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Undergraduate Advising

FAQ: Pre-Health at UO

With our frequently asked questions resources, we hope to provide general information on the questions we hear most often from our students and clarify things that can be confusing about pre-health at UO.

general faq

Is pre-health a major?

UO students do not declare “pre-health” as a major. Being pre-health at the University of Oregon means that you are following completing the course prerequisites for your health profession of interest, in addition to your declared major’s requirements. Please visit our the Plan tab for more information on the common requirements for the various each individual health professions.

If you do not find the health field you are interested in listed, it may be because it is either a certificate program (i.e., CNA, Phlebotomy, EMT, etc.,) or that the requirements vary significantly by school and therefore we cannot build a common requirements list (i.e., chiropractic medicine). Please schedule an appointment with a pre-health advisor to get some additional assistance navigating this process.

Furthermore, while UO does not offer a “pre-health” major, we highly recommend students declare a professional objective in DuckWeb. Declaring a professional objective (medicine, pharmacy, etc.,) lets us know that you’re interested in a health career and enables so that us we can reach out to connect with you with pre-health specific announcements and updates. A declared professional objective does not show up on your transcript, nor does it populate the common prerequisites into your degree guide. The health fields tab will provide you with the most up-to-date information on common prerequisites for health graduate programs.

Declare a professional objective by following the steps below:

  • Log in to DuckWeb and select “Student Menu”
  • Within the “Student Menu,” choose “Update General Student Information.”
  • Use the drop-down menu next to “Professional Objective” to make changes.

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What health related majors are offered at UO?

As a pre-health student, you can pursue any major that you would like. In fact, we highly recommend you take the time to explore the different majors at UO. Check out this page for more information about the different majors available to you through the Office of Admissions.

While we encourage you to explore the different majors offered at UO, there are several majors pre-health students tend to gravitate towards. These majors include: Human Physiology, Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Multidisciplinary Science.

If you’re interested in various several science majors, the good news is that most start off the same – with chemistry and math! This means you will have some time to consider explore your options. We encourage you to select a major you enjoy and can thrive in.

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Does UO have a nursing program?

The University of Oregon does not offer a nursing program. If you want to major in nursing, you should consider other schools that offer nursing, either at the associate and bachelor’s level. However, completing nursing pre-requisites and a bachelor’s degree at UO will enable you to apply to Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs (ABSN), Direct Entry Master of Science in Nursing programs (MSN), or Direct Entry Doctor of Nursing Practice programs (DNP). Please read our Pre-Nursing handout to learn more about the different pathways you can pursue to become a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner.

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Does UO offer committee letters or letter packets for students applying to graduate programs?

The University of Oregon does not offer committee letters or letter packets, so UO students will need to request individual letters of recommendation for their Health Graduate School applications. Not having a committee letter or letter packet does not make your application less competitive than students who do have one. In fact, using individual letters of recommendation will give you the autonomy to choose letter writers who can best communicate your strengths as a candidate. This process does require a bit of early planning in order to ensure you are meeting minimum letter requirements for programs. We recommend getting informed on program requirements and developing an early plan with a pre-health advisor.

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Can I come to Tykeson drop-in advising for pre-health advising?

Tykeson drop-in advising is designed for 15-minute conversations topics. Typically, pre-health advising sessions require a 30-minute advising appointment, so we recommend scheduling an appointment.

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How can pre-health advisors help me throughout my pre-health journey? How often should I meet with a pre-health advisor?

Pre-Health advisors can assist students who are exploring health professions, all the way through the application process for health graduate school. If you plan to take a gap year(s), don’t worry! We allow students to use our services up to three after graduation.

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Can I study abroad and still complete pre-health coursework?

Studying abroad or completing internships abroad is a great way to gain healthcare or non-healthcare-related experience. While we encourage students to study abroad, it is important to be mindful of a few implications of doing so. Studying abroad during the academic year can interfere with the science sequences. So while iIt is still possible to study abroad during the academic year, you should know that you will need to do some creative academic planning with your advisor to complete your science sequences -- potentially including extending your graduation timeline or taking summer classes. Because of the structure of UO's summer terms, which consist of (three consecutive four-week intensive sessions), students can have the opportunity to complete a yearlong sequence within one summer for certain science subjects.

Other options to consider are: doing a summer study abroad or internship abroad program. We do not recommend taking prerequisite courses while abroad.

Check out UO Global Education Oregon and Global Works for more information.

GEO Health-related Study Abroad Programs

Global Works STEM and Healthcare

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What is job shadowing and can pre-health advisors provide me with a list of places where I can shadow?

Job shadowing (aka observation), is a great way to clarify your interests, learn more about the complexity of health professions, build meaningful connections with health professionals, and demonstrate to graduate schools that you have done your research. While we do not have a pre-built list of places where you can shadow, pre-health advisors are happy to help you in navigate this process and doing outreach. It’s never too early to get started – we recommend you start by connecting with friends, family, co-workers, professors, etc., to see if anyone can help you make a connection with someone for shadowing.

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Is it required that I get involved in research for health graduate school?

Health graduate programs do not generally have a firm requirement that you need to get involved in research as an undergraduate student. Some programs may highly value research experience; others may be more focused on primary care.

UO is a Tier 1 public research university, which means that there are many ways to get involved with research opportunities on campus. Research experiences allow students to explore and clarify their academic and professional goals while developing critical thinking and transferable skills. To identify which experiential opportunities that you might like to pursue, we suggest thinking about why you are passionate about the health profession you are pursuing and how you can connect your experiential opportunities to that passion.

Learn more about how to get connected with undergraduate research opportunities with CURE.

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