Health Professions & Biomedical Sciences

Students in SimLab

Begin to pursue a health related profession with USJ Health Professions & Biomedical Sciences

This program is designed to advise and coordinate studies for students preparing for careers in health and biomedical sciences including Dental, Medicine, Physical Therapy, and Veterinary.

We’ll help you achieve your personal and professional goals; keep you updated on internships and career opportunities; and provide assistance when applying to professional and graduate schools.

Use the resources in this section and identify yourself to the program director of the Advisory Committee to stay connected (see below).

HPAC Application Contact HPAC


Careers in Health Professions

  • General Medicine
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Dental Medicine
  • Osteopathic Medicine
  • Podiatric Medicine
  • Pharmacy
  • Physician’s Assistant
  • Optometry
  • Physical Therapy
  • Clinical Chemistry
  • Biomedical Research
  • Pharmaceutical Research
  • Laboratory Medicine/Microbiology
  • Health Care Administration
  • Public Health
  • Nursing

Learn About the Health Professions Advisory Committee

To become a competitive applicant for graduate programs in the health and biomedical sciences, you’ll need to take the right required courses, tests, and engage in experiential learning. As an undergraduate student at USJ, you can work with the Committee for:

  • Academic and career advising
  • Developing a plan of study to complete any pre-requisites for health professions programs
  • Guidance on the application process
  • Interviews with Committee members
  • Information on review courses for standardized tests
  • Obtaining committee letters
  • Finding events to connect you with health professionals and a wide range of career options

Equipped with the advantage of expert faculty coupled with direct research and internship experience, our graduates work in many professions including:

  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Research Assistantship at Jackson Laboratories
  • Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine
  • Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Questions? Contact [email protected]!

The Health Professions Advisory Committee Will Help You Find Your Career

Taking the Right Courses

To become a competitive applicant, you’ll need required courses, tests, and experiential learning. Medical, pharmacy, veterinary, dental or other professional programs and schools, while not requiring or recommending any particular major, stipulate that specific undergraduate courses be completed. The recommended minimum prerequisite courses listed below are required for many health professions programs.

“Core” requirements for many health professions programs:

  • Two semesters of General or Introductory Biology (with Laboratory)
  • One semester of Advanced Biology (i.e. Anatomy and Physiology, Genetics)
  • Two semesters of General Chemistry (with Laboratory)
  • Two semesters of Organic Chemistry (with Laboratory)
  • Two semesters of General or Introductory Physics (with Laboratory)
  • Two semesters of English Composition
  • Two semesters of Mathematics (Calculus, Statistics)

In addition to “core” courses, other programs may require course such as microbiology, statistics, psychology, sociology or behavioral sciences, oral communication, and/or biochemistry.

Finding the Perfect Research & Internship Opportunities

Many programs require direct patient care hours, so students pursue firsthand experiences through research, internships, or volunteer opportunities, arranged by faculty and advisors. Our students have completed work and study at Pfizer laboratories, Hartford Hospital, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Hospital of Central Connecticut, Department of Public Health, and veterinary clinics.

Laboratory Research:  Take advantage of research opportunities with USJ faculty including cellular and molecular biology, oncology, virology, chemistry, genomics, environmental health, medicinal chemistry, and pharmacology or participate in summer research with a focus on medical school, graduate school (Ph.D. programs) or public health.

Clinical Research: Local hospitals such as Hartford Hospital and Saint Francis Hospital offer opportunities for clinical research in addition to Health Career Opportunity Programs at UConn Health focused on health disparities and medical/dental preparatory programs.

Enrichment Programs: The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program offers experiences combining academic enrichment, clinical exposure, and career development for medical or dental programs. Sites include Yale University and Columbia University.

Volunteering and Shadowing: Leadership skills and diversity awareness can be demonstrated by volunteering at the Red Cross or Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at hospitals, or working with medical technicians or nurse’s aides.

Getting Ready to Apply?

The first step is to contact [email protected] to discuss your plans. It’s never too early to do this. When you are getting to apply, complete the HPAC Application to begin to process of scheduling a review of application materials, mock interviews, or requesting a committee letter. Not sure if you need a committee letter? See our FAQs below!

