Pre-Professional Health Sciences 

Max Hunter, PhD, PPHS Director
PPHS Faculty Advisors

Seattle Pacific University offers specialized faculty advising in the Pre-Professional Health Sciences (PPHS) to help prepare you for acceptance into graduate-level professional health programs including medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physicians assistant, optometry, pharmacy, physical therapy and occupational therapy.

A career in the health sciences involves both a strong science preparation and a strong foundation in liberal arts. Medicine is a healing art that requires significant skills in human interaction and understanding. Patients are best served by practitioners who are well-grounded in the liberal arts, human sciences, and the pure sciences.

Any major is acceptable preparation as long as the minimum professional school admission requirements are met. Regardless, a strong undergraduate program in the sciences is required.

Your advisor will help you plan an individually appropriate and competitive academic plan throughout your undergraduate years.

PPHS program overview

Success in pursuing a career in health sciences and gaining acceptance to a professional graduate program demands constant self-assessment complemented by mentoring by knowledgeable faculty and clinical professionals.

Phase I

You are admitted to the University.

  • When you express interest in one of the PPHS related careers you will be provided specialized advising from the day you register for your first classes until you are accepted for admission into these competitive programs.
  • PPHS advising is integrated into the curriculum. You will take PPHS 1200 “Introduction to Health Professions” and PPHS 1800 “Health Care Career Seminar” in your first and second years. The PPHS director teaches these courses and provides group advising to PPHS students during their first two years at SPU.

Phase II

At the end of your second year, you may formally apply to the PPHS program.

  • Application to the program is required for students pursuing careers in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.
  • Students interested in other health-related careers, including physician assistant, optometry, physical therapy, and others are encouraged to apply.
  • Admission requires passing grades in PPHS 1200 and PPHS 1800, strong grades in the sciences, an overall SPU minimum 3.0 GPA, and significant evidence of participation in both clinical and community job shadowing and volunteer experiences.
  • You must apply to the PPHS program online.

As a successful applicant, you will be provided with:

  • Individual advising by a PPHS faculty member who will serve as your committee lead when required.
  • Eligibility to participate in the PPHS Committee Interview System.
  • Assistance with committee letter submission to AMCAS and other admission portals for the health sciences.

Committee interview system

All students pursuing admission to graduate programs in medicine, dental, and veterinary medicine are required to utilize the PPHS committee interview system when requesting letters in support of their applications to professional schools. This system ensures that your application is nationally competitive.

  • When participating in the program, you will enroll in PPHS 3400 “Application workshop” where you will learn specific interview skills that will help you prepare for the application process.
  • A three-member faculty committee will interview you at the end of your junior or senior year and write a comprehensive recommendation letter.
  • This letter describes your academic, clinical, and personal potential for success in a professional program, while also summarizing your outside letters of recommendation and the results of the interview.
  • These letters are highly respected by professional schools, many of which require them before considering students for admission.

PPHS summary

  • Get to know the field you hope to join. Take PPHS classes and start learning about school requirements and the profession.
  • Volunteer in a health-related setting and job shadow health professionals during your first two to three years of college. Contacts with health professionals can be made individually and through the SPU mentor program.
  • Succeed in your challenging academic courses.
  • Participate in leadership and service projects.
  • Apply for admission to the SPU PPHS program at the end of your second year at SPU.
  • Take the appropriate standardized test in the spring prior to your school application year (or earlier). Generally, programs that require the GRE need a late summer or early fall test date. Do not submit primary applications without knowing your test scores.
  • Submit your primary application as soon as the application cycle opens in the early summer of your application year.
  • Complete secondary applications as soon as possible in the months that follow primary application submission. Arrange interviews during the fall and winter of the application year.
  • Attend your chosen graduate school and make SPU proud. Volunteer to share your experiences with SPU students interested in your field.

    Specific program requirements

    Review the specific requirements for your chosen program:

    Science Building

    Your PPHS checklists

    Follow these checklists to ensure that preparation to your next steps run smoothly:

    Eaton Hall

    PPHS advisors at SPU

    Your pre-professional coordinator and faculty advisors attend annual meetings of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions.

    They also meet with admissions counselors and deans from professional schools to ensure that you are competitive for these professional programs.

    Important dates
    University Calendar

    Time Schedule

    Course planning
    Suggested course sequences