  • Ethics: PHIL-260ME or PHIL-205
  • Medical terminology:
    • There is no course in medical terminology offered within the Five Colleges. If you hope to apply to a PA program that requires such a course, check directly with the program to determine their specific requirement and how best to fulfill it.
  • Humanities and/or writing-intensive courses:
    • There are many options for fulfilling these requirements. What you select will depend in part on your interests and in part on each PA school’s specific requirements. Mount Holyoke College distribution requirements and many of the courses already listed above would fulfill this more general requirement.

Podiatry (D.P.M.)

For school-specific information on prerequisite courses, please visit the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine.

Complete these prerequisites prior to taking the MCAT: biology, general and organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, psychology and sociology.

What podiatry schools require

  • Most common requirements:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab (one school requires a third course)
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Organic chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • General physics: two semesters with lab
    • English: two semesters
  • Additional recommendations:
    • In addition to the specific prerequisite courses for podiatry schools, the pre-health office recommends that pre-podiatry students take the following courses in preparation for the MCAT, which is the entrance examination required for podiatry schools:
      • Biochemistry: one semester, no lab
      • Anatomy and/or physiology: one semester
      • Introductory psychology: one semester
      • Also useful may be sociology, statistics and ethics.

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 or NEURO-100.
    • For second and third courses: BIOL-200 and BIOL-230.
    • Although podiatry schools typically require only two biology courses, in order to be effectively prepared for the MCAT and the first year of podiatry school, pre-podiatry students should plan to complete, at minimum, up to BIOL-230. This course is also a prerequisite for Mount Holyoke College’s anatomy and physiology courses.
  • Chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • For all other courses: CHEM-202, 302 and 231
  • Biochemistry:
    • Biochemistry majors will take BIOL-311 and BIOL-314
    • Non-biochemistry majors will take CHEM-312/BIOCH-312
  • Anatomy or physiology:
    • Anatomy: BIOL-307
    • Physiology: BIOL-328
  • General physics:
    • PHYS-100 and PHYS-150 are algebra-based physics courses designed for pre-health students. They follow MCAT physics topics.
    • Students majoring or minoring in physics or mathematics, pursuing the engineering Nexus, or who otherwise have a strong background in mathematics and/or a strong interest in physics, may need or choose to take PHYS-110 and PHYS-201. These courses are calculus-based. The first semester requires Calculus I as a prerequisite, and the second semester requires Calculus II.
  • English:
    • Two English courses is a common, though flexible, requirement. Any English courses will fulfill this requirement. Occasionally, a course with a nonspecific prefix, such as FYS (First-Year Seminar), will also fulfill this requirement. We strongly recommend that you meet this requirement with writing-intensive courses. Discuss questions and options with a pre-health advisor.
  • Statistics:
    • For psychology majors: PSYCH-201
    • For all others: STAT-140 or STAT-242
  • Psychology: PSYCH-100
  • Sociology: SOCI-123
  • Ethics: PHIL-260ME or PHIL-205

Public Health (M.P.H., Dr.P.H.)

Programs in public health typically do not have specific prerequisite courses. More information about public health programs and their requirements is available on the Schools of Public Health Application Service Program Finder. A great list of health-related courses across the Five Colleges is available from the Five College Program in Culture, Health and Science.

There are five core disciplines within the broad umbrella of public health:

  • Behavioral science/health education
  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health services administration

If you are preparing to enter a program in public health, you may major in whatever you choose. Take courses across a range of disciplines that are relevant to your interests, and begin to explore programs in public health early on to form a comprehensive academic plan. The individual programs will provide some guidance on how their applicants can be best prepared. All aspiring students of public health should build strong oral and written communication skills.

Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)

For school-specific information on prerequisite courses, please visit the Veterinary Medical College Application Service Summary of Course Prerequisites.

What veterinary schools require

  • Most common requirements:
    • Biology: two semesters with lab
    • Genetics: one semester with lab
    • General chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Organic chemistry: two semesters with lab
    • Biochemistry: one semester, no lab
    • General physics: two semesters with lab
    • College math: two semesters
    • English: two semesters
    • Humanities and/or social sciences: specific requirements vary
  • Other common requirements (required by at least 30 percent of U.S. veterinary schools):
    • Microbiology: one semester with lab
    • Public speaking: one semester

Fulfilling requirements at Mount Holyoke College

  • Biology:
    • For a first course: BIOL-145 or BIOL-160 or NEURO-100
    • For a second course: BIOL-200
    • Genetics: BIOL-230 (An additional stand-alone genetics course may be required by certain schools. Please discuss your plans with a pre-health advisor.)
    • Microbiology: BIOL-327
  • Chemistry:
    • For a first course: CHEM-150 or CHEM-160
    • For all other courses: CHEM-202, 302 and 231
  • Biochemistry:
    • Biochemistry majors will take BIOL-311 and BIOL-314
    • Non-biochemistry majors will take CHEM-312/BIOCH-312
  • General physics:
    • PHYS-100 and PHYS-150 are algebra-based physics courses designed for pre-health students. They follow MCAT physics topics and are appropriate for pre-vet students.
    • Students majoring or minoring in physics or mathematics, pursuing the engineering Nexus, or who otherwise have a strong background in mathematics and/or a strong interest in physics, may need or choose to take PHYS-110 and PHYS-201. These courses are calculus-based. The first semester requires Calculus I as a prerequisite, and the second semester requires Calculus II.
  • College math:
    • Few vet schools require a semester of calculus, but nearly half require a semester of statistics, and nearly all require one to two semesters of “college math.” Most students looking to complete two semesters of college math will find that a semester of statistics and a semester of calculus will be the right courses for their academic background and will fulfill most, if not all, vet school mathematics requirements. If you are considering different math courses, please speak with a pre-health advisor.
    • Statistics options: STAT-140, STAT-242, PSYCH-201 (required for psychology majors)
    • Calculus options: MATH-101, MATH-102, or MATH-203
    • Pre-calculus (acceptable for some vet programs): MATH-100
  • English:
    • Two English courses is a common, though flexible, requirement. Any English courses will fulfill this requirement. Occasionally, a course with a nonspecific prefix, such as FYS (First-Year Seminar), will also fulfill this requirement. We strongly recommend that you meet this requirement with writing-intensive courses. Discuss questions and options with a pre-health advisor.
  • Public speaking:
    • ENGL-248: Effective Public Speaking - half semester 2 credit course, offered every other spring
    • COMM 260: Public Speaking at University of Massachusetts-Amherst - 4 credit course offered every semester
  • Humanities and/or social sciences:
    • There are many options for fulfilling such a requirement. What you select will depend in part on your interests and in part on each vet school’s specific requirements. Many of the courses already listed above would fulfill this more general requirement.