The health professions need individuals with a diversity of educational backgrounds and a wide variety of talents and interests. The philosophies of education, the specific preprofessional course requirements, the noncognitive qualifications for enrollment, and the systems of training vary among the professional health schools; but all recognize the desirability of a broad education—a good foundation in the natural sciences, highly developed communication skills, and a solid background in the humanities and social sciences. The absolute requirements for admission to professional health schools are limited to allow latitude for developing individualized undergraduate programs of study; however, most schools of medicine and dentistry require 16 semester hours of chemistry, including organic chemistry, eight hours of biological sciences, eight hours of physics, and six hours of mathematics. These requirements should be balanced with courses in vocabulary building, the humanities, and social sciences. The basic requirements in the natural sciences and as many of the courses in the humanities and social sciences as possible should be completed by the third year so students are prepared to take the Dental Admission Test or the Medical College Admission Test prior to applying to a professional school.
Undergraduates may also prepare to study optometry, podiatry, and other health professions. While the basic requirements for these professional schools are essentially the same as those for schools of medicine and dentistry, specific requirements for individual schools in these professions vary somewhat; consequently, interested students are advised to consult with the chief health professionals advisor.
At Clemson, rather than having a separate, organized preprofessional health studies program, students are allowed to major in any curriculum, as long as the basic entrance requirements of the professional health school are fulfilled. These schools are not as concerned about a student’s major as they are about academic performance in whichever curriculum the student chooses. Professional health schools have neither preferences nor prejudices concerning any curriculum, which is evidenced by the fact that their entering students represent a broad spectrum of curricula. The emphasis is placed on the student’s doing well in the curriculum chosen, and this becomes critical as competition increases for the limited number of places available in professional health schools.