Allopathic Physician (MD)

Physicians are involved in every subfield of the healthcare profession in both clinical and research areas. Students who are interested in the field of medicine should be prepared to work independently, as part of a healthcare team, or as a paid employee under the direction of the administrator of an HMO.

Those of you who follow healthcare issues in the newspapers know that students are choosing to go into M.D. programs, despite strong indications that their life in the field will by no means be as independent, affluent, or stable as were the careers of the earlier generation of physicians.

REQUIREMENTS: Students are most strongly encouraged to establish a track record of long-term commitment to the health professions through volunteer work over a sustained period of semesters and years. Students must also take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Since students must have a B.A. or B.S. to go on to medical school, they must not only take the prerequisite courses but also do very well in terms of grades both in the sciences and in non-sciences. Undergraduate premedical study requires at least the following courses:

  • Biology with Labs (2 semesters)
  • General Chemistry with Labs (2 semesters)
  • Organic Chemistry with Labs (2 semesters)
  • Physics with Labs (2 semesters)
  • English and Writing (2 semesters)

Some schools may require one or two semesters of college math or a course in biochemistry. Please consult this website under the "prehealth courses" tab for a listing of all medical schools with math and/or biochemistry requirements. Also consult the Medical School Admissions Requirements ("MSAR") book, which is updated annually. A copy is available in Silver 901 for reference.

NYU School of Medicine
550 1st Avenue New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212) 263-7300

Association of American Medical Colleges
2450 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037-1126
Tel: (202) 828-0400

American Medical Association
Division of Undergraduate Medical Education
515 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Tel: (312) 464-5000


Anesthesiologist's Assistant

Anesthesiologist assistants are professionals who typically work as part of a healthcare team at a larger medical facility which offers complex, state-of-the-art procedures such as open heart surgery, neurosurgery, and transplant surgery. Anesthesiologist assistants perform many of the procedures normally associated with anesthesiologists: preoperative procedures such as the insertion of arterial and intravenous catheters; drug administration for the induction and maintenance of anesthesia; support therapy with intravenous fluids and cardiovascular drugs; adjustment of anesthetic levels on a minute-by-minute basis; recovery room and intensive care unit and pain clinic care; and sometimes a variety of administrative and educational activities.

Students graduate from an Anesthesiologist's Assistant program with either a M.S. degree or a M.M.Sc. degree.

REQUIREMENTS: Applicants to Anesthesiologist's Assistant programs must have completed an undergraduate premedical program and have a bachelor's degree typically with a major in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, or computer science. Alternatively, they may have a bachelor's degree in nursing. Candidates must take the GRE general test; at Emory University the MCAT is being phased in as a requirement along with, but not replacing, the GRE. Candidates, therefore, would be well served by taking both tests.

: As of January 2008, there are five accredited Anesthesiologist's Assistant programs in the United States: Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia), Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio), South University (Savannah, Georgia), Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), and University of Missouri (Kansas City, Missouri). The contact information for two of the programs is as follows:

Case Western Reserve University
Anesthesiologist's Assistant Program
1100 Euclid Ave. LKSD 2532
Cleveland, OH 44106-5007
Tel: (216) 844-8077

Emory University 
MMSc Program in Anesthesiology
Emory School of Medicine
57 Executive Park South, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30329
Tel: (404) 727-5910

American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants
P.O. Box 81362
Wellesley, MA, 02481-0004
Tel: (800) 757-5858


Naturopathic Physician (ND)

(Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine)
Naturopathic medicine focuses on disease prevention and wellness. Naturopathic physicians are primary-care physicians in the states in which they are licensed. In their 4-year curriculum, N.D.s take the same basic science courses as their allopathic and osteopathic counterparts, and they also receive training in fields such as Nutrition, Homeopathy, Botanical Medicine, Acupuncture, Counseling, Hydrotherapy, Naturopathic Manipulative Therapy, Pharmacology, and Minor Surgery.

REQUIREMENTS: Required courses include a year each of General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. Some schools may also require Math and Psychology courses. Recommended courses may include Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Botany, and Developmental Psychology.

University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine
60 Lafayette Street
Bridgeport, CT 06601
Tel: (203) 576-4109

Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges
4435 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 403
Washington, DC 20016
Tel: (866) 538-2267



Certified nurse-midwives (C.N.M.) provide a wide range of primary healthcare services: primary and gynecological care, preconception and prenatal care, labor and delivery management, and postpartum and infant care. They are trained to promote birth without modern intervention practices, but when necessary utilize modern medical technology.

Nurse-midwives consider childbirth to be a natural process and seek to provide a complete--both physiological and psychological--approach to care. Greater numbers of women are choosing nurse-midwives for their maternity care because they appreciate this holistic approach. Midwives traditionally spend more time with their patients throughout both prenatal care and the labor process. This practice allows a stronger relationship to be built between the midwife and the patient and for the patient to continue learning about the process through her provider. Beyond the range of maternity care, nurse-midwives also provide well-woman gynecological care on an ongoing basis and have the independence to work closely with their patients and their families to provide the best possible care.

Nurse-midwives practice in a variety of settings from freestanding birthing centers to community and hospital-based clinics. In addition to being a practicing midwife, there are possibilities of doing clinical research, teaching at a university, or promoting legislation and health care reform.

Certified nurse-midwives are educated in both nursing and midwifery. In order to become a C.N.M., you must first earn the certification of R.N. This is followed by additional study in midwifery, which may take the form of a certificate program or the master's degree.

