Westminster College provides guidance and education for students interested in a wide variety of healthcare careers. Professional schools seek students who are broadly educated in the liberal arts with strong critical-thinking and communication skills. These skills are nurtured and developed at Westminster, which has resulted in an above 90 percent acceptance rate for students applying into professional schools.
Students who plan to attend medical or other professional schools in the health sciences can pursue any standard disciplinary or interdisciplinary major Westminster offers. Popular majors for our pre-med and pre-health students include biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, and neuroscience.
Recognizing that each career goal requires a different academic path, each student receives individual attention. Students are advised by the Medical Professions Advisory Committee (MedPAC). MedPAC invites guest speakers, helps with letters of recommendation, and serves as an overall support network for students pursuing health sciences post-degree study.
Students in our Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, Pre-Occupational Therapy, Pre-Physical Therapy and Pre-Pharmacy Programs may also be eligible to participate in one of our unique Bachelor's Degree Plus Programs, which offer qualified students early acceptance or guaranteed admission to health profession schools.
Pre-Med & Pre-Health Programs
The path to becoming a dentist begins with a genuine desire and interest in helping other people. The strong foundation built as an undergraduate student at Westminster College includes demonstrating the knowledge, skills and personal growth attributes that contribute to a strong dental school application and future success in dentistry. While it is possible for a pre-dentistry student to do virtually any academic major, it is imperative for all pre-dental students to work closely with both academic and health professions advisors to ensure completion of all requirements for professional schools and for their undergraduate degree.
Students may also be eligible to participate in one of our two Bachelor's Degree Plus with schools of dental medicine. We offer a 3+4 program and a 4+4 program, both of which offer exceptional high school students the opportunity to apply to Westminster AND dental school at the same time.
Westminster has a 90% acceptance rate to medical school. The reason for that success is the academic and extracurricular experience at Westminster College, ranging from coursework to on- and off-campus service and experiential activities to international study and/or travel, contribute strongly to the appeal of the well-trained and well-rounded individuals who graduate from our school.
Pre-Med students may also be interested in one of our two Bachelor's Degree Plus Programs with schools of medicine. These Early Application or Affiliate programs allow students to apply to med school as high school seniors or at any point before the end of their sophomore year at Westminster. If accepted, students are guaranteed acceptance to med school provided they successfully complete the program requirements.
At Westminster, students who are interested in careers in Occupational Therapy usually major in Psychology. OT overlaps with Psychology in that occupational therapists help clients in activities connected to daily living and psychologists help their clients adjust to life-changing events. As a pre-OT student, you'll receive specialized advising to ensure you get the courses and experiences that you need to get into OT school.
Psychology students have attended Occupational Therapy graduate programs at the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University and Indiana State University. Westminster also offers Pre-OT students a fast-track to the Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree through a Bachelor's Degree Plus Program with Chatham University.
Optometry is the healthcare profession that involves examining the eyes for defects or abnormalities, as well as the prescription of corrective lenses and the diagnosis and management of eye disease. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of optometrists is projected to grow 18% over the next decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Most often, students who seek careers as optometrists major in Biology, Biochemistry or Neuroscience since the curricula include most, if not all, required and recommended courses.
A pharmacist is a highly-skilled and trusted medication expert who undergoes extensive education in order to understand the role that drugs play in different situations. Their role revolves around dispensing prescriptions to patients, conducting health screenings, giving immunizations, and advising on the safe use of medicine. Pharmacists must be familiar with the biochemical make up of drugs and how that impacts their use, side effects, interactions, and implications of effectiveness. As a result, pre-pharmacy students typically major in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, or neuroscience.
A Westminster education is excellent preparation for pharmacy school. Students may also be be interested in our Bachelor’s Degree Plus program in pharmacy that allows qualfied students to begin pharmacy school at the end of their junior year at Westminster.
Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. Students can choose different paths to PT school, but a four-year degree from Westminster positions students to meet the core requirements for competitive applications, to be prepared for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) exam that is required as part of an application to some programs, and to gain appropriate experiences in the field.
Students may also be eligible to participate in our Bachelor’s Degree Plus program in physical therapy. For students selected for the program and who meet the requirements, this articulation agreement offers guaranteed acceptance to PT school after graduation from Westminster.
Physician Assistants (PAs) are medical providers who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare professional. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.
Pre-PA students at Westminster typically major in Biology, a major that well-prepares them to apply to accredited programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 12,700 openings for physician assistants are projected each year, on average, over the decade.
A podiatrist is trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the foot and ankle. Similar to allopathic and osteopathic medical schools, students who want to become podiatrists first earn a bachelor's degree and take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to gain admission to a 4-year podiatry school to earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM).
At Westminster, pre-podiatry gain a solid foundation, developing the knowledge, skills and personal growth attributes that contribute to a strong medical school application and future success as a medical professional.
The academic and extracurricular experience at Westminster College, ranging from coursework to on- and off-campus service and experiential activities, enables students to be both well-trained and well-rounded, which makes our graduates extremely competitive veterinary school applicants.
Veterinarians are often associated with meeting the healthcare needs of companion animals like dogs and cats, but the profession offers many possibilities to work with different types of domestic or exotic animals. Our students can explore the possiblities by interning or shadowing at not just vet offices and hospitals, but also at places like the wild animal refuges, the Erie Zoo, or the Pittsburgh National Aviary.
Bachelor's Degree Plus Programs
At Westminster, Pre-Dental Program students may apply to one of two Bachelor's Degree Plus Programs. Both programs allow qualified students to apply to Westminster and Dental School as high school seniors.
Our 3+4 Program with Case Western Reserve University allows you to spend three years at Westminster in a traditional liberal arts program, then four years at the Case Western University School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland, OH. Students accepted to this program can earn both a bachelor's degree and Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D) degrees in seven years instead of the typical eight.
Our 4+4 Program with the School of Dental Medicine at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) offers qualified students who complete the four-year Westminster degree to be directly admitted to the D.M.D. degree program in Bradenton, Florida.
In addition to our Pre-Med Program, Westminster has two programs that allow students to apply to medical school as early as their senior year of high school.
We have 4+4 articulation programs with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM). Both programs permit qualified students who complete the four-year Westminster degree to be directly admitted to medical school to pursue a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).
Students can apply to either affiliation program as high school seniors, gaining acceptance to Westminster and medical school at the same time. Alternatively, current Westminster students may apply to the 4+4 PCOM program at any time during their first two years at Westminster or to the 4+4 LECOM program during their sophomore year.
In addition to having access to our robust Pre-Occupational Therapy Program, you could be guaranteed admission to an entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy program (OTD) when you graduate through our special agreement with Chatham University. You might also be eligible to start working on your Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at Chatham at the end of your junior year, saving you time and money.
In addition to our Pre-Pharmacy Program, qualified students who want to go on to earn a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) can save time and money through our articulation agreement with Duquesne University's School of Pharmacy. Students in the 3+4 Pharmacy Program spend three years at Westminster and then four years at Duquesne University, earning both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree at the end of seven years. A 2+4 Early-Entry Doctor of Pharmacy Program is also available.
In addition to our Pre-Physical Therapy Program, which will prepare you to enter any accredited Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program, Westminster also has an articulation agreement with Chatham’s University’s DPT program. Students in the program are guaranteed acceptance to Chatham's doctoral program upon their graduation from Westminster, upon completion of program requirements.