Choosing an Undergraduate Major

Are you interested in healthcare, but aren’t sure where to start? Here are some suggestions on how to decide upon your optimal undergraduate major.

First, does your ultimate goal include a graduate program that requires a bachelor’s degree prior to admission?  If your goal does not require a bachelor’s degree first (such as pharmacy)- declare that major directly.  If your goal does require a bachelor’s degree first (such as Physician Assistant, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Dentistry, Medicine, Law School, etc.), we suggest you consider all of the following when deciding upon your optimal undergraduate major.What do you love, and what are you good at? Your undergraduate major must be something you are passionate about and something that you have a natural affinity for.  Depending on the type of graduate program you are interested in, successful applicants may need an undergraduate GPA >3.6.   You must love what you are studying to successfully achieve the undergraduate GPA necessary for admission into top graduate programs.

Research the end goal. Look at prerequisite admission requirements for the graduate programs that interest you (available on their websites) and note the following items:

Next look at coursework (curriculum) and ask  the following questions:

  • Do those courses interest you?  If not, choose a different major!
  • How many of the required courses for graduate school admission (i.e. prerequisites) are included in this major?  No single major is going to have every prerequisite course for every graduate school, so expect to take some additional course work.  But consider if you will have to take a few additional courses or many additional courses.  Also ask yourself if the coursework is helpful preparation for achieving high scores on the required graduate admission test you may be taking in a few years.
  • How will these courses help prepare you for the next step?  Sometimes that answer isn’t obvious.  There is much more to consider than ‘Does it satisfy a prerequisite requirement?’   For example, successful healthcare providers need to be excellent communicators, stellar problem solvers, and must relate well to all kinds of people.   Courses that develop these skills may not be listed on prerequisite admission requirements, but are also among the most valuable.

Undergraduate majors at Butler that have multiple required courses that overlap with several healthcare related graduate program prerequisites are listed below, in alphabetical order.  Click each link to explore their respective curriculums.

Health Sciences
Healthcare and Business
Public Health
Science, Technology, and Environmental Studies

Also look for extra-curricular opportunities that will enhance your experience.  Most extracurricular opportunities are not major specific, but explore what opportunities are available.  Think about internship or research opportunities.  Think about healthcare-related clubs or organizations.  Do any of these opportunities also meet any graduate school admission requirements (such as observation or patient care hours) or can they be used to set you apart from other applicants (global health experiences, research, etc.)

Talk to students currently in each of the majors you are considering.  What has their journey been like?  Are they happy?  What tips to they have?