For some high-achieving students, the laser-like focus necessary to make the dream of becoming a health care professional come true can lead to blind spots when choosing an educational institution for pre-professional study. After all, a “biology degree” is as good as a “human biology degree,” right? The truth is, how you map out your “pre-professional” education in health care matters.
Unfamiliar with the term “pre-professional” program? That’s OK because it’s not like majoring in a particular subject. “Pre-professional” refers to a specific path of study in college that leads to a professional program after graduation – schools of medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, law, and others.
As an example, let’s consider that you’re leaning toward a pre-professional program in health care because you want to interact with human patients. Both a bachelor of science in biology and bachelor of science in human biology degree take four years of study, yet they approach the subject differently.
The broader survey of “biology” explores processes, functions, and systems for all types of living organisms. A singular focus on a “human biology” degree signals a deeper, more detailed investigation into how the human body and its systems work.
The human biology degree, because it is focused, allows more extensive study into other human life science areas:
Tips for Going from a Pre-Professional Program to Professional School
If you know you’re going directly from a pre-professional program to a professional school, think of it as being two parts of a unit of study. If not coordinated and set up properly, you may not get the streamlined educational experience needed to be entirely successful.
That’s why the best option is to do the homework necessary to find a health-care centered university, one with a dedication to life science and related coursework. For example, classes leading to a human biology degree provide more relevant content than those leading to a general biology degree for someone planning to become a doctor of chiropractic.
Seek High-quality Faculty, Smaller Class Sizes
It’s also important to understand the makeup of the teaching faculty. Talented professors know how to communicate their subject matter in ways that resonate with students that have any learning style. Avoid colleges and universities that rely heavily on teaching assistants (TAs), have student-faculty ration above 18:1, or both.
Sometimes students elect to transfer credit from general education courses (“gen eds”) before enrolling in a professional program. Not all courses transfer as expected, so if you think you might go the transfer route, it helps to get information as early in the process as possible. You can get started by finding out what documented transfer agreements (or articulation agreements) exist between the colleges and universities you’re considering.
Turn to a Comprehensive, Health Care University: CUKC
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a nonprofit, private, health-care focused university located in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City that has been pioneering health care for nearly 100 years.
CUKC offers an Associate of Arts in Biological Sciences that can then be applied toward earning a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology degree. These courses are offered in accelerated eight-week intervals on campus and online.
Many CUKC human biology program graduates apply to medical, dentistry, or chiropractic programs. Some students at CUKC simultaneously earn a human biology degree and a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. This option works well for focused students who want to maximize the overall value of their education by earning two degrees at once.