Pre-Professional Programs


Students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis may develop pre-professional study programs from the university’s academic offerings in architecture, engineering, dentistry, journalism, law, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, or veterinary sciences. With early and careful advising, students may develop an appropriate program to prepare for the intended professional study. 

Students should seek pre-professional faculty advisers in their interest area early in their academic careers to ensure development of sound, comprehensive study programs that fulfill the admission requirements of the professional program to which they wish to apply.

The following information on pre-professional study at UMSL is provided to give students minimal guidelines and assistance in planning a program.


The Department of Art and Art History sponsors the 3+4 Program for the School of Architecture at Washington University. A student accepted to the School of Architecture, Washington University at the end of the junior year may graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history from UMSL after the satisfactory completion of the first year of professional school upon meeting one or more of the following conditions:

  1. The student has completed all general education requirements and all requirements for the art history major and lacks only the total hours (electives) necessary for a degree. (The courses at Washington University will fulfill all remaining courses.)
  2. A student who has not completed required courses for the art history degree must remedy the deficiency with courses taken at the UMSL within three years of entering the professional school. At the time of graduation, the student must remain in good standing in the professional school or have successfully graduated from the professional school.
  3. A student who has not completed all the courses required for the art history major may, if the Art and Art History Department at UMSL approves, substitute up to six hours of appropriate course work from the professional school.

The requirement that 30 of the last 36 hours of course work for a degree be taken at UMSL shall be waived where necessary for students graduating under this procedure. For more information on admission requirements, please contact the College of Arts and Sciences at 314-516-5501, 303 Lucas Hall.


Students wishing to pursue a journalism degree should review the entrance requirements of the schools they would like to attend for information on suggested pre-journalism courses of study.

Students who plan to major in journalism at the University of Missouri – Columbia (MU) are encouraged to transfer no more than 45 hours, since a cumulative 3.0 GPA must be established at MU for at least one semester to qualify for admission. In addition, students must complete 60 acceptable hours that include the required courses listed below.

English Composition: ENGL 1100-Freshman Composition, 3 hours, grade of B or higher. If a C- range grade is received, the student must pass the Missouri College English Test (MCET) at MU. Advanced Placement (AP) English Composition credit or International Baccalaureate test credit will be accepted for incoming freshmen admitted to MU fall semester 2002 and after.

Math: Students must complete College Algebra with a grade of C- or higher or have a minimum ACT math score of 26 or a minimum SAT score of 600.

Foreign Languages: Four years of high school work in one foreign language or 12-13 hours of college work in one foreign language.

Biological, Mathematical, Physical Science: MATH 1310 – Elementary Statistics (C- or better) plus six hours from biological anthropology, biology, chemistry, astronomy, geology, physics, above college algebra level math or computer science.* One course must include a lab. Please note: College Algebra is the prerequisite course for statistics at MU and UMSL.

* CMP SCI 1250 – Introduction to Computing.

Social Science: Fourteen hours are required to include American History; American Government/State Government; Microeconomics; Macroeconomics; and three hours in a behavioral science (psychology, sociology, or anthropology, but not ANTHRO 1005).

Humanistic Studies: Six hours are required to include three hours in any literature, plus one course from one of the following areas: history or appreciation of art or music; humanities; philosophy; religious studies; non-U.S. civilization or classical studies; history or appreciation of communication, film or theatre.

In addition, word processing skills are required (40 words per minute). A minimum TOEFL score of 600 is required for students whose native language is not English.

Nontransferable courses at the School of Journalism include: basic military science, basic physical education, word processing or computer applications, typing or practical arts/vocational technical education courses, photography, public relations, advertising, journalism or mass communication, orientation, professional skills, college preparatory, and no more than three hours maximum of applied music, dance, acting or studio art.

Students are required to take four journalism courses (minimum C-) at MU prior to admission to the School: JOURN 1100 – Principles American Journalism (second semester, freshman year), JOURN 2100 – News (sophomore year), JOURN 2000 – Cross Culture Journalism (sophomore year), and JOURN 2150 – Fundamentals of Multi-Media Journalism (taken the semester prior to entering an emphasis area in the School).  The English composition requirement must be satisfied prior to enrollment in JOURN 2000 and JOURN 2100.  Completion of 15 hours and a minimum 2.75 MU GPA are required for JOURN 1100.  Sophomore standing (30 hours) and a minimum 2.8 MU GPA are required for JOURN 2100 (English Composition with minimum B grade and JOURN 1100 are prerequisites), and JOURN 2000 (JOURN 1100 is prerequisite).  Completion of JOURN 2100 and a minimum 2.8 MU GPA, or special permission, is needed to enroll in JOURN 2150 concurrently. 

The School computes the grade point average for transfer students based on courses accepted toward admission until a MU GPA is established. The School uses the MU GPA for enrollment in the preliminary journalism courses and for acceptance to the sequences.

Admission is by emphasis area. Emphasis areas are Convergence Journalism, Magazine Journalism, Newspaper Journalism, Print and Digital News, Radio-TV Journalism, Strategic Communication, and Photojournalism.

The School accepts credit through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP – subject exams only), Advanced Placement Program (AP), and the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Regulations apply.

Courses can be reviewed for credit by sending official transcripts to:

Admissions, 230 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211.

For advisement and information, contact the Office of Undergraduate Student Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, 303 Lucas Hall, 314-516-5501.


Students planning to attend law school must pursue an undergraduate degree of their choice. There is no such thing as a pre-law major. Law schools encourage students to pursue a course of study that includes a broad liberal arts background. The pre-law advisor will assist students in choosing courses that will enhance their analytical and writing skills.

English language and literature courses are critical. An awareness of the institutional processes of government obtained through study in political science is also needed. Since law is inseparable from historical experience, an acquaintance with American history is important. Students should acquire knowledge of macro- and microeconomics. Statistics, accounting, and computer science are valuable in understanding special legal subjects and the practice of law. Other recommended courses include logic (taken in the sophomore year), public speaking, general psychology, intro sociology, ethics, theories of justice, and courses that promote cultural awareness.

The University of Missouri has law schools in Columbia and Kansas City. University of Missouri-St. Louis students may seek assistance in planning an undergraduate program, preparing for the LSAT, and applying to law school in the office of the pre-law adviser. Students should contact the pre-law adviser through the College of Arts and Sciences, 303 Lucas Hall, 314-516-5501, early in their undergraduate studies.

Pre-Health Sciences

Students wishing to enter medical, dental, optometry, or veterinary medicine schools should pursue B.A. or B.S. degrees with majors in the disciplines of their choice, but should take whatever additional courses may be necessary as prerequisites for admission to the professional school.

A baccalaureate degree is generally not required before entering pharmacy school. (See Pre-Pharmacy section below).

Since admission requirements vary, students should consult the catalogs of the schools to which they intend to apply. Updated information may be found in:

Medical School Admission Requirements (MSAR)**
Phone: 1-202-828-0416; Website:
American Dental Education Association Official Guide to Dental Schools
Phone: 1-202-289-7201; Website:
Schools and Colleges of Optometry Admission Requirements
Phone: 1-301-231-5944; Website: (see Pre-Optometry section below)
Pharmacy School Admission Requirements
Phone: 1-703-739-2330; Website: (See Pre-Pharmacy section below)
Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements in the United States and Canada
Phone: 1-202-371-9195; Website:
**A copy of the MSAR is also available at the reference desk of the Thomas Jefferson Library.

Suggested Courses (Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, Pre-Vet)
Many medical schools recommend the following undergraduate courses:

Biology: BIOL 1811, Introductory Biology: From Molecules to Organisms; BIOL 1821, Introductory Biology: Organisms and the Environment; BIOL 2012, Genetics; and additional courses in molecular and/or cell biology.

Chemistry: CHEM 1111, Introductory Chemistry I; CHEM 1121, Introductory Chemistry II; CHEM 2612, Organic Chemistry I; CHEM 2622, Organic Chemistry II; CHEM 2633, Organic Chemistry Lab; and additional courses in organic chemistry and quantitative analysis. (Biochemistry is also recommended.)

Mathematics: Students should take courses at least through calculus, as appropriate for the major degree, MATH 1100, Basic Calculus or MATH 1800, Analytical Geometry & Calculus I for biology majors; through MATH 2000, Analytical Geometry and Calculus III for chemistry majors; and through MATH 2020, Introduction to Differential Equations for physics majors. Consult with the Pre-Health Sciences advisor to determine the appropriate course(s).

Physics: 8 - 10 hours (as appropriate for the degree chosen).  PHYSICS 1011 & 1012, Basic Physics (biology majors), OR PHYSICS 2111, Physics: Mechanics and Heat and PHYSICS 2112, Physics: Electricity, Magnetism and Optics (chemistry or physics majors). Consult with the Pre-Health and Sciences advisor.

Successful completion of these recommended courses also helps students prepare for required standardized exams.

Since students are not confirmed for admission to professional schools until the science requirements for admission are fulfilled, students should meet the science requirements before the end of the junior year. To complete these requirements in time, BIOL 1811 and BIOL 1812, Introductory Biology as well as CHEM 1111 and 1112, Introductory Chemistry I and II should be taken during the freshman year.

Students also should take the required national standardized examination before or during the junior year as is appropriate for the exam: The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for pre-med students; the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) for pre-dental students; the Optometry Admission Test (OAT) for pre-optometry students; and the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT), (if required) for pre-pharmacy students; and the Medical College Admission Tests or Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for pre-vet students. (Pre-vet students should consult with their intended veterinary colleges for appropriate test information.)

