Programs: Pre-Health Students, Science and Math Majors
Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Robert Fairman and students.
Students who are, or are considering the possibility of, studying abroad and are also preparing to apply for medical school — to enter directly after graduation — should be sure to confer with Michele Taillon Taylor, Ph.D., the Pre-Health Advisor, at least three months before their departure to their respective programs.
Be sure to choose your science courses carefully - some are very challenging. Check the prerequisites before you enroll. Are you adequately prepared to take the courses? Alternatively, some may be a repetition of what you already have studied. Consult the Haverford science faculty to find courses that best meet your needs.
Recommendations from Professors
If you get to know your foreign professor well, you may want to ask for a recommendation, which should be sent to Michele Taylor, to be included in your Haverford portfolio. It is best to ask your professor in person, before you leave for home and please provide a stamped envelope addressed to:
Michele Taylor, Ph.D.
Chair of the Pre Health Committee
Chase Hall 208
370 Lancaster Ave.
Haverford, PA 19041-1392
The faculty member should, if possible, also email a copy of the letter as an attachment to Michele Taylor. You should provide your recommender with a letter of reccommendation form available at the Pre-health website. It should be signed and sent back with the hardcover letter.
There are a number of notable institutions with science courses approved by admissions offices of medical schools. The following are those programs available through the Haverford Office of International Academic Programs.
Students can take courses during a semester or a year of study at:
Or a full year study at:
Limited courses are available at:
View "Course List by Program", "Program Descriptions", or individual program websites for course listings. Science courses are also offered in Spanish in IFSA-Butler-Buenos Aires and Mendoza, Middlebury College Programs in Chile and U. of Kansas in Costa Rica.
King's College London, Guy's Campus.
King's College is home to internationally-renowned Schools of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, directly linked to three of the most famous and distinguished teaching hospitals in the nation (Guy's, St Thomas and King's College hospitals). The King's program is the first in the UK to combine courses in the core skills of the basic medical sciences, illustrated and informed by a clinical placement at our medical school, involving didactic and self-directed learning with patients, health care professionals and research work. The program's emphasis is on high-level academic preparation for the best medical schools, with a strong commitment to personal attention. It is designed to provide added value through courses which supplement and extend the pre-requisite courses for medical school rather than trying to replicate them. The flexibility of the program allows you to study at King's for a single semester (Fall and Spring) or a full academic year.
Major features of the course are:
- Training in the core skills of the biomedical sciences
- A specially designed course in the Practice of Medicine
- An intensive two-week clinical attachment at the School of Medicine
- Courses in Organic Chemistry directly modeled on those at Ivy League schools
The University College Dublin.
This is a highly selective program which is intended for juniors and seniors who plan to enter a health profession upon graduation. The programme offers students opportunities for a clinical experience as well as high-level academic study, while immersing themselves in the largest Science and Medical programs in Ireland.
The program comprises courses from both Medicine and Science and has been designed to cater for US students who wish to experience the opportunity of studying and living abroad while continuing to prepare for graduate school admission in the health profession fields. Students will enjoy direct engagement with our academic staff who are experts in their fields and are at the cutting edge of teaching and research.
The UCD pre-medical study abroad programme has two primary objectives:
- to provide students with the opportunity to supplement their basic course requirements for entry to Medical School while in a uniquely Irish academic and cultural context.
- to provide all the necessary supports so that students can successfully face the challenges of living and studying in a new environment; and to ensure that all participants derive maximum benefit from the academic and intercultural opportunities of their year abroad.
Minimum GPA requirement is 3.00. All modules (courses) are taught by a series of formal lectures/classes together with a strong emphasis on course work outside of class, encompassing individual project work, group project work, computer skills, library work and class presentations. Usually, each module involves two-three hours of formal classes per week for the Semester.
With appropriate academic advice from the home institution students may select up to 6 modules in a semester and up to 2 of these modules may be available from other areas within the University. View Module descriptions >
The Wilkins Building, UCL, on Gower Street, Bloomsbury. Photo by Steve Cadman.
Formerly the International Health and Medical Education Centre (IHMEC)
In 2006 the International Health and Medical Education Centre (IHMEC) became part of the UCL CIHD, under the Directorship of Professor Anthony Costello. The Centre's current activities continue unchanged and we anticipate that the uniting of the departments will create many new opportunities for global health undergraduate education across a range of disciplines.
The Undergraduate program aims to:
- Provide students with understanding and knowledge of international health, and opportunities to gain experience and develop their interests in the field.
- Challenge concepts of health and ideas of healthcare provision by studying different health problems and systems globally, and help produce doctors that are flexible and responsive to patients from a wide variety of backgrounds.
- Produce resources for teaching medical students about International Health and provide support to other institutions in implementing this teaching.
- Raise awareness of the importance of training doctors with a global, multicultural perspective on health and healthcare.
- Provide an opportunity for qualified doctors to explore issues in international health and to understand the relevance of international health policy to the practice of medicine both in the UK and abroad.
Public Health and Health Studies: Global Health
Formerly the International Health and Medical Education Centre (IHMEC)
The Undergraduate Teaching Programme offers courses intended for future health professionals, as well as courses suitable for students coming from diverse academic backgrounds with an interest in international health issues. The courses help students understand local factors that affect a population's health and the global factors that link and shape health across the world. Courses include International Health Policy; Health, Poverty and Development; Conflict, Migration and Human Rights; Infectious Disease in Developing Countries; and Maternal and Child Health in Developing Countries.
