Health Career Exploration Courses

Students sit in a lecture hall

The Pre-Health Student Resource Center has a variety of courses to help students explore health careers.

AHS 1101 is a great fit for someone still considering many different options. The Future Physician Series is designed for students interested in learning about a career in medicine. Our global seminars take students out of their comfort zones to learn about themselves and health in a larger context. The Writing a Personal Statement course helps students tell their story when they are nearing application time. 

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AHS 1101: Orientation to Health Careers 

This one-credit (1 cr) course is designed for students interested in exploring the many career paths available in health care. This course will help students decide if a career in the health professions is a good fit for them.

Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their own values, skills and interests. They will also hear first-hand from an extensive line-up of guest speakers and learn more about the academic and experiential requirements for health professional schools at the University, and programs outside the University as well. Activities include interest inventories, discussions, journaling, developing an action plan, and other reflective assignments.

Students will:

  • Assess their own interests, values, personality and abilities as relate to health careers.
  • Through guest speakers, class discussions and the media, gain an understanding of the competencies, professionalism and decision-making skills needed to succeed in health professions.
  • Learn about health-related academic majors and health professions through resource exploration, informational interviews, and presentations by guest health professionals.
  • Integrate the acquired knowledge to develop goals and an action plan to pursue their career choice.

Fall 2021: This course is being taught online. Students should keep their calendar open so they can attend virtual Monday Career Q and A sessions from 3:30 to 4:30.

Look here for more registration details.


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AHS 1102: Orientation to Health Careers 

This online, one-credit course is for undergraduate students who are exploring health majors and professions. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their own values, skills and interests as they learn about the academic and experiential requirements for the University of Minnesota health professional schools.

Activities include interest inventories, discussions, journaling, developing an action plan, and other reflective assignments. This course will help students decide if a career in the health professions is a good fit for them.

Students will:

• Assess vocational interests, values and behavioral styles.
• Explore issues related to professionalism and ethics in healthcare.
• Learn about health-related academic majors and professions through resource exploration, informational interviews and presentations by health professional faculty.

Note that credit will not be granted if credit has been received for AHS 1101.

Look here for registration details.


This course is designed to introduce students to the field of medicine and healthcare. Topics are chosen by physicians based on the hot topics they identify that shape the work they do in medicine. These include: history of medicine, pop culture, technology, ethics, politics, racism, social determinants and many more subjects that influence the every-day work of physicians. Students interested in exploring the field of medicine and learning about healthcare will be able to use the content in this course to build their medical school portfolio, or even prepare for a medical school interview.

This course is taught collaboratively by Dr. Andrew Slattengren, Assistant Professor Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and Tricia Todd, MPH, Director of the Pre-Health Student Resource Center, University of Minnesota.


  • 1 credit
  • Offered: Fall semester
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Registration: No Permission number required. Some seats reserved for incoming freshman, otherwise open enrollment.


Explore the field of medicine and learn about the various specialties by interacting with guest physician speakers from the University of Minnesota Medical School and the community. Learn to think critically about the challenges and opportunities you will face as a physician and explore your own motivations and fit with a career in medicine.

This course is taught by Dr. Andrew Slattengren, Assistant Professor Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, and Tricia Todd, MPH, Director of the Pre-Health Student Resource Center, University of Minnesota.


  • 1 credit
  • Offered: Spring semester
  • Prior completion of AHS 1600 is recommended but not required
  • You do not need a permission number to register for this course


This course is ideal for pre-med students who are nearing application to medical school. Much of the class will focus on preparing students for each of the essential components to their application. As well, students will have opportunities to learn how health professional students are trained to work with patients and get closer to understanding the perspective of the patient. 

This course requires you to complete 35 hours of volunteer experience in a setting that serves people or patients.


  • 2 credits
  • Offered online: Fall & spring semesters
  • Prerequisites: AHS 1600 and/or 1601, instructor approval
  • Registration for this course requires a permission number, which are available until the course is filled. Please email [email protected] to request a permission number. 


During this Freshman Seminar Abroad, students will immerse themselves in the exploration of culture, livelihoods, and health of indigenous communities, the impacts and opportunities of ecotourism, and a variety of conservation efforts. During the travel portion of the trip, participants will live in the student center on Isla Bastimentos, based at Red Frog Beach Resort, with excursions into Panama City and around the Boca Del Toros region.

  • Spring 2022
  • This course will be taught by Karin Hamilton, DVM, MPH, Assistant Professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and teaching faculty in the PHSRC, and Scott Simpson, Career Counselor, PHSRC
  • 3 credits. Course meets Global Perspectives LE
  • Application for Spring 2022 will be live starting June 2021. Students can find more info and how to apply online on the LAC's website


Many students find that writing the personal statement is the most challenging part of applying to a health professional degree program. AHS 2400 will keep you on track to write a compelling and unique personal statement. In this highly interactive course, you will:

  • Build your story through critical reflection,
  • Develop an organized approach to writing,
  • Receive continuous feedback from peers and your instructors throughout each phase of the writing process.

This course is designed for students who will be applying to a health professional degree programs, e.g. medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, etc., who are within one year of applying (hitting submit on their application).

