Monday, June 19, 2017

Welcome & some advice from the Dean for Health Professions Advising


Dear First Year Students,

I am thrilled to welcome you to Barnard. My name is Melinda Cohen, and I am the Dean for Health Professions Advising. At Barnard, we encourage students to explore and pursue all health professional fields, including medicine, dentistry, physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, etc. We use the term "pre-health" to encompass all health professions, which includes "pre-med."

I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to guide and support you on your journey as you explore and prepare for a career in the health professions. I know it can be overwhelming to select your courses for your first semester, and even more daunting to consider what might be the "right" courses to take as a pre-med student. The good news is that is no "right" answer, and there are many options out there!  I hope you will take advantage of the information we have available for you on our Barnard Pre-Health website, our Pre-Health Blog, and on pp 17-19 of the First-Year Guide.

During their first year at Barnard, pre-med students typically take a laboratory science course. It's common for new students to start either with Biology (with laboratory) or with Chemistry (with laboratory). Students who have recently taken AP Biology may choose to begin with Biology for continuity, while students who have recently taken Chemistry and/or who feel comfortable with their quantitative (i.e. problem-solving) skills may choose to begin with Chemistry in order to begin the 5-semester Chemistry sequence. Either choice will work for you, so base your decision on your background and your interest. You should also consult the Biology and Chemistry department websites to determine the class most appropriate for you. 


During her first semester at Barnard, a pre-health student's academic program will likely include:

  • A First-Year Experience course (first year seminar or first year writing) 
  • An introductory science course with laboratory
  • Two courses that allow you to explore your academic interests and also count for at least one Foundations General Education Requirement
Note: Students may choose to explore a math course (e.g. Calculus I), but this is not required for your first semester. If appropriate, see information about using AP mathematics credit on our pre-health website.

For more information and guidance related to selecting courses, we encourage you to visit our pre-health website's 'Academic Preparation page

During Orientation week, I will hold Pre-Health Orientation session. Any student who may be interested in exploring and preparing for a career in the health professions is strongly encouraged to attend. I will also be available to meet individually with students during orientation and throughout the school year. 

I wish you all the best!
Dean Cohen