At CU Boulder, as with many colleges and universities across the country, being a pre-health student is a mindset, not a major. You can choose ANY major and become a strong candidate for health-related professional schools.
Professional school admissions committees consistently emphasize that they value all majors because students coming in with a diversity of academic backgrounds will create intellectual diversity in their classes and in their professions. They do not expect (or even want) all of the applicants to be cookie-cutter science majors. They are most impressed by individuals who express their own, personal intellectual passions.
Thus, you should choose a major you will find enjoyable and intellectually stimulating. That way, you are likely to become most engaged in your education and earn the best grades. Also, if for any reason you change your mind about going into a healthcare career, your major can set you up for an alternate career in an area you enjoy.
Students at CU Boulder must choose to be in one of the six colleges within the University and, within that college, select an academic major. The pre-health advisors are happy to work with all CU Boulder students, regardless of college or major. All health professions students will need to fulfill three sets of requirements:
- General graduation requirements for your college.
- The requirements for your major.
- The prerequisite courses that will fulfill your professional schools’ admissions requirements. (All students will need to take a certain number of elective credit hours in order to graduate. If you choose a non-science major, you will take your pre-health prerequisite courses as elective courses. Refer to the Areas of Interest section of our website for more specific information on prerequisite courses.)
Should I choose a science major?
Only if you are truly excited about taking most/all of the required courses for the major. We recommend looking at the list of courses you would have to take for each major, especially the upper-division courses.
If a science major is the best fit for you, go for it! But remember that you are considering devoting your career to a science-based profession. Your college experience will be one of the few times in your life in which you will have the opportunity for concentrated study in the liberal arts. So, if you’d like to use your college years to delve into a field like history, or philosophy, or art, then we urge you to do so. You just need to take certain science courses (as “elective” credit), in addition. Your advisor will help you choose which science courses to take, and when.
From our point of view, the only “wrong” major choice would be to select a major that you don’t like, perhaps based on a misguided understanding that certain majors will help you get into professional school. They won’t. Even worse, unhappy students are less likely to do well in their coursework. So avoid this mistake!
Should I choose a double-or triple-major?
Only if you honestly think it will enrich your college experience. As a general rule, we don’t necessarily recommend it, because there are other, more important ways for you to spend your time as a PreHealth student. The potential disadvantage of choosing multiple majors is that you will be limited to a very prescribed set of coursework, without much room for other interesting elective courses. Professional schools do not care which major you choose, nor do they much care if you choose more than one.