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Pre-Professional Education



  • “The Professions” include a wide variety of occupations such as engineering, law, many aspects of human health care, counseling/clinical psychology, military/aerospace, and veterinary medicine. “The Professions” uniformly require either highly technical education within the Bachelor’s degree or, more commonly, two to four years of graduate education after a Bachelor’s degree. 

  • In most cases, Professional (graduate) schools require a Bachelor’s degree for admission to their programs. One exception is in Engineering, in which a “Pre-Eng” student might study at UW Oshkosh for one to three years and then transfer to a School of Engineering, such as the one at UW Madison. The Engineering student would then finish both a Bachelor’s degree (from UW Oshkosh) and an Engineering degree (from UW Madison). 

  • “Pre-Professional” education prepares the college student for advanced work at a Professional school, often entailing a move to a different campus. For example, a UW Oshkosh “Pre-Med” might go on to study medicine at UW Madison, while a “Pre-Law” student might go on to study law at Marquette University. 

  • In general, the Pre-Professional student has dual educational goals in college: 

    • To earn a Bachelor’s degree in a declared major (exception: Pre-Engineering students, see above). UW Oshkosh is responsible for setting the policies for earning the Bachelor’s degree.  

    • To gain admission to the Professional school(s) of his or her choice. Each Professional school is responsible for setting its own policies for admission.  

  • In general, the Pre-Professional student is free to choose any major because the vast majority of Professional schools have no preference. Often, one particular major provides the “path of least resistance” for satisfying Professional school admissions requirements. However, that should not be the only reason a student declares that particular major. Students may achieve more academic success in programs that truly interest them. For example, Psychology majors have gone on to medical school, law school and masters and doctoral programs in clinical or counseling psychology. 

  • Professional schools can, and do, change their admissions requirements at will, and are under no obligation to notify Pre-Professional advisers of their actions. Vigilance is required. Pre-Professional students are encouraged to communicate directly with admissions recruiters at Professional schools to remain current in their policies. In the end, careful planning by the student, with the assistance of advisers at UW Oshkosh and at the Professional school(s), will result in a Bachelor’s degree plan that earns both a degree and eligibility for admission.

  • At UW Oshkosh, when a student decides to declare a major, s/he also has the option of self-identifying as a particular type of Pre-Professional, such as “Pre-Med” or “Pre-Law”. Identifying as Pre-Professional is secondary to declaring a major. Pre-Prof is just a flag on the student’s record that just alerts anyone viewing the student’s academic plan to a hoped-for career outcome. Identifying, or not identifying, does not change the student’s access to advisers or choice of career; it’s a convenience only. Common UW Oshkosh major/Pre-Profession combinations are:

    • Biology/Pre-Med (but Med Schools admit any major)

    • Chemistry/Pre-Pharmacy (but Pharm Schools admit any major)

    • Political Science/Pre-Law (but Law Schools admit any major)

    • Physics/Pre-Engineering

  • The following emerging trends in Professional education should be noted:   

    • Some Professional schools outside of Engineering do admit a tiny fraction of students without the Bachelor’s degree, i.e. with only one to three years of college. However, outside of Engineering, this policy is disappearing, in view of the value of a well-rounded education and of maturity. 

    • Professions that used to be trained at the Bachelor’s degree level are now moving toward the Master’s degree level (typically, two years of Professional school after the Bachelor’s degree).  Professions that used to be Master’s level are now moving toward the Doctoral degree level (typically, four years of Professional school after the Bachelor’s degree). 

    • Non-academic factors contribute substantially to how competitive a student is for Professional school admission. Students must plan for things like entrance exams, apprenticeship-like experiences in the Profession and criminal background checks. Even if not actually required, non-academic factors give students the advantage in the competition for admission.

  • Based on these trends, Pre-Professional students at UW Oshkosh are routinely advised to:

    • Plan a full Bachelor’s degree completion.

    • Plan for the possibility that their chosen profession will “go doctoral” by the time they apply.

    • Plan to accommodate required and recommended non-academic factors.

