Pre-Professional Health Sciences Program

He sent them forth to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Lk 9:2

The Pre-Professional Health Sciences (PPHS) program offers specialized advising and seminar courses to prepare students for graduate-level professional training in a wide variety of health care fields. We believe that students applying to professional schools should demonstrate academic competence, a willingness to serve others, and a familiarity with the demands of their chosen profession. Students are encouraged to use their entire college experience as a time to develop a strong sense of vocation and the ability to clearly articulate their professional and personal goals.

Our job is to support students as they explore possible health care careers and choose a pathway that best suits their interests, talents, and sense of calling. This discernment process can be challenging, as there are many dozens of career options and students may need time to develop confidence in their abilities. PPHS program graduates have become physicians, physician assistants, dentists, optometrists, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, genetic counselors, and veterinarians, among others.

Admission to professional schools is competitive and therefore requires thoughtful and intentional preparation. Each student’s journey is unique, so there is no standard timeline for applying to a professional training program. The PPHS program strives to provide a realistic assessment of each student’s readiness, so that when they do seek admission to a professional school, they are able to present the strongest application possible.

Ultimately, the choice of profession and the timing of the application are the student’s responsibility. Each student must take ownership of their progress toward their goals by

  • Meeting regularly with their faculty advisor to design an appropriate plan for completing an undergraduate degree.
  • Following the guidance provided by the PPHS curriculum, particularly as it relates to job shadowing, community service, and other relevant experiences.
  • Reflecting on their personal growth in areas such as leadership, cultural competence, communication, teamwork, and resilience.
  • Following current events relevant to their chosen profession and health care in general.
  • Becoming familiar with the admissions requirements of schools in their chosen field.
  • Exhibiting professional behavior in all academic and nonacademic situations.

Although no two students will follow the same pathway, some of the expectations for each stage are outlined in the following pages. Information about some common health care professions is also provided. Questions about the PPHS program may be directed to

Faculty Contact

Charlotte Pratt

Associate Professor of Biology; Director of the Pre-Professional Health Sciences Program
PhD, Duke University

Phone: 206-281-2189
Office: Eaton 102

Med School Acceptance Rates

Over the last five years, SPU premed students have achieved an average acceptance rate into medical school of 90 percent — far exceeding the 39 percent national average.

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