Pre-professional and Specialized Programs

Academic Catalog 2010–2011

These are not names of majors but coursework that leads to further study in graduate or professional schools. Majors in the liberal arts prepare students for a variety of careers. There are a number of resources in the Career Center that describe occupations and the education involved, as well as directories and websites for graduate, law, medical, MBA, architectural, and dental programs. These resources refer to more specific information. For health professions information, consult the Health Professions Coordinator in the Career Center. In addition, a current list of advisers may be found in the Advising Center.

Since requirements for professional schools vary from school to school and can change year by year, students must carefully examine the catalog of the schools they are interested in to be current and accurate when registering for courses at Gustavus.

Actuarial Science

An actuary applies principles of probability, statistics, and finance to problems of risk management, insurance, pension plans, or economic forecasting. The Jobs Rated Almanac has consistently rated the actuarial profession as one of the top five jobs. A student interested in a career in actuarial science should plan on completing MCS-121, MCS-122, MCS-142, MCS-221, MCS-222, MCS-341, and MCS-342. A student who will be seeking employment as an actuary should also take the first examination offered by the Society of Actuaries before graduation. Also, because an actuary is a businessperson, those preparing for this career are encouraged to take courses in accounting, business management, finance, economics, and public speaking.


Professional education for architects is now concentrated at the graduate level through the degree of Master of Architecture (M. Arch.), awarded by universities with such programs. At the University of Minnesota, for example, this is the only degree accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board as complete preparation for licensing examinations. Students with liberal arts majors in a number of fields may prepare themselves for graduate admission into Master of Architecture programs by taking at least the following: General Physics I and II (or Classical Physics I and II), Calculus I, one additional semester of a laboratory science, a writing course, and a wide range of studio art courses. Students applying for graduate admission to architecture degree programs are normally expected to present a significant portfolio of their studio art projects. Some programs expect students to have experience in computer-aided drafting and design (CADD). Gustavus offers two CADD courses, T/D-223 and T/D-323. Courses in art and architectural history, geography, and environmental studies are recommended to help the future architect understand the built environment in its social, geographical, historical, and biophysical context.

Arts Administration

Students interested in pursuing graduate or professional work in the field of arts administration and management can prepare for this area by completing a major in Art, Music, Theatre, or Dance. Students should also plan to take T/D-260, Arts Management, as well as several relevant courses from the Communication Studies and/or Economics/Management Departments. Interested arts administration and management students should also take courses outside of their major from any of the other arts departments. It is highly advisable for students to seek an internship with an arts organization off campus and/or to participate in the nuts and bolts of production, marketing, or management of arts events on campus.

Church Vocations

Gustavus offers educational programs to prepare students for ordained and non-ordained positions within the Church, including church music, parish education, and parish administration. Courses of study can be designed to meet the certification requirements of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other Christian denominations for entrance into a theological seminary. Because the demands of ministry require a broad liberal arts background, courses are offered in a number of departments.

Candidates for church vocations in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America should establish contact with their synodical candidacy committee. Students may consult with members of the Department of Religion, one of the chaplains, or the Director of Church Relations.


Schools of dentistry generally require a minimum of three years of pre-dental study in the arts and sciences. The normal sequence is to complete four years at Gustavus before entering dental school. Requirements vary with the schools and pre-dental students are advised to study carefully the catalogs of the dental schools of their choice. Interested students should consult the “ADEA Official Guide to Dental Schools” to plan for the entrance requirements of a specific dental school. A copy is available in the Career Center. Some required courses are listed below:

  • Art—ART-110 or ART-234 is recommended.
  • Biology—BIO-101 and BIO-102 (BI0-201 is recommended).
  • Chemistry—CHE-107, CHE-141, CHE-251, CHE-255, CHE-258.
  • English—two semesters of composition and literature.
  • Health and Exercise Science—HES-234 and HES-235 are recommended.
  • Mathematics—one semester of Calculus, Computer Science, or Statistics.
  • Physics—PHY-120/121 and PHY-170/171 or PHY-122/121 and PHY-172/171.
  • Psychology—PSY-100.

Elective courses should be selected to give the student as broad and liberal an education as possible within the limited time available. Most dental schools highly recommend courses in drawing and sculpture, since prospective dentists must demonstrate suitable manual dexterity as part of their Dental Admission Test.


The baccalaureate and graduate degrees in engineering or applied science may be earned through several combinations of course and degree work at Gustavus and at schools of engineering. Professional registration in engineering usually requires a B.S. degree in engineering. However, the combination of the B.A. in physics with the M.S. and/or Ph.D. in engineering is one often exercised by Gustavus graduates preparing for work in industrial research and development.

Gustavus offers dual-degree programs in engineering with two universities. They are the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University, Mankato. Dual-degree programs offer joint studies leading to a B.A. degree from Gustavus and an engineering baccalaureate degree from the associated university. This program may be completed either in five years by finishing Gustavus general education and major requirements in three years, or in six years if the student elects to remain at Gustavus for the senior year. Most current university programs in engineering require more than four years of undergraduate study.

Students planning to transfer to an engineering program at a university after two or three years without completing the Gustavus degree should follow the pre-engineering curriculum recommended below. The College has established transfer equivalencies for courses in this curriculum with a number of universities. Students should acquaint themselves with the specific entrance requirements of the engineering school to which they are planning to transfer.