  • As Professions change, so do the admissions requirements of Professional schools. Therefore, the options for Pre-Professional education at UW Oshkosh change, too. Only the most general information is provided in this Bulletin, so that it does not rapidly go out-of-date.  Please consult the UW Oshkosh web pages and advisers listed below for the most current information. 


  • Engineering professions include a variety of fields such as electrical, computer, mechanical, civil, mining, architectural, biomedical, environmental, industrial, chemical, geological, materials science, manufacturing and nuclear.

  • Engineering Education:

    • Two years of liberal arts (pre-engineering) courses to include calculus, physics, chemistry, English, economics and, in some cases, speech

    • Two to three years of engineering course work

  • Engineering programs in Wisconsin include:

    • University of Wisconsin Madison

    • University of Wisconsin Milwaukee

    • University of Wisconsin Platteville

    • University of Wisconsin Stout

    • University Milwaukee School of Engineering

    • Marquette University

  • Course suggestions for students attending UW engineering schools:

    Required courses will vary depending on the school and engineering specialty selected. It is important that pre-engineering students meet regularly with pre-engineering advisers, and that they contact the school where they plan to complete the engineering program early in their college careers.The following first semester courses are suggested, with exceptions to this schedule noted below:

    • Physics 109 or Chemistry 105 *

    • Computer Science 221

    • Mathematics 171 (or begin the math sequence based on placement test results) *

* For most engineering fields, take Physics 109 and Math 171. For Chemical Engineering, take Chemistry 105 and Math 171.


** Start math sequence according to Placement Test results. Note that lower placement will delay taking Physics 109, which is calculus-based. If placed into Mathematics 104 or 108, it is best to take 108 or take 104 in Fall term and Mathematics 106 in January Interim (104 + 106 = 108) to progress through the math sequence more quickly.


*** Practical Arts 101 is required for all engineering programs at UW Platteville; industrial, civil and mechanical at UW Milwaukee; and agricultural, mechanical and engineering mechanics at UW Madison. Do not take 101 for electrical or materials engineering at UW Milwaukee or for electrical, materials, chemical, civil, geological, industrial, metallurgical and nuclear at UW Madison. Instead substitute a social science or humanities elective. Economics 206 would be a good choice.

Of the four courses listed, Computer Science 221 may be taken later so the student substitutes a social science, humanities or English composition course. English 101 or WBIS 188 is required by both UW Platteville and UW Milwaukee. Students attending UW Madison must have taken it or tested out of it. Communication 111 is appropriate for all engineers attending UW Platteville, but only for electrical, civil and chemical engineers at UW Madison. It does not meet any requirement for other engineering specialties at UW Madison and is not needed for engineering at UW Milwaukee. Advisers are available to help select the correct courses.

The information below delineates the required courses needed to complete a physics major at UW Oshkosh, transfer to either UW Madison or the University of Minnesota and complete a two-year engineering major. (Students in the dual degree program receive both a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in physics from UW Oshkosh and a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in a selected engineering field from UW Madison or the University of Minnesota.

  • Degree Requirements: UW Oshkosh

  1. Students must meet the course requirements for general education and for a B.S. degree in the college of Letters and Science.

  2. Meet the grade point average requirements of UW Oshkosh with regard to general education courses and courses taken in physics at UW Oshkosh.

  3. Meet the UW Oshkosh requirement for 35 upper level course credits. (Courses designated as upper level by the engineering school to which the student has transferred will be included in the upper level credit count to meet the UW Oshkosh requirement.)

  4. Normally, students will complete about 84 credits at UW Oshkosh before transferring to their engineering school of choice. If a student transfers courses into UW Oshkosh, the student will be required to complete 30 credits of UW Oshkosh courses to qualify for the B.S. Degree with a major in physics from UW Oshkosh.

  5. The UW Oshkosh residency requirement stating that 15 of the student's last 30 credits must be taken at UW Oshkosh will be waived for these students.

  • Additional explanation: Completion of the program will normally take five years (or more), three at UW Oshkosh to complete the physics major and College of Letters and Science Bachelor of Science requirements and an additional two at the engineering school of choice to complete the requirements for the degree in engineering.

