Pre-Professional Pathways are not offered as majors at Western, nor are they at most other universities, but they can be incorporated into or taken alongside any degree-granting major offered at Western.
Students prepare for entry to a Chiropractic graduate program by obtaining a baccalaureate degree, completing the prerequisite course work for entry into specific programs, and by obtaining a volunteer clinical experience under the direction of a chiropractor.
Students may complete undergraduate degrees in any area. Science-based majors are popular, but you should choose any major that reflects your interest and in which you will excel and enjoy. Use your college experience to explore academic fields, to develop basic skills and knowledge, and to demonstrate expertise and experience in a field of study (major) of your choice.
Western pre-healthcare students have majored in a diverse range of academic disciplines, including Anthropology, Behavioral Neuroscience, Biology, Chemistry, Community Health, Psychology, History, Philosophy, Communication Studies, Spanish, and French as well as Fairhaven self-designed programs. Some pursue combined majors, such as Anthropology/Biology, Biochemistry, and Cellular & Molecular Biology.
Beyond the Classroom
Western's Pre-Healthcare Professions Advising Office provides mentoring and advising to students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare professions. The office works with students to enhance their chances of gaining successful admission to the professional school of their choice. Services range from individual academic advisement, to preparing students for the final application process.
Western's Associated Students is home to 200+ clubs, including those for students pursuing healthcare professions.
Careers and Graduate Studies
Eighteen national and three world-wide institutions affiliated with the Association of Chiropractic Colleges offer the Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) credential. While three undergraduate academic years (135 quarter credits) are minimally required to be admitted to a chiropractic school, they are increasingly recommending or requiring a Bachelor’s degree. Many states require chiropractors to have a Bachelor’s degree in order to practice.
Selective admission also includes evaluation of academic content and GPA, exposure to the profession, letters of recommendation (typically from one chiropractor and one or two professors), extracurricular and community activities, direct patient care experience, legal and social records, and in some cases GRE test scores.
Health Professions Advising Events
Typical programming events offered by include (but are not limited to):
Health Professional School & Grad School Info Fair, October 17
Winter Registration Walk-in Advising: Nov 13 and Nov 14, 12-2 in BI 415
Spring Registration Walk-in Advising: Feb 26 and Feb 27, 12-2 in BI 415
The Healthcare Professional School Application: A session overviewing the process
Fall Registration Walk-in Advising: May 20 and May 21, 12-2 in BI 415
What does it mean to be Pre-Chiropractic at WWU?
Students who self-identify as pre-chiropractic may consult with Pre-Healthcare Advising about matters pertaining to their preparation and application to chiropractic schools. Selection committees evaluate candidates across multiple areas through a holistic review process. Important components include GPA (both cumulative and science), exposure to the profession, letters of recommendation (typically from one chiropractor and two professors), extracurricular activities, community service, and an interview, as well as background checks (including legal, conduct, and social records). Although 135-quarter credits of undergraduate study are minimally required for admission to chiropractic schools, keep in mind many states require chiropractors to have a Bachelor’s degree in order to practice. The typical applicant has earned a four-year degree.
Most schools express applicants should obtain a foundation of coursework selected across the Life & Physical Sciences as well as the Humanities & Social Sciences. They do not recruit students from one specific major or discipline. This allows you to explore many academic fields, to develop basic skills and knowledge, to demonstrate expertise and to experience a field of study (major) of your choice. Align with a major in which you both excel and enjoy. Pre-healthcare students have majored in diverse subjects. Although the sciences are common, other popular disciplines include Anthropology, Kinesiology, languages, Psychology, self-designed programs, and even combined majors.
This information is for preliminary advising purposes only.
We encourage you to meet with a Health Professions Advisor on a regular basis to determine a plan that is best for you.
Regardless of your major, certain prerequisites expected by most schools include Life & Physical Sciences, half with labs, 36-48 credits selected from courses in:
(NOTE: students should begin general chemistry as early in their program as possible)
- General Chemistry: CHEM 161 or Honors CHEM 125 [complete the series for some majors]
- Organic Chemistry and/or Biochemistry: CHEM 250 and/or CHEM 375
- Some majors require the Organic Chemistry series: CHEM 351, 352, 353 plus labs
- General Biology: BIOL 204, 205 [complete the series for some majors]
- Anatomy & Physiology: BIOL 348, 349
- Microbiology recommended: BIOL 245 or BIOL 345 & 346
- Physics: PHYS 114, 115 [complete the series for some majors]
- Statistics: MATH 240 [or major equivalent; i.e. BIOL 340 for Biology majors]
Humanities & Social Sciences
24-36 credits, to include:
- Psychology 101
- English (two courses)
- WWU students may join the Advisor’s Pre-chiropractic Listserv
- Join WWU Associated Students special interest clubs
Advanced Placement (AP)
Check with targeted schools whether they recognize AP as college-earned credit. Not all do. It is better to view any earned credits as qualifying to enroll in upper-division courses rather than as “testing out” of prerequisites.
Declaring a Major
Departments vary in how to declare majors. Behavioral Neuroscience, Biology, Chemistry, Kinesiology, and others allow students to declare as a “pre-major” while addressing their specified prerequisites. Some majors require a specific GPA in certain courses. Declare early, even as a “pre-major”, to help shorten your time to degree. While working on any pre-major content, explore many disciplines to keep your options open.
Access to Classes
High demand exists for upper-division courses, especially in the sciences. Many departments grant enrollment priority to students declared in specific majors over those seeking enrollment for professional school purposes. Registration access procedures for impacted courses can change, and departments generally provide updates via their websites and email notifications, or by checking with the department’s program coordinator.
Repeating and Dropping Courses
When you repeat a course, only your most recent grade is used when Western calculates your GPA. However, the class still shows up on your transcript. Although some students think that repeating a course will help them get into professional schools, this is almost always untrue. Professional schools will take into account ALL college-level coursework when performing their own calculation of your GPA, and this will include any courses you have repeated at Western. Still, in some circumstances it may be appropriate to repeat a course so talk to an advisor to be sure. Also, dropping a course can have an impact on eligibility for financial aid, scholarships, and athletic participation so consider your options carefully and speak with an advisor before making a decision.
Students should gain shadowing experience with a chiropractor. Discuss your shadowing options with Pre-healthcare advisors.
Most PA programs require that applicants obtain a certain number of paid clinical hours (UW requires at least 2000) before applying. Some examples are work as a CNA, Medical Assistant, ER Scribe, or EMT.
The Graduate Record Examination is offered monthly at the WWU Testing Center, and assesses your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.