welcome to the center for pre-health advising!
The Center for Pre-Health Advising (CPHA) is a resource for UW-Madison students and alumni who are exploring, preparing, and applying to health professional programs. We are here to support you — wherever you are on your path to serving others in health care. We have the most expertise in advising toward dental, medical, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physician assistant careers. We also advise toward careers in allied health professions, chiropractic medicine, optometry, podiatry, public health, and veterinary medicine.
Please make use of everything we offer: sign up for our pre-health orientation, ask to receive our newsletter, join a book club, come to a workshop, meet with us in drop-ins and appointments, and when you are applying to a health professional program, enroll in one of our application courses. Information about all of these resources is available on this website. Please learn more about what we do!
Find information below on pathways to health professions (e.g., prerequisite courses, involvement, application processes), wellness, and campus climate.
- First-Year Advising
- Drop-Ins and Appointments
- Service Abroad Guidelines
- Find CPHA
“Preparing for Professional Programs in Health Care” is our most-trafficked advising interface with first-year students. It is a great introduction to all things pre-health. We designed the pre-health orientation with first-year students in mind, but we encourage anyone with interest in a health profession to enroll at any point in your preparation. Look for it in your Canvas course library after you sign up.
Please sign up for the pre-health orientation here.
Welcome to UW-Madison! We are eager to work with you. Mike is our first-year pre-health student specialist. He facilitates our pre-health orientation (“Preparing for Professional Programs in Health Care”), meets with first-year students every Friday morning for drop-in advising during fall and spring semesters (“First Year Fridays”), and also runs four-year planning workshops for first-year students.
In addition, as a first-year student, you have access to pre-health advisors five days a week (Monday-Friday) via email at email@example.com.
Please make use of all these first-year student resources:
- Preparing for Professional Programs in Health Care (sign up here). This orientation is a great introduction to all things pre-health.
- First-Year Fridays every Friday during fall and spring semesters (9-12 at CPHA, Suite 205 in the Middleton Building)
- Four-Year Planning Workshops (look for announcements in the CPHA newsletter)
- Quick question? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
And please make an appointment to have a longer conversation with a CPHA advisor after your first year on campus!
- Drop-In hours for second-year, third-year, fourth-year, fifth-year, and transfer students:
- Mondays, 9 am-12 pm
- Tuesdays, 1-3:30 pm
- Wednesdays, 1-3:30 pm
- Drop-In hours for first-year students: Fridays, 9 am – 12 pm
If you are an alum, a second-year, third-year, fourth-year, fifth-year and or transfer student, please make an appointment to talk with us about your pre-health interests and plans using Starfish.
New to Starfish?
- Log in to your MyUW
- Search for Starfish
- Click Add to home to add Starfish to your dashboard
- Open the Starfish app
- Search for the Center for Pre-Health Advising
- Select an advisor’s name and find a date and time
- If you have any questions, more help can be found here.
If you are an alum and cannot find an appointment at a time you are free to meet, please call our office (608.263.6614) or email us (email@example.com), and we will help you arrange an appointment. Also, we are happy to do phone or Skype appointments if you want to meet with us when you are not in Madison.
Application Statement Appointments
* The number of drafts of application statements we review is up to the individual advisor. Advisors may choose to review two or three drafts of application statements. To make the most of these appointments, we recommend that you have a complete draft to work on with an advisor. You do not need to make it perfect before meeting to talk about it, but the more time you spend working on it before coming to us, the better use we can make of the appointment.
* We ask that you email the statements you want to review with an advisor at least 24 hours before your appointment. And regarding secondaries, we ask that you pick one to three that you want to focus on in your appointment, and that you tell us what these are in the email you send with your drafts in advance of your appointment.
Choosing a career in health care is committing to a life serving others. Many students want to serve in other countries before you begin a health professional program. It is important to understand concerns that revolve around serving abroad. Providing care or services in other countries you are not trained and/or licensed to provide in the United States is deeply unethical. In addition, serving in cultures with which you are not familiar requires cultural learning, humility, and sensitivity. If you choose to serve abroad, you have the responsibility to ensure that any service you provide in another country is ethical, responsible, culturally informed, humble, and sensitive.
Please learn more.
The Center for Pre-Health Advising is located in the Middleton Building (1305 Linden Drive). We are upstairs in Suite 205.
Please find us here.
Pathways to Health Professions
Allied health professionals may work collaboratively with physicians, physician assistants, dentists, nurses, pharmacists and others to provide quality care for patients, or they may work independently. According to the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions:
Allied health encompasses a broad group of health professionals who use scientific principles and evidence-based practice for the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic diseases; promote disease prevention and wellness for optimum health, and apply administration and management skills to support health care systems in a variety of settings.
Chiropractic is based on the principle that spinal joint misaligments interfere with the nervous system and can result in different conditions of diminished health. Chiropractors provide natural, drugless, nonsurgical health treatments, relying on the body’s inherent recuperative abilities.
Physicians may be allopathic (MD) or osteopathic (DO) practitioners. There are many career paths within both. Most physicians work full-time. Many also teach, engage in research, work in administration, and contribute to health care policy.
Nurses provide direct patient care and need to be both detail-oriented and strong team players. Nurses can also specialize in a specific area of patient care (surgery, trauma, etc.) and be accredited in specialties such as ambulatory care, pediatrics, and many others.
Note: This page contains information for students seeking admissions to accelerated nursing programs. If you want to apply to the B.S. in Nursing at UW-Madison, please contact the School of Nursing for Advising.
Occupational therapists help people of all ages do everyday activities (occupations) in all the settings they inhabit (home, work, school, community).
Common occupational therapy interventions include: helping children who are differently-abled to develop social skills and participate in school, helping people recovering from injury regain function through retraining and/or adaptations, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Doctors of optometry (ODs/optometrists) are primary care specialists in eye care. Optometrists examine, diagnose, treat, and manage diseases, injuries, and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and associated structures. They also identify related systemic conditions affecting the eye.
Pharmacists work in a range of settings: community pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities, the pharmaceutical industry, mail service, managed care, and government. They also frequently counsel patients in planning therapy regiments.
Note: This page contains information for students applying to PharmD programs after completing a bachelor’s degree. If you want to apply to the PharmD program at UW-Madison without a bachelor’s degree, please contact the School of Pharmacy for advising.
Physical therapists diagnose and treat people of all ages who experience limited ability to move and perform daily function due to illness and/or injury.
PTs develop treatment plans to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. PTs also help prevent the loss of mobility through fitness- and wellness-oriented programs. They provide care in a range of settings: hospitals, private clinics, out-patient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and older adult care facilities.
- Physician Assistant
Podiatrists are doctors of podiatric medicine (DPMs). They diagnose and treat conditions of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. Podiatrists can specialize in many fields, including surgery, sports medicine, wound care, pediatrics, and diabetic care.
Public health focuses on preventative care for populations rather than curative care for individuals. There are five core areas of public health: Behavioral and Social Science, Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management. In addition to these core areas, many public health professionals concentrate on specific areas, such as Community Health, Maternal and Child Health, Health Communication and Promotion, Health Disparities, Health of Minoritized Populations, and Global Health.
Veterinarians provide medical care for large and small animals, including farm animals, domestic animals, exotic animals, and working animals (e.g., those in the equine industry). They often take a holistic approach to animal welfare and human wellbeing and provide care for companion animals through private medical practices.
Health is more than the absence of disease.Dr. Jocelyn Elders
Health is about jobs and unemployment, education, the environment,
and all of those things that go into making us healthy.
The Center for Pre-Health Advising is committed to Creating Inclusion and Overcoming Bias.