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Health Professions

The health professions advising office helps guide students in choosing appropriate courses to meet the requirements of a wide range of health professional graduate schools including medical (MD and DO), dental, veterinary, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, physical therapy, and others. Different health professional programs have different requirements, so it is important to research requirements of target schools. The College’s health professions advisors is also happy to help you to formulate an academic plan. The health professions advising website contains a wealth of information about various fields to get you started.

The requirements for medical and dental school are similar. Each require one year of the following laboratory courses: introductory biology (BIOL 161 and 162), general chemistry (CHEM 181 and CHEM 231), organic chemistry (CHEM 221 and CHEM 222), and physics (PHYS 115 and PHYS 116) in addition to one year of English. Physics, some chemistry and some statistics courses require calculus 1 (MATH 133 or 135 as appropriate). Medical schools also require a semester each of psychology, sociology, statistics and biochemistry. Most other health professional programs require a semester of statistics and at least a year of chemistry and biology, but vary widely in other requirements.

Students seeking admission to health professional schools should consider taking at least one of the following courses in the first semester, and should try to take introductory psychology and sociology in the first two years. Students should consider taking a Montserrat sequence outside of the natural and social sciences and instead seek to meet another common requirement. Students should take statistics only after declaring a major, as many departments offer statistics courses. Students should be cautious about taking more than one laboratory course in the first semester unless they have a strong science background and are considering a major in the sciences.

CHEM 181 Atoms and Molecules

BIOL 161 Introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology

MATH 135 (or 133) Calculus 1

PHYS 115 Introduction to Physics 1 – Mechanics, Fluids and Waves

If you have any questions, please contact the health professions advising office at 508-793-2533 to set up an appointment to meet with an advisor.



CHEM 181
Atoms & Molecules
Common Area: Natural Science

This introductory course will lead students to explore in depth the scientific method through the formulation and testing of hypotheses in the laboratory. Laboratory experiments (using modern instrumentation) will lead students to discover basic principles, i.e., stoichiometric relationships, electronic configuration and molecular structure. Lectures will explain and expand upon lab results. It is the first course in the introductory chemistry sequence for science majors and students interested in health professions.


BIOL 161
Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology
Common Area: Natural Science

Biology 161 is an introductory course designed for potential biology majors and for students interested in the health professions. The goal is to provide students with a strong foundation in biology at the smallest scales–processes at the chemical and cellular levels. Emphasis is placed on biological molecules, metabolic pathways such as those of energy metabolism, cellular transport, signaling and coordination, cellular replication and molecular biology including the regulation of gene expression. This course is a prerequisite for many upper-division courses in biology and involves three lectures and one laboratory period per week.


MATH 135
Calculus 1
Common Area: Mathematical Science

This is the standard version of Calculus 1 chosen by most students. It is designed for those who need calculus to support their interest in the health professions or a major in economics, mathematics, or the sciences. It is intended for students who did not study calculus in high school. This course considers the calculus of real-valued functions of one variable for students who are planning further course work in mathematics. Emphasis is placed on conceptual understanding and presenting material from symbolic, numerical and graphical points of view. The course investigates a variety of applications to the sciences. The concepts of limit, continuity, and derivative are developed and applied to algebraic, logarithmic, exponential and trigonometric functions. Although this class carries a common area designation in the mathematical sciences, students who do not specifically need calculus for their studies are advised to take MATH 110, MATH 120, or CSCI 110 . This course meets three hours per week. It is offered in both fall and spring, with many more sections available in the fall.


MATH 133
Calculus 1 with Fundamentals    
Common Area: Mathematical Science

This version of Calculus 1 is designed for students who require more class time to make the transition to college-level mathematics. Students who studied calculus in high school should not take this course. It is only for students who are concerned about their algebra and pre-calculus background. It is for those who aspire toward the health professions or who have an interest in pursuing a major in economics, mathematics, or the sciences. See the description of MATH 135 for the course content. This course meets five hours per week and also has a review session one evening per week.  It is only offered in the fall. You must consult with your class dean or the chair of Mathematics and Computer Science (Prof. G. Roberts, groberts@holycross.edu) for approval to enter this course.


PHYS 115
Introductory Physics 1: Mechanics, Fluids and Waves
Common Area: Natural Science

What are the underlying rules of the universe? How can we apply these rules to understand the motions of planets, cars, oceans, etc.? These are the guiding questions for this foundational course on Newtonian mechanics and quantitative problem solving. Topics include motion in one and two dimensions, vectors, Newton’s laws of motion, work and energy, linear momentum and collisions, rotational motion, static equilibrium, oscillatory motion, gravitation, fluid mechanics, and mechanical waves. Co- or prerequisite: Calculus 1 or equivalent.



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