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Doctoral Programs FAQs

Q. After graduating from Union, what types of medical programs are there to choose from?
A. There are several doctoral programs in medicine including Allopathic, Osteopathic, Veterinary, Dentistry, Optometry, Podiatry, Pharmacy, and Physical Therapy. There are also numerous allied health and health-related professions from which to choose.

Q. How many students does Union College get into these medical programs?
A. While this is the most commonly asked question of parents and students trying to assess the quality of an undergraduate experience, it is the least effective and most unrevealing.  Why? Because there are many ways that an institution could calculate an acceptance rate that could inflate the percentage.  For example, Union would have an acceptance rate close to 100% if we included in our statistics all students who withheld their application until they had competitive scores (ie. 3.5 science gpa and a competitive MCAT score) and in fact about 98% of Union students with these credentials are accepted to medical school.  No undergraduate institution gets its students in to medical school.  Students get accepted to professional schools because of their strong academic record, competitive test scores*, and their personal and professional development through involvement in extracurricular activities and/or community service.  However, involvement in these experiences must not interfere with your academic performance.  It is better to become involved in a few select experiences than to be superficially involved in many experiences. 

For further reading on this topic, please see Beyond the Numbers: Answering the Question of Student Acceptance Rates to Professional School.

Q. Is there a pre-med major at Union?
A. No. Professional schools prefer students who are diverse and well-rounded and who pursue studies on the basis of their interests, not to get into medical school.

Q. Do I need to be a science major to enter into a medical profession?
A. No, but you do need to do very well in your science courses. We have had successful medical program applicants from all majors. Many choose interdisciplinary (ID) majors or minor in other fields outside of their major. (i.e. Philosophy major/ Chemistry minor).

Q. What courses are required to enter into a doctoral program in medicine?
A. Students applying to any health professions program should take the following courses at Union:

Calculus: Through MTH 102 or MTH 112 or MTH 113
2 English (Preceptorial and one other English course of your choice with an ENG prefix)

Biology courses (more would be helpful):

BI 110 Heredity, Evolution and Ecology (Fall, Winter, Spring)
BI 112 Physiology of Cells and Organisms I (Fall, Winter, Spring)
BI 225 Molecular Biology of the Cell (Fall, Winter, Spring)

CH 101 Introductory Chemistry I (Fall, Winter, Spring)
CH 102 Introductory Chemistry II (Winter, Spring)
Note: CH 110H Honors Intro Chemistry = CH 101 + CH 102 (Fall)
CH 231 Organic Chemistry I (Fall, Winter)
CH 232 Organic Chemistry II (Winter, Spring)

2 Physics:
PH 110 Classical and Modern Physics for the Life Sciences I (Fall, Spring)
PH 111 Classical and Modern Physics for the Life Sciences II (Fall, Winter)

For the MCAT: Introductory Psychology, Introductory Sociology, Research Methods/Statistics, and Biochemistry are recommended.

Note: Some health professions schools require additional courses, and it is best to check schools directly to be sure. For example, some medical programs require courses such as Biochemistry, Microbiology, Developmental Psychology, or Statistics. Nursing, PA, and PT programs require Human Anatomy and Physiology, which is not offered at Union but can be taken through the Hudson Mohawk Valley Consortium at neighboring schools.

Q. When should these courses be taken, and when should I apply?
A. For students with competitive credentials who wish to begin professional school the year that they graduate from Union, the prerequisite courses should be completed before spring term of junior year in preparation for the standardized test (i.e. MCAT, DAT, OAT, GRE, and PCAT) that is required for their application.  It is not uncommon, however, to spread course work over the four years with an interim year between graduation and professional school.  The additional time could improve your candidacy.  In any event, students begin the application process a year and a half before matriculation.

Q. Does Union offer any guaranteed admittance programs?
A. Yes. Union has an Eight-Year combined B.S./M.S./M.D. Leadership in Medicine Program with Albany Medical College. In addition, we offer an Early Assurance Program with Albany Medical College for underrepresented students. We also have supported student applications to early acceptance programs at Mount Sinai, SUNY Syracuse, and SUNY Buffalo.

Q. Does Union offer specific health professions majors like Pharmacy, Nursing, OT, PT, physiotherapy, etc..?
A. No. Union College is not a health professions career training school but a liberal arts college. Students interested in specific allied health programs would follow the same curriculum at Union as a pre-medical student and would then continue on for their professional/graduate level training after graduation.


 *Although Union is test optional, the SAT is a strong predictor of performance on the Medical College Admissions Test.