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Psychology and the Health Professions

Psychology is a popular major among premed students, as well as those interested in other health-related professions. National statistics show that students who major in psychology are as likely to be admitted to medical school as those who major in biology or chemistry. Psychology is particularly valuable for those premedical students interested in neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, or behavioral medicine. Northwestern students considering medical school should consult the Premed/Prehealth Professions Advising page at the University Academic Advising Center.

PSYCH 248-Health Psychology is especially relevant for students interested in health professions. PSYCH 303-Psychopathology is very relevant for those interested in psychiatry and useful for others as well. Taking PSYCH 218-Developmental Psychology will help you to appreciate differences among your patients that relate to the difference in their ages, as well as to better understand the ways in which their social development, personality, cognitive skills, and physical well-being can all affect each other. Students interested in the health professions should also consider courses with a strong neuroscience component. In addition, many of our courses, especially those in social and personality psychology, should enhance the sensitivity of health care providers to the clients they serve.

Research-oriented courses can be especially valuable for those entering medicine or any other career in which they are likely to engage in ongoing reading of research reports documenting new developments in the field. In fact, graduates of Northwestern's Honors Program in Medical Education have commented that their undergraduate course in statistics was especially helpful in their medical school studies. Hands-on research experience through PSYCH 399-Independent Study and PSYCH 397-Advanced Supervised Research is valuable too.

Psychology majors can easily complete required premed courses, which are the same as or similar to those required for entry to many other health-related professional schools. Two terms of calculus--typically MATH 220 and 224--fulfill the Related Course requirement in mathematics, and three of your required science courses can serve as the three additional Related Courses.