Choosing a Major
Choosing a major is a highly personal decision, and those who excel academically in college are most often those students who select majors they truly enjoy. If you really enjoy the sciences and are a very strong science student, then choosing a major in that area is the right decision for you. On the other hand, if you have other interests and talents, you should feel confident in pursuing a non-science major as a prehealth student. You do not need to major in science to do well on the MCAT or be admitted to medical school. Since you have a wide choice of subjects in which to major, your decision should be based on an honest assessment of your interests and talents. You are strongly urged to view your undergraduate years as a time for intellectual growth and not solely as a means to an end. Professional schools want students who have proven themselves not only in the required science courses, but in the humanities and social sciences as well. They will be looking to see if you allowed yourself sufficient depth and breadth in your studies. The ideal candidate shows not only good academic competence, but also evidence of strong, independent judgment and motivation for lifelong learning.
As you are developing your ideas on a choice of major, you should consult with the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the relevant department or departments. This does not in any way commit you to pursuing a major in that area, but it does enable you to get the very latest and most accurate advice on the subject. It is also always possible to change your major, but in this situation it is absolutely crucial that you first speak with the Director of Undergraduate Studies of the department to which you plan to transfer, to ensure that it is possible for you to complete all the necessary courses in time for graduation.
Undergraduate Study Away
Many prehealth students ask if it is feasible or desirable for them to study abroad. With careful planning, this is an excellent idea. We strongly encourage students to make full use of NYU's global network to study in another country while an undergradute. You could plan to spend either a summer, a semester, or a full year abroad. If you plan to spend a full year overseas, you must bear in mind that you will need to complete all your prehealth courses in a U.S. college in time for the MCAT. NYU sites qualify as a US college and you can complete your prehealth requirements at sites such as NYU London, NYU Sydney, NYU Tel Aviv, NYU Shanghai, and NYU Abu Dhabi.
In addition to the usual sites in the U.S., Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, the MCAT is administered at several other overseas locations on the same days as they are offered in the United States. For more information about these testing sites, check with AMCAS by visiting their web site at http://www.aamc.org/, or call them at (202) 828-0600.
Based on their MCAT/application timing and NYU's global offerings, most students choose to spend a semester or year abroad during their sophomore or junior year. If you would like to take advantage of a study abroad opportunity, you should keep in close contact with your academic advisor(s) and NYU Global. Careful and early planning will help you maximize where you can go and which courses you're able to take.
NYU currently offers Principles of Biology I & II, General Physics I & II, and Organic Chemistry I & II with labs at its site in London. Part I of a two-semester sequence is offered in the fall and Part II in the spring; there are not summer options away but we do not recommend summer science. Our Sydney campus offers these same science courses, as well as Biochemistry I in the fall only. NYU Tel Aviv and NYU's portal campuses in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi also offer science coursework that may be appropriate for prehealth students in specific majors, and Abu Dhabi has recently offered the opportunity to take Organic Chemistry I in the spring and II in the fall. Note that, as grades earned at NYU sites will appear on your regular NYU transcript, they are acceptable to all health professional schools in this country.
Study away locations by prehealth course:
Organic Chemistry I - London (fall), Shanghai (fall), Abu Dhabi (spring)
Organic Chemistry II - London (spring), Sydney (spring), Tel Aviv (spring), Shanghai (spring), Abu Dhabi (fall)
Biochemistry - Sydney (fall)
Principles of Biology I - London (fall)
Principles of Biology II - London (spring), Sydney (spring)
Principles of Biology Lab - London (spring), Sydney (spring)
Calculus I - London (fall, Math for Economics I), Shanghai (fall, spring)
Physics I - London (fall), Sydney (fall), Shanghai (fall)
Physics II - London (spring), Sydney (spring), Tel Aviv (spring), Shanghai (spring)
English Elective - London (fall, spring), Abu Dhabi (spring), Sydney (spring)
Intro to Psychology - London (fall, spring), Sydney (fall, spring), Abu Dhabi (fall, spring)
Popular combinations for prehealth students include Principles of Biology or Physics and Organic Chemistry together in London in the second year of prehealth study, Principles of Biology II with lab and Organic Chemistry II in Sydney in spring of the second year of prehealth study, Biochemistry & Physics I in Sydney in the fall of the third or fourth year of prehealth study, and Organic Chemistry II (possibly with Physics II for chemistry students) in the spring of second year in Tel Aviv. Your CAS advisor and preprofessional advisors are happy to help you plan for a variety of scenarios customized to your major and interests. Most students combine a prehealth class (or two) with language study (where required) and Core requirements, or non-science prehealth requirements. Planning ahead is helpful; speak with an advisor if you are even considering study away to make sure you will be prepared. Priority application deadlines are early in the semester prior to the desired study away semester - February for fall, September for spring semester. We strongly recommend applying by the priority deadline as the study away sites with prehealth courses are among the most popular.
NYU students can also choose to study away at one of five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving Institutes (HSI) through our Domestic Exchange Program. The exchange program is administered through the NYU Faculty Resource Network in conjunction with the Academic Achievement Program and includes the following institutions:
- Morehouse College
- Spelman College
- Xavier of Louisiana
- University of Puerto Rico
- University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico
The exchange opportunity is offered during the spring semester to sophomores and juniors. Students accepted into the program reside in on-campus housing facilities and take classes that can satisfy prehealth, major, and other degree requirements.