School Requirements and Guidelines

Volunteer Requirements for University of Minnesota (Academic Health Center) Health Professional Programs

Below are the individual program volunteer requirements from the admissions offices of Health professional programs. In general, volunteer, internship or work experiences that provide direct patient contact is ideal. However, any experience in a helping situation can be valuable. Evidence of your ability to work well with diverse populations is a plus in an application to any of the programs mentioned below.

Undergraduate Programs at the University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota 'M' logo

For any of the undergraduate programs at the University of Minnesota (including dental hygiene, clinical lab science, mortuary science, and nursing), relevant informational interviews and observation can be valuable. These types of experiences help confirm commitment to the profession and familiarity with the work.

Experiences can help you demonstrate reliability in a work situation, as well as your ability to work and communicate with a wide range of people. Leadership experience or other kinds of health and human services delivery experiences are beneficial as well.

Graduate and Professional Programs at the University of Minnesota

Volunteer requirements in graduate and professional health programs for the University of Minnesota are outlined below.  Keep in mind that students applying to these programs will often greatly exceed the minimum number of hours listed. Overall, admissions committees gravitate toward candidates who are able to reflect upon their experiences and better articulate their motivation and drive to pursue the health career of their choice. 

Volunteering and Shadowing: Requirements and Guidelines

This is an overview provided to give you an idea of what programs are looking for. Volunteering, shadowing and other experiential requirements can vary from school-to-school, so it will be in your best interest to contact those schools to which you are planning on applying.

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Admissions Information website
Hours required: 50-200 hours

  • A minimum of 50 hours of shadowing is required for each Dental program. However, to be considered competitive, you should have between 100 and 200 hours of shadowing before application. (As of Dentistry website 9/23/15)
  • There is no minimum number of volunteer hours required. However finishing a volunteer experience is recommended for each of the Dental programs.
  • Submit written statement documenting observation/participation. Must be completed outside of parent's practice.

Examples include involvement as youth counselor, Big Brother/Sister, chair-side dental assistant, hospital orderly, nursing assistant, youth worker.

Dentistry Hygiene

Look in the "Admissions Criteria" section for the latest information on requirements for dental hygiene.

Medical Laboratory Science

Medical Laboratory Science Admissions website

Informational interviews and observation valuable. Volunteer, internship or work experience involving direct patient contact would be ideal. However, there are no specific volunteer requirements for these programs.


Generally, there is no specific number of hours required for application to medical schools. However, to be competitive, direct patient/client contact is desirable and expected because that experience meets the essential and desired qualities of a commitment to improve the human condition as well showing you have explored the field of medicine first-hand.

List of Essential and Desired Qualities

Prospective students must demonstrate experience and commitment in service to others through volunteer or community service activities. 73% of successful University of Minnesota Medical School applicants were involved in community service or volunteer work. 75% of successful University of Minnesota Medical School applicants were involved in scholarly pursuits and research.


Look here for the latest information on the nursing program.

Occupational Therapy

OT admissions requirements website

Minimum of 20 hours of OT observation in at least two practice areas OR completion of an Orientation to Occupational Therapy course.

Additional OT observation experience, above that which is required.
Work, volunteer or observation experience in health or education related fields (e.g. physical therapy, special education, speech pathology, long term care, home health).
Research opportunities outside of the classroom.


Pharmacy Admissions Criteria website

Although pharmacy or health care work experience is not required, it is preferred. Students starting the PharmD program have an average of 2 years of pharmacy or health care work experience.

Be sure to list all your paid work experience in this section of your PharmCAS application, not just pharmacy or health care related experience.

Other recommendations:

Develop the traits of a good pharmacist by taking on leadership roles and being involved in your community. Humanitarian and long-term commitments are preferred. Focus on helping people and creating positive change in your community. No minimum amount or health care related activities are required.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy Admissions website

Hours required: 100 hours minimum of volunteer or work experience in PT setting.

A variety of experiences (2-3) to show an understanding of what PT is all about and a variety of PT settings highly recommended.

Public Health

Requirements vary by program. Visit the SPH Admissions website for additional information.

Experience in a health education, advocacy or social service delivery situation is valuable.

  • Health education/advocacy - Boynton Health advocates and other student involvement programs, community organizations (Healthy Seniors, Way to Grow, and similar initiatives for seniors, families and children), programs to promote health and fitness in the community.
  • Access to care (for example, for low-income people or immigrants).
  • Social justice - including housing, homelessness, nutrition, transportation, violence.
  • Environmental health
  • Occupational health and safety

Veterinary Medicine

Vet. Med. Applicant Evaluation website

Knowledge of and interest in the veterinary medical profession- experience with veterinarians and with the care and responsible management of animals. Various possibilities: work as vet tech, volunteer experience in an animal shelter, farm work, etc.

Other recommendations:

Other non-academic criteria include maturity, reliability, ability to communicate with others, and leadership experience. These can be demonstrated through employment, volunteer work, and internships.