Pre-Dentistry, Medicine & Veterinary

The medical field offers a wide array of career opportunities — that’s why you need a university that transforms your interests into an individualized path to success. Drake University offers many programs that will give you exceptional preparation for post-graduate study and a rewarding career in medicine.

Our 12:1 student-faculty ratio, flexible curriculum and emphasis on undergraduate research opportunities ensures you’ll be able to explore your areas of interest under the guidance of expert faculty members who are dedicated to maximizing your preparation for medical school.

Drake’s location in Des Moines provides a wealth of career and internship opportunities, particularly for students seeking work in the health care industry. Des Moines is home to five major hospitals, Iowa’s largest medical school, and numerous clinics, pharmacies, insurance companies and health-related businesses, government offices and nonprofit organizations.

Multiple Paths to Success

At Drake, the pre-medicine, pre-dental, pre-veterinary and other pre-professional health care programs are course tracks that you can include in the curriculum of your major. Regardless of your area of study you’ll benefit from small class sizes, one-on-one attention from faculty, undergraduate research opportunities, access to internships and a wealth of other hands-on learning opportunities.

Popular majors for students who are on a pre-med, pre-dental or pre-vet track at Drake include:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology (BCMB): This research-intensive program lives at the intersection of biology, chemistry and physics. As a BCMB major, you’ll study the chemistry of living organisms and the experimental techniques that are used to probe the structures and functions of biologically important molecules. The research-intensive degree program carries tremendous value for students seeking careers in medicine, forensics, biotechnology, the pharmaceutical industry and other health care professions.
  • Biology: Drake’s biology major provides a rich diversity of courses in traditional and modern areas of biology and emphasizes the value of undergraduate research. Students learn areas of human and animal biology that are important in the health care field. Many team up with expert faculty members to perform significant undergraduate research in areas including reproductive endocrinology, virology, genetics and exercise sports.
  • Chemistry: A research-focused program that emphasizes critical thinking and practical expertise and covers areas of chemistry including organic, inorganic, analytical, physical and biochemistry. Students also learn research skills that serve as outstanding preparation for medical school and health care, while studying fields such as the design of pharmaceutical drugs and the study of modes of treatment of malaria disease.
  • Environmental Science: An interdisciplinary program that emphasizes field research and a core of science instruction. Students are required to complete three courses of intensive in-field environmental research. Two paths of study, life science and physical sciences, both feature courses that benefit students with an interest in health care. Those courses include anatomy and physiology, organic chemistry and biological research.
  • Health Sciences: A degree program developed in direct consultation with health care professionals. Students majoring in health sciences specialize in one of three specific areas of study: pharmaceutical sciences, clinical and applied sciences, or health services management. Regardless of curriculum track, students gain a broad base of knowledge on current health care issues and techniques and learn patient care skills including communication, leadership and ethics.
  • Neuroscience: A program within the psychology department that has strong connections to biology and other scientific disciplines. The program addresses areas such as brain development, sensation and perception, stress, learning and memory, neurochemistry, aging and psychopathologies as well as the biological mechanisms that drive behavior. As a neuroscience major, you’ll leave Drake with a strong foundation for further training in health care fields such as medicine, physical therapy, 
    optometry or nursing.
  • Psychology: An in-depth, hands-on program that exposes students to critical areas of study that comprise the science of the human mind. These areas include social psychology, experimental psychology, clinical psychology, health psychology/behavioral medicine, biological and neuropsychology, industrial and organizational psychology, developmental psychology and behavioral analysis. Drake’s small-group laboratory approach will allow you to utilize our exceptional human and animal research facilities, including a microcomputer laboratory and a completely equipped 
    EEG laboratory.

One-On-One Training

Preparation for entrance into a post-graduate medical program requires rigorous study and steadfast perseverance. At Drake, you won’t have to go it alone. You’ll receive guidance from dedicated faculty whether you’re in class, in lab, performing research or preparing for medical school. From your very first year at Drake, a Pre-Med Advisory Council will work with you on an individual basis to help you stand out on entrance exams and med school applications. Often, your advisers will be the same professors who teach your preparatory courses. This relationship gives you the distinct advantage of detailed and personal recommendations.

Research + Internship Opportunities

To stand out to medical schools, you’ll need more than stellar grades. Undergraduate research is an invaluable asset for medical school and dental school applicants, and Drake offers numerous opportunities for you to help faculty members with their research and perform research of your own.

Many areas of study not only encourage but also require laboratory and research experiences in state of the art environments — like our new disease prevention and personalized medicine labs, which opened in spring 2011.

Outside the classroom, you’ll have the opportunity to gain invaluable research skills through internships, partnerships with local hospitals and clinics, and participation in the Drake Undergraduate Science Collaborative Institute.

You can display your work, and see the work of other students, during the Drake University Conference on Undergraduate Research in the Sciences (DUCURS). And if you want to see the world, you we’ll help you study and perform research abroad.

Student Organizations

Students with an interest in health care can participate in the AEΔ (Alpha Epsilon Delta) Premedical Honor Society and the Drake Pre-Medical Organization. In addition, Drake has a chapter of Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity (PhiDE), the only one in the state of Iowa. 

Post-Graduate Success

Our students are admitted to top medical schools and graduate schools around the country and the Midwest. Students in some departments are eligible for early enrollment to Des Moines University’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program. For more information about career opportunities, areas of study, and applying to Drake, call 1-800-44-DRAKE (37253), x3181.


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I came to Drake because I could combine my interests