Pre-Professonal Opportunities

UAF students may develop a program of study that prepares them for a variety of professional or graduate programs. Pre-professional advising provides information about groundwork for admission to a specific graduate program or professional school.


Pre-Professional Advising
(907) 474-6396

Dentistry is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of oral disease and disorders. Professional dental study typically involves a four-year program of graduate classroom instruction, lab work and hands-on patient treatment. Students who want to specialize within the field may pursue advanced training at the post-doctoral level. Specialists and general dentists must be licensed by the state before practicing.

While a definite pre-dentistry curriculum is not required for admission to dental school, students planning to apply should include specific courses in their undergraduate studies. At UAF, these are biology (BIOL 105X and 106X), chemistry (CHEM 103X and 104X, or 105X and 106X), organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 321, 322, and 324), and physics (PHYS 103X and 104X). Some schools suggest additional science course work in areas such as anatomy and physiology (BIOL 111X and 112X).

Dental schools expect students to have a broad general background in the social sciences and humanities. Some dental schools accept applicants after their third year of undergraduate work, but the majority of students entering dental school have completed a bachelor's degree. A strong undergraduate academic record and high scores on the Dental Admission Test (DAT) are desirable for admission.

Students who are considering dentistry as a career should contact the Academic Advising Center. An academic advisor will help students plan an appropriate undergraduate program and explore professional schools, licensing requirements and financial aid. See for detailed information on preparing for dental school while at UAF.


Pre-Professional Advising
(907) 474-6396

Law education prepares students to become attorneys, judges, public servants, teachers or administrators in government or the private sector. Attorneys are concerned with the interpretation of law and its application to specific situations. This involves in-depth research, writing reports and briefs, advising clients and representing parties in the courts.

Law school consists of three years of graduate-level study. Instruction includes classroom lectures and discussion, considerable research and practice of courtroom procedures. Law school graduates must pass a state bar exam in order to practice.

Completion of a bachelor's degree is required for admission to most law schools. Students should have a strong academic record and high scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). While law schools do not prescribe a specific undergraduate major for admission, a liberal education is the best preparation. Students planning a legal career should select courses that enhance oral and written communication skills, expand understanding of human values and institutions, and develop analytical reasoning and logical thinking. English, philosophy, history, literature and the social sciences are valuable areas of pre-law study. Courses in accounting and economics are helpful as well. Recent trends indicate that students with an undergraduate degree in the natural sciences are gaining in favor for law school admission.

Students interested in a legal career can obtain assistance through the Academic Advising Center for discussing program planning, professional schools and financial planning. See for detailed information on preparing for law school while at UAF.

Library Science

Pre-Professional Advising
(907) 474-6396

A graduate degree in library and information science prepares students for professional positions in the management of information in libraries and other environments. According to one graduate program description, the "contemporary librarian has become an essential part of the complex communication/information network that now encircles the globe. Today's information professional must understand how information is created and disseminated in society; must be familiar with print, non-print, and electronic media; and must be adept in the use of computers, automated techniques, and information networks."

One to two years of graduate course work in a broad spectrum of areas is generally required for a professional career in library science. The program covers planning and evaluation related to acquiring, organizing and accessing information in library settings. Students also learn to manage, design and deliver information services. Some programs may offer special emphasis on topics such as law or medicine.

Library schools prepare professionals from a variety of academic backgrounds. The caliber of the applicant's undergraduate work and results of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are important considerations for acceptance to a professional library studies program.

At UAF, pre-library science students pursue an extensive general undergraduate education. Courses in computer applications and programming, statistics and foreign languages help to satisfy the demands and admission requirements of graduate programs in library science. A background in the social and physical sciences is equally important as the number of special libraries increases. Advisement for students interested in library science is available through the Academic Advising Center. See for more information.


Pre-Professional Advising
(907) 474-7608 or 474-6396

Physicians serve a broad range of medical functions. They diagnose disease, prescribe treatment, supervise patient care and participate in the improved delivery of health services. Many physicians branch off into basic and applied medical research, teaching or administration.

Professional medical education consists of four years of graduate-level study. Typically, the first two years of medical school are composed of classroom instruction and laboratory work, and the second two years consist of clinical rotations. Medical school graduates may elect to continue their training in a one-year internship and/or a one- to three-year residency. The residency option is required in order to specialize in medicine.

Medical schools evaluate each applicant's overall academic achievement together with results of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). While medical schools do not require a specific undergraduate major, they generally expect applicants to have a foundation in biology, chemistry and physics. UAF courses that satisfy this are biology (BIOL 105X and 106X), chemistry (CHEM 103X and 104X, or 105X and 106X), organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 321, 322, and 324), and physics (PHYS 103X and 104X). Other science course work such as anatomy and physiology (BIOL 111X and 112X), as well as a background in the social sciences and humanities, is not usually required for admission but can strengthen a pre-med curriculum. Medical schools will consider applicants for admission after their third year of undergraduate work, but most entering medical students have completed a bachelor's degree.

Students who are considering medicine as a career choice should contact the dean of the College of Natural Science and Mathematics or the Academic Advising Center. An academic advisor will help the student with pre-med program advisement, exploration of professional schools and licensing requirements, and financial planning. See for more information.


