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Pre-Professional Education



  • “The Professions” include a wide variety of occupations such as engineering, law, many aspects of human health care, counseling/clinical psychology, military/aerospace, and veterinary medicine. “The Professions” uniformly require either highly technical education within the Bachelor’s degree or, more commonly, two to four years of graduate education after a Bachelor’s degree.
  • In most cases, Professional (graduate) schools require a Bachelor’s degree for admission to their programs. One exception is in Engineering, in which a “Pre-Engineering” student might study at UW Oshkosh for one to three years and then transfer to a School of Engineering, such as UW Madison, UW Milwaukee, or UW Platteville.
  • “Pre-Professional” education prepares the college student for advanced work at a Professional school, often entailing a move to a different campus. For example, a UW Oshkosh “Pre-Med” might go on to study medicine at UW Madison, while a “Pre-Law” student might go on to study law at Marquette University.
  • Importantly, “Pre” is not a major. Instead, it is an academic plan added to one’s major. “Pre” is entirely dictated by the requirements of the graduate program to which the college graduate seeks admission.
  • In general, the Pre-Professional student has dual educational goals in college:
    • To earn a Bachelor’s degree in a declared major (exception: Pre-Engineering students, see above). UW Oshkosh is responsible for setting the policies for earning the Bachelor’s degree.
    • To gain admission to the Professional school(s) of his or her choice. Each Professional school is responsible for setting its own policies for admission.
  • In general, the Pre-Professional student is free to choose any major because the vast majority of Professional schools have no preference. Often, one particular major provides the “path of least resistance” for satisfying Professional school admissions requirements. However, that should not be the only reason a student declares that particular major. Students may achieve more academic success in programs that truly interest them. For example, Psychology majors have gone on to medical school, law school and master’s and doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology.
  • Professional schools can, and do, change their admissions requirements at will, and are under no obligation to notify Pre-Professional advisers of their actions. Vigilance is required. Pre-Professional students are encouraged to start scrutinizing the professional organization of graduate programs to which they will apply (for example, for PreMeds this would be and to communicate directly with admissions recruiters at Professional schools to remain current in their policies. In the end, careful planning by the student, with the assistance of advisers at UW Oshkosh and at the Professional school(s), will result in a Bachelor’s degree plan that earns both a college degree and eligibility for admission to a Professional school.
  • At UW Oshkosh, when a student decides to declare a major, s/he also has the option of self-identifying as a particular type of Pre-Professional, such as “Pre-Med” or “Pre-Law”. Identifying as Pre-Professional is secondary to declaring a major but is incredibly helpful as it assists us in notifying “Pre” students of special events or opportunities.  Identifying, or not identifying, as a certain kind of “Pre” does not change the student’s access to advisers or choice of career; it’s a convenience only. Examples of common UW Oshkosh major/Pre-Profession combinations are:
    • Biology/Pre-Med (but Med Schools admit any major)
    • Chemistry/Pre-Pharmacy (but Pharm Schools admit any major)
    • Political Science/Pre-Law (but Law Schools admit any major)
    • Physics/Pre-Engineering
    • Engineering Technology/Pre-Engineering
  • The following emerging trends in Professional education should be noted:
    • Some graduate Professional schools outside of Engineering do admit a tiny fraction of students without the Bachelor’s degree, i.e. with only three years of college. However, outside of Engineering, this policy is disappearing, in view of the value of a well-rounded education and of maturity.
    • Professions that used to be trained at the Bachelor’s degree level are now moving toward the Master’s degree level (typically, two years of Professional school after the Bachelor’s degree).  Professions that used to be Master’s level are now moving toward the Doctoral degree level (typically, four years of Professional school after the Bachelor’s degree).
    •  Non-academic factors contribute substantially to how competitive a student is for Professional school admission. Students must plan for things like entrance exams, apprenticeship-like experiences in the Profession and criminal background checks. Even if not actually required, non-academic factors give students the advantage in the competition for admission.
  • Based on these trends, Pre-Professional students at UW Oshkosh are routinely advised to:
    • Plan a full Bachelor’s degree completion, with the exception of Pre-Engineering students.
    • Plan for the possibility that their chosen profession will “go doctoral” by the time they apply.
    • Plan to accommodate required and recommended non-academic factors.
  • As Professions change, so do the admissions requirements of Professional schools. Therefore, the options for Pre-Professional education at UW Oshkosh change, too. Only the most general information is provided in this Bulletin, so that it does not rapidly go out-of-date.  Please consult the UW Oshkosh web pages and advisers listed below for the most current information.



