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Pre-Health Core Studies Program

The Pre-Health Core Studies program is designed to help prepare individuals from a variety of different academic backgrounds for an exciting medical, dental, veterinary or nursing career. Our Core Studies students all have excellent academic records but little or no previous coursework in the sciences, and they are passionate about preparing for the opportunity to serve others as a health professional. 

As a Pre-Health Core Studies student, the courses you take will depend on your prior coursework, and we will work closely with you to prepare an individual course of study tailored to your background and goals. You have the option to complete this program on a full- or part-time basis, providing you the flexibility to gain critical clinical and research experiences while you take classes. 

Students with no science background typically complete the Core Studies program in two years, while those with some prior science coursework may be able to complete the requirements in less time. We strongly encourage you to discuss your study plan and timeline as part of the admissions interview process or by scheduling a time to speak with the program director after you have accepted an offer of admission. You can view our sample schedules to get an idea of options for a Core Studies curriculum. 

Pre-Health Core Studies curriculum

As a Core Studies student, you will take the introductory science courses required for admission to most medical, dental, nursing or veterinary schools: general chemistry, introductory biology, organic chemistry, physics and biochemistry. General chemistry, introductory biology, organic chemistry and physics sequences consist of two semesters, and each semester includes a lab. Many of the core courses are math-intensive and may require additional course work to be successful.

If you intend to complete the requirements in one year, your core studies must begin in the summer with chemistry. The following academic year will include biology, organic chemistry physics and biochemistry, thus preparing students for the May-June MCAT, DAT or GRE.

If you attend part-time, you may start in the summer or fall term and it will take you two years to complete the program. Part-time Core Studies students generally take biology and chemistry the first year, and physics, organic chemistry and biochemistry in the second year, planning for the May-June MCAT, DAT or GRE.

Students enrolled in the Pre-Health Core Studies program often take additional courses beyond the minimum admissions requirements. Most core students take a total of 13 to 16 courses units. These additional courses may include topics like biochemistry, cell biology, physiology, genetics, microbiology, histology, human anatomy, or history and sociology of medicine. These classes help deepen knowledge and preparation for medical, dental, veterinary or nursing training.

Professional school linkages

Linkage Agreements

Linkages provide the opportunity to accelerate your entrance into a medical, veterinary, nursing or dental school.

See Linkage Agreements >

Looking for financial assistance?

Financial Aid

Learn about the options at Penn.

See Financial Aid >

Advising, workshops and much more

Program Features

Take advantage of the specially designed resources designed by the Pre-Health Programs team for your success.

See Program Features >

Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326

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