Join a Long History of Alumni Success

Equipped with the advantage of expert faculty coupled with direct research and internship experience, our graduate work as scientists, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, physician assistants, cellular biologists, biotechnologists, and more. Recent graduates are pursuing the following:

  • Doctor of Allopathic Medicine
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
  • Doctor of Optometry
  • Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences and Medicinal Chemistry
  • Research Assistantship at Jackson Laboratories
  • Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine
  • Doctor of Pharmacy
  • Master’s Degree in General Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Accelerated Second Degree in Nursing

Health Professions Advisory Committee FAQs

What does the Health Professions Advisory Committee do?

The Health Professions Advisory Committee (also known as HPAC) offers the following services:

  • Academic and career advising
  • Work with students to develop a plan of study to complete any pre-requisites for health professions programs
  • Guidance on the application process
  • Interviews with Committee members
  • Information on review courses for standardized tests
  • Write and submit committee letters
  • Host events to connect students with health professions, help them network, and introduce them to a wide range of career options

Who needs a committee letter?

  • Students who wish to apply to medical (MD and DO), dental, and optometry schools are usually required submit a committee letter to the respective admission committees.
  • A note for pre-veterinary and pre-optometry students: As of the 2019 application cycle, most veterinary medical schools treat a committee letter as a single letter of recommendation. You may choose to apply with a committee letter and provide the veterinary school admissions offices with additional recommendation letters, or simply opt out of a committee letter option and have your recommenders submit their letters to the VMCAS directly.
  • Students applying to physician assistant or doctor of physical therapy programs do not need committee letters and are required to ask their recommenders to submit their letters of evaluation to the centralized application system (pharmacy school and physician assistant programs) or the specific admissions committees (doctor of physical therapy) directly.
  • Students applying to pharmacy programs should check with their individual programs. Each of your designated Pharm.D. programs will decide whether a committee letter may count as more than one reference.  It is still suggested students request a committee letter and add the name of the pre-health advisor as one of the four references.  While committee letters are strongly recommended, at this time they are optional for pharmacy.

How do I request a committee letter?

The Health Professions Advisory Committee Process is how USJ formally presents you as a candidate to medical school, dental school, or other graduate program. The strengths and attributes of students applying are summarized in a “Committee Letter” of recommendation which accompanies the individual letters of recommendation that are forwarded to the schools.

To write the Committee Letter, the committee will review all the application material the student submits, including your letters of recommendation, and will also conduct a 30-45 minute interview. From this material, the committee will write a composite letter (described below) and send it along with certified copies of the letters you had submitted.

It is important to remember that even if you start the committee letter process, you are not obligated to have that letter sent. When we conduct the interview, as part of the process, we will inform you that day whether or not we can write a letter that will be of use to you or not. You then have total control over whether or not that letter is sent. 

If I don’t need a committee letter, should I still contact the Health Professions Advisory Committee?

Yes! Even if you are submitting individual letters (and not requesting a committee letter), the committee can provide you with the following services:

  • General guidance and advice about when to submit your materials, if your GPA and test scores are competitive, and informing you of opportunities for internships or research experiences.
  • Review of application materials such as your personal statement, resume/CV, or other essays.
  • Conducting mock interviews for practice before attending program interviews.
  • Reminder: Many valuable resources are available on the Health Professions Advisory Committee Blackboard page including program information, standardized test information and schedules, internship and research opportunities, program open houses and events, application timelines, and other relevant articles/resources for your program. If you would like to be added, please send an email to [email protected]

What’s the first step?

What is in the committee letter?

  • The Committee Letter is generally 3-4 single-spaced pages that provide the medical (or other) schools with an overview of you as an applicant. It also includes a cover page introducing the University and the committee, and your individual recommendation letters as addendums.
  • Sections of the letter include: candidate introduction, unique contributions to the incoming class, thinking and reasoning and/or research and inquiry, science competencies, intrapersonal and interpersonal competencies, and closing comments.

Take the Next Step

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