Texas Tech University

Is Pre-Health a Major?

It's not uncommon for there to be some confusion about the many ways students can be pre-health, so let's try to clear that up a little, shall we?

Can I Choose to be "Pre"?

Yes. Our ten pre-health designations are options students can choose when applying to Texas Tech University. They are not, however, degree-granting majors. As we like to say, You can't get a degree in "Pre," but you can be "Pre" until you decide on your degree.

Do I Have to Choose "Pre"?

No. You do not have to choose a pre-health designation if you already know which degree-granting major you'd like to complete as you prepare to apply to your health professions programs of choice.

Students sometimes think they have to officially choose a pre-health designation if they intend to eventually apply to a health professions program, but that is not the case. You can apply to those programs from any academic major at Texas Tech.

Can I Still Meet with a PPHC Advisor if I'm Declared?

Yes! While students sometimes think they have to officially be "Pre" to meet with a Pre-Professional Health Careers advisor, that simply isn't true. PPHC advisors are here to work with all Red Raiders in any major or designation as they explore and pursue entry to the many challenging and rewarding health professions out there.

Why Do People Choose "Pre" Instead of Declaring a Major?

There are really two main reasons:

1. Some students will pursue entry to a health professions program that does not require completion of a four-year, college degree prior to being admitted. These are usually our "2+2" designations, Pre-Nursing; Pre-Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences; or Pre-Medical Laboratory Sciences. For students in these designations, it is possible to complete the necessary prerequisite coursework in just four semesters (or 2 years) and be admitted to the corresponding health professions program to complete their bachelor's degree there (usually in another 2 years, thus "2+2").

2. Some students know which health professions program they eventually want to be accepted into (for example, Medical School or Pharmacy School), but they aren't 100% certain about which degree-granting major they want to complete along the way or they may not be eligible to declare a restricted major upon admission to the University. Texas Tech provides pre-health designations so those students will have an academic home, an assigned academic advisor, and full support as they work through the process of deciding on which major is right for them or establishing eligibility to declare into a restricted major.

Do I Have to Declare a Major?

Eventually, you either have to declare a degree-granting major or be admitted to a health professions program.

For 2+2 Designations: Most of our Pre-Nursing, Pre-Speech, and Pre-MLS students are successfully admitted to a health professions program before they are required to declare a degree-granting major. However, if a 2+2 student is not admitted to a health professions program by the end of the semester after completing 45 semester credit hours, we strongly encourage them to identify a degree-granting major as 1) a source of possible classes to take as they complete their remaining prerequisite coursework and/or reapply and 2) a viable alternate or parallel plan to degree completion.

Pre-Pharmacy: Pre-Pharmacy is a little different because it is possible to be admitted to Pharmacy School without a bachelor's degree complete (though more and more Pharmacy students are entering with a four-year, college degree complete each year), but most Pre-Pharmacy students will eventually declare a degree-granting major before being admitted to Pharmacy School.

Everyone Else: Nearly all other students in the remaining pre-health disciplines end up declaring a degree-granting major at some point. If you aren't sure which one to declare, you can be "Pre" until you decide.

Please Note: State of Texas law (Senate Bill 25) requires that students file a degree plan before the end of the semester or term immediately following the point at which the they have earned a cumulative total of 30 or more semester credit hours. However, the earlier a student formalizes their plans and begins their relationship with a degree-granting major department, its faculty, students, and advisors, the better. If a student should remain in a pre-health designation past one full semester after reaching 30 credit hours, a registration and transcript hold will be placed on their account and will not be moved or removed until the student declares into a degree-granting major.

Which Major Should I Choose?

There isn't one "right" major for students interested in health professions careers. While there are certainly traditional majors that many health professions program applicants will come from, those institutions make admissions decisions based on the qualifications of an applicant, not which major they chose. The best major for a pre-health student is the one that gives them the best chance to build a competitive and compelling application.

That said, pre-health students often choose one of the following degree-granting majors to complete as they prepare to apply to their health professions programs of interest:

In the College of Arts & Sciences
In the College of Human Sciences

Again, as a pre-health student, you can choose from the more than 150 academic programs in any of Texas Tech's ten colleges. And remember: Your PPHC advisors are here to help you sort through all of these exciting opportunities!

How Do I Declare?

Check out our handy guide to declaring a major HERE.

What if I'm Not Sure?

PPHC encourages all students to fully explore their career and academic options in every way possible, including the assessments and resources provided by the University Career Center and University Advising's eXplore.