Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions

Program Director: Allyson D. Backstrom, PhD


The Dr. George E. Schreiner ’43 Pre-Medical Center has been established to enhance the quality of the undergraduate experience for students who wish to enter the many fields of medicine and the health professions including medicine (allopathic and osteopathic), dentistry, podiatry, optometry, physician assistant, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, nursing, public health, and veterinary medicine among others. The Pre-Medical Center supports students through one-on-one advising, hosting seminars to assist students learning about various health careers and professional schools, connecting students with shadowing and volunteer activities, and assisting students with the application process to gain entry into professional schools. It is important to understand that Pre-Med/Health Sciences is a support program and not an academic major. Students interested in careers in medicine and other health professions frequently major in biology, chemistry, biochemistry or psychology however, students may major in any academic area. Pre-Med/Health students have recently majored in mathematics, history, classics, English and philosophy among others. Further information can be found in the catalog sections for each major. Along with the academic major requirements, students complete specific course requirements for the health professional schools of choice. All programs require a broad liberal arts education which is achieved through the Core Curriculum or the All College Honors Program. Specific requirements vary from one professional school to another so it is important for students to utilize the advising services of the Pre-Medical Center beginning in their first college year. For a more detailed description of the program please go to the Pre-Med/Pre-Health website.


All pre-med/pre-health students should register with the PreMed Center upon arrival at Canisius their freshman year. Additionally, students who develop an interest in the health professions after matriculating at Canisius are able to register with the PreMed Center at any time. Pre-med advisors assist students in all aspects of their preparation for entry into the health professions and serve in addition to major advisors. All students should work closely with the advisor in their major and the Pre-Med Advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing major electives, developing their entire academic program, and planning co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences. This process should start in the first college year. The PreMed advisors assist students in completing appropriate documentation each year to maintain good standing in the pre-med/pre-health program.


To meet minimal requirements for most health professions, students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students with a GPA lower than this should contact the Pre-Med Advisor for assistance. Higher GPAs are needed to be competitive applicants for most health professions with many programs looking for a GPA of 3.6. Competitive scores on professional exams (MCAT, DAT, GRE, PCAT, OAT, etc.), demonstrated commitment to serving others, and thorough exploration and understanding of the desired profession are also critical. Full understanding of the profession includes multiple shadowing experiences with different professionals over time and clinical volunteer experiences. The Pre-Medical Center will help students plan appropriately for each of these qualifications. Special academic seminars, internships, and medical travel opportunities are also available.

Early Assurance and Joint Degree Programs

Canisius College maintains relationships with health professional programs allowing students to gain early acceptance into medical, dental, pharmacy, optometry, and veterinary programs among others. Relationships with professional schools also allow for students to be admitted into joint programs upon enrolling at Canisius as freshmen or during the first or second college year. These programs are competitive and appropriate for the highly motivated student who has thoroughly explored the health professions to develop an understanding and commitment to their chosen profession. Depending on the program, an outstanding high school record or early record in college is required. Please contact the Pre-Medical Center for the most up-to-date details on the various programs.

Early Assurance Program

Pre-Medical Early Assurance programs at Canisius are offered in conjunction with the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (PA and FL campuses). A Pre-Dental Early Assurance program is offered in conjunction with the LECOM School of Dental Medicine (Bradenton, FL). Pre-Pharmacy Early Assurance Programs are offered in conjunction with the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and LECOM School of Pharmacy (PA and FL campuses). An Early Opportunity in Medicine Program for students underrepresented in medicine is offered in conjunction with the SUNY University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Joint Degree Programs

Canisius College has six- and seven-year joint degree programs with the following professional schools; Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy, LECOM School of Pharmacy, D'Youville College School of Pharmacy, and the SUNY State College of Optometry, among others. The first three years are spent at Canisius and the last three or four years at the professional school. A bachelor’s degree (BS) will be awarded from Canisius College after completion of the first professional year of osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, or optometry school. The DO, PharmD, OD or other appropriate professional degree will be awarded at the end of six or seven years. To remain in good standing, students must fulfill all requirements established by the professional school. University of Guelph Ontario Veterinary College has also reserved seats for Canisius students.


HRP 101 Introduction to Health Professions 1 Credit

This course is designed for students who are considering careers in the health-related professions: medical, dental, and allied health fields. The health professions are one of the largest growing industries in the country, and many options exist for students to consider. In this course students will gain a greater understanding of the various health-related professions and hear from practitioners and clinicians who are currently working in the field. This is a 1-credit hour course and will meet once per week.

Offered: occasionally.

HRP 111 Medical Terminology 1 Credit

This introductory course in medical terminology focuses on prefixes, suffixes, word roots and their combinations to build basic medical vocabulary. Terminology related to anatomy, physiology, symptomology, and pathology will be included.

Offered: spring.

HRP 201 Topics in Health Professions Seminar I 1 Credit

These seminars facilitate in-depth exploration of special topics in health and health care such as Primary Care, Social Medicine, and Medical Specialties.

Prerequisite: permission of the program director.

Offered: occasionally.

HRP 202 Topics in Health Professions Seminar II 1 Credit

These seminars facilitate in-depth exploration of special topics in health and health care such as Primary Care, Social Medicine, and Medical Specialties.

Prerequisite: permission of the program director.

Offered: occasionally.

HRP 498 PEPID Medical Informatics Internship 3 Credits

The purpose of this internship is to introduce students to the concepts of medical informatics. This overview course will provide a broad exposure to the field of informatics and the students will learn how information is created, interpreted, processed, stored and applied in healthcare with the help of modern technology. Travel out of state is required.

Prerequisite: permission of the program director & competitive application to PEPID.

Offered: fall & spring.

HRP 499 Health Professions Internship 1-3 Credits

Research or other practical experience related to the health professions.

Prerequisite: permission of the program director.

Offered: fall & spring.