Selecting a Major
There is no required or preferred major for any health profession program as admissions committees’ value applicants who have broad based, varied educational experiences. Therefore, students from ALL academic majors are admitted to health profession programs. Health profession programs do have required courses, but students are generally able to weave these courses into almost any degree program. We recommend that you select a major that you are passionate about, as students are more likely to excel in those academic areas that they enjoy.
Remember, even if you do select a major that is commonly selected by pre-health students, the requirements to graduate with the degree will not always match the requirements you must complete to meet admissions requirements for a specific health profession program. Ultimately, you will want to review the prerequisites for each program to which you are intending to apply and compare their specified prerequisites to the degree requirements of your proposed major. If there significant overlap, there will be less extra coursework you will need to take, in addition to major requirements, to meet admissions prerequisites. The less overlap, the more credits you will end up taking to meet both the degree requirements and admissions requirements (which could have serious financial consequences).
Natural Science Options
Many student will declare a science major because the prerequisite requirements for health profession programs generally include science coursework, making these degrees efficient. The most popular science majors for pre-health students at USF are Biomedical Sciences, the B.S. in Biology (specifically the Medical Biology and Animal Biology Concentrations) and the B.A. in Chemistry.
Social Science and Humanities Options
Common non-science majors include: Health Sciences, Communication Sciences and Disorders w/ Language-Speech-Hearing concentration, Exercise Science, Public Health, Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy, and Anthropology. However, you are able to declare any non-science major and still adequately purse both your degree requirements (by continuously meeting with your Academic Advisor) and your pre-health requirements (by consistently meeting with your Health Professions Advisor). Ultimately, you will want to review the prerequisites for each program to whom you are intending to apply and compare their specified prerequisites to the degree requirements of a specific major. If there is a lot of overlap, there will be less additional coursework you will need to add in to the major to meet admissions requirements. The less overlap, the more credits you will end up taking to meet both the degree requirements and admissions requirements (which could have serious financial consequences). Additionally, there are many degrees that have a significant number of open electives through which you can take required prerequisites.
The Pre-Health Professions or Pre-Medical Sciences (PMS) Option
Pre-Medical Sciences is not a major at USF, rather a track students can declare while they determine what major they wish to pursue. Students who declare this track know that they want to pursue a health professional career, but just are not sure what major they wish to select at USF. First time in college students (only) are able to declare Pre-Medical Sciences (PMS) for a semester if the come in with an AA degree and for a year if they do not have an AA degree. The academic advisor for Pre-Medical Sciences, Emily Potts (email: Scifye@usf.edu), guides these students in coursework to take that applies to their career goal while they explore major options to pursue. Then they must pick a major at USF.
Regardless of official major, students can still indicate an interest in pre-health in addition to officially declaring their major--by emailing the USF Division of Health Professions Advising at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once we receive your interest in pre-health, we will add you to our Health Professions Advising CANVAS Page, so you can receive all of the updates from our office.
At USF, Nursing is a limited access major. Therefore, students must be admitted directly to the major through a separate application to the College of Nursing. Students interested in Nursing can indicate "Pre-Nursing" as an intended major on their admissions application. These Pre-Nursing students will see an Advisor within the USF College of Nursing for all advising needs. Students who do not declare Pre-Nursing on their Admissions application are able to request Pre-Nursing as their major at a Pre-Nursing Information Session as long as they meet the requirements. Students with questions about the Nursing degrees or admission to Nursing at USF should plan to attend a Pre-Nursing Information Session or contact the College of Nursing directly. Please note: students pursuing Medical School or Physician Assistant Programs should not select nursing as their major. Nursing is not a stepping stone to another health profession, but a diverse and fruitful career. Only students who wish to pursue a career as a Nurse should pursue the Nursing major.
For information on all of the majors offered at the University of South Florida, please go online to the Undergraduate Admissions Majors webpage.
How to Select or Change Your Major
Students who are new to USF are asked to officially declare their major during their orientation session before they begin classes.
- Students desiring a major in the College of Arts and Sciences: To declare a major in the College of Arts and Sciences OR to change to a different major within the College of Arts and Sciences, a student can go online to the CAS declaration website and click on the "Click here to request your Declaration/Change of major online" and declare their new major.
- Students desiring a major in Behavioral and Community Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Global Sustainability, Nursing, Public Health or The Arts: To change your major to any of those located in the above colleges, please contact the advisor in the department whose major you are interested in pursuing to find out about their declaration process.