  • UW Oshkosh requirements for the physics major:

    Mathematics Courses:
    Math 171 Calculus I - 4 cr.
    Math 172 Calculus II - 4 cr.
    Math 273 Calculus III - 4 cr.
    Math 256 Intro to Linear Math
    Math 371 Differential Equations - 6 cr.
    OR Combined Linear Algebra/Differential Equations course from the destination engineering school.

    Total Math credits required (from UW Oshkosh or equivalent), including three to five courses listed above: 12 - 18 cr.
    Chemistry 105 General Chemistry I - 5 cr. 
    Total Chemistry - 5 cr.

    Required Physics courses:

    Physics 109 General Physics I - 5 cr.
    Physics 110 General Physics II - 5cr. 
    Physics 206, Modern Physics - 4 cr.
    Physics 222 - 2 cr. 
    Physics 320 Classical Physics* - 3 cr. 
    *(OR Physics 201 Statistics, and Physics 202 Dynamics) - 6 cr.
    *Statistics and Dynamics may be taken at the destination engineering school. 

    Additional UW Oshkosh Physics courses (total 11 credits) from the following list:
    Physics 305 Electronic Circuits and Devices - 3 cr.
    Physics 311 Digital Instrumentation - 4 cr.
    Physics 307 Optics - 3 cr.
    Physics 319 Digital Signal Processing - 3 cr.
    Physics 322 Physics Laboratory II - 2 cr.
    Physics 408 Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics - 3 cr.
    Physics 417 Electricity and Magnetism - 3 cr.
    Physics 419 Quantum Mechanics - 3 cr.
    Physics 491 Senior Research Project - 1-4 cr.
    Total minimum physics and Engineering 
    credits from UW Oshkosh, as stated above: - 26 cr.

    Courses required from UW Oshkosh: Minimum of 30 cr.

    Within the course credits transferred back from the destination engineering school to UW Oshkosh, there must be:

    • Sufficient approved upper division engineering and physics courses for the student to have at least 36 credits in physics and engineering courses including the minimum 26 UW Oshkosh physics and engineering credits listed above.

    • Sufficient credits to meet the required total 120 credits and the 35 upper division credits required for graduation at UW Oshkosh.

      The B.S. Degree with Physics major will be awarded as soon as the student has transferred the needed courses from the destination engineering school and has met the requirements for a B.S. degree from UW Oshkosh and the requirements for the Physics major specified above.

    • Faculty Advisers: 

      Dr. Dennis Rioux, Halsey Science 347, (920) 424-4429

      Physics Dept., All areas of engineering, Email:

      • Academic Advisers: 

        Ron Cardo,

        Student Success Center, (920) 424-1268


    • A Bachelor's degree is required for entrance to most American law schools, and the degree may be earned in any major a student chooses. There are no prescribed courses for admittance to law school, which is a three-year program. The undergraduate pre-law student is however encouraged to pursue an area of study which is interesting and challenging while taking advantage of opportunities to develop skills in research, writing and critical thinking. In Wisconsin, there are law schools at UW Madison and Marquette University. It is recommended that students contact those institutions for specifics about their programs.
    • A student planning to apply to law school should be aware to the following deadlines:

      • Most law schools require applicants to take the Law College Admissions Test (LSAT). The test is administered four times a year. A mock LSAT is available at our Testing Center. Information on test dates, registration procedures and sample tests are available at

      • Many schools require applicants to subscribe to the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). The LSDAS Report provides law schools with a copy of the undergraduate academic transcript summary, analysis, copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, LSAT scores and a copy of the writing sample. Register at

      • Nearly all law schools require first year students to begin their studies in the fall term.

      • Some law schools make admission decisions as early as October of the year prior to student entry.

      • A student who plans to graduate in May and enter law school that same year (September) should plan to take the LSAT in June after the junior year and complete the law school application forms during that summer after receiving the results of the June exam.

