Pre-Medical School Preparation

You’ve felt a calling to help others, whether as a dentist, medical doctor, or veterinarian. Saint Mary’s can help you get there! 

You will have the opportunity to get to know your professors and benefit from their expertise, experience, and advice during your four years on campus. Our professors will work with you to help you prepare to apply to graduate schools. 

Program Details for Pre-dentistry, Pre-medical, and Pre-veterinary Science

There is not a required major for dental, medical, or veterinary school, but there are highly recommended and required prerequisite classes. You will need a strong preparation in the sciences. Most students wanting to further their schooling in these areas will select either Biology or Chemistry as their major.

If you choose to major in something other than Biology or Chemistry, you should take courses in:

  • For Pre-dentistry — Biology and Chemistry (specifically, Advanced Anatomy and Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Zoology, and Microbiology).
  • For Pre-medical  — Biology and Chemistry (specifically, Anatomy and Physiology and Organic Chemistry). Some of our students will double major in chemistry and biology to enhance their knowledge and their résumés. This is not required to get into medical school, and you can fulfill your medical school prerequisite courses without double majoring.
  • For Pre-veterinary Science — Biology and Chemistry (specifically, Advanced Anatomy and Physiology, Organic Chemistry, Zoology, Microbiology, and Animal Science). The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges website is a helpful resource for students interested in veterinary medicine.

It is recommended that students consult with their adviser during their first year on campus to make sure they get started on the right track with the necessary classes and labs. Adequate undergraduate preparation affords the student a significant advantage when applying to graduate schools. Your résumé will be stronger and you will be more successful while taking your Dental Admissions Tests (DAT), Medical College Aptitude Tests (MCAT), Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or the Biology Graduate Record Examination (Bio-GRE).

No matter what, you can be confident in the fact that when you choose Saint Mary's, you'll find faculty members who are committed helping you fulfill your career goals and aspirations.

High School Preparation

You should take a high school curriculum that will prepare you for your college course work. If your high school offers AP, IB, or honors classes, take as many sciences as you can—for example, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Physics. This preparation will help you as you enter the higher-level classes at Saint Mary’s.

Because dental, medical, and veterinary schools are very competitive, everything on your résumé will matter. Another way to prepare, and to prove your interest in your field, is to add volunteering to your résumé. Volunteer as many hours as you can in a clinic and hospital, or shadow a DMD, DDS, MD, or DVM. To “walk the talk” will add to the sincerity of your voice on your résumé.

Degree Requirements

A. Minimum science/mathematics courses:

B110 Botany and Zoology I (3 cr.)

This introductory course serves both majors and non-majors.  Course topics include the process of evolution and ecology; biological molecules and basic chemistry; cell structure, cellular respiration and photosynthesis; the mechanisms of chromosome replication, transcription and translation; and Mendelian genetics. Three fifty minute or two seventy-five minute lecture/discussion periods are held weekly. 

B111 Botany and Zoology I Laboratory (1 cr.)

These laboratory studies complement the concepts presented in B110. Investigations include the scientific method and techniques; population growth; plant communities and invasive species; ecosystems and habitat quality; cell biology; osmosis; enzyme kinetics; photosynthesis; DNA electrophoresis and Mendelian genetics. The lab meets for one three-hour session each week.

B120 Botany and Zoology II (3 cr.)

This introductory course serves both majors and non-majors.  Course topics include the process of evolution; surveys of microbial, plant and animal life; plant anatomy and physiology; comparative animal anatomy and systems physiology.

B121 Botany and Zoology II Laboratory (1 cr.)

These laboratory studies complement the concepts presented in B120. Investigations include the scientific method and techniques; phylogenetic surveys of bacteria, Protista and fungi, the plant and animal kingdoms; and animal body systems physiology.

C131 General Chemistry I (3 cr.)

This course covers the fundamental principles upon which the study of chemistry is based. Stoichiometry, atomic structure, molecular structure, chemical bonding, behavior of gases, kinetic molecular theory, properties of solutions, chemical reactivity and thermochemistry are included.

