School Requirements and Guidelines

Volunteer Requirements for University of Minnesota Health Science Degree Programs

Below are the individual program volunteer requirements from the admissions offices of health professional programs at the University of Minnesota. 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, medial 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 on program websites. 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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U of M School of Dentistry Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

Application Requirements - Shadowing 

  • A minimum of 30 hours of in-person, general dentistry shadowing is required at the time of application. Work experience in general dentistry as a dental assistant, dental hygienist or dental therapist also meets this requirement. 
  • Virtual shadowing hours will not be counted toward this requirement.
  • At the time of matriculation (starting the DDS program), 50 hours of in-personal general dentistry shadowing (or work experience) is required.
  • Applicants are highly encouraged to complete more than 50 hours, shadow more than one dentist, and shadow in different practice settings (community health center, group practice, etc.). 

Visit the Preparing to Apply - U of M School of Dentistry Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) website for a full description of their application requirements, and guidance on "How to stand out as an applicant". 

Last Updated 8/22/22

Dentistry Hygiene

U of M School of Dentistry Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene

There is no stated requirement for shadowing or volunteering. However, application to any health professional degree program requires an understanding of the profession, so you will want to consider how you plan to gain that understanding of the field of dental hygiene.

Visit the BS in Dental Hygiene overview website for latest admissions requirements for dental hygiene.

Last Updated 8/22/22

Medical Laboratory Science

U of M Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Program

There are no specific volunteer requirements for this program, however "work experience in medical or other laboratory setting" and "knowledge of MLS profession" are two secondary factors considered for admission.

Visit the U of M Medical Lab Science Program website to learn more about admissions requirements.

Last Updated 8/22/22


U of M Medical School

There is no specific number of hours required for application to the U of M Medical School. However, to be competitive, gaining clinical experience is encouraged because that aligns with the admissions competencies, as well showing you have explored the field of medicine.

Visit the U of M Medical School Prepare to Apply page to learn more, including reading about their Admissions Competencies for Entering Medical School Students

Last Updated 8/22/22


Look here for the latest information on the nursing program.

Occupational Therapy

U of M Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program (OTD)


  • For the Fall 2023 admission cycle, due to COVID-19, applicants can be in-progress of completing the minimum 20 observation hours requirement OR completing an Introduction to Occupational Therapy course when they apply. We will accept observation hours that were completed virtually and/or through telehealth.


  • Additional OT observation experience
  • Work, volunteer or observation experience in health or education related fields (e.g. physical therapy, special education, speech pathology, long term care, home health).
  • Participate in research

Visit the U of M Occupational Therapy "How to Apply" website to read more about their admissions requirements. 

Last Updated 8/22/22


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.