Other Health Professions

Not all pre-health students seek careers in allopathic medicine (M.D.) or osteopathic medicine (D.O.).

Every year, Johns Hopkins students apply to schools of veterinary medicine, dentistry, nursing, and other fields like pharmacy, physician assistant and optometry. If you are interested in these or other health professions, advisors in the Office of Pre-Professional Programs and Advising can offer guidance for developing the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to become a competitive applicant. Pre-health advisors also can assist you through the application process.

ExploreHealthCareers.org is a free, interactive health careers website designed to explain the array of health professions and provide easy access to students seeking information about health careers. As explained on their site, ExploreHealthCareers.org provides students with “a reliable, comprehensive source of accurate, up-to-date information about the health professions.”

Nursing (B.S.,M.S.N.)

“Nurses promote health, prevent disease and help patients cope with illness. They have a unique scope of practice and can practice independently, although they also collaborate with all members of the health care team to provide the care needed by each patient as an individual. Nurses are hands-on health professionals who provide focused and highly personalized care. The field has a wide range of career opportunities, ranging from entry-level practitioner to doctoral-level researcher.

Nurses also serve as advocates for patients, families and communities. They develop and manage nursing care plans, instruct patients and their families in proper care and help individuals and groups take steps to improve or maintain their health.”

The above language is borrowed from ExploreHealthCareers.org. Learn more here: https://explorehealthcareers.org/field/nursing/

Prerequisites for Nursing School

For pre-nursing requirements not offered at JHU Homewood, one option is to take them online, at the JHU School of Nursing.

JHU Homewood has an agreement with the Registrar’s Office at the School of Nursing where they will hold 5 seats for pre-Nursing students in specified prerequisites not offered at Homewood (i.e., Human Anatomy, Nutrition). Here are the instructions:

  1. Complete the Interdivisional Registration Form using the School of Nursing course information. The form can be picked up from the Registrar’s Office or Academic Advising.
  2. If you need the course for anything JHU related (i.e.: major or distribution requirements) then your academic advisor needs to sign the Interdivisional Registration Form. Otherwise, the Pre-Professional Advisor overseeing this program will sign the form.
  3. The completed Interdivisional Registration Form is turned in to the Registrar’s Office.

Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)

“Veterinarians are best known for healing ill and injured animals and maintaining the health and well-being of pets and farm animals, but that’s not all they do. For instance, as more and more links are being found between human and animal diseases, such as SARS, mad cow disease, West Nile virus and avian flu, among others, veterinarians are working alongside other medical professionals in public health and research.”

The above language is borrowed from ExploreHealthCareers.org. Learn more here: https://explorehealthcareers.org/field/veterinary-medicine/

Optometry (O.D.)

“Optometry is the field involving virtually everything that has to do with eyes and vision, including examination, diagnosis, and treatment of the eyes and surrounding structures, and the treatment of vision problems.

Doctors of Optometry (ODs) are independent primary health care professionals for the eyes. They should not be confused with ophthalmologists or dispensing opticians. Ophthalmologists are physicians who perform eye surgery, in addition to diagnosing and treating eye conditions. Dispensing opticians fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, following prescriptions written by ophthalmologists or optometrists.”

The above language is borrowed from ExploreHealthCareers.org. Learn more here: https://explorehealthcareers.org/field/optometry/

Physician Assistant (P.A.)

“Physician assistants (PAs) are medical providers who are licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease and prescribe medication for patients. PAs work in physician offices, hospitals, and clinics in collaboration with a licensed physician. Because of their advanced education in general medicine, modeled after physician education, PAs can treat patients with significant autonomy within the physician/PA relationship. In the primary care setting, PAs can provide almost all of the clinical services that physicians provide, including performing physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses and prescribing medications.

PAs work together with physicians as part of an integrated medical team. PAs have their own patients and, under a written agreement with a licensed physician, make clinical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and health maintenance services. The physician-PA team relationship is fundamental to the PA profession and enhances the delivery of high-quality health care.”

