Exploratory & Pre-Professional Advising Center Pre-Health (EC)

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Attribute Value
College: Exploratory & Pre-Professional Advising Center
Degree Offered: Non-degree seeking
Hours Required: N/A
Minimum Cumulative GPA: N/A
Minor Available: N/A
Chief Adviser: Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center
  1. Intro

Pre-Health (EC)

COLLEGE: Exploratory & Pre-Professional Advising Center

MAJOR: Pre-Health (EC)

DEGREE OFFERED: Non-degree seeking




CHIEF ADVISER: Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center


The pre-health areas of study described below are advising categories used to identify students advancing toward a health-related career goal. Students cannot declare a major or earn a degree in pre-health areas. Some students declare a UNL major while working toward their health professional school requirements and earn a degree from UNL before entering professional school. Other health professional programs allow students to apply after completing prerequisite requirements and without earning an undergraduate degree. In either case, students may designate a course of study in any of the following pre-health categories while they are preparing for professional school and/or deciding on a major and degree. Students may select any UNL academic major while pursuing pre-health areas of study and can temporarily select a major of "Pre-Health" through the College of Arts and Sciences while they are exploring and determining which academic major to declare.

Students pursuing pre-health areas of study can receive guidance and advice from the Exploratory and Pre-Professional Advising Center (Explore Center) by declaring their pre-health category with their college advising office. Students who do not know which career path they might pursue are encouraged to explore the many options available by using http://ExploreHealthCareers.org website and resources.


Chiropractic is a branch of health care that focuses on manipulation as the best mode of care and treatment of many injuries and illnesses. It emphasizes the inter-relatedness of the body parts as a whole set, but especially as they relate to the function of the nervous system. Since the majority of the body’s organs are innervated by nerves which enter or leave the spine, a major emphasis is on the correct structure and function of the spine and the body joints.

Pre-Clinical Laboratory Science

Clinical Lab Science (formally Medical Technology) is the allied health profession concerned with performing laboratory tests that are used in the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of disease and in the maintenance of health. The clinical lab scientist performs a full range of laboratory tests, from simple pre-marital blood tests to more complex tests to uncover diseases, such as AIDS, diabetes, and cancer. The clinical lab scientist is also responsible for confirming the accuracy of test results and reporting laboratory findings to the pathologist and other doctors.

Pre-Clinical Perfusion Science

Perfusionists are skilled allied health professionals, qualified by academic and clinical education, who deal with all phases of regulating and controlling blood flow outside the body, called extracorporeal circulation. The perfusionist operates extracorporeal equipment during any medical situation where it is necessary to support, or temporarily replace, the patient’s circulatory or respiratory function. The perfusionist has diverse responsibilities which include the mechanical support of a patient’s circulation and pulmonary function during open heart surgery and is an integral member of the cardiovascular surgery team involved in infant and adult cardiac surgery.


Cytotechnology is an allied health specialty which offers exciting possibilities for those who want a career in science and a significant role in health care. Working with a microscope, cytotechnologists study specimens from all body sites. Using subtle clues in the cells themselves, cytotechnologists can solve the mystery of disease by diagnosing cancer, precancerous lesions, benign tumors, infectious agents, and inflammatory processes. Cytotechnologists help save lives by discovering certain diseases early when treatment is most effective.

Pre-Dental Hygiene

A dental hygienist is a preventive oral health professional licensed in dental hygiene to provide educational, clinical and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimal oral health. The dental hygienist is responsible for providing treatment that helps to prevent oral diseases such as dental caries (cavities) and periodontal disease (gum disease) and for educating the patient to maintain optimal oral health.


Dentistry is devoted to maintaining the health of teeth and gums, as well as other hard and soft tissues of the mouth. Early detection of oral cancer and systemic conditions that manifest themselves through the mouth are necessary for the maintenance of general health. The dentist is, in fact, a person dedicated to the highest standards of health throughout the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all oral diseases and conditions.


The medical profession (allopathic, osteopathic, or podiatric) offers a wide variety of career options that are exciting, challenging, and rewarding. Although the environment in which medical services are provided has been changing rapidly and will continue to change, the physician’s role as diagnostician, healer, and patient advocate remains central to the provision of health care in our country. Although most physicians provide direct patient care, some medical degree recipients concentrate on basic or applied research, become teachers or administrators, or combine various elements of these activities.

Pre-Mortuary Science

Completion of a professional program in mortuary science leads to licensure as a funeral director/embalmer. Morticians deal with funeral planning, death registration, embalming, and the grief and bereavement issues of families and friends of the deceased.


The nursing profession offers a wide variety of career opportunities for men and women. Career choices range from highly technical positions in research or intensive care to “high touch” specialties such as hospice care or the newborn nursery. Nursing training programs range from associates to bachelors educational levels. Students who earn the BSN are prepared to assume staff nurse level positions in areas such as public health, gerontology, pediatrics, industrial settings, emergency medicine, psychiatric and mental health facilities, and acute care agencies. Students who desire advanced nursing degrees will find graduate programs leading to the masters and doctor of philosophy degrees in a variety of specialty areas.

Pre-Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy is a health care profession using purposeful activity (occupation) as a means of preventing, reducing, or overcoming physical, social, and emotional challenges in people of all ages. An occupational therapist works with individuals whose participation in daily activities has been impaired by physical injury/illness, developmental/learning disabilities, psychological/emotional problems or the aging process. The occupational therapist carefully evaluates each person to determine physical and/or mental strengths and weaknesses, and, in conjunction with other health professionals, develops a program using purposeful activities and adaptive equipment to encourage the patient’s involvement in meaningful daily living.