Additional Pre-Health Opportunities:
DIS (Danish Institute for Study Abroad), University of Botswana, Gaborone, CIEE Stellenbosch, SUNY Brockport: University of Ghana , The Universidad de Chile, Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile (Santiago), IFSA-Butler-Buenos Aires and Mendoza, CIEE Cape Town Arts + Sciences.
Dean Mancini has consulted the Supervisor of Transcript Verification section of AMCAS regarding transfer of credits from approved programs abroad. Medical schools accept credits from approved junior abroad programs.
For a grade received from a Haverford sponsored program abroad to count towards your GPA, it must be listed on your Haverford transcript. Since semester abroad grades are listed as P/F on Haverford transcripts, AMCAS will not include them in their calculation of your science GPA. If you go abroad through another sponsoring U.S. institution and that school lists your abroad course work grades on their transcripts, then those grades will be counted towards your AMCAS GPA. For further information, go to pp. 51-53 of the 2014 AMCAS Instructional Manual(PDF) and read section on Study Abroad Course Work.
Instructions from the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) on filling out the Study Abroad Course Work section of the primary application for medical school:
Courses attempted through a study abroad program sponsored by a U.S. institution must be entered. If your transcript does not indicate that the courses were part of a formal study abroad program, you must ask the registrar's office to attach a letter of explanation to the official transcript before it is sent to AMCAS.
- Include the foreign institution and the sponsoring U.S. institution in your list of colleges attended.
- Request a transcript exception for the foreign institution. Indicate the U.S. or Canadian institution on whose transcript credits will appear.
- List study abroad course work under the foreign college at which it was attempted.
If the sponsoring U.S. institution provides letter grades (e.g., A, B, C etc.) and credit hours convertible to semester hours for each course on their transcript or on an official letter attached to their transcript (e.g. Temple in Rome):
- Enter all required course data.
- AMCAS will include this course work in AMCAS GPAs.
If the sponsoring U.S. institution does NOT provide letter grades other than Pass/Fail:
- Indicate "Pass/Fail" as the Course Type and provide all other required course data, entering information exactly as it appears on the transcript of the sponsoring institution.
- AMCAS will NOT include this course work in the AMCAS GPAs; however, AMCAS will include this course work in cumulative Pass/Fail-Pass and Pass/Fail-Fail credit hour totals.
Further information on listing your courses taken abroad on your AMCAS application, for a range of program types, is thoroughly discussed on pp. 51-53 in the same 2014 AMCAS Instructional Manual(PDF) mentioned above.
Advice on your Application to Medical School
Since medical school admissions are "rolling," it is important for applicants to get their applications in as early as possible — which usually means by July a year before matriculation. This may create complications for those studying abroad second semester of their junior year, especially if they have not planned carefully and find themselves rushing to complete all premed requirements in order to apply to medical school at the end of the junior year. Often it makes sense for students to give themselves some breathing room and apply to medical schools one year later, thus strengthening their accomplishments and academic record. Since more than half of those accepted to medical schools have taken at least a year off between college and med school, and applications including senior year grades are usually stronger, most students wait to apply until the end of senior year. This allows them to get the most out of their study abroad experience without the anxieties and distractions of the premed process. They also have more time to concentrate on MCAT preparation and to get to know their Haverford professors, who are, in turn, better equipped to write detailed recommendations after another year of working with the student.
It is, however, certainly possible to take a semester abroad AND apply to medical school after one's junior year, but all essential premed requirements in biology, chemistry and physics will have to be completed successfully before departure. (This will probably require that you take at least one of the sequences in the summer.) In addition, as of 2015, you will want to have some introductory coursework in the social sciences (this can be taken abroad.) Finally, recommendations from Haverford faculty should ideally be in your files in the Pre-health office before you leave so the Pre-health advisor can write your committee letter in a timely fashion.
If you are going to apply to medical school after your junior year, you should plan to take the MCAT early in the spring, either before you go, e.g. January, or while you are abroad. The MCAT is presently being given on computers in test centers at specific times during the months of January through September - The information on MCAT test dates in 2014 will be available in late September. One caveat, being in another culture may interfere with your performance on this test. It is important to be very well prepared and very focused. Remember also that the MCAT 2015 includes a new social science section. If you have any questions about appropriate timing for the MCAT, please contact Michele Taylor.
The Biology, Chemistry, Math, Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy departments accept courses taken at the aforementioned institutions to count towards a major or minor. Courses can also be found that meet the biochemistry concentration. Obviously not all courses abroad meet all our major requirements and you will need to meet with your major adviser to select the courses abroad that best fit your academic program.
Math and Computer Science majors can also study at most of these institutions. Math majors are encouraged to attend the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics.
Some programs have volunteer opportunities or internships in medically related fields. Students can explore medical systems in their host country or work in hospitals or other health centers, such as inoculation programs, handicapped children, and women's birth control centers. Check out the websites above.
Studying abroad is a wonderful experience which requires a bit of extra effort and planning, especially for those pursuing a medical degree or a science major. Before you decide against it, consider the benefits of expanding your pre-med/science experience abroad.
Special thanks to Michele Taylor, Haverford's Pre-health Advisor, for working with the Study Abroad Office to ensure opportunities for Pre-Med track students to go abroad. She provided us with the original information from which to create this page.