Pre-Professional Health Programs

Academic Coursework

The following courses are the minimum required by most dental schools and Cleveland State University for successfully completing a bachelor’s degree. There are 56 dental schools in the United States that grant the D.D.S. or D.M.D.  Two of them, Case School of Dental Medicine and The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, are in Ohio.  Prerequisite coursework for dental schools varies. The American Dental Association provides information about dental school admission requirements. 

It is highly recommended that you make an appointment with your pre-professional advisor prior to enrolling in any prerequisites for dental school. A pre-professional advisor will review your plans, your progress and discuss future courses of action. Contact the Coordinator of Pre-Professional Medical Programs with questions or to schedule an advising appointment, 216.687.9321..

Cleveland State Undergraduate courses

  • Literature and composition
  • Additional General Education and major program of study coursework
  • Sciences
    • BIO 200/201 Intro to Biology I with lab
    • BIO 202/203 Intro to Biology II with lab
    • BIO 266/267 Human Anatomy and Physiology I with lab
    • BIO 268/269 Human Anatomy and Physiology II with lab
    • BIO 306 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology – see advisor for prerequisite information
    • CHM 261/266 General Chemistry I with lab
    • CHM 262/267 General Chemistry II with lab
    • CHM 331/336 Organic Chemistry I with lab
    • CHM 332/337 Organic Chemistry II with lab
    • PHY 231 College Physics I- Biomedical applications with lab OR check with advisor for  Honors’ or other appropriate Physics sequences
  • Required by some dental schools
    • BIO 416/417 Microbiology with lab
    • PHY 232 College Physics II-  Biomedical applications with lab OR check with advisor for Honors’ or other appropriate Physics sequences

Before enrolling in Chemistry, a student must meet minimum placement requirements.
Note that each sequence requires two semesters.  General Chemistry is a prerequisite of Organic Chemistry.
Some dental schools do not accept credit for the AP or distance learning/online equivalency of these courses.

For detailed descriptions of these and other courses, refer to the Cleveland State University Undergraduate Catalog.

A Word About Grade Point Average (GPA)

Professional school admissions are competitive and a strong GPA certainly gives you an edge.  GPA requirements are not equal among schools, but one above 3.50, especially in the natural sciences,is highly desired.  Medical schools evaluate your science GPA and your non-science GPA.  GPAs do not signify intelligence, but are a long-term indicator of your performance as a student. Having a strong GPA demonstrates motivation, discipline and commitment to academic excellence.

Your Cleveland State GPA may very well differ from your professional school application GPA.  You can calculate your GPA, both non-science and BCPM (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math) by using this GPA Calculator.

Still wondering how you stack up? How good are your grades? Are your grades good enough to get you where you want to go? You can get a very rough sense of where you stand based on large trends in admissions:

  • In general a student with a 2.5 GPA has a lot of damage repair to do. Some individual health professions might have a cut-off of a 2.5, but a grade point average at or below a 2.5 is a long, l-o-n-g, l--o--n--g shot.
  • A 2.75: not a strong GPA, but a much better position than a 2.5. Still, a 2.75 is a weak grade point average. Much depends on the profession you want. Some (not many) professions make a special commitment to carefully consider students with an apparently weak GPA, but other desirable characteristics.
  • A 3.00: Okay, now you are getting someplace! Depending on the overall "look" of your transcript you, might be a contender.  Are your grades going up or down? How have you done in courses like General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry? Have you withdrawn from a huge number of courses?  An applicant with a 3.00 might succeed, but the journey could be a rough one!
  • 3.25: You are getting better. Hopefully your science coursework is the strongest part of your transcript. Keep aiming higher.
  • 3.5: Congratulations. You are firmly "in the running" for most health professions. Are you at the top of the heap? Probably not.
  • 3.75: Here and above: Good for you! You are in a relatively strong position!

Of course, it would be a huge mistake to take this little listing too seriously! A student is a lot more than just a GPA. On the other hand, it would also be a big mistake to ignore completely the significance of a grade point average. Both low and high grades are earned over a period of time. (And, yes, schools can easily spot when somebody is trying to “pad” their GPA.).

Dental, veterinary, pharmacy and medical schools are looking for intelligent problem-solvers, so don't let a problem transcript stand in your way. Focus on earning good grades one semester at a time.

A Word About Academic Integrity

The rigor of a pre-professional curriculum and the need to achieve high grades can put a lot of pressure on students. If these pressures cause you to consider a compromise of ethics, seek assistance from your pre-professional advisor or a counselor at Cleveland State's Counseling Center. Professional school applications ask you to divulge disciplinary and related violations. Always take the high road and seek help when necessary, so you don't find yourself in an irrevocable position.