    • Additional Information: Programs

      University of Wisconsin Law School 

      Admissions and Financial Aid 

      975 Bascom Hall 

      Madison, WI 53706-1399 

      Phone: (608) 262-5914 



    • Marquette University Law School 

      Office of Admissions-Eckstein Hall

      1215 West Michigan Street 

      Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881 

      Phone: (414) 288-6767 



    • Additional Information: Professional 

      American Bar Association 

      750 North Lake Shore Dr 

      Chicago, IL 60611 

      Phone: (312) 988-5000 

      Web Site:

    • National Lawyers Association 

      Information Services City Center Square

      PO Box 26005

      Kansas City, MO 64196 

      Phone: 1 (800) 471-2994 

      Web Site:

    • Faculty Adviser:
      Dr. Tracy Slagter, Clow Faculty 421,

    Pre-Veterinary Medicine
    • Veterinarians work in small and/or large animal practices, public health agencies, research settings and a variety of other positions. While two years of pre-veterinary study (60 credits of course work) are the absolute minimum, some veterinary medical colleges give priority to applicants if they are a candidate for the baccalaureate degree.
    • Students may obtain excellent undergraduate preparation at UW Oshkosh by taking the appropriate coursework, which varies slightly depending upon the veterinary school in question. The pre-veterinary student must familiarize him or herself with each veterinary school's program for best results.
    • Acceptance into one of the 28 veterinary medical schools in the United States is extremely competitive. The student will need very high grades and should score well on the admission test required by the school. Veterinary medical schools require four years of professional training in order to receive the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (D.V.M.). In Wisconsin, the veterinary medical school is located at the UW Madison. Wisconsin residents have a greater chance of being admitted to the UW Madison School of Veterinary Medicine than any other veterinary college. The following are suggested courses at UW Oshkosh for a student in the pre-veterinary program who ultimately plans to attend the UW Madison.

      • Biology 105 and 230

      • Biology 323 and 343

      • Chemistry 105 and 106

      • Chemistry 234, 235, 334, 335 and 303 (334 and 335 are not required by Madison but are prerequisites at Oshkosh for 303)

      • Physics 107 and 108

      • Mathematics 104 and 106 or 108 (begin math according to placement test results; Math 108 OR 104 AND 106 must be completed prior to physics)

      • Statistics: Math 201 or other approved statistic course

      • English 101 or WBIS 188, and an advanced Composition course

      • Social science electives

      • Humanities electives

    • Additional Information: Programs 

      University of Wisconsin Madison 

      School of Veterinary Medicine

      Office of Academic Affairs 

      2015 Linden Dr W 

      Madison, WI 53706-1102

      Phone: (608) 263-2525 

      Web Site:

    • Additional Information: Professional 

      American Veterinary Medical Association 

      1931 N Mecham Rd Ste100 

      Schaumberg, IL 60173 

      Phone: (847) 925-8070

      Web Site:

    • Faculty Adviser:

      Colleen McDermott , Biology, Halsey Science Center 154, (920) 424-1217

      Dr. McDermott is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

    Pre-Healthcare Professions

    • While we usually think of “Healthcare” as meaning the clinical care of patients, it also includes administration and management, research and development, and sales of pharmaceuticals and instrumentation.  New technologies, new policies and new treatments have greatly expanded the number of Healthcare careers in recent years.  Information about these careers may be found through the United States Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American Medical Association, and the Wisconsin Area Health Education Center  
    • Undergraduate preparation for many of these Healthcare careers can be obtained at UW Oshkosh. Moreover, today’s high school seniors will probably have even more options by the time they are college seniors. UW Oshkosh has its eye on this future for our students.

    • I. Terminal Bachelor’s Degree Programs
      UW Oshkosh offers several Healthcare-related degree programs requiring only a Bachelor’s degree as the “terminal” degree. These include:

      • Athletic Training major

      • Environmental Health major

      • Kinesiology major, Exercise & Fitness Emphasis

      • Kinesiology major, Strength & Conditioning Emphasis

      • Medical Technology major

      • Nursing major (traditional program)

      • Radiologic Science

      Each of the above majors takes about eight semesters (four years) to complete. Degree completion is generally followed by passing a licensure exam, leading to eligibility for clinical care employment directly after college. Consult the Bulletin index or program web sites (found at for more details.  