  • UW Oshkosh Faculty Advisors:
    • Dr. Barton Pritzl,, Dept of Physics and Astronomy
    • Dr. Dennis Rioux,, Dept of Engineering Technology
    • All areas of engineering
  • UARC Academic Advisor:
    • Ann Kunkle-Jones,
  • General Guidance         
    • The greater the number of fundamental math and science courses you can complete at UW Oshkosh before transferring, the quicker you will be able to take the specialized upper-level classes offered only at the engineering schools. If your expectation is to graduate in four or four-and-a-half years, you will need to enroll in the calculus and physics sequences in your first semester. This “hit the ground running” advice also applies to the chemistry sequence if your interest lies with biomedical or chemical engineering. The entry-level math, physics and chemistry sequences are prerequisites for most of the 200-level classes that you will take in your second year. A willingness to spend more time at UW Oshkosh gives you greater flexibility with your schedule and a chance to pick up additional classes that interest you, but it will almost always take longer to graduate.
    • Entry level math preparation is the most common reason for having to extend your time as a pre-engineering student. First semester calculus (MATH 171 Calculus I) is a concurrent enrollment requirement for first semester physics (PHYS 191 General Physics I), and second semester calculus (MATH 172 Calculus II) is a concurrent enrollment requirement for second semester physics (PHYS 192 General Physics II). Of course, if you come to UW Oshkosh having completed one or more calculus courses, you are strongly encouraged to continue with the next class in the sequence.DetailsThe general chemistry sequence (CHEM 105/106 General Chemistry I/II) is required for all engineering sub-disciplines by UW Madison, UW Milwaukee and UW Platteville. As noted above, biomedical and chemical pre-engineering students are encouraged to complete that sequence in their first year, so they can take upper-level courses that fulfill additional program requirements. Students in other engineering fields have more flexibility, but they should plan to take both courses before they transfer.Some engineering programs require an introductory project-based course and a CAD/solid modeling course. EGR 105 Engineering Fundamentals and EGR 110            Engineering Graphics are offered at UW Oshkosh and transfer to engineering programs that require them.

      Sample Schedules

      The following are examples of schedules of math and science classes that well-prepared pre-engineering students would have in two years of study at UW Oshkosh. Students who have already completed some calculus courses are encouraged to advance to the next class in the Calculus I–Calculus II–Calculus III–Differential Equations sequence. Probability & Statistics and Linear Mathematics are taught in both Fall and Spring semesters and make excellent additions to the required math curriculum. Your advisor in the Office of Academic Advising will help you select appropriate University Studies Program (general education) courses to fill the remainder of your schedule.


              First Year                 Biomedical Engineering          Second Year

      Fall                  Spring                             Fall                              Spring

      MATH 171         MATH 172               MATH 273                    MATH 371

      CHEM 105        CHEM 106              CHEM 234/235           CHEM 334/335

      PHYS 191          PHYS 192                                                         EGR 201


              First Year                  Chemical Engineering           Second Year

      Fall                   Spring                               Fall                             Spring

      MATH 171          MATH 172                  MATH 273                  MATH 371

      CHEM 105         CHEM 106                 CHEM 234/235         CHEM 334/335

      PHYS 191           PHYS 192                    CHEM 311


              First Year                  Electrical Engineering            Second Year

      Fall                    Spring                              Fall                             Spring

      MATH 171         MATH 172                  MATH 273                 MATH 371

      PHYS 191          PHYS 192                    CHEM 105                 CHEM 106


              First Year                Mechanical Engineering          Second Year

      Fall                       Spring                            Fall                            Spring

      MATH 171          MATH 172                  MATH 273             MATH 371

      PHYS 191           PHYS 192                    CHEM 105             CHEM 106

      EGRT 105          EGR 201                      EGR 203                EGR 202




  • UW Oshkosh Faculty Advisor:
    • Dr. Jerry Thomas,
  • UARC Academic Advisor
    • Sylvia Dwyer,
  • General Guidance
    • A Bachelor’s degree is required for entrance to most American law schools, and the degree may be earned in any major a student chooses. There are no prescribed courses for admittance to law school, which is a three-year program. The undergraduate pre-law student is however encouraged to pursue an area of study which is interesting and challenging while taking advantage of opportunities to develop skills in research, writing and critical thinking. In Wisconsin, there are law schools at UW Madison and Marquette University. It is recommended that students contact those institutions for specifics about their programs.
    • A student planning to apply to law school should be aware of the following deadlines:
      • Most law schools require applicants to take the Law College Admissions Test (LSAT). The test is administered four times a year. A mock LSAT is available at our Testing Center. Information on test dates, registration procedures and sample tests are available at
      • Nearly all law schools require applicants to subscribe to the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). The LSDAS Report provides law schools with a copy of the undergraduate academic transcript summary, analysis, copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, LSAT scores and a copy of the writing sample. Register at
      • Nearly all law schools require first year students to begin their studies in the fall term.
      • Some law schools make admission decisions as early as October of the year prior to student entry.
      • A student who plans to graduate in May and enter law school that same year (September) should plan to take the LSAT in June after the junior year and complete the law school application forms during that summer after receiving the results of the June exam.
    • Additional Information:
      • University of Wisconsin Law School Admissions and Financial Aid
        975 Bascom Hall
        Madison, WI 53706-1399
        Phone: (608) 262-5914
      • Marquette University Law School Office of Admissions
        Eckstein Hall 1215 West Michigan Street
        Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881
        Phone: (414) 288-6767
    • Additional Information: Professional
      • American Bar Association
        750 North Lake Shore Dr
        Chicago, IL 60611
        Phone: (312) 988-5000
        Web Site:
      • National Lawyers Association Information Services City Center Square
        PO Box 26005
        Kansas City, MO 64196
        Phone: 1 (800) 471-2994
        Web Site:


