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Specific Areas of Interest

The vast majority of our students interested in the health professions seek MD or DO degree programs, and therefore much of the content on this website directly supports those interests. But the MCAC seeks to help ALL students interested in the health professions to the extent possible. Here are additional pointers and links to information about specific areas of interest that are not included in other sections of this website.

  • Students interested in Optometry as a profession can select from several options at TCNJ to prepare for that career:
    • Apply to a graduate school of optometry from any 4-year major, providing that the requisite courses and requirements for entrance have been met
    • Apply to TCNJ’s 7-Year BS/OD Optometry Program with SUNY School of Optometry as a high school senior
    • Apply to TCNJ’s 7-Year BS/OD Optometry Program with SUNY School of Optometry as a first or second-year TCNJ student
    • Information about these options can be found in detail on the TCNJ Optometry webpage  (all options included, not just 7-Year program)
  • Dr. Sudhir Nayak is the contact person at TCNJ for information about optometry as a career
  • A committee letter of support can be generated by the MCAC for students applying to schools of optometry, or for students within the 7-Yr BS/OD program and continuing on to SUNY.
  • Additional information on optometry as a career can be found on the Resources page by following the links to ASCO and OptomCAS

The course requirements for entry into dental school vary by school, so it is wise to look up the specific requirements at the schools you are interested in. Generally the dental programs require a solid foundation in science with some upper level biology courses, such as microbiology, anatomy and physiology, and biochemistry. All programs require 2 biology courses with lab; 2 general chemistry with lab; 2 organic chemistry with lab; and 2 physics with lab. Most also require some English composition/writing, math, and social sciences. Your GPA should be at 3.5 or better.

Independent research is NOT required for pre-dental students. Participating in research however does demonstrate your interest in engaging deeply into an area of interest and discovery.

Shadowing and volunteering are required, however. Be sure to confirm your interest by shadowing a dentist or dental practitioner, or even several. As in medicine, in dentistry, it’s important to demonstrate both a knowledge of the profession, and comfort with working with, caring for, and serving people in various capacities. Specific opportunities include The Gateway to Dentistry Program at Rutgers, a wonderful program which introduces undergrads to various aspects of the dental profession. The Summer Health Programs Education Program can also help you to prepare for application to dental school.

Be sure to take the DAT – Dental Admissions Test. The scoring ranges from 1 – 30. The national median is 18, and you want to try to achieve a 20 or better. The test takes about 4 hours to take, and costs a bit more than $400.

A great deal of important and helpful information can be found at the American Dental Education Association website, as well as at the dental application service website, ADEA AADSAS.



Course pre-requisites at veterinary schools vary quite a lot, so it’s wise to check out the specific requirements at the vet schools you are considering applying to. The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) provides this 2017 Vet Schools Pre-reqs Chart, a summary and school-by-school detail of the course pre-requisites at 55 veterinary programs around the world. (Check online at for updates)

The six most commonly required courses are Biology/zoology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, math/statistics, and inorganic chemistry; followed closely by English composition, and humanities/social science. Genetics and microbiology are slightly less commonly required. There is no required major for applying to vet school; what is required is that the individual program’s pre-requisite courses have been taken. Nor is there a specific GPA required; however, few applicants are admitted to programs with a GPA lower than 3.2.

Some options courses at TCNJ that have a focus on animals include BIO 322, Biology of the Vertebrates; BIO 342, Biology of the Invertebrates; BIO 344, Avian Biology; and BIO 411, Animal Physiology.

It is also recommended that students applying to vet school have at least 500 (or more) hours of community service or experience working with a veterinarian, whether at a veterinary hospital, office or zoo. Research, although not necessary or required, also adds diversity to an applicant’s resume, and is also a great way to develop relationships with professors on campus.

As for standardized exams, most veterinary schools take the GRE; some accept the MCAT. The deadline for taking these exams varies by school. It is in the applicant’s best interest to start looking at individual veterinary schools and their specific requirements very early in their college career.

The link to the veterinary medical colleges’ application service can  be found here.



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