The above language is borrowed from ExploreHealthCareers.org. Learn more here: https://explorehealthcareers.org/career/medicine/physician-assistant/

Pharmacy (Pharm. D.)

“Pharmacy is a doctoral health profession in which licensed professionals provide information about medications to patients and health care professionals. As “medication experts,” pharmacists are concerned with safeguarding the public’s health in matters relating to medication distribution and use and disease state management. Pharmacists play a vital role in improving patient care through the medicine and information they provide. “

The above language is borrowed from ExploreHealthCareers.org. Learn more here: https://explorehealthcareers.org/field/pharmacy/

Academic Cooperative Programs

Guidelines for Taking Pre-Health Prerequisite Coursework not Offered at JHU

Students interested in various health professions may be required to complete specific prerequisite coursework to meet professional schools’ admissions requirements not offered at Johns Hopkins University. Students in need of courses not offered at JHU may take courses at other area colleges and universities through the Baltimore Student Exchange Program (BSEP).

Johns Hopkins participates in a number of cooperative programs with colleges and universities in the Baltimore area, including: Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), Coppin State University, Goucher College, Loyola University Maryland, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Morgan State University, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Towson University, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), University of Baltimore, and Stevenson University.

Students in their sophomore, junior or senior years may participate in BSEP provided that students take only one class per semester (fall and spring semesters only) at one of these universities. Students cannot exceed their credit limits (18.5) without permission from their academic advisor. Permission must be granted in advance.

Typical Health Professions that have Prerequisite Coursework

The following health professions have prerequisite coursework to enter into their respective professional schools that may not be offered at JHU. Other health profession programs may also have prerequisite coursework. Students need to research programs to find out what courses are required.

  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physician Assistant
  • Registered Dietician
  • Veterinary Medicine

Common Pre-Health Prerequisite Courses Taken Through BSEP

The following courses are typical of students pursuing prerequisite coursework through BSEP:

  • Microbiology and Microbiology Lab
  • Anatomy and Physiology and Anatomy and Physiology Lab
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Nutrition

Procedure for BSEP Registration for pre-health prerequisite coursework not offered at JHU

  1. Students complete the JHU Homewood BSEP registration form, found in the Office of Academic Advising or the Office of the Registrar.
  2. Pre-health students registering for prerequisite courses not offered at JHU, will take the completed form to the Pre-Professional Programs Office for signature.
  3. Students then submit the signed form to the Office of the Registrar.

Note: If a student needs to make changes (ie: Add/Drop) to cooperative program course registration, they must notify the Registrar’s Office. All changes to cooperative program course registration must be made through the JHU Office of the Registrar.

Student Responsibilities

  • Students are responsible for identifying course information at the host university, including course schedule information and availability.
  • Students are responsible for confirming with the professional program if alternative course options (online or community college) are accepted.
  • Students are responsible for obtaining academic approval and any necessary signatures to take courses through BSEP or elsewhere to satisfy program prerequisites.
  • Students in their senior year who are looking to take courses during their final semester must coordinate with the host university that final grades will be submitted to JHU in time for graduation.
  • Students must abide by the policies and procedures at the host university, including the attendance policy, registration and add/drop dates, course schedule, exam schedule and academic calendar.
    • Schools do not operate on the same academic calendar. Students must take note of course start and end dates and be prepared to attend all classes.

For more information, please contact the Office of the Registrar at 410-516-8080 or in Wyman 2 West.

Alternatives to BSEP

Pre-health students needing prerequisite courses not offered at the Johns Hopkins University or available through BSEP can take courses through the following options:

  • Online courses: Depending on the professional schools to which students apply, it may be possible to satisfy prerequisite coursework online. Permission for credit transfer must be granted in advance by the Office of Academic Advising.
    • Students not wishing to transfer credits from online courses to JHU may pursue courses offered at any time as long as they satisfy the professional school’s requirements.
  • Community colleges: Depending on the professional schools to which students apply, it may be possible to satisfy prerequisite coursework at a community college. Permission for credit transfer must be granted in advance by the Office of Academic Advising.

Students should consider courses at JHU or through BSEP before considering these alternatives.