Pre-Healthcare Professions

  • UARC Academic Advisors:
    • Denelle Helgeson,
    • Shane Hua,
    • Meredith Resop,
  • General Guidance
    • While we usually think of “Healthcare” as meaning the clinical care of patients, it also includes administration and management, research and development, and sales of pharmaceuticals and instrumentation.  New technologies, new policies and new treatments have greatly expanded the number of Healthcare careers in recent years.  Information about these careers may be found through the United States Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Medical Association, and the Wisconsin Area Health Education Center
    • Undergraduate preparation for many of these Healthcare careers can be obtained at UW Oshkosh. Moreover, today’s high school seniors will probably have even more options by the time they are college seniors. UW Oshkosh has its eye on this future for our students.

I. Terminal Bachelor’s Degree Programs
UW Oshkosh offers several Healthcare-related degree programs requiring only a Bachelor’s degree as the “terminal” degree. These include:

  • Environmental Health major (faculty advisor-Sabrina Mueller-Spitz)
  • Rehabilitation Science ( Dan Schmidt and Robert Sipes)
  • Medical Technology major (faculty advisor-Mallory Janquart)
  • Nursing major (traditional program)
  • Radiography emphasis of the Medical Imaging major (faculty advisor-Mallory Janquart)
  • Sonography emphasis of the Medical Imaging major (faculty advisor-Mallory Janquart)

Each of the above majors takes about eight semesters (four years) to complete. Degree completion is generally followed by passing a licensure exam, leading to eligibility for clinical care employment directly after college. Advanced study in the above fields may also be available on the UW Oshkosh campus or elsewhere. Consult the Bulletin index or program web sites (found at for more details.

Our College of Nursing also offers an Accelerated Nursing degree for students who have already earned a different Bachelor’s degree and have completed certain course prerequisites.  See for more details.

II. Bachelor’s Degree Programs preparatory for Graduate Education

Traditional “Pre-Health” Bachelor’s degree programs are not terminal; instead, they prepare students for further Professional education at the Master’s or Doctoral level, culminating in professional clinical care or research and development careers. Typically, Pre-Health students at UW Oshkosh select a suitable major and then apply to the Health Profession school(s) of their choice, such as those listed below, in the early summer between junior and senior year.

  • Anesthesia assistant (Master’s degree)
  • Chiropractor (Doctoral degree)
  • Clinical psychologist (Doctoral degree)
  • Dentist (Doctoral degree)
  • Medical doctor (allopathic or osteopathic) (Doctoral degree)
  • Occupational therapist (Master’s degree or higher) (faculty advisor-Lace Luedke)
  • Optometrist (Doctoral degree)
  • Pharmacist (Doctoral degree)
  • Physical Therapist (Doctoral degree) (faculty advisor-Lace Luedke)
  • Physician Assistant (Master’s degree)
  • Podiatrist (Doctoral degree)
  • Veterinarian (Doctoral degree)

What constitutes a “suitable major” is really up to the student because the graduate programs specify certain courses, but not certain majors. Often, UW Oshkosh students choose traditional majors offered through our departments of Biology, Chemistry, Kinesiology, or Psychology. Some of these departments offer a major that is nearly a perfect fit for certain PreHealth plans, so it’s worth asking about that.

Whatever Health Profession and major that a student may choose, their “Pre-Health” plan needs to prepare them for the pertinent entrance exam, such as the MCAT (for medical and podiatry school), the DAT (for dental school), the OAT (for optometry school), the PCAT (for pharmacy school), or the GRE (for OT, PA, PT, and vet school).  Typically, the first cut in Health Professional school admissions will be based on cumulative college GPA and the entrance exam score.

The College of Letters & Sciences offers several minors that may interest Pre-Health students who have declared any major, including:

  • Biology minor
  • Chemistry minor
  • Health, Humanities, and Society minor
  • Microbiology minor
  • Psychology minor

Students wishing up-to-date information on these degree programs should consult the Bulletin index for the sponsoring department or the campus web site for more details on each of those programs.

III. Special Healthcare Profession Programs:  Our Department of Kinesiology offers a Master’s in Athletic Training program.  See for more information.

Our School of Graduate Studies offers a 100% online Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Management to students who already hold Bachelor’s degrees. See for more information.

Our College of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing (Clinical Nurse Leader and Nurse Educator emphases), a Doctor of Nursing Practice (family nurse practitioner and nurse anesthetist emphases), and Graduate Certificates. See for more information.