Optometry is the primary health profession dedicated to caring for vision. Through academic and clinical training, optometrists acquire the knowledge and skills needed to diagnose, treat, and prevent problems of the visual system. Providing health education, managing curative or preventive regimes, and supplying vision care to special groups of patients are all parts of an optometrist’s work.


Pharmacists are responsible for drug therapy and drug distribution and must possess the scientific and technical knowledge necessary to evaluate drug therapy for each individual patient. They must develop skill in personal relations with patients and other health professionals. Above all, they must be able to make good use of acquired knowledge and experience in arriving at sound judgments and policy decisions.

Pre-Physical Therapy

Physical therapists assess and treat disabilities and promote wellness to individuals of all ages. Their primary objective is to promote optimum human health and function. The physical therapist conducts physical evaluations to determine the patient’s potential for rehabilitation and life style changes indicated, as well as educates the patient and family.

Pre-Physician Assistant

The physician assistant (PA) practices medicine with the supervision of a physician. As a result of extensive medical training, the PA can assume many tasks traditionally performed only by a medical doctor, thereby helping the physician to be more efficient. Each supervising physician utilizes the services of a PA based on his/her own practice needs. Typically the PA obtains the patient’s medical history, performs a comprehensive physical examination, and orders appropriate laboratory and x-ray studies. The PA diagnoses and treats a wide range of common medical problems, and assists the physician in the management of complex chronic illnesses. Many PAs make hospital and nursing home rounds and assist in surgery. A very important part of the PA’s role is to educate the patient and the community about illness, family planning, social services, health hazards, baby and child care, and other aspects of health promotion and disease prevention.

Pre-Radiation Science Technology

Radiation science technology comprises several disciplines that utilize radiation for diagnosis or treatment, including but not limited to radiography, nuclear medicine, diagnostic medical sonography, or radiation therapy technology. Students should explore options in radiation science to see which field best fits their skills and interests. The career options available to students interested in radiation sciences continually expands as technology develops.

High School Preparation

Students planning to pursue advanced work in any of the Pre-Health programs should begin with a strong college preparatory course program in high school. In addition to meeting the University entrance requirements, it is recommended that pre-health students finish four years of the same foreign language in high school and take as many years of mathematics and science as possible. It is especially important for students to consult with their high school guidance counselor when choosing to earn college credit prior to graduating through options such as Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Dual Enrollment/Dual Credit options. Some health professional schools will not accept or will limit acceptance and applicability of prerequisite credit earned by examination (AB/IB) or prior to high school graduation.


Students are advised in the pre-health areas of study by professional academic advisers in the Explore Center. Advisers are available on an appointment and/or walk-in basis Monday through Friday in 127 Love (Library) South and can be reached at 402-472-3605 or explorecenter@unl.edu. Academic advising appointments can also be scheduled through the MyPLAN tab in Blackboard.

In addition to the Explore Center advisers, students with a declared UNL major should work with their assigned major adviser and should check the section of the bulletin outlining the requirements for their specific college of admittance. Those students undecided on a major who were admitted as "Pre-Health" majors to the College of Arts and Sciences should review the college requirements outlined in the Arts and Sciences section of the bulletin.

Admission and Admission to Health Professional Programs

The admission requirements for health professional programs vary and may change from year to year. Admission to the professional programs is competitive. Therefore, students should be aware of not only specific course requirements but also entrance exams, admission deadlines, research and volunteer opportunities, and other activities that enhance the application. In order to receive the timeliest information on requirements and preparation, students should visit or contact the Explore Center at 402-472-3605 or explorecenter@unl.edu. Information is also available on the website http://explorecenter.unl.edu/.


ACE Requirements

Consistent with the mission and values of the University, Achievement-Centered Education (ACE) is based on a shared set of four institutional objectives and 10 student learning outcomes. The ACE program was approved by faculty in all eight undergraduate colleges and endorsed by the Faculty Senate, the student government, and the Academic Planning Committee in January 2008 for implementation in the fall 2009. ACE aligns with current national initiatives in general education.

Key characteristics of ACE demonstrate the benefits of the program to students:

  • Students receive a broad education with exposure to multiple disciplines, critical life skills and important reasoning, inquiry, and civic capacities.
  • ACE is simple and transparent for students, faculty and advisers. Students complete the equivalent of 3 credit hours for each of the ten student learning outcomes.
  • Students connect and integrate their ACE experiences with their selected major.
  • Students can transfer all ACE certified courses across colleges within the institution to meet the ACE requirement and any course from outside the institution that is directly equivalent to a UNL ACE-certified course. Courses from outside institutions without direct equivalents may be considered with appropriate documentation for ACE credit (see academic adviser).

ACE allows faculty to assess and improve their effectiveness and facilitate students’ learning.

ACE Institutional Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes

To meet the ACE program requirement, a student will complete the equivalent of 3 credit hours for each of the ten ACE Student Learning Outcomes (a total of 30 ACE credit hours). See the ACE website at: http://ace.unl.edu for the most current information and the most recently certified courses. Students should meet with an Explore Center adviser to discuss the planning and completion of ACE courses and requirements.


This is the site for old bulletin data. Please head to UNL's Course Catalog for updated course and program information.