      Our College of Nursing also offers an Accelerated Nursing degree for students who have already earned a different Bachelor’s degree and have completed certain course prerequisites.  See for more details.

      In recent years, UW Oshkosh instituted additional (terminal) Bachelor’s degree programs designed (in consultation with leading Healthcare employers in the Fox Valley region) to make students highly competitive for employment after college in Healthcare administration, management and sales. The programs are:

      • Biology major, Healthcare-Business Emphasis

      • Psychology major, Healthcare-Business Emphasis

      • Business Administration major, Healthcare Emphasis

      The first two are something like Healthcare “majors” with a business “minor” blended in, whereas the third is something like a business “major” with a Healthcare “minor” blended in. Students can choose the blend they prefer. For example, the Psychology Healthcare-Business option might be perfect for a student interested in an administrative position in mental health, whereas the Biology Healthcare-Business option might be best for a student who wants to work in pharmaceutical sales. 

      II. Bachelor’s Degree Programs preparatory for Graduate Education 

      Traditional Pre-Professional Bachelor’s degree programs are not terminal; instead, they prepare students for further Professional education at the Master’s or Doctoral level, culminating in professional clinical care or research and development careers. Typically, Pre-Professional students at UW Oshkosh select a suitable major and then apply to the Professional school(s) of their choice in the junior year. What constitutes a “suitable major” is really up to the student because the graduate programs specify certain courses, but not certain majors. Often, UW Oshkosh students choose traditional majors offered through our departments of Biology & Microbiology, Chemistry, Kinesiology or Psychology. Then they go on to graduate schools and careers, such as the following:

      • Anesthesia assistant (Master's degree)

      • Chiropractor (Doctoral degree)

      • Clinical psychologist (Doctoral degree)

      • Dentist (Doctoral degree)

      • Medical doctor (allopathic or osteopathic) (Doctoral degree)

      • Occupational therapist (Master's degree or higher)

      • Optometrist (Doctoral degree)

      • Pharmacist (Doctoral degree)

      • Physical Therapist (Doctoral degree)

      • Physician Assistant (Master's degree)

      • Podiatrist (Doctoral degree)  

      In recent years, UW Oshkosh’s College of Letters & Sciences instituted new Healthcare-Science Emphases within selected majors designed specifically for Pre-Health students. These Bachelor’s degree programs take some of the guesswork out of preparing for Professional school because they include most of the courses required for admission to most of the Professional schools. They also prepare students well for several different entrance exams (e.g. MCAT, DAT, OAT, PCAT, GRE). They are a good option for the student interested in a clinical career, but unsure of which one. It is possible (with careful planning) to construct a Healthcare-Science degree so that the student’s final decision about which career can be made as late as the senior year. Because of the many lab classes and research experiences that count toward these majors, they are also excellent preparation for the student interested in biomedical research and development, or even in sales of pharmaceuticals and instrumentation. 

      The Healthcare Science Emphases are:

      • Biology major, Healthcare-Science Emphasis

      • Biomolecular Science major, through the Chemistry Department

      • Kinesiology major, Healthcare-Science Emphasis

      • Psychology major, Healthcare-Science Emphasis

      The College of Letters & Sciences also offers several minors that may interest Pre-Health Professions students who have declared any major, including:

      • Biology minor

      • Chemistry minor

      • Microbiology minor

      • Neuroscience minor

      • Psychology minor

      Students wishing up-to-date information on these degree programs should consult the Bulletin index for the sponsoring department or the campus web site for more details on each of those programs. 

      III. Special Programs Our School of Graduate Studies offers a Graduate Certificate in Health Care Management to students who already hold Bachelor’s degrees. This certificate is a “post-baccalaureate study that provides an historical perspective, familiarizes students with important policy issues and disciplinary approaches, provides theoretical grounding and conveys the tools and framework for resolving complex problems in health care management”. 
      See for more information.
      Our College of Nursing offers a Master of Science in Nursing, a Doctor of Nursing Practice, and Graduate Certificates. See for more information. 

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