Medical, Dental and Other Health Careers

Human Ecology offers a distinctive undergraduate education for students interested in human health and medicine. You can explore healthcare needs from perspectives in nutrition and human biology, human development, economic and public policy, and design and technology. All seven major fields provide excellent preparations for medical and dental school, as well as other careers in health, business, law, or education.

Graduates of Cornell are accepted to medical and dental schools at the same rate, regardless of their major in the physical or social sciences, as long as they complete the required courses in introductory biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics.

The College also sponsors a prominent and well-respected student-run premed/predent/prehealth organization called PATCH. Students can network with colleagues, receive valuable academic and professional advising, get connected with college and university health-related resources, visit a medical school, get a peer mentor, and more!


Choosing majors and courses

You should choose a major that best suits your interests. Many medical and dental schools require coursework in advanced biology, mathematics, and the humanities. It is essential that you work with premed advisors and faculty advisors to make sure you are well-informed about the options you have in choosing your major and meeting your requirements.

For details, refer to the Cornell Career Service Guide for First and Second Year Pre-Medical Students, and the health careers website.

All Human Ecology students are encouraged to register for AdviseStream, a comprehensive prehealth advising platform. Advisestream is populated with Cornell data and is a powerful tool for students to explore, prepare, and apply for careers in the health professions. It allows students to track coursework, develop and record the necessary competencies for admissions to professional schools, publish resumes, and work collaboratively with advisors. It also provides access to the most current national admissions information from the MSAR and recent Cornell admissions statistics.

Use the following link for the Human Health Professionals Guide for Advanced Pre-Medical Students.

The most current information for U.S. and Canadian dental schools can be found in the ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools. Copies can be found in Human Ecology's Career Exploration Center in 162 MVR, and the Cornell Career Services library in 103 Barnes Hall.

Gaining Clinical Experience

Gaining clinical experiences through internships and externships is one of the best ways to test your interest in medicine and the health professions and is essential for acceptance into medical school. You can:

Helpful Resources

The Gap Year Booklet, May 2016
Careers in Public Health


Doing Research

Students who enjoy research are encouraged to pursue their interests. Exploration in the social or physical sciences is positively valued by medical schools. Independent research also offers an excellent opportunity to form valuable connections with a faculty member. However, unless students are pursuing an MD/PhD, research is not always a necessity for competitiveness in the medical school application process. The Director of Undergraduate Studies in your major can assist you in identifying appropriate research opportunities.


A well-established evaluation process is used to measure the credentials of premed students from all seven undergraduate colleges. Cornell's Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC) will write a letter of evaluation for any student who has taken the required courses and follows the required procedures for obtaining a letter. You begin working with this committee in the academic year preceding the submission of their applications.

Your college faculty and premed advisor will help you plan your course of study, locate opportunities for practical experience in the health care field, and consider career options. The university-wide Health Careers Program provides further information, resources, counseling, and workshops.

Transfer Students

It is very important for transfer students to attend all premed/predent orientation workshops and meet with their faculty and college premed advisor as soon as possible. You must choose courses carefully in order to fulfill the requirements for eligibility with the Health Careers Evaluation Committee (HCEC). Understanding your competitiveness and deciding about when to apply to medical school depends on individual circumstances and should be discussed with the college's premed advisor.

For more details, refer to the Human Health Professionals Guide for Advanced Pre-Medical Students