Courses, Grades, and Credits

Almost every professional program requires specific courses for admission.  We want to make sure you take the courses you need in order to become the strongest applicant you can be, so we have reviewed the prerequisite requirements for every accredited professional program in the United States in order to provide you with a list of the most common requirements.  Not every program will require the courses listed below, and some programs will require additional courses.   If you have specific programs in mind that you are planning to apply to, please consult their websites for specific prerequisite course requirements.

If you are currently enrolled in one of COLSA's science majors, the majority of your prerequisite courses will be incorporated into your major!  If you are not in one of COLSA's science majors, we can definitely still fit these prerequisite courses into your academic plan.  You can schedule an appointment with the pre-health advisor if you need help doing this.

One course we recommend to every student interested in pursuing a career in healthcare is INCO403 Healthcare Professions Seminar.  This is a 2 credit, Pass/Fail course that runs each fall on the Durham campus. We typically recommend you take this course in the fall of your Sophomore year, but plenty of Juniors take it as well!

Please remember, these are just general guidelines.  You should verify the requirements for each program on their website.

Advanced Placement credits are not universally accepted by professional programs so we recommend that you retake any AP coursework, especially your science prerequisite courses, at UNH.  If you do not retake your AP coursework, you should take additional upper-level courses in that subject area.  Professional Programs are more lenient with AP credits for English, Psychology, Sociology, and Mathematics courses, although we still recommend taking an upper-level course to potentially satisfy that requirement.  If you retake a course at UNH that already has AP credit, you will forfeit the AP credit since you cannot receive credit for a duplicate course.

Many professional programs will only accept prerequisite coursework where you earned a C or higher (C- grades are not accepted).  If you earn a C- or lower in a prerequisite course, you have two options:

  1. Repeat the course for a higher grade
  2. Take a higher level course to replace the prerequisite.

There are pros and cons to each of these two options.  If you repeat the course, you know it will satisfy the prerequisite requirement for your program.  Unfortunately, the Centralized Application Service (CAS) will use both grades to calculate your GPA.  Your UNH GPA will improve, but your CAS calculated GPA will be lower than your UNH GPA since your grades are averaged.  Your chosen program may also average your grades together when calculating your prerequisite GPA; if your average is below their minimum requirement, they may not use it to satisfy the prerequisite requirements.  If you decide to take an upper-level course to replace the prerequisite, your UNH GPA and the CAS GPA should be the same, so there won't be any surprises.  It also shows the admissions committees that you have mastered the material.  The problem is that some programs may not allow substitutions for prerequisite coursework. 

If you already know which programs you plan to apply to in the future, you should verify with them how they view repeated courses and if they accept substitutions for prerequisite courses. 

Most professional programs will accept credits taken at the community college level for your lower level science prerequisite courses as well as your English, Psychology, Sociology, and Mathematics courses.  Community College courses are typically seen as easier so if you do take your lower level science prerequisite courses at a community college, it is strongly recommended that take additional upper-level courses in that subject area.  If there are other courses you are interested in completing at a community college, you should check with your major advisor to be sure they will fulfill the UNH requirements.  You will also need to complete the Transfer Credit Prior Approval Form prior to enrolling in the course.

It is not recommended to split your full year prerequisite coursework (Anatomy & Physiology, Introductory Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Physics) between two different institutions.  If you start the full year sequence at one institution, you should complete it at that institution.  Many programs will accept these courses, but if you take the first half at UNH, you shouldn't take the second half at a community college or another institution.  We hope they all include the same information in their courses, but we cannot guarantee it and we want to make sure you will do well in the second half of your course.  If you do decide to take a class at another institution, you should check with your major advisor to be sure they will fulfill the UNH requirements.  You will also need to complete the Transfer Credit Prior Approval Form prior to enrolling in the course.

Most professional programs would prefer you take your prerequisite coursework, especially your science courses, during your Fall or Spring semesters to show you can handle difficult coursework with a full schedule; typically you will want to take at least two lab science prerequisite courses simultaneously.  Summer courses are often viewed as "easier" since you typically only take one course at a time.  If you are in a major that does not include many prerequisite courses and you do not have much wiggle room with your major courses (such as the Nursing major), professional programs will be more lenient, especially if they can see you took full course loads during the Fall and Spring semesters. 

If your professional program requires a full year of English, you should try to take two courses with the ENGL prefix to satisfy this requirement (ENGL401 First Year Writing counts for one semester).  For your second semester of English, we recommend taking a second course with the ENGL prefix that is also a writing intensive course to satisfy the "Additional Writing Intensive" Discovery requirement.  Your English course should require you to read works of literature or study film or music and use literary analysis to study them; written assignments should make up at least 50% of your final grade.  Courses that do not have the ENGL prefix, but require you to read and analyze journal articles or texts within a specific discipline (history, social science, or other non-literary works), where written assignments make up 50% or more of your final grade, might count for the English requirement, but we cannot guarantee this.  If you take a non-ENGL writing intensive course,  we recommend you reach out to the programs you are interested in to verify if this course will satisfy the prerequisite requirement.

Many professional healthcare either require or recommend their applicants to take a semester of Biochemistry (3 credits); most DO NOT require applicants to take the lab.  If you can get a seat in the lab (BMCB659), then you definitely should, but if you cannot, it will not significantly impact your application if you only take the lecture (BMCB658).  For COLSA students, it will be relatively easy for you to register for the Biochemistry lecture and lab (BMCB658/659).  For non-COLSA students, you will most likely not be able to register for BMCB658/659 due to major restrictions.  UNH puts major restrictions on BMCB658/659 because almost every COLSA student needs these courses to graduate on time.  Unfortunately, there are not usually enough seats available for every student to take BMCB659 who wants to take it, but there are almost always enough seats in BMCB658.  If you are a non-COLSA student and you are getting ready to take Biochemistry, please keep this in mind: you DO NOT have to take BMCB659.  The Pre-Health Office recommends taking it if you can, but it is not required by most programs.

UNH Resources