Pre-Professional Advising
(907) 474-6396

Pharmacists play a vital health care role. Pharmacists are drug experts whose responsibilities include a range of care for patients, from dispensing medications to maximizing patients' response to drugs.

Most schools with pharmacy programs offer a doctoral degree. The degree requires six years to complete, the first two of which are spent pursuing pre-pharmacy general education requirements (completed at the intended pharmacy school or transferred to that school); the last four years encompass pharmacy courses and professional preparation taken in residence at a pharmacy school.

Admission to a pharmacy school is competitive, so take advantage of any course work or experience that may give you an added edge. A minimum GPA is required by some schools, but attaining the minimum does not guarantee admission. Prerequisite courses typically required before being admitted to a pharmacy program include general chemistry with lab (CHEM 105X, 106X), organic chemistry with lab (CHEM 321, 322 and 324), physics (PHYS 103 and 104), mathematics (MATH 107X, 108, 200X, and/or 201X) and English (ENGL 111X, 211X/213X) among others. Careful planning is necessary because course requirements differ among schools.

Students considering a career as a pharmacist can learn more at and should see an advisor in the Academic Advising Center.

Physical Therapy

Pre-Professional Advising
(907) 474-6396

Physical therapists are dedicated to the promotion of health and the prevention of disease. Specifically, they provide assessment, evaluation and rehabilitation of the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems after injury or disease. Physical therapists work in hospital rehabilitation units, in private rehabilitation practices, and in orthopedic and sports medicine clinics. Many also serve as administrators, researchers and educators.

Physical therapy education typically consists of a two-year program leading to a certificate, a bachelor's or a master's degree. The current trend across the nation is toward the master's, which requires completion of a bachelor's degree before admission. As in most health care professions, the first half of physical therapy training consists of classroom instruction and the second half emphasizes clinical practice. After completion of programs accredited by the American Physical Therapy Program, students are eligible to test for licensure in all 50 states.

Acceptance to physical therapy programs is very competitive and is based on overall academic performance (most require a minimum 3.0 GPA), achievement in foundational sciences, and work experience in health care. Graduate programs usually require the Graduate Record Examination and/or the Miller Analogies Test. UAF does not prescribe a specific pre-physical therapy major, but offers a complete series of courses required for admission to most graduate programs. These include physics (PHYS 103X, 104X), anatomy and physiology (BIOL 111X and 112X), and statistics (STAT 300). Careful planning is necessary, as course requirements differ among schools.

Students considering a career in physical therapy should contact the Academic Advising Center. An advisor will help plan a program of study and explore professional schools and licensing requirements. See for more information.

Physician Assistant

Pre-Professional Advising
(907) 474-6396

Physician assistants are health care professionals licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and in most states can write prescriptions.

Becoming a PA typically requires a master's degree, and a bachelor's degree is usually required to be admitted to a program. Some schools offer degree completion programs that allow students to finish a bachelor's degree while working toward the Master's of Physician Assisting. Becoming a certified PA will take at least 5-6 years from the start of college.

Admission to PA school is competitive, so take advantage of any course work or experience that may give you an added edge. Most schools require or strongly recommend health care experience as a prerequisite. To be considered for admission, students should take the Graduate Record Exam and complete a curriculum that includes general chemistry (CHEM 105X, 106X), general biology (BIOL 105X, 106X), anatomy and physiology (BIOL 111X, 112X), microbiology (BIOL 342), entry-level, developmental and abnormal psychology (PSY 101, 240, 345), as well as English (111X, 211X or 213X). Careful planning is necessary because course requirements differ among schools.

Students considering a career as a physician's assistant can learn more at and should see an advisor in the Academic Advising Center.

Veterinary Medicine

Pre-Professional Advising
(907) 474-6396

Veterinary medicine is concerned with two primary areas: the first is the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention of animal health problems; and the second is protection of the public from animal borne disease through food safety inspection and other methods. Veterinarians also work in the fields of research and education.

A professional program in veterinary medicine generally requires four years of graduate study. In the first three years, students gain a solid foundation through classroom instruction and laboratory work. The final year consists of clinical rotations. Specialization within veterinary medicine requires further study at the post-doctoral level.

Although a bachelor's degree is not required for admission into veterinary school, most entering students have completed a four-year undergraduate degree. Veterinary schools will consider applicants from all disciplines, but because specific course requirements vary among schools, students must be sure to check the admission standards of the school they are interested in. In general, pre-veterinary students should include the following undergraduate courses: introductory chemistry (CHEM 105X, 106X), organic chemistry (CHEM 321, 322, 324), biochemistry (CHEM 451, 452), biology (BIOL 105X, 106X, 342,362, 418), mathematics (STAT 200), and physics (PHYS 103X, 104X).

Admission to veterinary school is based on the strength of the applicant's undergraduate academic record and test scores on either the Veterinary College Admissions Test or the Graduate Record Examination. Work experience in veterinary medicine is highly recommended.

Advising for students considering veterinary medicine as a career choice is available through the Academic Advising Center. See for more information.