Health Professions Advising (HPA) Curriculum

All of the health professions listed to the left require further education after you graduate from college. At UM-Dearborn, you will obtain a strong liberal arts and science education to prepare you for the competitive health professions (HP) graduate programs. 

Select from the navigation menu to learn more about each one and how to prepare for them and read the FAQs below.  We look forward to helping you! 

HPA Summer 2020 FAQ

As UM-Dearborn updates its information on COVID-19, please know that the HPA is keeping you updated through this specially made FAQ.

HPA Hours & Appointments: Summer 2020

To maintain social distancing, the HPA Director and Team are working remotely and all HPA appointments are virtual appointments.

Email: Before e-mailing, please read the FAQ below carefully. If you still have a simple and quick question, e-mail it to HPA Email. If it seems that your question(s) are better addressed in a meeting, we will ask you to schedule an appointment using the HPA scheduling instructions. Please note, you will meet with a member of the HPA Team, the HPA Director is working with the 2021 applicants during the summer. 

Q1. What will medical schools or other health professions (HP) Graduate schools think if I choose to pass/fail (P/F) my science or pre-requisite courses?

As of the end of March 2020, the State of Michigan Medical and Dental Schools have all made statements regarding Pass/Fail for Winter 2020.  You will find these statements on the Pre-Medicine and Pre-Dental links (in the upper left corner). 

As of March and April 2020, some of the other HP graduate schools are making statements regarding Pass/Fail for Winter 2020.  You will find these statements on the links (upper left corner).  Not all are in consensus that P/F grades will be accepted in place of letter grades. 

Here is the HPA's general advice: Since you have the option to take courses for grades, the HPA Director strongly recommends maintaining the grade option especially for science (biology, chemistry, physics [and all labs] and math classes) and pre-requisite HP courses.  Your academic performance this semester is a testament of your resilience, adaptability and reliability during a challenging and unparalleled time. These characteristics are among the core competencies that all HP graduate schools seek in future health professionals.  Please note: all HP Graduate schools have the right to ask to see your final grade even if you go the Pass/Fail route.  Please know that a Pass at UM-Dearborn is a C- which is not accepted at most HP graduate programs.  

It is my hope that all HP Graduate Schools understand the historic and unprecedented circumstances we are all facing. If you need to P/F a science or pre-requisite course, please set up an HPA appointment using the HPA appointment instructions (do not schedule on-line) to discuss your situation. 

I hope to learn more in the weeks ahead, and when I do, I will keep you posted on this particular FAQ answer. Please check back regularly. (updated 4/28/2020)

Q2. I’ve heard that Medical Schools and HP Graduate Schools don’t like online courses. How will they respond to the fact that all of our courses are being done on-line? What about lab courses?

Yes, in the past in general, medical schools and HP Graduate schools, may have seen online courses as an indicator that a student was trying to take an "easy way out."  

Today, we're in an unprecedented and historic time where colleges and universities across the country moved their courses and instruction on-line, including labs.  It is my hope everyone is trying to be flexible right now, medical school and HP Graduate School admissions included.  On the Pre-Medical and other HP links (upper left corner), you will see the State of Michigan Schools statement regarding online classes.  For now, please proceed with your winter and summer courses as they are planned.  

Q3. This summer, I'd like to take a premed or pre-HP track prerequisite in person, but it is only being offered on-line, it is okay to take it?

Historically, medical schools and HP Graduate Schools have not been inclined to accept online prerequisites for reason stated above; and they were more likely to question the rigor of these courses.  As campuses across the country moved their classes online for the summer, it is my hope everyone is trying to be flexible, medical school and HP Graduate School admissions included.  For now, please proceed with summer courses as they are planned.   If you want to take a course online, I recommend taking an elective of gen ed or or DDC requirement, but if you need to take a pre-requisite or science course then do so.  

Q4. How can I stay involved in HP track activities while I'm home for the rest of the semester and this summer?

The stay home stay safe order is in place for a reason-- your safety and well being and that of your family.  No health professions graduate school expects you to be doing clinical or community service at this time. Starting a new activity or service maybe difficult or next to impossible since most organizations are either closed or not training new people. Many in-person volunteer and clinical activities are also suspended to try to maintain social distancing. 

Activities to do now, but if you have ideas, please let me know so I  can share them with others!

  • Be an active, helpful member of your own home community. Volunteer to cover childcare needs for neighbors, or extended family, and/or health care providers. Check-in (by phone/from a distance) on the elderly. If you’re part of a religious community, see if there are ways that you can provide support through them. Check with organizations where you have volunteered in the past to see if you can step back into previous roles. 


  • Learn more about the next step in your education: use the HPA URL and the HPA General Information Google Classroom as resources to help you. Please contact us to find out how to get on the HPA Gen Info Google Classroom, a resoure rich with information for you! 


  • Do some HP track journaling and documentation. Now is the time to catch up on all that reflective writing and documentation of your hours!  Use the Clinical Shadowing Document in Topic 5 of the HP General Information Google Classroom. The last two pages are documentation pages that you can use to help you with all of your documentation of clinical and non-clinical work.


  • Take classes for free through the University of Michigan Coursera. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page and see great courses such as The Science of Success: What Researches Know that You Should Know; Sleep: Neurobiology, Medicine and Society; and Foundational Skills for Communicating about Health.  Many more exist not only through the University of Michigan but other universities. 


  • Keep taking good care of yourself!  Remember, you can only control what is in your control, such as sleep, diet, exercise, spiritual and psychological well-being. 
Q5. Where else can I learn about the pass/fail option and other course options at UM-Dearborn for Winter 2020?

