You are here

Health Professions Experience

Experience in the field of healthcare you are pursuing is essential. We recommend that our students complete volunteer, community service, shadowing and/or research experiences in healthcare. There are many opportunities for volunteer work at Penn and in Philadelphia; it is up to you to choose where you would like to spend your volunteer time, and with what kinds of patients and healthcare issues. We provide a database of contact people, volunteer programs and current research postings. Make time for volunteering: you will enjoy it, you will do something for others, and medical, dental, veterinary and nursing schools expect that you will have tested out your career interest in the "real world" of healthcare delivery prior to applying.

Volunteer opportunities

The richness of Philadelphia's medical facilities affords wonderful opportunities for involvement and engagement in healthcare delivery. The University of Pennsylvania Health System and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, both within walking distance from our classrooms and labs, provide ideal settings for gaining hands-on experience with patients and for observing the contributions of each member of a healthcare team.

Volunteer placements are offered in many different areas of the University Hospital: labor and delivery, the operating room, the emergency room, the nursing floors and the Cancer Center. At Children's Hospital students can choose among volunteer options in the Child Life Department, radiology, pathology, the day surgery unit, the nursing floors, the admissions office and the emergency room. Our students also volunteer at other Philadelphia hospitals and in special interest areas of clinical care, notably in women's health and HIV disease and prevention work.

Our courses in Clinical Research in Emergency Medicine I and II require students to spend regular time in the emergency departments at the University and the Children's Hospitals, working on clinical research studies. On-site supervision by an emergency department physician complements the classroom learning components of the course and builds students' confidence and ability to interact with patients.

Veterinary volunteer opportunities

The Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine offers opportunities for pre-veterinary students to gain experience working with animals and veterinary professionals. The large animal hospital at the New Bolton Center provides yet another kind of volunteer experience. 

Research opportunities

As a world-class research institution, the University of Pennsylvania provides a multitude of opportunities for students who would like to engage in the biomedical research process. While research experience is not a required component of application to all health professions schools, many students are eager to gain new, firsthand experience or build on their undergraduate research involvements. Volunteer and paid positions are available, and the interested, energetic student can find ways to contribute to the University's research mission.

Preparing for the MCAT?

Exam Preparation

Put your best foot forward with our personal advising, strategy sessions and online MCAT content review.

See Exam Preparation >

Your Personal Advisor

Program Team Bios

A member of the Pre-Health Programs team will assist in your personal and career development, through course selection, application preparation and interviewing.

See Program Team Bios >

Upcoming Pre-Health Info Session

Upcoming Pre-Health Info Session

Join us on February 25th for a Virtual Info Session, hosted live and online from 5 – 6 p.m.

Register Now >