Pre-Professional 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

Chiropractors diagnose and treat patients whose health problems are associated with the body's muscular, nervous and skeletal systems, especially the spine. Chiropractors believe that interference with these systems impairs the body's normal functions and lowers its resistance to disease. The chiropractic approach to health care is holistic, stressing the patient's overall health and wellness. It recognizes that many factors affect health, including exercise, diet, rest, environment and heredity. Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments and rely on the body's inherent recuperative abilities.

Completion of a chiropractic program typically results in a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree. Schools generally accept students who have completed at least 90 credits of college level work. A bachelor's degree can often be completed at the chiropractic school on the way to earning the D.C. degree. Expect to spend at least three years in an undergraduate program and four years at a chiropractic school.

Admission is competitive, so take advantage of any course work or experience that may give you an advantage. Make sure that you at least meet the minimum GPA and prerequisite requirements for every school you apply to.

Admission requirements vary by school. While chiropractic schools tend to be consistent in their prerequisites, it is important to check for the admission requirements of the specific school that you are interested in.

Many UAF students choose to major in either biological sciences or chemistry while pursuing a pre-chiropractic curriculum. Since students are not required to complete a degree for admission, choosing a major is up to each student. Having a basic understanding of what is required for a UAF bachelor's degree, and following the recommendations to some extent, can benefit the student if goals change and a bachelor's degree becomes necessary.

Students who are considering becoming chiropractors should contact their major department or the Academic Advising Center to be assigned an academic advisor. See for detailed information on preparing for chiropractic school while at UAF.


Pre-Professional Advising

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 F115X and F116X), chemistry (CHEM F103X and F104X, or F105X and F106X), organic chemistry with lab (CHEM F321, F322, and F324), and physics (PHYS F103X and F104X). Some schools suggest additional science course work in areas such as anatomy and physiology (BIOL F111X and F112X).

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

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 arts 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 and engineering 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

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 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 specialized 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 F115X and F116X), chemistry (CHEM F103X and F104X, or F105X and F106X), organic chemistry with lab (CHEM F321, F322, and F324), and physics (PHYS F103X and F104X). Other science course work such as anatomy and physiology (BIOL F111X and F112X), 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.

Occupational Therapy

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

Occupational therapists help patients improve their ability to perform tasks in living and working environments. They work with individuals who suffer from a mentally, physically, developmentally or emotionally disabling condition. Occupational therapists use treatments to develop, recover or maintain the daily living and work skills of their patients. The therapist helps clients not only to improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities, but also to compensate for permanent loss of function. The goal is to help clients have independent, productive and satisfying lives.

Students interested in pursuing a degree in occupational therapy should gain experience working or volunteering alongside a licensed occupational therapist. Many schools require that students have an understanding of what is involved and have shown the motivation to obtain some experience in the field. Any work experience (paid or unpaid) in an occupational therapy setting will help expose you to the field.

Admission to an occupational therapy program is competitive, so take advantage of any course work or experience that may give you an added advantage. Admission is based upon several factors including overall academic achievement (most requiring a 3.0 GPA minimum), and work experience in health-care situations. Requirements vary by school, so check with the admissions offices for several schools where you are interested in applying.

Take the Graduate Record Exam prior to starting the last year of your undergraduate work. Prepare for the GRE by getting a study guide or taking a preparation course. GPA and GRE scores are often the first items that a school uses to narrow the pool of applicants.

Most OT schools offer either a master's degree, combined bachelor's and master's degree, or doctoral degree. For a combined master's/bachelor's program, general courses may be completed at UAF prior to transferring to the OT school. For entry into a master's or doctoral program, a bachelor's degree must be completed first.

Most OT schools do not require that students complete a specific major, however, all require students to complete specific prerequisites.

Admission requirements vary by school. It is important to check the admission requirements of the specific school that you are interested in to be sure that you will meet all of the prerequisites.

Students considering a career in occupational therapy should contact the Academic Advising Center or the department of their intended major. See for detailed information on preparing for occupational therapy school while at UAF.


Pre-Professional Advising

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 F105X, F106X), organic chemistry with lab (CHEM F321, F322 and F324), physics (PHYS F103X and F104X), mathematics (MATH F107X, F108, F200X, and/or F201X) and English (ENGL F111X, F211X/F213X) 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 academic advisor in the Academic Advising Center.

Physical Therapy

Pre-Professional Advising

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. 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 general biology (BIOL F115X, F116X), general chemistry (CHEM F105X, F106X), physics (PHYS F103X, F104X), anatomy and physiology (BIOL F111X and F112X), and statistics (STAT F200X). Careful planning is necessary, as course requirements differ among schools.

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

Physician Assistant

Pre-Professional Advising

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 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 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 F105X, F106X), general biology (BIOL F115X, F116X), anatomy and physiology (BIOL F111X, F112X), microbiology (BIOL F342), entry-level, developmental and abnormal psychology (PSY F101, F240, F345), as well as English (F111X, F211X or F213X). 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 academic advisor in the Academic Advising Center.

Veterinary Medicine

Pre-Professional Advising

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 F105X, F106X), organic chemistry (CHEM F321, F322, F324), biochemistry (CHEM F451, F452), biology (BIOL F115X, F116X, F342, F362, F418), statistics (STAT F200X), and physics (PHYS F103X, F104X).

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.