Suggested Electives

Suggested Electives and Related Courses

While a good, solid performance in the sciences is important, it is by no means the only factor in your application. Beyond your performance in prehealth coursework, the overall strength and breadth of your academic record is an important consideration in admissions for health professions programs. With this in mind, the Preprofessional Advising Center encourages students to choose a major they will enjoy and truly strive to develop themselves intellectually, irrespective of the difficulty of the courses they may be taking. Similarly, we encourage students to carefully consider elective courses which can help to broaden their perspectives as future healthcare practitioners. 

NYU offers many courses in the social sciences and humanities as well as minors that can be relevant to your future career. We encourage you to explore other courses which may relate your particular interests to health-related subjects. Additionally, carefully choosing elective coursework is one way in which you can demonstrate your personal perspective and genuine academic interests to admissions committees. 

Below, we list some courses and areas of study outside of the science departments that prehealth students may want to consider. This list is not exhaustive nor is it prescriptive. In addition, courses offered from semester to semester vary. Students are encouraged to explore course offerings and to choose courses that fit their interests in an authentic way.


NYU's Department of Anthropology offers a number of courses centered on human evolution and disease via its Biological Anthropology track. These courses, including Human Genetics (ANTH-UA 53), Health and Disease in Human Evolution (ANTH-UA 55), and Emerging Diseases (ANTH-UA 80), have Human Evolution (ANTH-UA 2) as a prerequisite. Additionally, the cultural anthropology course Medical Anthropology (ANTH-UA 35) offers students insights into the practices surrounding health, disease, and health care in societies around the globe. This course has Human Society and Culture (ANTH-UA 1) as a prerequisite. 


Courses in communication studies, offered by The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, can be useful to students preparing for the health professions. Effective and productive communication with supervisors, colleagues, and patients will be a very important part of your future success. Some examples include:

  • Gender and Communication MCC-UE 1700
  • Interpersonal Communication MCC-UE 1830
  • Public Speaking MCC-UE 1805

See the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication's website for more information.


Note: Introduction to Psychology (PSYCH-UA 1) is a prerequisite to all of the following courses:

  • Perception PSYCH-UA 22
  • Cognitive Neuroscience PSYCH-UA 25
  • Cognition PSYCH-UA 29


These classes will give the future healthcare practitioner insight into how their patients think and relate to other people. Note: Introduction to Psychology (PSYCH-UA 1) is a prerequisite to all of the following courses.

  • Personality PSYCH-UA 30
  • Social Psychology PSYCH-UA 32
  • Developmental Psychology PSYCH-UA 34


The CAMS program was initiated with the goal of providing students instruction in child and adolescent mental health from practicing psychiatrists and psychologists at an internationally renowned clinical and research center. Some courses have prerequisites, but many are available to all undergraduates without a prerequisite. Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (CAMS-UA 101) is the core course upon which students will complete the requirements for the minor.


The minor in Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development is designed to introduce non-CSD majors to the science of normal communication and its disorders. The minor has two goals: to develop an understanding of normal communication processes, and to develop an understanding of the nature of communication disorders across the lifespan. This minor can enable students to complete prerequisite courses required for graduate programs in speech pathology. At the completion of the minor, students will have gained familiarity with normal speech, language, and hearing processes; developed a basic understanding of anatomy and physiology of the speech and hearing mechanism; become familiar with the disorders that affects the ability to communicate across the lifespan; and been introduced to the impact of speech, language and hearing disorders on communication processes across the lifespan.


NYU's College of Global Public Health (CGPH) offers a number of combined majors (each hosted in collaboration with an undergraduate-degree-granting NYU school) as well as a minor in public health. At CAS, combined majors in Global Public Health are offered with the departments of Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, History, and Sociology, and, with careful planning, these majors or the public health minor can be combined with prehealth coursework. The majors offer core coursework in areas like epidemiology, biostatistics, health policy, and environmental health, as well as an experiential learning component, and GPH majors are required to study away for at least one semester. Additional electives and courses cross-listed with other schools at NYU are available to majors and minors as well. Public helath majors and the minor are appropriate for students considering careers and/or further study in the health professions, particularly in medicine, community or global public health, public health and public health policy, health management, social work, nursing, medical journalism, and other fields.


Courses in this department can give the future healthcare practitioner a broad understanding of the social context in which healthcare operates. These courses (like many classes in the Sociology Department) may have no prerequisites, but Introduction to Sociology (SOC-UA 1) is the foundational course.

  • Wealth, Power, Status: Inequality in Society SOC-UA 137
  • Sociology of Medicine SOC-UA 414
  • Social Policy in Modern Societies SOC-UA 313


NYU's Department of History offers a number of courses that engage with topics relating to medicine and science at large. These courses can help prehealth students to examine the development of these fields and the contexts in which they operate from past to present. Some representative examples include:

  • History of Medicine HIST-UA 158
  • Global Medicine & Disease: The Challenges we Face HIST-UA 293
  • From Medical Ethics to Bioethics: Historical Perspectives HIST-UA 750


Coursework in philosophy, like many other humanities disciplines, places emphasis upon clear and critical thinking and writing, creating an intellectually challenging experience that can change the way you read, write, think, and argue. Philosophy intersects with health and medicine in a number of respects, including confronting questions about the nature of life and death as well as discussions of ethics. This kind of coursework can create an important intellectual foundation for future health care practitioners, whose daily work will require clear and ethical decision-making.  Finally, students who are majoring (or are simply deeply interested) in one of the natural sciences or mathematics may want to study the philosophical foundations of these branches of knowledge. Some selected suggestions are:

  • Life and Death PHIL-UA 4
  • Ethics PHIL-UA 40
  • Medical Ethics PHIL-UA 50
  • Philosophy of Science PHIL-UA 90
  • Philosophy of Math PHIL-UA 98


The Department of Social and Cultural Analysis takes a trans-disciplinary approach to the study of social structures, issues, and movements, employing perspectives and insights from both the humanities and social sciences. These courses can encourage prehealth students to develop and refine their understanding of the societies in which and people with which health care is practiced. The department offers a number of majors (including Africana Studies, Asian/Pacific/American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Latino Studies, and Metropolitan Studies), and related coursework which may be of interest to many prehealth students depending on their interests in practicing with particular patient populations. Course offerings change from semester to semester, and students are encouraged to explore the department's website to learn more.