Undergraduate Programs

All About Pre-Health Sciences Tracks at Clarkson

A Clarkson student works with instrumentation including a pipette and colored solution in a beaker.

Pre-Health Science tracks at Clarkson are the perfect way to prepare yourself for the next stage of your education or career while working through your major, whether your goal is to become a medical practitioner/professional, or work in the healthcare industry in a myriad of careers. Healthcare careers are often ranked among the best jobs in the United States and around the world, with high salaries and growth in the number of jobs available. 

Here at Clarkson, we offer nine Pre-Health Science tracks for students to choose from. Let’s take a peek at each of them.


Pre-med is probably the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions pre-health sciences. This track puts you on a path that oftentimes leads to medical school, but that is not the only option!

Even if you are pre-med, sometimes medical school isn’t the next step, and that’s OK! Here at Clarkson, you will find our advising follows a certain format that helps students decide the right role for them in healthcare. Once we find a fit for you, your advisor will help you apply to medical school or other health professional schools!

Pre-med students also have access to a series of seminar courses called Introduction to Healthcare, which introduces students interested in all areas of healthcare to issues such as professionalism, health delivery systems, medical ethics and the research basis for clinical care.


Five Clarkson pre-vet students pet a cute dog while getting community service experience at the Humane Society.

Pre-vet is a highly competitive program at Clarkson, but it also offers its students a lot of experience and promises to prepare them to apply to veterinary school.

While good grades and a solid GRE score will play into your acceptance to veterinary school, lots of schools also want to see that you have worked in the field before because it shows that you have a real interest in the practice. 

Clarkson’s pre-vet program offers students plenty of opportunities to work with both large and small animals in a wide range of settings, as well as extracurricular activities and community service opportunities!


Students interested in Clarkson’s pre-dental track can work this concentration into their schedule while studying any major in any school offered here. This means that all of the courses you’re required to take for the pre-dental track are either already a requirement for your major, or they can be taken as an elective without impacting your academic timeframe. 

Since pre-dental students at Clarkson are overseen by the Pre-Medical Science Advising Office, they are offered all of the same cool opportunities as all pre-medical science students. This means you have access to speakers in specific health professions and health-related areas, general meetings to learn about changes in health careers and materials for preparation for the various admissions tests. 

Pre-Public Health, Pre-Optometry and Pre-Pharmacy

The pre-public health, pre-op and pre-pharm tracks align with pre-dental in that you are able to study any major in any school you’d like while you complete your requirements for these concentrations. For example, you might choose to study psychology to learn how to motivate and direct patients and their families.

Two Clarkson students work in a science lab on an experiment in the Science Center.

Most students in these concentrations study biology, biomolecular science, chemistry, psychology or environmental health science. Students studying these tracks also have access to the Introduction to Healthcare seminar courses.

Clarkson is also surrounded by all kinds of public health organizations, pharmaceutical and optometry opportunities that make for great locations for students to volunteer and gain experience in the field.

Pre-Physical Therapy

Pre-physical therapy at Clarkson is a highly competitive program for motivated students who intend to become physical therapists or enter another similar healthcare field. This program also feeds directly into Clarkson’s physical therapy program which offers a graduate level, Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

Three occupational therapy and physical therapy students work in Clarkson's simulation lab on a baby mannequin.
Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy students in the OT simulation lab.

Students in Pre-PT are free to study any major they’d like. Some students, for example, might study Engineering and Management to learn how physical therapy equipment works and how the mechanical principles apply to the human body.

Pre-PT students have plenty of opportunities that are sure to give them an advantage when it comes time to take the next step in their journey. Internships, clubs, hands-on research and cutting edge facilities are just a few of the resources available to students studying this track.

Pre-Occupational Therapy

Upon acceptance, pre-occupational therapy students are invited to participate in activities in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Pre-OT students are also granted preferential consideration for the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program as long as they successfully complete the milestones and MSOT prerequisites.

Clarkson’s Occupational Therapy department is the logical next step for lots of Pre-OT students. In this program, students will learn to become well-rounded healthcare professionals who have learned how to apply evidence-based interventions to improve a person’s psychological, physical, emotional and social participation.

Last year, one of Clarkson’s occupational therapy graduate students found unique accommodations that also allowed her access to unparalleled field experience. Click here to read Rebecca Brogan’s blog about living and working at a local nursing home.

Pre-Physician Assistant

Like the Pre-PT and Pre-OT programs, Clarkson’s Pre-physician assistant program feeds into the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program. Clarkson’s PA program is a 28-consecutive month curriculum and is known for graduating high quality and compassionate physician assistants.

Physician Assistant student Aaron Cooper sits with a hospital employee at a computer while completing his rounds.
Clarkson PA student, Aaron Cooper, completes his round at CPH.

Pre-PA also offers access to internships, related healthcare minors and healthcare-related courses, as well as pre-health advisers and physician assistant studies advisers.

Working on your pre-PA track as an undergrad prepares you to join a rigorous PA graduate program that allows you to stay at Clarkson and leads to a successful career. The average salary of a physician assistant exceeds $100,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Clubs and Organizations

There are several student clubs and organizations at Clarkson that are focused on healthcare and are perfect opportunities for pre-health science students to stay active.

Some of our health-related clubs include:

  • Doctors Without Borders
  • Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students
  • Pre-Physician Assistant Club
  • Physical Therapy Club
  • Animal Science Club (pre-vet)
  • Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society

Doctors Without Borders is one of the most well-known groups on campus, and their work in all different parts of the world is truly incredible. But don’t take my word for it, click here to read Matt Kane’s blog about his experience with the club.

Trudeau Biomedical Scholars

Another opportunity afforded to all is Trudeau Biomedical Scholars. This undergraduate program is designed to provide a select group of undergraduate students the opportunity to learn the multidisciplinary aspect of bioscience related to the human health field.

The Trudeau Institute’s fundamental research on immunity fosters the development of vaccines, treatments and cures for many life-threatening diseases, including cancer, tuberculosis and influenza.

We asked Biology Chair Michael Twiss to give you a little more information about the Trudeau program. Here’s what he had to say.

“The Clarkson Trudeau Biomedical Scholars Semester Program is an intensive semester-long living and learning experience that takes place at the renowned Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake, New York. This semester-long experience is unique for any undergraduate program in the US. Students interested in this program are typically interested in how biotechnology applies to advances in healthcare. 

“The benefits to a student participating are many and include: hands-on use of sophisticated analytical equipment such as flow cytometers; experience in the design execution and communication of a bona-fide research project (students typically spend the semester developing and testing a vaccine for mice); intense cohort team work; and the opportunity to study in a professional work environment similar to what they’d expect to experience after graduation.”
Healthcare is an ever changing field with plenty of opportunities for a successful career. Clarkson’s nine pre-health science tracks can offer motivated students a chance to pursue nearly any healthcare-related career they so choose. For more information on our pre-health tracks, or to contact admissions or apply, visit our website.

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