Choosing a Major for Professional Schools in Health

In order to complete a bachelor’s degree, you will need to declare a major. Majors provide the foundation for your future career, reflect who you are, and demonstrate your capabilities on a subject. However, majors do not grant acceptance into or make you more competitive in your career field in health; any major can enter almost any field and statistical evidence shows no advantage of one major over the other.

The following are some questions you may want to ask yourself while you are trying to decide on a major.

QUESTIONS TO ASK

What major does my field require/prefer?

Professional schools do not have any preference to a specific major. Health professional schools admit students from all majors; therefore you should choose whatever suits you. Some pre-medicine students major in biology because a lot of the pre-requisites for medical school overlap with the requirements for a biology degree here at UHM. Some pre-pharmacy students and some pre-veterinary medicine students choose to major in chemistry and animal science, respectively because some of the coursework  are relevant to what they will learn in the professional school in which they are interested.

What are your strengths?

Much of your upper division coursework is completed within your major and will significantly impact your GPA. You will want to choose a major in which you will excel academically.

What are your interests?

Students often perform better in courses in which they have a vested interest. For professional schools, your major can also be an insight to your interests and talents.

How will you balance your degree?

Look at the “What makes a strong candidate?” section in the packet of the professional field in which you are interested. How does your degree fit in the whole picture? What part of your degree demonstrates things such as your capability in the natural sciences, social sciences, or your interests and talents?

What will you do with your major if you do not attend professional school?

Unfortunately, not all students who begin their undergraduate years with the intent to go to professional school are admitted and/or they change their goals. Therefore, choosing a major that will be useful in the job market and that you will find rewarding no matter the circumstances.

Should you choose a B.S. or a B.A.?

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees both require a total of 120 credits in core, major, and elective requirements. The number of core credits is similar for both a B.S. and a B.A. degree. The difference is that a B.S. requires more credits in the major and the B.A. requires more credits in the electives. Like your major, choosing one over the other  do not grant acceptance into or make you more competitive in your career field in health; statistical evidence shows no advantage of earning a B.S. or a B.A. degree.

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RESOURCES

UH Mānoa Catalog

UHM Catalog can help by providing descriptions of majors, departments, courses, and some career paths.

Their website can be found here: Catalog.

Advisors

Students here at UHM have three types of advisors: college/school, major, and supplemental advisors. College or school advisors advise on university policies, handle academic probation, and go over graduation requirements. Major advisors go over the major requirements for specific degrees and can provide insight on the field itself as well as on the certain opportunities for that major. Supplemental advisors advise on specific programs or populations.  To find a list of academic advising offices, click on the following link: Advising Offices.

Mānoa Advising Center (MAC)

The mission of the MAC is to assist students in selecting a major that best fits their interests, abilities, and goals, and to provide advising support for them until they can declare or enter their major. The office provides academic advising for students who are undecided on a major or pre-majors (i.e. working towards admission into a major program which has pre-requisite requirements). They assist students with understanding general education requirements, major selection, academic planning and scheduling. They also provide a cross-campus perspective on the over 90 majors offered at UHM.

Their website can be found here: MAC.

Pre-Health/Pre-Law Advising Center (PAC)

PAC is a supplemental advising office that is a walk-in resource center for students interested in lawmedicine (allopathic, chiropractic, naturopathic, osteopathic, podiatric), and/or the health sciences (dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, physician assistant, occupational therapy, physical therapy, veterinary medicine, etc.). The mission of PAC is to guide students in discovering their paths in life and in transforming their professional dreams into reality.

Mānoa Career Center (MCC)

MCC can help you identify your skills, values and explore potential career options! The mission of MCC is to to partner with both on-campus and off-campus employers to empower UH Mānoa students to engage in career life planning through awareness, exploration, experience, and reflection.

Their website can be found here: MCC.

Counseling and Student Development Center (CSDC)

CSDC can help you identify your aptitudes and interests through tests and can develop academic and occupational plans. In addition, CSDC serves the mental health and career counseling needs of students, faculty, and staff at UHM. The Center is composed of interrelated programs adhering to a whole-person, developmental philosophy and approach to service delivery and program planning. Their services are oriented toward the individual needs of the students using a whole-person developmental perspective. In carrying out this mission, the Center is responsive to the diversity inherent in our uniquely international and multicultural island community.

Their website can be found here: CSDC.

Graduate/Professional Schools

Graduate/professional schools often offer materials to help prospective students; talking to the Admissions Directors of schools you’re considering can be very helpful.