Students planning to apply to medical or dental school have unique advising needs. Premedical and predental students during their undergraduate careers should master not only the academic course content required by medical/dental schools, but develop and enhance other skills as well. Successful applicants are expected to demonstrate maturity, commitment, social and interpersonal skills, as well as intellectual ability. A critical initial step for students interested in medical or dental school is to meet with a University Studies Division advisor. The University Studies Division’s premed/predent advising services are designed to help students:

USD Advisement Services:

--General advising for health professions students is available on a walk-in basis;
--Premed/predent student workshops are given biweekly during fall and spring semesters;
--Student Portfolio maintenance includes a $25 service fee (billed on student’s fee bill);
--Reference Service provides mailouts of students’ letters of recommendation to up to 5 medical or dental schools or application services (additional mailouts available for postage and handling fee);
--Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) review and recommendation letters are an optional service for students who meet HPAC criteria (details follow);

USD advisors provide students with information and assistance and help students evaluate options. USD advisors do not take part in any admissions evaluation decisions, do not write letters of recommendation for medical or dental school, and do not serve as voting members of the HPAC.

To support success, USD advisors suggest that students:

--Attend tutoring and campus workshops to enhance test taking and content area skills.
--Talk with professors. Professors who know the student write the best recommendation letters.
--Prepare for the MCAT or DAT. A consistent and focused review during the semester before taking the test is considered the key to successful score results.
--Practice interviewing skills. Campus resources and student groups can offer help in this area.
--Budget financial resources. Applying to schools can be expensive; planning ahead is wise.
--Apply early. Ideally, students should schedule their HPAC review for June or July of the year they apply to medical or dental school, get applications in the mail by mid-summer and begin interviewing in early fall of that same year

Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) & the Student Portfolio:

The Health Professions Advisory Committee (HPAC) consists of 14 University of Houston faculty and staff from a variety of academic disciplines. The committee evaluates premedical and predental Student Portfolios and issues a consensus recommendation letter that becomes part of the student’s file. The USD assists students in the preparation of the Student Portfolio. The USD coordinator of Health Professions Advising serves as liaison to HPAC and is a member ex oficio.

HPAC review is not mandatory, but medical and dental school admission officers emphasize the significance of such letters in their selection decision. All eligible UH students should be encouraged to take advantage of this option by contacting the USD for more detailed information.

The HPAC review is based primarily on the Student Portfolio which will contain a personal statement, transcripts, grade point average chart, and letters of evaluation. While committee members may consider MCAT or DAT scores when available, these scores are not a major factor in the overall decision. There are five possible recommendation levels issued by HPAC:

  • Highest Recommendation
  • Highly Recommend
  • Recommend
  • Recommend with Reservations
  • Unable to Recommend

The HPAC cover letter specifies the level of recommendation and other details of the evaluation process. Applicants may request that the HPAC cover letter not be sent to professional schools if they wish. The HPAC does not meet with applicants in person although in unusual situations the committee may request an interview.

Students who wish to be reviewed by HPAC must meet specific criteria established by the committee. Refer students to the USD for information on how to qualify for HPAC review.

Medical/Dental School Admissions Criteria:

Medical and dental schools will consider each applicant’s grades, standardized test scores (MCAT/DAT), personal statement, letters of recommendation, volunteer and work experience, and admissions interview. Grades in science classes are extremely important and overall GPA is one of the key factors in admission decisions as is the MCAT/DAT score.

There is no specific major designated for students wishing to go to medical or dental school; any undergraduate major is acceptable. Students should select a major based on their interests and abilities. Ideally, the chosen major will enable the student to demonstrate skill in a variety of classes and to achieve an outstanding grade point average.

The following courses are required for admission by all Texas medical and dental schools:

Two semesters of English Composition
ENGL 1303: Freshman Composition I
ENGL 1304: Freshman Composition II

One semester of Calculus (required for premed, not predent)
MATH 1431: Calculus I
(Prerequisites: MATH 1310, MATH 1330, or placement)

Two semesters of general chemistry with labs
CHEM 1331,1111: Fundamentals of CHEM I (Math 1310 prerequisite)
CHEM 1332, 1112: Fundamentals of CHEM II

Two semesters of introductory biology with labs
BIOL 1431: Introduction to Biological Sciences I
BIOL 1432: Introduction to Biological Sciences II

Two semesters of introductory physics with labs
PHYS 1301,1101: Introductory General Physics I (Math 1330 prerequisite)
PHYS 1302,1102: Introductory General Physics II

Two semesters of organic chemistry with labs
CHEM 3331, 3221: Fund. of Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 3332, 3222: Fund. of Organic Chemistry II

Two semesters of advanced biology
The following courses are especially recommended for preparation for the MCAT and DAT:
BIOL 3324, 3124: Human Physiology & lab
BIOL 2333, 2133: Elementary Microbiology & lab
BCHS 3304, 3201: General Biochemistry I & lab
(Note: UT Houston Dental School requires 3 hours of general biochemistry in addition to the two semesters of advanced biology.)

Other recommended advanced biology courses:
BIOL 3301, 3201: Genetics & lab
BIOL 4323: Immunology
BIOL 4354: Endocrinology
BIOL 4384, 4184: Developmental Biology & lab
BIOL 4373, 4172: Microbial Physiology & lab
BIOL 4374, 4172: Cell Biology & lab

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