Benedictine University at Springfield has a group of dedicated faculty to help undergraduate students identify the educational and professional path for which they are best suited.In addition, the Director of Pre-Professional Health Programs is directly involved in student advising early in their academic careers, to help develop a personalized academic plan for eachstudent.The Director is also responsible for coordinating all health science practica and related clinical affiliations. Students also benefit from working with the Health Sciences Recommendation Committee, who evaluate student applications for practica and provide feedback to students as they prepare their application for a professional program.
Although most professional programs do not specify an undergraduate major, the majority of our students interested in these fields earn a bachelor's degree in Health Science or Biology through the Natural and Computational Sciences Department.
Bachelor of Science: Health Sciences
If you are interested in a career related to health care and want a challenging yet flexible academic preparation, this may be the appropriate major for you. The program offers a curriculum that includes a strong foundation in the physical and life sciences as well as a significant liberal arts core. This curriculum is designed to give you the content area knowledge and the quantitative problem-solving, critical thinking and communication skills required of those working in health care. This major helps prepare you for application to many health-related professional programs, including physical/occupational therapy, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, podiatry, chiropractic and veterinary medicine, as well as related graduate programs. Before applying to these professional programs, you are encouraged to choose a practicum experience where you will spend a semester working directly with professionals in the health career field in which you intend to work.
Bachelor of Science: Biology
Biology encompasses the study of living organisms and is therefore a very broad-based discipline with many potential areas of specialization. Working in this field can include: exploring the structure and function of molecules; better understanding the remarkable interaction of plants and animals with their environment; studying animal classification and behavior; and researching toxicology and the identification of natural compounds that could lead to new medicines. Biologists use physical sciences and mathematics as tools in their studies, and routinely collaborate and communicate with others. Communication skills and the ability to work cooperatively are important to a biologist's success.
In addition to the required curriculum for their major, student seriously interested in applying to professional programs in health care should also plan on a practicum experience during their junior year. Interviews by, and recommendation letters from, the Health Science Recommendations Committee should be arranged for during the spring semester of the junior year, or fall semester of the senior year.
Nationally, all chiropractic schools have the same entrance requirements and do not require a bachelor's degree. However, all chiropractic schools require a significant number of lab-based science courses, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.As a result, most students accepted to doctor of chiropractic schools have previously earned a bachelors' degree.
Successful and motivated students on the Springfield campus have an opportunity to benefit from our articulated agreement with Logan College of Chiropractic as part of our "Pre-Chiropractic 3+3" program. Eligible students must complete their first 3 years of coursework at Benedictine with a 3.25 GPA, including a Chiropractic Practicum. Students who successfully complete all of the criteria for this program are assured a seat at Logan.The students first year at Logan is accepted (in transfer) to complete the B.S. in Health Science – Chiropractic Concentration, from Benedictine.
Although it is possible to enter dental school after three years of college, Illinois dental schools only consider applicants who have first earned a bachelor's degree. Students can choose any major, but the most common programs at the Springfield campus are the Health Science or Biology major because of the significant number of science courses required by dental programs. Interested students should maintain a GPA>3.0 (both cumulative and in required science courses), should apply for a Practicum during their junior or senior year, and plan to take the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) during the spring semester of their junior year.
A student seeking a career in allopathic (M.D.) or osteopathic (O.D.) medicine should plan on completing a bachelor's degree, then applying to medical school. The well-qualified candidate should have a strong foundation in basic science, mathematics and the social sciences, and advanced science courses in biology, chemistry and/or biochemistry. Although any major is accepted by medical schools, the most common at the Springfield campus are the Health Science or Biology major. Interested students should maintain a GPA >3.2 (both cumulative and in required math& science courses), should apply for a Practicum during their junior or senior year (unless they are already working in a health care setting), and plan to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT ®) during the spring semester of their junior year.
Pre-Occupational Therapy Program
A student seeking a career in occupational therapy should plan on completing at least their first two years at the university as a health science major with emphasis in behavioral sciences. As soon as possible, a student should identify an accredited program where they plan to continue their education to verify they are making progress towards these entrance requirements. A student may also choose to complete a bachelor's degree at Benedictine, and then continue his or her education in an entry level master's degree program in occupational therapy. Students choosing this path should consider a major in health science or biology, with a minor in sociology or psychology, or a major in psychology with a minor in biology.See these major description sheets for additional details. Students planning to complete a bachelor's degree at Benedictine should maintain a GPA >3.0 and should apply for a Practicum during their junior or senior year unless they are already working ina closely related field.
