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Health Professions Programs FAQs

Q. What special programs, opportunities, and services does the Health Professions Office provide to students?

A. The Health Professions Office has two advisors who meet with students individually and in group advising workshops; a community-based learning course that runs every term and places students in health care organizations in the local community; an in house MCAT Review Course offered every winter term;  opportunities for career exploration; and a committee of faculty and deans who offer mock interviews and prepare a letter of evaluation in support of students applying to doctoral programs in medicine. 


Q. How does Union’s trimester calendar help students prepare for careers in medicine?

A. Union offers three ten-week terms during each academic year - one from September to Thanksgiving, one from January to March, and one from April to June.  The trimester calendar gives students flexibility in scheduling of classes and experiences outside of the classroom like study abroad programs, internships, research, and community service. 


Q. Does Union offer any guaranteed admittance programs?

A.  Union has an eight-year combined B.S/M.S./M.D. Leadership in Medicine Program offered jointly with Albany Medical College and Clarkson University.  In addition, Union offers an Early Assurance Program with Albany Medical College for students who are underrepresented in medicine.  Most students, however, pursue health professions outside of these programs which have a limited number of spots.


Q. What academic disciplines are available to students interested in careers in medicine?

A. Students have been accepted into varied health-related professional schools while majoring in engineering or the arts, sciences, or humanities.

Students can fulfill core requirements for health professions schools while completing any academic or cross disciplinary major. As a liberal arts college, we do not offer majors in nursing or other specific allied health programs; however, Union students can obtain the prerequisites to pursue these career paths. Students interested in specific allied health programs would follow a similar curriculum at Union as a pre-medical student.


Q.  What specific courses should students complete at Union if they want to pursue medicine?

A. Regardless of the major students choose, it is recommended that they complete the following courses:

  • Calculus (through MTH 102 or MTH 112 or MTH 113)
  • English (2 courses, including Preceptorial and one other such as EGL 101)
  • Introductory Psychology or Sociology of Medicine (Statistics is also recommended.)
  • Biology (BIO 103, Heredity, Evolution and Ecology; BIO 104, Cellular Foundations of Life; BIO 205, Topics in Molecular Biology)  Note:  Bio 206, Topics in Physiology could be useful for MCAT preparation, especially for non-science majors.
  • Chemistry (CHEM 101 and 102, Introductory Chemistry I and II; CHEM 231 and 232, Organic Chemistry I and II)  
    Note: CHM 110, Accelerated Intro Chemistry= CHM 101 + CHM 102
  • Biochemistry (BIO 335 or CHEM 380 or CHEM 382 based on input from your academic advisor)
  • Physics (PHY 110 and 111, Classical and Modern Physics for the Life Sciences I and II)

Additional Union courses (ie. microbiology, developmental psychology, and statistics etc.) may be required for programs such as physical therapy, occupational therapy or nursing. Some health professions programs (ie. NP, PA, PT) also require courses in human anatomy and physiology. These can be taken at neighboring schools at no additional cost through the Hudson Mohawk Association.


Q. What opportunities exist for students to develop themselves personally and professionally beyond the classroom?

A. Volunteer and community-based learning experiences are available at a variety of health care related sites in the local community, including a preschool for students with disabilities; end of life care residential homes; community, rehabilitation, and brain-injury hospitals; and chronic illness support and prevention agencies.  Research opportunities that include funded opportunities as well as those for credit through academic departments are available year-round.   


Q. What standardized tests are required for students who want to pursue a health career?

A. Union is test optional unless you are applying to the Leadership in Medicine Program.  However, professional schools require standardized tests, and the SAT is a strong predictor of performance on tests such as the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Dental Admissions Test (DAT), Optometry Admissions Test (OAT), and GRE (Veterinary and Physician Assistant). Therefore, it is important that students interested in pursuing careers in medicine possess strong test-taking skills.