Please go to the special URL:  Course Options Pertinent for Winter 2020

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are FAQs common among UM-Dearborn pre-HPA students.  We hope you find these questions and answers helpful to you before you met with your HPA team. 

Q1. Where can I get more general information about health careers?
Q2. What is the outlook for health care professions careers?
Q3. What should I major in at UM-Dearborn?

While many health professions track students are interested in the natural sciences as a major, others may be interested in the social sciences, humanities, or the arts. Health professions (HP) graduate schools seek applicants with diverse and broad and strong academic backgrounds, not that you were a natural science major or a double major.

While many students major in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Behavior and Biological Sciences, Psychology, and Health and Human Services, HP graduate schools are more concerned with a student's overall academic quality and scope of college work and not necessarily with the academic major. Given this, you may select a major that is of interest to you, one you will do well in, and one that will provide a foundation of knowledge necessary for career alternatives.

Q4. Does it matter if I earn a BS (Bachelor of Science) or BA (Bachelor of Arts) for my degree?

Health professions graduate schools are more concerned with a student's overall academic quality and scope of college work, not with the type of degree earned. In other words, you do not have to have a bachelor of science (BS) to go on to health professions graduate school. Given this, you may decide to earn a degree that is of interest to you, and one that will provide a foundation of knowledge necessary for career alternatives.

Q5. If I choose to be pre-med or other pre-health, then is that my major? Will I receive a pre-med or pre-health degree?

Like most universities our pre-med or pre-health professions track is not your academic major. It is advising and support designed to help prepare you to gain admission to a medical school or health professions graduate school. You cannot receive a degree in pre-med or any pre-health professions track at UM-Dearborn.

Q6. Should I obtain double major or get a minor or both at UM-Dearborn?

Health professions graduate schools do not require or expect a student to earn a double major or a minor.  It is completely up to the student to earn either or both.  Health professions graduate schools expect that you will do well academically in your one major, your general education classes (DDC) and in the pre-health professions course requirements. If you add a second major or a minor or both, you will be expected to do well academically in each area you add.

Q7. What if I need to repeat a course or a series of courses?

Generally speaking, it is not recommended that pre-med and/or pre-health professions coursework be repeated. If you do not perform well in an early science course, you can take next level science course to improve your academic record.  Again, if you run into academic trouble in a course, you should seek the help of the professor, an academic advisor, or the UM-Dearborn Health Professions Advisor early on. Please keep in mind that all course efforts, including repeats, and their grades are entered into the application. 

A single low grade is not going to keep you out of medical school or health professions graduate school, but multiple low grades and thereby multiple potential repeats may as they show a negative trend. If you are in the latter situation, you will want to seek the help of your academic advisor and the UM-Dearborn Health Professions Advisor. 

Q8. What if I have to withdraw from a course(s)?

First, pay attention to your school deadlines for drop/add deadlines and W deadlines. You can withdraw from any course within the first 7-10 days of the semester without penalty academically or financially. Next, if you find you are having trouble with a course, seek the help of your academic advisor or the UM-Dearborn Health Profession Advisor early on. The sooner you get help the easier it will be for you in the long run.  

Similar to advice on course repeats, a single withdrawal on your academic record is not going to keep you out of medical or other health professions graduate school. Sometimes, life happens and a student has one W on their transcript. 
However, multiple ones (Ws) are may as that show a negative trend. If you are in the latter situation, you will want to seek the help of your academic advisor and the UM-Dearborn Health Professions Advisor.

Q9. What qualities and skills should I possess to be a physician or health care professional?

The same qualities and skills that current health professionals are expected to possess. Health professionals are expected to be able to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds. They should be committed to serving others, work well on teams and possess integrity and adaptability. They should be able to accept feedback, improve their practice and keep up with emerging science knowledge. You should demonstrate all of these abilities during your college years and on your health professions graduate school applications.

The Association of American Medical Colleagues has presented a list of core competencies (skills/attributes described above) that you will find useful to read and incorporate in your curricular and co-curricular experience.  Work with the UM-Dearborn Health Professions Advisor by attending a HPA new student session to learn about and develop a plan for developing you core personal competencies.

Q10. Do I need to shadow someone in the profession or volunteer in a medical or healthcare clinic?

Yes!  Health professions graduate schools admissions officers want to see that students have learned about their intended careers and have first-hand experience. Some programs are looking for documented hours working with patients or observing a professional; some look for letters of evaluation from mentors in the profession; some look for volunteer work in a health care setting, such as a hospital, free health clinic, dental clinic, OT or PT clinic..

In general, any experience in a professional setting will be helpful to your application and your career. Please work with the UM Dearborn Health Professions Advisor by attending a HPA new student session to learn about and develop a plan for developing you core professional competencies. 

Q11. Where can I look to get involved with pre-med and pre-health student groups?

We have many pre-med and pre-health professions student groups at UM-Dearborn.  The UM-Dearborn Health Professions Advisor is faculty advisor to five student groups, including:

  1. Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS)
  2. Pre-Dental Association (PDA) 
  3. Pre-Medical Honor Society Phi Delta Epsilon (PhiDE) 
  4. Pre-Professional Health Society which includes sub groups for Medicine, Dentistry, PA/PT/OT, Vet Med
  5. Pre-Optometry Club 

Visit the Victors Link, the online hub for all student organization and campus resources at UM-Dearborn, to find and learn more.


Do you want to know more about this?

For currently enrolled UM-Dearborn students:

Request an appointment by email or through M-Success to meet with any member of the HPA Team.

Please follow the HPA appointment policy and instructions sent after your HPA NSS or beginning of the semester to request a HPA appointment.

For prospective new students: high school or transfer students

Please contact Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

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