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Pre-Law and Pre-Health Professions Programs


The School of Arts and Humanities and the School of Social Sciences have developed within various majors a number of pre-law programs that are directed toward the needs of students who wish to attend law school. Although there are no courses specifically required for admission by the American Association of Law Schools, and thus no prescribed pre-law curriculum or list of recommended majors, certain skills and academic experiences are essential for students who wish to enter law school and succeed. Among these skills are: effective use of written and spoken language, an understanding of human institutions and values, and competency in the critical analysis and communication of ideas. Pre-law programs are designed to develop these required skills and to offer relevant academic experiences. Special pre-law programs can be developed within the following departments:
American Multicultural Studies
Criminal Justice Administration
Environmental Studies
Hutchins School of Liberal Studies
Political Science

Students wishing to pursue a pre-law program should consult the pre-law advisor in the appropriate department. Departmental advisors and SSUís Advising Center staff can help students plan a program with the balance and rigor that provide sound preparation for the field of law. The Career Resource Center contains law school catalogs and the Testing Center can provide information about the LSAT.

Sonoma State University alumni who are practicing attorneys have undergraduate degrees as diverse as their present fields of specialization: anthropology, criminal justice administration, English, French, history, Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, business administration, mathematics, Mexican American studies, philosophy, physics, and sociology.

Pre-Health Professions

Sonoma State University provides preparation for continuing study in the professional fields of medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, podiatry, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and chiropractic medicine.

Students interested in entering the health professions will select an appropriate major for undergraduate study. Since a majority of the courses required for admission to health-related programs are in the sciences, most students earn degrees in biology or chemistry before going on to professional schools, although many non-science majors are being accepted.

Most health professions schools require a bachelorís degree for admission, although schools of dentistry, pharmacy, physician assistant, and chiropractic medicine may require fewer units and courses for admission. The following outline of courses will meet the requirements for admission to most medical schools. Since medical schools generally have the most rigid course requirements among the health professions schools, these courses would generally meet or exceed the requirements for other schools. However, it is important to examine closely the requirements for any program and school and take courses to fulfill those requirements. Requirements for entrance into the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine program are different from those for other health professions schools. Pre-vet students should consult an advisor in the Biology Department.

Courses Required for Admission to Health Professions Schools

The following courses are most generally required for admission to health professions schools:
Biology units
General biology or zoology (through cellular and molecular biology) 8-12


Inorganic or general chemistry 10
Organic chemistry 8-10
Some schools also recommend biochemistry.  


Composition and Literature 6


A one-year course with lab 8


Some schools require a year of college mathematics and/or a calculus course or statistics 4-8

Foreign Language

A few schools recommend a modern foreign language course 0-8


An introductory psychology course is recommended by some schools 3

Courses for Health Professions

The following courses at Sonoma State University will generally fulfill the required or recommended courses suggested above:
BIOL 121* Diversity, Structure and Function 4
BIOL 122* Genetics, Evolution and Ecology 4
BIOL 123* Cellular and Molecular Biology 4
BIOL 320 Molecular Genetics 4
BIOL 325 Cell Biology 4
BIOL 370 Vertebrate Evolutionary Morphology 4
BIOL 372 Developmental Biology 4
CHEM 115AB* and 116AB* General Chemistry and Lab 10
CHEM 335AB* and 336 Organic Chemistry and Lab (336 lab often not required) 8-10
CHEM 445 and 446 Biochemistry 3-3
PHYS 210AB* and 209AB* General Physics and Lab 8
ENGL 101 and 214 Expository Writing and Literature 6
MATH 107 Precalculus Mathematics 4
MATH 161 Calculus 4
MATH 165 Elementary Statistics 4
PSY 250 Introduction to Psychology 3

* Required courses for all California medical schools.

Applicants with a grade point average below 3.00 are almost never considered by medical admissions committees, and few students with a grade point average below 3.40 are accepted.

In addition to the required courses, most health professions students are required to take an examination such as the Medical College Admissions Test, Dental Admissions Test or the Graduate Record Examination at, or before, the time of application.

The School of Natural Sciences health professions advisory committee has been established to offer assistance to students interested in careers in the health professions. The main functions of the committee are to:

1. Advise students on how best to prepare for admission to health professions schools. Since the Sonoma State University campus is small, the health professions advisory committee has the opportunity to communicate with students on a personal basis. Individual departments may also have pre-health professions advisors.

2. Maintain career information related to health professions, including catalogs from various schools and registration materials for examinations and centralized application services required for admission to certain programs such as medicine, osteopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, podiatry, and dentistry.

3. Evaluate candidates and write letters supporting their admission to health professions schools.

4. Provide a practice admissions interview for candidates applying to health professions schools.

5. The chair of the health professions advisory committee is the advisor to the Pre-Health Professions Club.

Students interested in a career in the health professions are strongly encouraged to meet with a health professions advisor immediately upon enrolling at Sonoma State University. Appointments can be made through the health professions advisory committee office in Darwin Hall 126, 707 664-2334/2171.

Questions or Comments:
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