Gardner-Webb University Announces Formalized Pre-Professional Pathways for Undergrads

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Pre-Health, Pre-Med, and Pre-Law Professional Options Available in Specific Majors

photo of a stack of booksBOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb University officials are formalizing several pre-professional pathways to prepare undergraduate students for advanced education in a range of fields. Students who wish to major in chemistry, biology, exercise science, political science, and more will be able to choose from a range of professional concentrations which best align with their career goals.

“Professional schools do not require specific majors to be considered for admission,” shares Dr. David Yelton, GWU Associate Provost for Arts and Sciences. “Typically, they are looking for demonstrated competency in particular skill sets in specific disciplines of study. Gardner-Webb is well-suited to helping students develop these attributes and abilities through its broad general education curriculum coupled with its range of focused majors.”

Beginning this fall, exercise science majors who wish to pursue a health sciences concentration will be given an opportunity to enroll in prerequisite courses to prepare them for Physician Assistant (PA) Studies programs. In addition, chemistry majors will be able to enroll in the Pre-Health Professional concentration, which will prepare students who are interested in careers in medicine, pharmacology, dentistry, and more.

“For highly-motivated prospective chemistry majors who are interested in the health sciences, this concentration will be helpful because it will give them a rigorous and direct pathway to help them prepare for their career goals,” said Dr. Benjamin Brooks, professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Natural Sciences. “On a more practical level, it simply formalizes something that many of our chemistry majors have done in the past.”

Chemistry, biology, and exercise science majors enrolled in the pre-professional pathways will experience additional preparation for the standardized tests that are required for advanced educational programs—including medical school, dental school, pharmacy school, and others. The curriculum also contains most of the prerequisite courses needed for admission to these and other health-related professional schools. The pre-law pathway involving multiple majors with a variety of course options is being coordinated by Dr. Elizabeth Amato, assistant professor of political science.

Although the pre-professional pathways have only recently been formalized, many former students who completed their undergraduate studies at Gardner-Webb are now active in medical or legal fields. Dr. Taylor Ferrier (’08) is in a post-graduate Family Medicine residency program at the University of Toronto in Ontario after establishing his professional foundation at Gardner-Webb. He plans to continue to develop his background and training to better serve people in semi-urban hospital and clinical settings, as well as global and rural communities with limited resources.

“I had multiple mentors, teachers and friends at GWU who offered support and pushed me to have the courage both personally and professionally,” Ferrier reflected. “Gardner-Webb taught me some simple things I would tell anyone looking to learn and find their career that is right for them: find your passion, get a mentor and work hard.”