Jul 25, 2024  
2022-2023 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog 
2022-2023 SUNY Potsdam Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Pre-Professional Programs


Health Professions

Contact Person: Robert Ewy, Biology Department
202 Stowell Hall, (315) 267-2191, ewyrg@potsdam.edu

Students seeking careers in the health professions (medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy, veterinary medicine etc.) are not enrolled in a formal pre-health program, nor required to select any particular major. Coursework that provides both a foundation in the sciences plus studies in the liberal arts provides the background necessary to pursue training in these fields beyond the undergraduate degree. Certain courses are typically required for admission to these professional graduate programs, as well as for preparation for the required admissions exams. Most students select a Biology, Chemistry, or Biochemistry major, since much of the pre-health coursework is also encompassed within these majors.

Students planning careers in the health professions should contact the Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC), as soon as possible (during their first semester at the College). See the current HPAC chair, Dr. Robert Ewy.

Although admission requirements vary between schools, it is recommended that pre-med students complete two years of chemistry (through organic chemistry), a year each of both biology and physics, and at least six credit hours of English, in their first two years of study to be fully prepared to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) during or after their Junior year. The following courses offered at SUNY Potsdam fulfill the minimum requirements of most professional schools:

BIOL 151 - Gen Bio: Cells & Genetics 
BIOL 152 - Gen Bio: Organisms & Ecology  
CHEM 105 - General Chemistry 1 
CHEM 106 - General Chemistry 2  
CHEM 341 - Organic Chemistry 1 
CHEM 342 - Organic Chemistry 2  
PHYS 101 - College Physics I  
PHYS 202 - College Physics II 
PHYS 103 - University Physics I  
PHYS 204 - University Physics II are an alternate physics option.

Starting in 2015, the MCAT introduced a new set of core competencies. Due to the greater emphasis on biochemistry as well as the introduction of a Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior competency section, additional courses in biochemistry as well as introductory courses in sociology and psychology should be taken by pre-med students.

Several other pre-health programs also now require one or two semesters of biochemistry. Since CHEM 425 /CHEM 426  requires two semesters of General Chemistry as well as two semesters of Organic Chemistry as prerequisites, these courses should be started Freshman year to be prepared for taking the appropriate admissions exam following the Junior year of study.

Students completing MCAT exams have reported that the following courses were also particularly helpful:

BIOL 311 - Genetics  
BIOL 407 - Cell Physiology  
BIOL 410 - Human Physiology  
BIOL 413 - Neurophysiology  

Physical, Respiratory, and Occupational Therapy students are required to take a full year of Human Anatomy and Physiology which can typically be completed by taking BIOL 403  and BIOL 404 - Human Anatomy and Physiology 2 . This course will also help in preparation for gross anatomy required by many of the programs. Check with your professional school’s admission office for confirmation.

The Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) is available to provide assistance on academic and curricular matters and to facilitate the preparation of application materials. The committee also prepares a letter of recommendation for each applicant if required or requested.

A partial list of Health Professions:

  • Medicine
  • Physician Assistant
  • Cytotechnology
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Cardiovascular Perfusion
  • Medical Imaging
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • Medical Technology
  • Optometry
  • Dentistry
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Radiologic Technology
  • Veterinary Medicine

Pre-Law Studies

Contact Person: Daniel Lempert, Politics Department
309-B Satterlee, (315) 267-2716, lemperds@potsdam.edu

Students interested in pursuing careers in law should meet with Professor Daniel Lempert of the Politics Department. He is prepared to assist students in evaluating their interests and aptitude for law, and in preparing effective applications to law school. The adviser is also available to provide counseling on academic and curricular issues relating to pre-law studies. 

Law schools do not generally require a specific set of courses for admission. Students who are interested in a career in the legal profession will be prepared for law school if their undergraduate record in the arts and sciences is strong.  Still, some courses prepare students for law school more than others.  It is recommended that students interested in law consult with Professor Lempert as early as possible for advice concerning the selection of courses. The Pre-Law Minor offered through the Politics Department will be of particular interest. Course selection will often depend upon a number of variables and should be undertaken only in consultation with both the major and career interest advisers.

For admission to law school, each student must also demonstrate an aptitude for the law on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), submit strong application essays and letters of recommendation, and have a sufficiently high GPA. Students are urged to consult with Professor Lempert about this test and the application materials before the spring of their junior year.