To be eligible for AHS 2400: Students must have a competitive GPA, and be within one year of submitting their application for a health professional degree program. Students will submit an enrollment request form, and PHSRC staff will review requests to ensure the students in the class are at the appropriate place in the application timetable. Students meeting eligibility requirements will be directly enrolled in the class by PHSRC staff, and notified of their enrollment.

Fall 2021 - Section Times

  • Tuesdays, 2:30 - 3:20pm
  • Wednesdays, 10:10 - 11:00am
  • Thursdays, 10:10 - 11:00am

AHS 2400 Enrollment Request Form 


AHS 2707: Global Health Challenges for Future Health Professionals” explores global health careers through the lens of a current global health event- this year, COVID-19.  In this course, you will discuss the challenges and opportunities health professionals face as they work in global health. We will explore the definition of global health, the contributors and confounding factors that affect global health, how to measure health, and how to build political and economic will to address global health challenges.

AHS 2707 is being offered in Fall 2021 as an online course. 


Updates for the 2021-2022 AHS 3001 Global Future Physician seminar will be posted in July 2021. 

Students who take part in this seminar will gain a greater understanding of health care and public health in the context of a rapidly developing economy. Special emphasis will be paid to a comparative look at health care between India and the United States. In addition, students will travel to the rural, tribal communities south of Mysore to explore the regional development and health challenges specific to that region.

Where will we be going?
The global seminar will be held at the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies (VIIS), in Mysore, India. VIIS is an educational institution of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM), a leading NGO in the field of health and development in India.

The seminar will be based out the VIIS campus in Mysore, India, and will include many field visits to tribal and rural areas of the Mysore district, Mysore Medical College, a government-run hospital and a private hospital. Additionally, the seminar will include visits to ancient temples, rural development projects, and water resource utilization projects to gain an understanding of health and medicine in context.

Mysore is a mid-size city in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. It is known for its beautiful palaces, temples and cultural activities. 

Read more about this unique learning opportunity


We regret to inform you that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AHS 3002 will not be run again this coming year (2021-2022). Please contact us at [email protected] if you have any questions or want to discuss the course. 

The Global Health in Thailand: Humans, Elephants & Disease is a 3 credit winter break program, and combines two weeks in Thailand with 7 classes, one hour each week, Jan-March. This class, led by health professionals, looks at the relationship between human health and animal health – with a particular focus on tuberculosis in elephants and humans. In Thailand students will visit elephant camps, and learn about the transmission of TB from human to elephant as well as elephant to human. Back in the US, students will meet weekly for seven weeks to further explore TB in Minnesota, hearing from health experts who are actively working on both TB and drug-resistant TB. Finally students will have an opportunity to explore the role that culture plays in zoonotic diseases including discussions of other zoonotic diseases such as ebola, Hantavirus, avian influenza, ovine spongiform encephalitis, rabies and many others.

More Details & How to Apply

Additional Courses to Consider

  • BTHX 5100: Introduction to Clinical Ethics
  • BTHX 5210: Ethics of Human Subjects Research
  • CPSY 2301/3301: Intro to Child Psych 
  • CPSY 3601: Intro to Child Life -Theory and Practice 
  • CPSY 4302: Infant Development 
  • CPSY 4329: Biological Foundations of Development 
  • CPSY 4343: Cognitive Development 
  • CPSY 4311: Behavior and Emotional Programs of Children 
  • CSPH 1001: Principles of Holistic Health and Healing
  • CSPH 1101: Self, Society and Environment
  • GCD 3022: Genetics
  • HINF 5501: US Health Care System - Information Challenges in Clinical Care
  • HMed 3001-2: Health Care in History 1 and 2
  • HMed 3040: Human Health, Disease and Environment in History
  • LAMP 4177: Nature of Disease: Pathology for the Health Professions
  • Phar 1002: Health Sciences Terminology
  • Phar 1003: Nonprescription Meds and Self-Care: Treating Minor Conditions
  • Phar 1004: Common Prescription Drugs and Diseases
  • Phar 1005: Intro to Drug Therapies of Addiction: Medicine or Menace
  • Phar 3101: A Pill for Every Problem or Problem Pills
  • Phar 5201: Health Sciences Applied Terminology
  • Phcl 2001: Basics of Pharmacology - A Drugs Fantastic Voyage
  • Phcl 3100: Pharmacology for Pre-Med and Life Science Students
  • Phcl 4001: Mechanisms of Drug Action
  • Phil 1005/1005H: Scientific Reasoning
  • Phil 3302W: Moral Problems of Contemporary Society
  • PubH 3001: Personal and Community Health
  • PubH 3004: Basic Concepts in Personal and Community Health
  • PubH 3350: People, Places and Disease: Intro to Epidemiology
  • Span 1041: Beginning Medical Spanish
  • Span 1044: Intermediate Medical Spanish
  • Span 3044: Advanced Medical Spanish
  • VPM 2850: Health and Biodiversity (VPM=Veterinary Population Medicine)

Or, try other career exploration courses:

  • Biol 1020: Biology Colloquium
  • Biol 2001: Career Planning for Biologists
  • ID 1201: Major and Career Exploration
  • IOFT 1312: Careers in Science and Engineering
  • OUE 2001: Academic Planning and Exploration