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Launching careers in health and medicine from Florida

So you want to be a doctor, a dentist or veterinarian?

We include Medical, Dental, and Veterinary School Mentoring in our Pre-Health Program.

Professors — not teaching assistants — lead both lectures and laboratories, which makes for better pre-dental, pre-med and pre-vet instruction. While most pre-health students choose natural science majors like biology or chemistry, you’re free to opt for a less travelled path. You’ll have a faculty mentor and a pre-health advising committee to help plan your approach to medical, dental, veterinary, or other health profession school.

It’s a strategy that works! Our students have gone on to Medical School at places like Harvard and the Mayo Clinic; and Veterinary Medical School at Auburn and the University of Florida.

General pre-health timeline

First Year

  • Talk with your Autumn Term Advisor to schedule your first semester classes; prioritize biology, chemistry, math, or physics
  • Review admission guidelines and meet with Pre-Health Committee Member to learn about appropriate requirements
  • Think about major and minor, and plan a tentative degree plan for the next 3 ½ years
  • Develop study skills and maintain excellent GPA
  • Subscribe to student journals and read interesting books about your career plans
  • Challenge yourself to get a summer internship/volunteer job working with patients

Second Year

  • Meet with Pre Health Advisor to discuss your progress
  • Fine tune your schedule and degree plan with your academic mentor
  • Maintain excellent GPA
  • Consider participating in research
  • Consider which entrance exam you will need to take and when you will need to take it
  • Work/volunteer in appropriate area
  • Consider what you will do this summer that will help your application
  • Plan for any special junior year program (ie. study abroad)
  • Study for entrance exam

Third Year

  • Meet with Pre-Health advisor and maintain the best GPA you can
  • Check school websites and begin personal statement
  • Organize information about schools you are interested applying to
  • Take entrance examsRequest letters of recommendation from faculty
  • Work/volunteer in appropriate area and consider what you will do this summer
  • Visit nearby schools in which you are interested

Fourth Year

  • Submit applications in the Fall semester
  • Work/volunteer in appropriate area and maintain the best GPA you can
  • Re-take entrance exams to improve scores if needed
  • Confirm that schools have received your application materials and letters
  • Interview at schools and complete financial aid forms
  • If wait-listed, send letter confirming interest
  • Consider what you will do this summer, to keep options open
  • Write thank you letters to medical school interviewers, references, and all advisors who helped you
  • If you do not get accepted, consider Post-Baccalaureate, Summer Enrichment, and Masters Programs to strengthen your application for resubmission


Pre-Health Advisory Committee

Along with your academic mentor, faculty members from various disciplines, discuss your plans, evaluate options, and prepare you for the application process. Connect with a committee member for more info.

Friends in high places

Over the last nine years, more than 60 Eckerd students have done summer research and physician shadowing at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Genomic Medicine in Boston.

Research in your first year

Every year, 20 to 25 new students receive first-year research associate positions to work side by side with our professors on their research.

Anthropology courses give you an edge

Unlike most other liberal arts colleges, our Anthropology faculty are experts in human health, both living and past. You can study medical anthropology, skeletal biology, forensic anthropology, dental anthropology, and paleopathology — subjects that have direct relevance to pre-health students. When applying to medical or dental schools, this valuable academic experience often sets our students apart from graduates from other colleges with a strict Biology major.

In Their Own Words

“Any school can teach you what to think about science, coaxing you to memorize endless facts, but Eckerd teaches you how to think about science. The expert, caring faculty and small class sizes give every STEM graduate hundreds of hours of hands-on training on how to analyze scientific questions like a pro, how to read scientific literature critically, and how to communicate about science with people from all backgrounds. Then the fantastic liberal arts foundation builds the skills you need to contextualize the role of science and technology in society and think about how best to apply scientific tools to solve human problems. Your professors are almost all Ph.D. experts in their fields who … care about teaching young folks like you. You wouldn’t get that at most other schools.”
Timothy Lee, Class of 2018, Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

Beyond the Classroom

Pre-health students often intern at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, which gives them the chance to see what a doctor’s life is like before they apply to medical school. Others have shadowed doctors working in surgery, emergency medicine, and neurology in a hospital in Spain (see photo below!). Pre-veterinary students frequently volunteer at the Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory, right at the edge of Eckerd’s campus, run by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It is also possible to earn academic credit over Winter Term for shadowing opportunities that might be closer to home.

Because Eckerd is a small college, good students can join one of many research projects:

The best way to join a research team? Talk to other students, ask your mentor, and ask your professors. You can also consider applying for a First-Year Research Associateship to get started as soon as you get on campus!

Many pre-health students join the Eckerd College Emergency Response Team (EC-ERT), a student-run group of trained emergency medical responders who attend to campus calls for medical help. It’s a good way to see if medicine is really for you, while learning how to do medical and trauma assessments. Many students on the team also decide to get certified as an Emergency Medical Technician, an absolute plus for your resume and applications!

In addition to the more than 300 study abroad destinations available to all students, pre-health students often join Eckerd’s medical missions trip to Jamaica. Offered during spring break every year, students spend the week practicing medical skills and doing good at the same time.

Study Abroad Pics on Flickr

Popular classes

Cases in Neuropathology

This class explores medical cases in diseases and conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Epilepsy, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and the Autism Spectrum.

Receptor Pharmacology

This class investigates what drugs are, how they are developed, and how they interact with the body to elicit their effects.

Human Osteology and Anthropology

This course entails a detailed study of the human skeleton and dentition.


Pre-health students take a variety of laboratory classes. The James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences is a bright building with research lab spaces, modern instrumentation, faculty offices, and laboratory classrooms. There are indoor and outdoor places to study, and the coffee shop in the lobby provides the caffeine to fuel long study sessions.

A group of Eckerd College pre-health students shadow physicians in Spain


Where our pre-health graduates go after Eckerd

Graduates from Eckerd College have been accepted to Medical, Dental, Veterinary, Optometry, Pharmacy, and Physician Assistant programs at the following institutions:

  • Auburn University
  • Cooper College of Medicine
  • Creighton University
  • Drexel University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida International University
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Indiana University
  • Mayo Clinic School of Medicine
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Rocky Vista University
  • Ross University School of Medicine
  • St. George’s University
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Buffalo
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Missouri
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Western University of Health Sciences
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