The certificate program usually entails 9-12 months of study while the master's program is usually of 16-24 months duration. Many programs require additional clinical experience. There are a few programs that have a three-year curriculum in which the R.N. is earned in the first year and the remaining time is spent on midwifery.

On completing any of the above midwifery programs, you are eligible to sit for the national midwifery exam. Nurse-midwives are licensed in all 50 states.

REQUIREMENTS: The master's programs usually require the results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

American College of Nurse-Midwives
8403 Colesville Road, Suite 1550
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: (240) 485-1800


Nurse (R.N.)

Students who are attracted to the health professions because they are particularly interested in the art of healing might want to give serious thought to nursing. Nurses provide direct care to people of all ages and in a variety of settings. Nursing care includes health promotion activities such as nutrition; immunization or baby care information; disease prevention such as blood pressure screening; acute care, including first aid and CPR; and rehabilitative care.

With the changes taking place in the medical profession the opportunities open for motivated and ambitious nurses are many. Clearly there are many similarities between the work performed by nurses and M.D.s. Nursing combined with a specialty (e.g., nurse-anesthetist) or nurse-practitioner are longer-term goals where autonomy and flexibility are making this area exceptionally attractive.

The employment opportunities are excellent; there is a shortage of nurses. Salaries have increased dramatically in the past several years, the types of settings in which nurses work are endless, and hours and conditions are extremely flexible.

While it is possible to enter directly into a B.S.N. degree program from high school, there are well over 100 accelerated nursing programs of 12-18 months designed specifically for people who have earned B.A.s in other areas. At NYU, there is a 15-month program leading to the B.S.N. degree and R.N. certification. The NYU Division of Nursing also offers the Dual Degree B.S./M.A. Program for students interested in becoming a Nurse Practitioner. At schools without an accelerated program, you would generally apply as a transfer student, receive transfer credit for the required science and liberal arts courses, and then proceed with the nursing sequences. Nursing schools vary widely in how they treat college graduates, so you should check with the schools in which you are interested.

REQUIREMENTS: For college graduates: A grade point average of 3.0 or above; postbaccalaureate science courses of above 3.0.

NYU REQUIREMENTS: NYU's program does not require the GRE. Its course requirements are similar to the above except that Organic Chemistry need not be taken and one semester of Anatomy and Physiology is sufficient if taken in a Nursing department.


College of Nursing
246 Greene Street
New York, NY 10003
Tel: (212) 998-5300

American Association of Colleges of Nursing
One Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 530
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202) 463-6930 

National League of Nursing (NLN)
61 Broadway, 33rd Floor
New York, NY 10006
Tel: (212) 363-5555


Osteopathic Physician (DO)

(Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)
There are a few slight differences between allopathic physicians and osteopathic physicians. Osteopathic medicine is a distinctive form of medical practice that provides all of the benefits of modern medicine including prescription drugs, surgery, and the use of technology to diagnose disease and evaluate injury. It also offers the added benefit of hands-on diagnosis and treatment through a system of therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine. Osteopathic Medicine focuses on health education, injury prevention, and disease prevention.

Osteopathic medical students are often strongly urged to go into primary-care areas (including General and Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics/Gynecology), so students drawn to these areas may find that osteopathy is ultimately their best option.

In many areas outside of metropolitan areas (where there often is a big concentration of medical centers and physicians), D.O.s and M.D.s often work side by side and in the same hospitals. In some states, there is only one licensing agency for both M.D.s and D.O.s. As of June 2011, there were 27 osteopathic medical schools in the U.S.

REQUIREMENTS: The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is required. Additionally, schools of osteopathic medicine evaluate letters of recommendation, leadership qualities, and participation in both academic and non-academic extracurricular activities. It is becoming increasingly important that you have considerable, direct experience under the tutelage of a D.O. Undergraduate pre-osteopathic medical study requires the following courses:

Some schools may have additional required or recommended courses, such as Biochemistry. You should consult The Osteopathic Medical College Information Book. It is updated annually, and a copy is kept on reserve in Silver 901.

New York College of Osteopathic Medicine ("NYCOM")
New York Institute of Technology Office of Admissions
P.O. Box 8000
Old Westbury, NY 11568
Tel: (516) 626-6947

The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
Application Service (AACOMAS)
5550 Friendship Boulevard, Suite 310
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Tel: (301) 968-4190

American Osteopathic Association
142 East Ontario Street, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60611-2864
Tel: (800) 621-1773


Physician Assistant

Physician assistants provide health care under the direction and supervision of a doctor. PAs make clinical decisions and provide a broad range of diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive, and health maintenance services. PAs work in primary and specialty care in medical and surgical practice settings. PA practice may also be involved in educational, research, and administrative activities.

There are over 130 accredited PA programs (for complete list see American Academy of Physician Assistants website below). The typical program is 24-25 months long and requires at least 2 years of college and some healthcare experience prior to admission.

REQUIREMENTS: Requirements for PA programs tend to vary, so check with the individual programs you are interested in for specific requirements. The following is a list of some typical requirements:

Some schools may require or recommend Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, and Biochemistry.

Hofstra University
113 Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
Tel: (516) 463-4074

Rutgers University
675 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Tel: (732) 235-4445

American Academy of Physician Assistants
950 North Washington Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: (703) 836-2272 

Physician Assistant Education Association 

Contains information on graduate programs, plus access to the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA).