Students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis may develop pre-professional study programs from the university’s academic offerings in 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.
All students must have a major. Pre-Law is not a major – it is an emphasis (though not posted on the student’s transcript). Selecting a major can be done when applying or in person in 303 Lucas Hall.
Declaring the Pre-Law Emphasis: A student may only declare the pre-law emphasis during the freshman, sophomore or first semester junior year. Declaring the pre-law emphasis can only be done at the beginning of the respective semester of the academic calendar year.
Standards for Declaring the Pre-Law Emphasis as a Freshman: The student must have a minimum 2.50 cumulative high school grade point average in the core courses if declaring the pre-law emphasis as a first semester freshman. If a second semester freshman, the student must have a minimum 2.70 cumulative grade point average at the university/community college level.
The student must attend the pre-law orientation session in the Fall semester of the freshman year. If declaring the pre-law emphasis as a second semester freshman, the student must attend the pre-law orientation session in the Fall semester of the following academic calendar year.
Standards for Declaring the Pre-Law Emphasis as a Sophomore or first semester Junior: If a sophomore, the student must have a minimum 2.80 cumulative grade point average to declare the pre-law emphasis. If a junior, the student must have a minimum 2.90 cumulative grade point average to declare the pre-law emphasis.
Attendance at Pre-Law Orientation Session – Requirement: If the student declares the pre-law emphasis in the Fall semester of the academic calendar year, the student must attend the pre-law orientation session that same Fall semester. If the student declares the pre-law emphasis in the Winter/Spring semester, the student must attend the pre-law orientation session the Fall semester of the next academic calendar year. Each student is responsible for recording his/her attendance at the pre-law orientation session.
Student Standards of Progression in the Pre-Law Emphasis: It is critically important that the student maintain a high undergraduate GPA, for example, a 3.6 or higher for a high-ranking law school, or at least a 2.95 or higher for a Tier 4 school. (See www.prelawhandbook.com/grade_point_average.)
Students having a pre-law emphasis must successfully complete, by earning a grade of C- or higher, the following courses by the end of their sophomore year to remain in the pre-law emphasis track:
1. POL SCI 1100: Introduction to American Politics
2. POL SCI 1200: Foundations of Law
3. PHIL 1160: Logic and Language
Students having a pre-law emphasis must successfully complete, by earning a grade of C- or higher, the following courses by the end of their junior year to remain in the pre-law emphasis track:
1. POL SCI 3200: Constitutional Law
2. CRI MIN 1120: Criminal Law
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: www.aamc.org
American Dental Education Association Official Guide to Dental Schools
Phone: 1-202-289-7201; Website: www.adea.org
Schools and Colleges of Optometry Admission Requirements
Phone: 1-301-231-5944; Website: www.opted.org (see Pre-Optometry section below)
Pharmacy School Admission Requirements
Phone: 1-703-739-2330; Website: www.aacp.org (See Pre-Pharmacy section below)
Veterinary Medical School Admission Requirements in the United States and Canada
Phone: 1-202-371-9195; Website: www.aavmc.org/
**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 (for biology majors), OR PHYSICS 2111, Physics: Mechanics and Heat and PHYSICS 2112, Physics: Electricity, Magnetism and Optics (for 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 I and II 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.
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 students 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 College of 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.
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, www.aacp.org.
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 intend to pursue. 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 www.pcatweb.info. 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.