Each year the number of applicants to health profession schools exceeds the number of available places (by a factor of two in most cases).  Students, therefore, are encouraged to have alternative plans should they not gain entrance. Nursing, laboratory technology, and other allied health science areas may be considered as alternative fields.

For more information, testing dates, or pre-health science advising, contact the pre-health professions adviser through the College of Arts and Sciences, 303 Lucas Hall, 314-516-5501.


The University of Missouri-St. Louis offers a four-year program of study leading to the doctor of optometry degree; this professional degree is administered by the College of Optometry. It is one of only 20 schools or colleges of optometry in the United States and the only one in the state of Missouri.  This program, as a result, makes UMSL an ideal institution for pre-optometry education.  Various programs are available for pre-optometry as noted below.

Students may pursue a traditional 4 + 4 program, which is a bachelor’s degree followed by the four-year graduate optometry program.   In this case, students may pursue any bachelor’s degree, as long as the pre-optometry requirements are met in biology, chemistry, math, physics, psychology and English. 

Alternatively, the Department of Biology, the Department of Physics & Astronomy, and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry sponsor 3+4 Programs for the UMSL College of Optometry, for which a student may be admitted after completing three years (90 semester hours) of study in their respective majors and successful completion of the Optometry Admission Test (OAT). (See your specific department for undergraduate degree requirements.)

The Pierre Laclede Honors College and the College of Optometry also offer the Scholars Program, which allows a student to complete both the undergraduate and doctor of optometry degrees in seven years. To qualify for this program, a student must be a senior in high school; score a minimum composite of 27 on the ACT; and be accepted to the UMSL Pierre Laclede Honors College program. For more information about the Scholars Program, contact the Pierre Laclede Honors College, 314-516-7769.

For the programs described above (3+4 or Scholars), the undergraduate degree is granted when the student satisfactorily completes the first year of the professional program and has met all of the conditions for the specific undergraduate degree for which the student has applied. 1) All general education requirements and all requirements for the biology, physics, or chemistry major, except electives, must be completed. 2) Any deficiency in required courses must be remedied with courses taken at UMSL within three years after entering the College of Optometry. 3) Up to 6 hours from the College of Optometry may be substituted for undergraduate degree in Biology with approval of the Department of Biology. 4) Up to six hours is used to satisfy degree requirements in biology, and 14 hours in physics to complete the B.S. in Physics degree. For more information, contact the Department of Biology, 314-516-6200 or the Department of Physics & Astronomy at 314-516-5931.  The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry offers a similar program, which may require taking summer classes in order to complete the degree requirements for a B.A. or B.S. degree in three years. For more information, please contact the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at 314-516-5311.

In some cases, students are admitted to the optometry program prior to completing the requirements for their baccalaureate degree. 

Note: Math 1800, Analytical Geometry and Calculus I must be taken in the first semester for most 3+4 or Scholars Programs.

For more information on admission requirements for the College of Optometry, please refer to the Optometry section of this Bulletin.


In general, a pharmacy program may consist of 1-3 years of pre-professional study followed by 4-5 years in a professional program (normally, six years total). Some institutions, however, offer the entire program at the pharmacy college or school. Since entrance requirements vary, students should consult the catalog and/or web site of the college or school to which they intend to apply. Missouri has two pharmacy schools: St. Louis College of Pharmacy, a private institution, and University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy. Beginning in Fall 2005, the metropolitan St. Louis area also includes Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy. Internet links for these and other pharmacy programs in the United States, Canada and abroad can be found at the web site for the American Association of Pharmacy Colleges,

Before taking any courses for pre-pharmacy, UMSL students should contact the College of Arts and Sciences, 303 Lucas Hall, for pre-pharmacy information. It is important that students take the correct courses for the pharmacy programs they are seeking. Generally, science admission requirements may include some or all of the courses listed below (and possibly other courses):

BIOL 1811, Introductory Biology: From Molecules to Organisms
BIOL 1821, Introductory Biology: Organisms and the Environment
BIOL 1131, Human Physiology and Anatomy I
BIOL 1141, Human Physiology and Anatomy II
CHEM 1111, Introductory to Chemistry I
CHEM 1121, Introductory to Chemistry II
CHEM 2612, Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 2622, Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 2633, Organic chemistry Laboratory
MATH 1800, Analytical Geometry and Calculus I
PHYSICS 1011, Basic Physics
PHYSICS 1012, Basic Physics

Usually, pre-pharmacy requirements also include courses in English composition, humanities, social and behavioral sciences. The specific pharmacy school or college specifies these requirements. In addition, many pharmacy institutions require applicants to take the Pharmacy College Admission Test (PCAT). Detailed information about the PCAT is available online at For additional information about application deadlines and procedures, GPA requirements, and letters of recommendation, students should consult the catalogs and/or web sites for the programs to which they intend to apply.

Pre-Pharmacy advising and information is available through the Office of Undergraduate Student Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, 303 Lucas Hall, 314-516-5501.