I am delighted to hear that you are interested in the health or law professions and the preparation that Johns Hopkins affords. My name is David Verrier and I, along with the staff in Pre-Professional Programs and Advising, work with all of our Hopkins students (and alumni) who plan to pursue careers in health care and law.
Our job is to help students plan their curriculum, explore the various health care professions, and ultimately apply to the graduate program of their choice. Below I would like to address why biomedical and health sciences as well as preparation for the law profession are signatures of Johns Hopkins University.
David Verrier, Ph.D., Director,
Office of Pre-Professional Programs and Advising
While there is no required major for entrance in to a health professions school, there are many skills, abilities, and values you can develop during your undergraduate years to help you succeed. Among them are:
- Mastery of basic scientific principles
- Demonstration of a broad exposure to the humanities and social sciences
- Mastery of life-long learning skills
- An understanding of the physician-patient relationship
- Demonstration of desired personal traits such as maturity, integrity, compassion, empathy, and leadership
- Establishment of relationships with faculty members
- Demonstration of caring for fellow human beings
- Demonstration of an understanding of the health care profession of choice
- Demonstration of a commitment to public service
In order the meet the premedical requirements of the vast majority of medical and dental schools in the U.S., we recommend that Johns Hopkins students pursue the following coursework:
- 2 semesters of general (inorganic) chemistry with associated labs
- 2 semesters of organic chemistry with associated lab 1
(JHU has a one semester, 3-credit organic chemistry lab)
- 2 courses in biology with associated labs
- 1 course in biochemistry (see “Biochemistry” in Premed Planning Guide)
- 2 courses in general physics with associated labs
- 2-3 courses in mathematics (see “Mathematics” in Premed Planning Guide)
- 2 courses in English/Writing Seminars (see “The English Requirement” in Premed Planning Guide)
- Coursework in humanities and social sciences (see “Humanities and Social Sciences” in Premed Planning Guide)
To access this document, go to Premed Planning Guide.
Students receiving AP credit for biology, chemistry, and physics will be required by many medical schools to show college-level coursework in those subject areas. Generally, a year of biological science coursework with lab will be expected regardless of AP credits. Freshmen with AP credit in one of the prerequisite sciences (e.g., general chemistry) are urged to begin science coursework at Johns Hopkins in a different introductory-level science (e.g, general physics) rather than choosing an intermediate course in the subject where AP credit was awarded.
A student's choice of major, as well as the strength of his/her background, will influence decisions regarding AP credit. Be sure to speak with an advisor in Pre-Professional Advising, the Office of Academic Advising, or the Office of Engineering Advising to determine whether your coursework is compliant with health professions schools requirements. Students with AP credit should refer to the document, Premed Planning Guide.
The American Bar Association (ABA) has developed a statement on pre-law preparation which addresses the course of study as well as the skills necessary to gain admission to law school and to be a successful lawyer. The statement emphasizes that there is no single path that will prepare you for a legal education.
Students enter law school from widely different educational and experiential backgrounds. As undergraduates, some have majored in subjects considered to be traditional paths to law school:
- Political science
- International Relations
Other successful law students have focused their undergraduate studies in areas as diverse as:
- Computer science
The ABA does not recommend any particular group of undergraduate majors or courses that should be taken to prepare for legal education. However, there are important skills and values, and significant bodies of knowledge that can be acquired prior to law school:
- Analytic and problem-solving skills
- Critical reading abilities
- Writing skills
- Oral communication and listening abilities
- General research skills
- Organization and management skills
- Foreign language skills
- The value of serving the interests of others while promoting justice
Types of knowledge that can be useful in resolving disputes include the following:
- Broad understanding of history
- Fundamental understanding of political thought
- Basic understanding of ethical theory and theories of justice
- Grounding in economics
- Basic mathematic and financial skills
- Basic understanding of human behavior
- Understanding of diverse cultures within the United States and of international issues
- Having excellent interpersonal skills and an overall interest in helping others
As for extracurricular activities, law schools neither require nor are impressed by long lists of them. However, admissions committees consider significant leadership ability and activity, and a commitment to something in addition to a high undergraduate GPA and LSAT score.Whatever the activity, it needs to indicate meaningful community involvement, leadership, and responsibility in order to have a significant impact on the admissions process.
Our office is here to provide guidance throughout your undergraduate experience, whether seeking information about academic planning, volunteer opportunities, legal internships, relevant work experiences, the law school application process and selecting specific schools.
Office of Pre-Professional Advising
Suite 300 Garland Hall