Pre-Professional Health Programs

A pre-professional program is a cooperative educational program, usually with another university, by which students complete part of their work at Lewis University before moving on to a second institution to further their education. Lewis University offers numerous pre-professional programs including Pre-Chiropractic, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Optometry, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Physician Assistant, Pre-Physical Therapy, and Pre-Veterinary Medicine.

Currently, entrance into professional programs in the health sciences is highly competitive. An enormous emphasis is placed upon student scores on standardized tests for admission to professional programs. Often, students are excluded from admission to health sciences professional schools based solely on poor/average test performance. In light of this, students at Lewis University must have achieved a minimal composite ACT score of 23 for direct admission into any health sciences pre-professional category. Students entering the university who have not obtained this minimum ACT score may still be admitted into the Biology major (or Chemistry or Physics major) in order to establish a competitive record for the pre-professional arena. If the student performs well in his/her foundation course work, admission to the pre-professional program may be granted.

Published prerequisite coursework at some professional schools is less than the total course work required for the Bachelor of Science in Biology. However, it is our experience that meeting these minimum requirements alone does not make the student as competitive as possible within the professional school applicant pool. Additional classes as well as clinical/volunteer experience are crucial for the successful applicant. Therefore, we strongly suggest the student obtain a B.S. degree in Biology, which is the usual major chosen (see Biology major requirements), or take degrees in Chemistry or Physics (other possible gateways to professional schools) with a minor in Biology or equivalent courses to maximize his/her potential for success as well as give the student the greatest latitude in career options. Students who are designated as pre-professional majors by virtue of their ACT score as first-year students will be assigned a Pre-Professional Advisor in their respective departments and will receive additional help from the Health Professions Director.


Recent changes in chiropractic education have made it necessary for students to complete a baccalaureate program prior to entrance in several programs, locally and nationally. For this reason, we strongly suggest the student consider which chiropractic program(s) are of interest so that the Pre-Professional Advisor may work with the student to meet program prerequisites. Lewis has an articulation program with Logan College of Chiropractic Medicine and with Palmer College of Chiropractic.


A strong foundation in humanities, arts, and sciences is required for the successful Dental School applicant. While a student may apply to a college of dentistry after completion of three years in a pre-dentistry program, the majority of successful applicants have obtained a bachelor’s degree. Biology majors in this program must plan each semester’s course of studies with the Pre-Professional Advisor of the Biology department.


(Includes Allopathic, Osteopathic, and Podiatric Medicine)

Biology or Chemistry majors in this program must plan each semester’s course of studies with their respective departmental Pre-Professional Advisor. Specific courses in the humanities, arts, and social studies that will prepare students for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) will be noted. Assistance for students in choosing the proper sequence of science and mathematics courses will also be provided.

It should be noted that medical colleges in the United States require matriculating students have earned a bachelor’s degree. Because of the crucial need to organize the pre-medical student’s curriculum, it is imperative that Biology or Chemistry majors meet with a pre-medical advisor in their respective departments prior to registration.


Specific courses in the humanities, arts, and social studies, in addition to a strong background in the natural sciences, are essential for the student wishing to pursue a post-graduate education in Optometry. For this reason, it is imperative that biology majors identify prospective Schools of Optometry early in their undergraduate education and meet with the Pre-Professional Advisor on a regular basis.


The American Council on Pharmaceutical Education (ACPE), the accrediting body for colleges and schools of pharmacy, required that all baccalaureate programs in pharmacy be discontinued after Fall 2001. Consequently, the Pharm.D. currently represents the only option for students interested in a career in pharmacy. We strongly suggest that the pre-pharmacy student follow the B.S. Biology paradigm to maximize performance on the PCAT admissions test as well as make the student more competitive in this new applicant pool. Please contact a Pre-Professional Advisor in the Department of Biology for further information. Students interested in pharmaceutical laboratory research may want to contact the Pre-Professional Advisor in the Department of Chemistry.

Pre-Physician Assistant

A baccalaureate degree must be earned by the date of matriculation. Biology majors in this program must plan each semester’s course of studies with the Pre-Professional Advisor of the Biology department.

Pre-Physical Therapy

This program is designed for the student who plans to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree after graduation. Biology majors in this program must plan each semester’s course of studies with the Pre-Professional Advisor of the Biology department.

Pre-Veterinary Medicine

Matriculation to colleges of veterinary medicine is highly competitive in great part due to the limited number of institutions nationally. It is important for the pre-veterinary student to maintain high standards, both academically and personally, and associate him/herself with volunteer programs and/or internship opportunities (which can be secured through the aid of the Pre-Professional Advisor). Biology or Chemistry majors in this program must plan each semester’s course of studies with a Pre-Professional Advisor in their respective departments.