Pre-Health photo

Central College offers many pre-health programs that prepare you for a successful career in healthcare or admittance to top graduate programs. Central specializes in pre-health professions advising that allows you to tailor your academic experience to ensure you reach your healthcare goals. Many Central pre-health graduates go on to prestigious programs in medicine, dental, physical therapy and other areas.

dedicated health professions coordinator and pre-Health Adviser
  • 12 pre-health programs
  • 94% of grads admitted to 1st- or 2nd-choice graduate school

Beyond Central


Successful Careers

Pre-health at Central has led to the following careers for alumni:

  • Nicole Landt Ness, PA-C Family Practice Unity Point in Des Moines
  • Dr. Erin Tower Swenka, DO Family Medicine Practitioner in Johnston, Iowa
  • Dr. Jordan Vos, DPT/ATC Total Rehab Orthopedic and Sports Specialists, Grinnell and Williamsburg, Iowa
  • Dr. Sarah Stockton Massey, DO Obstetrician and Gynecologist in West Des Moines
  • Dr. Micah Vermeer, DDS General Dentist at Pella Family Dentistry and adjunct professor at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry
  • Dr. Scott Westphal, MD Internal Medicine Specializing in Nephrology in Coralville
  • Dr. Nyla Heerema, Ph.D. Professor and Division Director of Cytogenetics in the Clinical Pathology Branch of the College of Medicine at The Ohio State University


Central College has several clubs and organizations for students interested in pre-health:

  • The Health Professions Club
  • Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society
  • Biochemistry Club
  • SCATE (Students Concerned About The Environment)


Pre-health Programs and Majors

  • Central’s pre-health advisors will work with you individually to tailor your academic coursework and experiences toward achievement of entry into the graduate programs of your choice.
  • By design Central College does not offer a major in the various areas of pre-health.
  • Graduate programs regularly accept students from several majors. Admissions directors and faculty for these graduate programs indicate that developing and sharpening key skills and demonstrating a strong foundations in the natural and/or behavioral sciences are the best preparation for the study of medicine.
  • All programs strongly agree on the value of a well-rounded liberal arts education and service to the community.

Internships/Research Opportunities

  • Baylor College of Medicine
  • Emery University
  • Mayo Clinic
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Wisconsin
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Duke University (she transferred to UIowa after this)
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Pella Regional Health Clinic

Graduate School Placement

  • AT Still University (Mo. and Ariz.)
  • Concordia (Wis.)
  • Creighton University
  • Des Moines University
  • Duke University
  • Indianapolis University
  • Iowa State University
  • Lake Erie College Of Medicine Bradenton
  • Midwestern University (Chicago)
  • Northwestern Health Sciences University (Minn.)
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Palmer College of Chiropractic Medicine
  • Rocky Vista University
  • St. Ambrose University
  • St. Catherine University
  • University of Alabama Birmingham
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Illinois College of Optometry
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City
  • University of Missouri – St. Louis
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • University of St. Francis (Ind.)
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wyoming
  • Washington University (Mo.)

Faculty & Courses

Pre-health Advising

The health professions coordinator and pre-health advisors are the two primary supports for pre-health advising at Central. Their focus is to mentor pre-professional students on how to become competitive applicants to professional programs.

Pre-health advising provides you with individualized attention as you plan your academic schedules and take advantage of opportunities to prepare for a career.

Pre-health advisors also work closely with faculty and staff at Central to share important information regarding graduate programs.

The health professions coordinator works with the admissions staff at the various graduate programs to ensure we are developing you with the skills and experiences the programs seek. In addition to personalized advising, you benefit from information sessions, workshops and graduate school visits that provide important updates, prepare you for entrance exams, application to graduate schools and interviews.

Sample Coursework

The courses listed with each program are general requirements for most graduate programs and do NOT include other course-work needed for your major.  Where entrance exams are important we try to schedule courses so that you will have completed the preparatory courses prior to taking the entrance exams which generally occurs the summer after your junior year.

Most programs require a basic year of biology and chemistry, and these are included in the number of semesters listed. The basic year of biology includes Introduction to Cells (Bio 131) and Diversity of Life (Bio 130).  The basic year of chemistry includes General Chemistry (Chem 131) and Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 151).

To view sample coursework for individual programs, visit the academic program page for your area of interest.

Wondering how to get started?

  • Contact a pre-health advisor and make an appointment to learn more about our pre-health programs.
  • Join the Health Professions Club.
  • Go to the academic program page for the program you are interested in to learn more.

Students examining models of the human body as part of an Anatomy course. Θ