Pre-Health Studies

Pre-professional Program

Get excellent preparation for a career in the health sciences.

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Why Pursue Pre-Health Studies?

Are you thinking about becoming a doctor, physician’s assistant, veterinarian, optometrist, dentist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or pharmacist? A pre-health studies program would be a good fit for you.

Pre-health studies provides challenging academic courses that give you a solid foundation of knowledge for professional school, whatever your major. You’ll also gain professional experiences that help you work in a team and with patients.

Why Pursue Pre-Health Studies at Luther?

With graduates in all health professions, Luther has a strong record of preparing students for careers in the health sciences. At Luther, you’ll find challenging courses, hands-on research opportunities, internships in healthcare, strong advising, and an education that draws connections among disciplines and to the larger world.

Our students strengthen their professional competencies through off-campus study, internships, work in clinical settings, and research.

Beyond pre-health courses, Luther’s liberal arts curriculum will help you grow as a person. Luther’s cross-disciplinary emphasis will equip you with strong communication skills to help you work effectively with teams and patients. You’ll also learn analytical and problem-solving skills and develop your ability to apply your knowledge in real-world settings.

Program Highlights

Hands-on Learning

Apply your classroom knowledge to real-life settings. Get academic credit for health-career internships. Complete research alongside experienced faculty members. Gain insight into different career paths by shadowing professionals in their field. Give back and gain experience through service opportunities with the on-campus group Students Helping Our Community or the Decorah Free Clinic.

Health Sciences Club

Pre-health students enjoy the Health Sciences Club as a way to connect, learn about different career paths, and gain valuable perspectives. Join to hear professional panels and take part in various workshops.


As you learn and grow in your abilities, you’ll have access to ample laboratory space and an impressive array of instruments for instruction and research. Study human anatomy through cadaver dissection in the Human Anatomy Laboratory. Our nursing simulation lab will prepare you to join the front lines of patient care.

What You’ll Learn

The courses you will take, taught by experienced and knowledgeable faculty members, will help you prepare for entrance exams (MCAT, DCAT, OAT, etc.) and will lay the foundation for lifelong learning. Your academic courses will cover physics, chemistry, biology (including genetics, physiology, and human dissection), ethics, and psychology.

White man wearing swim cap with goggles, plus a stethoscope
The Luther biology major equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to get into medical school, from introduction to biology to advanced classes like human anatomy and dissection.
Matt Benson '22
Read Matt's story
McKenna Campbell Potter
Luther prepared me exceptionally well for life as a medical student and physician. My biology and chemistry courses built a solid foundation of knowledge that equipped me for the rigors of medical school.
McKenna Campbell-Potter '16
Learn more about McKenna

Careers and Outcomes

Recent Luther alumni have gone on to a variety of health-related professional programs in top-tier schools throughout the United States.

Professional Programs

  • Chiropractic medicine
  • Clinical lab science
  • Cytotechnology
  • Dentistry
  • Genetic counseling
  • Health psychology
  • Human anatomy
  • Medical lab sciences
  • Medicine
  • Nuclear medicine technology
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathic medicine
  • Prefusion technology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy
  • Physician assistant
  • Physical therapy
  • Podiatry
  • Veterinary medicine

Professional Schools

  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • University of Iowa
  • Iowa State University
  • Des Moines University
  • Mercy College of Health
  • A.T. Still University
  • Creighton University
  • University of Colorado
  • Duke University
  • University of Michigan
  • Indiana University
  • University of South Florida
  • Mayo Medical School
  • Loyola University

Gene Expression and Function

Luther students and faculty used C. elegans (a type of worm) to investigate the expression and function of a family of genes. Their research examined how stress impacts gene expression and how reduced expression impacts an organism’s development. Their findings can help to explain how human diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s form.


Our nursing program provides you with a wide range of healthcare knowledge and hands-on experience. Not to mention the entire third year of our program is taught in Rochester, Minn., home of the world-renowned Mayo Medical Center and its affiliated hospitals. Practice skills and patient care in our updated Nursing Simulation Center.

Learn more about Nursing at Luther

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