A student seeking a career in optometry should plan on completing four years at the university. The well-qualified candidate should have a strong foundation in basic science and mathematics and advanced science courses should emphasize biology or biochemistry. Suggested programs for the biology or health science major should be followed. It is also recommended that the student take the Optometry Admissions Test (OAT) during the spring semester of their junior year.
Students interested in becoming a pharmacist should plan on completing at least two years of a pre-pharmacy program prior to application to a pharmacy school. Because of the significant number of pre-requisite science courses, and in preparation for the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT), the majority of students entering pharmacy schools have previously earned a bachelors' degree in a related field. Interested students are encouraged to become a pharmacy technician while an undergraduate, and should plan on taking the Pharmacy College Admissions Test (PCAT®) in their sophomore or junior year.
For the highly motivated and successful student, Benedictine University offers a Dual Acceptance Program with Midwestern University-Chicago College of Pharmacy (CCP).For students accepted into this program and who meet all progress requirements, they will be granted early acceptance to Midwestern's CCP. Eligible students must apply while a high school senior, and must score in the top 20% on a college entrance exam(ACT of 25 or higher; SAT of 1700 or higher). Once accepted by Benedictine University, a supplementary application will be submitted to Midwestern and select students will be invited for an interview by the CCP Admissions Committee.
Upon admission to the program by Midwestern's CCP, and successful completion of the pre-pharmacy requirements at Benedictine University, successful applicants will be ensured a seat at CCP and do not have to take the PCAT®. Students accepted into this program must complete all course work at Benedictine University at Springfield within two years, achieve of a minimum cumulative G.P.A. of 3.20, and must earn a grade of"C" or higher in all required courses (no repetition of courses allowed). Any student who fails to complete the program may still apply to CCP via the traditional route.
Pre-Physical Therapy Program
Students seeking a career in physical therapy (PT) should plan on completing a bachelor's degree in health science (with a minor in psychology or sociology) or psychology (with a minor in biology), and be sure that they have also met the prerequisites for the graduate program they are considering. Students should plan on applying to a graduate program during their 2nd semester of their junior year, and completing any required placement exams (e.g. GRE®) during this same time period.To be competitive for application to most PT programs, students should maintain a GPA>3.0 and apply for a Practicum during their junior or senior year unless they are already working in a closely related field.
Pre-Physician's Assistant Program
Entrance requirements for the majority of Physician Assistant (PA) programs are very similar to those of medical schools (see Pre-Medical Program details).In addition, many PA programs strongly encourage (or require) that students document a significant number of hours working in a clinical environment, and consider this experience heavily as part of their entrance requirements. Students serious about pursuing this profession are strongly encouraged to find work experience while in high school or early on in college – many students choose to become Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), etc.,as a way of earning money while in school and making significant progress in documenting these clinical hours and gaining this valuable work experience.
Although it is possible to enter podiatry school after three years at the university, it is strongly recommended that students complete a bachelor's degree – and the majority of students entering podiatry programs have previously earned a four year degree. Students can elect any major, but as most podiatry programs require a significant number or science courses, biology or health science majors are the most commonly chosen. Interested students should also plan on taking the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT ®) during the spring semester of their junior year.
Students may apply to veterinary schools prior to completing a bachelor's degree, but the majority of successful applicants have previously earned this degree. Suggested programs of study include the biology or health science major. It is strongly recommended that the student take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE®) during the spring semester of their junior year at the university. Students planning to complete a bachelor's degree at Benedictine should maintain a GPA>3.0 and should apply for a Practicum during their junior or senior year unless they are already working in a closely related field.
(SPRINGFIELD CAMPUS only)
Practicum Application Deadlines:
September 15th (for Spring semester Practica)
February 15th (for Summer or Fall semester
Recommendation Letter Deadlines:
September 15th (for
Fall semester interviews and letter requests)
February 15th (for
Spring semester interviews and letter requests)
For application materials and
additional information, contact the Director of Pre-Professional Health
Dr. Todd J. Lafrenz
office - Weaver 134
Benedictine University at Springfield
Dept. of Natural & Computational Sciences
1500 North Fifth Street
Springfield, Il 62702