Health Science Programs

Pre-Health Professional Programs at Shippensburg University

Right Col Pic 1This portion of the Biology Department website is designed to provide all students considering a career in health sciences with information that will help you to better understand opportunities available to you as a pre-health professional student at Shippensburg University.  The majority of students who pursue health professional programs are biology majors (in the health professions track).  However,occasionally some students choose chemistry, psychology, exercise science, or other majors and, with proper advising and course work, can also pursue professional programs in the health sciences. 

The variety of health professional educational programs and careers available to you is considerable.  This document provides a list of health professional careers sorted by the amount of time needed to complete the required educational program.  With the growing population and in particular the large - and aging - "baby boomer"population, all areas of health care promise strong employment opportunities.  People are living longer and are more active in older age than ever before, further adding to the health care needs which must be addressed by a range of health professionals. 

You should follow your strengths and interests when choosing a health career.  Some health careers are in medical research, others are clinical laboratory positions with minimal patient contact.  There are occupations that involve short-duration interaction with patients,whereas other careers provide opportunities for long-term / life-long care of patients.  Certain careers require only one year of professional training, whereas others consist of four-year professional programs followed by several years of residency.  Set goals for yourself that are realistic, but not limiting.  Determination, perseverance, and diligence are equally important to - if not more important than - intelligence as you work towards your educational and career goals.

Curriculum sheets used in advising students while guiding them through their four-year biology program are available for you to review: health professions track or clinical sciences track. The left side of the page indicates the general education requirements for Shippensburg University with the right side of the page indicating the requirements for the Biology/Health Professions track or Biology/Clinical Sciences track. Blank lines on these curriculum sheets indicate spaces for elective courses which are determined through advisement.  In total, 120 credits are required for the BS in Biology degree which averages 15 credits per semester when divided over eight semesters.


Health Professional Advising

Dr. David R. Long serves at the Director of Health Sciences and oversees advisement for the health professional programs.  He also advises all the medical technology students and students in the 2+2 programs affiliated with Thomas Jefferson University.  Additional faculty with specialties in health science-oriented disciplines such as physiology, immunology,microbiology, cell biology, and genetics also serve as advisors for students who are in the health professions track.

The Health Professions Committee,comprised of faculty from the biology and chemistry departments,provides interviews for students who are in the Biology (or Chemistry)Health Professions track and who are applying to medical, dental,podiatric, optometry, and veterinary programs.  These particular professional programs prefer a committee letter of recommendation inlier of individual letters.  The Health Professions Committee interview provides students with interview experience and provides the committee with information that is used to compose the committee letter of reference.

So Why Choose Shippensburg University if you have an Interest in the Health Sciences?

The Biology Department offers a wide assortment of courses  in health science-related disciplines and in other areas of biology that help provide students with a good breadth of understanding of the biological sciences while at the same time allowing them to select electives that help prepare them for success in their chosen professional program.

In each of the last several years, approximately 30-35 students matriculated to health professional programs in disciplines such as medicine, veterinary medicine, optometry, dentistry, physical therapy,occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, radiologic sciences,nursing, chiropractic, medical technology, nuclear medicine technology,pathologists' assistant, physician assistant, pharmacy, and others.  (See placement record for recent years. ) Students who are successful in their course work as biology majors at Shippensburg find they are very well prepared for success in their professional studies. 

A hallmark of an education at Shippensburg University is close faculty-student interaction, fostered by small class size. Laboratories rarely exceed eighteen students and upper-division course lectures typically enroll no more than twenty students.  Students are encouraged to get to know faculty and, like-wise, faculty take time to know their students.  Students are encouraged to engage in undergraduate research projects which often are awarded funding through various sources such as the SU Undergraduate Research Fund and the Miklausen-Likar Research Fund.  Furthermore students are encouraged to obtain first-hand exposure to health careers by shadowing care practitioners.  Numerous students over recent years have gained volunteer experiences at local hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health care sites.  Research work and internships may be taken for academic credit, but it is the experience of these ventures that provide the greatest reward in academic growth and accomplishment.