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Pre-Med and Pre-Health

Planning ahead for graduate coursework

Studying abroad can provide an enriching dimension to your preparation for graduate school admission in the health profession fields. However, working a study abroad experience into a pre-med/pre-health undergraduate program requires early, careful planning and should only be undertaken with guidance from your school adviser and pre-med/pre-health advisers at the University Academic Advising Center, who are familiar with your pre-med/pre-health requirements. You might also want to speak directly with admissions officers at the graduate schools you are considering to determine how the proposed study abroad experience will be viewed relative to that school's requirements and selection criteria.

For information about requirements for medical school and an overview of admissions procedures and timetables, visit the University Academic Advising Center's Pre-Health web page. We highly recommend setting up an appointment with the University Academic Advising Center.

Program options for pre-med and pre-health students

Pre-health students have a variety of study abroad options through our affiliated programs:

  1. Programs focusing on health-related studies allow students to examine public health or related fields while also taking courses in area studies and, when applicable, language. They often offer a range of valuable clinical/field study opportunities that allow students to observe firsthand the day-to-day roles and lifestyles of caregivers in different cultural settings.
  2. General study abroad programs offer students an opportunity to pursue other, non-medical related interests.

Northwestern encourages pre-med and pre-health students to explore programs that interest them, whether or not the programs are related to health studies. Students should not choose a program just because they think it will help them get into graduate school. Graduate school admissions officers in the health professions fields are looking for well-rounded individuals who bring with them a diverse, challenging and enriching resume of undergraduate experiences.

Taking the MCAT Abroad

The MCAT is offered in many countries outside the United States. Exams are offered January through September; registering early is encouraged. For a list of available countries and registration materials, visit the MCAT web page on the AAMC web site. You should also schedule an appointment with a pre-health/pre-med adviser in the University Academic Advising Center to determine if it is advisable to take the MCAT abroad.

Minoring in Global Health Studies

Northwestern's Global Health Studies minor integrates an international dimension into health-related fields of study, and is particularly popular among pre-medical students interested in studying abroad. The Global Health Studies minor is open to students in any discipline or school.

Offering an innovative and interdisciplinary approach to the study of public health issues, the minor combines on-campus course work with hands-on experience abroad and individualized research. It is designed to examine the medical, cultural and legal structures that shape health conditions and policy responses abroad, the global context that spreads the impact of these problems the world over, and the emerging international initiatives that address these new global realities.

Students may study abroad on Northwestern-sponsored public health programs in a variety of locations, including China, Cuba, France, Israel, Mexico, South Africa and Tanzania. These programs provide students and future practitioners with the necessary skills to understand international health issues, learn about domestic and international approaches to international crisis management, and, ultimately, work more effectively with diverse populations.

For more information, review the Global Health Studies Minor web site or e-mail globalhealth@northwestern.edu. You can also call the Office of International Program Development at 847-467-6953.