C133 General Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C142 General Chemistry II (3 cr.)

This course includes the study of the chemistry of molecular forces, redox reactions, chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium theory, electrochemistry, chemical dynamics, organic chemistry, phase behavior and solution chemistry.

C144 General Chemistry II Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory is an inquiry-based approach to understanding the process of doing chemistry. Each week, as a team member with a specific role working for a consulting company, the student receives a letter from a "chemical client" requesting the solution to a chemical problem. It is the responsibility of the team to design a solution, collect data, and report the results to the client in report form.

C321 Organic Chemistry I (3 cr.)

Organized by chemical functional groups and reaction mechanisms, this course presents both classical and modern theories of organic chemistry while rigorously exploring chemical structure reactivity relationships. The fundamentals of nomenclature, physical properties, chemical structure, stereochemistry, organic-reactions, mechanisms, synthesis, purification, and compound characterization are emphasized. Biological, medical, and familiar real-world examples are discussed in the context of organic chemistry.

C322 Organic Chemistry II with Laboratory (4 cr.)

A continuation of C321/C323, this course builds upon the fundamentals presented in C321/C323. It is organized by functional groups and reaction mechanisms, while integrating this knowledge into chemical synthesis. Additional topics include aromaticity, NMR and IR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, carbonyl chemistry, synthetic strategy, and advanced C–C bond forming reactions.

C323 Organic Chemistry I Laboratory (1 cr.)

This laboratory complements the lecture segment of the course by demonstrating and utilizing the concepts learned in the classroom to acquire, isolate, and characterize desired organic reaction products. In this laboratory, students become familiar with the equipment, glassware, techniques, and expertise required to implement the chemistry proposed on paper, to optimize it, and to communicate it to the chemical community. A practical context for the developed chemical intuition is provided.

P201 Introductory Physics I (3 cr.)

This course is the first half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of mechanics, oscillations, and fluid mechanics.

P202 Introductory Physics I Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures. Taken concurrently with P201 Introductory Physics

P211 Introductory Physics II (3 cr.)

This course is the second half of a two-semester introductory, calculus-based, physics course for all students planning to enter one of the scientific professions. It covers the fundamental principles of waves, physical and geometrical optics, and electricity and magnetism.

Concurrent with P212

P212 Introductory Physics II Laboratory (1 cr.)

One three-hour laboratory is held each week covering topics studied in the lectures.

Concurrent with P211

B. Required philosophy/theology courses

(Either PH343 or TH350):

PH343 Contemporary Ethical Issues (3 cr.)

The course examines critically the foundations of ethical or moral judgments on vital issues such as abortion, birth control, capital punishment, civil disobedience, divorce, drug-use, ecology, euthanasia, homosexuality, marriage, pre-marital sex, suicide, segregation, stealing, truth: acquiring-revealing concealing, technology, war, and work.

PH346 Ethical Issues in the Sciences (3 cr.)

This course provides non-science as well as science majors the opportunity to examine key issues in the sciences in the light of major ethical theories. Among the issues to be examined are: abuses and uses of nuclear energy, behavior control and psychosurgery, chemical wastes and the environment, computerized files of personal information, computerization and depersonalization, experimentation with human subjects and animals, genetic engineering and screening, reproductive techniques, organ transplants, physician-patient relationships, and euthanasia.

TH350 Introduction to Catholic Moral Theology (3 cr.)

As the foundational class in moral theology, this course addresses the different moral theologies in the Catholic tradition, from virtue ethics to natural law. Contemporary issues are addressed as a means of explicating schools of ethical method and applying moral reasoning.

Please Note:

Members of the medical professions committee, the professional school advisor, the vice president for academic affairs, and academic advisors have copies of possible paradigms (including these requirements) for your use. It must be emphasized that each professional school may have additional course requirements. A catalog containing the requirements is available in the office of the chair of the medical professions committee. It is imperative that students consult frequently with their academic advisors.