Students wishing to pursue graduate studies in engineering without earning a baccalaureate degree in engineering should complete the Gustavus degree with a strong major in Physics or, for chemical engineering, Chemistry. Both of these preparations should include some undergraduate research experience and require very strong academic records.

Recommended courses for first year pre-engineering (excluding chemical engineering) are MCS-121 and MCS-122, PHY-200/201, and PHY-220/221. Recommended second-year courses are PHY-230, PHY-240/241, PHY-260, PHY-270/271, and MCS-221. Many programs require one or two semesters of chemistry (CHE-107 and either CHE-141 or CHE-258), and all require that students be proficient in at least one high-level programming language, either FORTRAN or C++.

Chemistry is the expected academic major for pre-chemical engineers. Students preparing for chemical engineering should follow the same physics, mathematics and computer science course sequence as for pre-engineers in the other areas. In particular, Classical Physics I-II-III must be taken, not General Physics I & II. First-year students will normally enroll in CHE-107 and the calculus course appropriate for their level of preparation.

Landscape Architecture

Professional education for landscape architects is typically concentrated in the graduate level through the degree of the Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA). Students with liberal arts majors in a wide range of fields may prepare themselves for graduate admission into Master of Landscape Architecture programs by taking a wide range of studio art courses as well as courses addressing the relationships between the built and natural environments—art history, botany, geography, and environmental studies. Some graduate programs require coursework in physics and calculus and others do not. Students applying for graduate admission to landscape architecture degree programs are typically expected to demonstrate artistic, design, or digital technology ability through a project portfolio.


All accredited American law schools require a four-year college degree or its equivalent. The American Bar Association and the National Association of Pre-Law Advisers suggest that students take courses that improve the following skills: analytical and problem solving, critical reading, writing, oral communication and listening, and general research. A choice of a particular major, especially at a liberal arts school, is far less significant than making wise course choices that foster these skills. Doing very well in one’s chosen major is critical, for grade point average is a key component of the admission criteria for law schools.

Materials Science

Before materials science came into intellectual focus some 35 years ago, it was essentially metallurgy, the science and engineering of the metallic state. Since that time, however, the multidiscipline of materials science has become the study of the scientific and practical interrelationships at play among the processing, structure, properties, and performance of all classes of materials.

Gustavus Adolphus College offers an interdisciplinary program in Materials Science to prepare students for graduate education in materials science programs (often allied with university programs in chemical engineering or condensed-matter physics). The program comprises courses from the Departments of Chemistry, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Physics. It has a core of introductory courses and offers two tracks, one for Physics majors and one for Chemistry majors. The tracks converge at two points: first, a unifying course offered in the January Interim for sophomores and juniors; second, a senior seminar course tied to research projects. Students in the program will be working toward majors in Chemistry or Physics as they are defined in the College Catalog.

The core courses in chemistry are CHE-107, CHE-141, and CHE-258. The core in physics consists of two options: either PHY-200/201, PHY-220/221, PHY-240/241, and PHY-260; or PHY-121/122, PHY-171/172, and PHY-260. The mathematics core consists of MCS-121, MCS-122, and MCS-253. The two advanced tracks follow the Chemistry and Physics majors. For Chemistry majors the advanced courses are CHE-252, CHE-270, CHE-371, CHE-380, CHE-385 and CHE-399. The advanced courses for Physics majors are PHY-270, PHY-300, PHY-305, PHY-350, PHY-370, and PHY-390. Three courses are specific to the program. They are The Physics and Chemistry of Materials, Independent Study Research, and Materials Science Seminar. One course of research is required, but it will normally be split between two semesters.


Medical school entrance requirements vary somewhat, but all schools require the completion of a bachelor’s degree. While any academic major may be pursued, there are some uniform natural and social science courses which are required. Interested students are encouraged to consult a publication of the Association of American Medical Colleges titled “Medical School Admission Requirements” at the earliest possible opportunity to plan for the entrance requirements of a specific medical school.

In general, medical school plans should be formulated around the state-funded institution for the state of residence (e.g., the University of Wisconsin-Madison for Wisconsin, and the University of Iowa for Iowa). Their requirements should be considered minimum courses of study and should be augmented with courses that are appropriate for entrance to the private medical schools.

The following courses at Gustavus are appropriate, based on the overall requirements and recommendations of most medical schools. Consult the “Health Professions Advising Guide” in the Career Center for course planning because most science courses are offered only one semester per year. The required science courses should be completed by the spring of the junior year, in order to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

  • Biology—BIO-101, BIO-102 (BIO-201 and BIO-202 are strongly recommended).
  • Chemistry—CHE-107, CHE-141,CHE- 251, CHE-255, CHE-258.
  • Mathematics—MCS-118/119 or MCS-121 (Statistics strongly recommended).
  • Physics—PHY-120/121 and PHY-170/171 or PHY-122/121 and PHY-172/171.
  • Psychology—PSY-100.
  • English—one composition and one literature course.


Prospective seminarians are advised to plan a broad cultural background in the humanities, arts, and sciences. A major in Religion provides an ideal integration of the liberal arts. Pre-seminary students are encouraged to consider majoring in Religion and another subject area, such as Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, English, or Classics. Another option is to major in Religion and minor in two other subjects. Chaplain Brian Johnson serves as an adviser in planning courses of study and as consultant in apprising students of the opportunities for graduate study in the discipline. Candidates for the ordained ministry in the ELCA are also encouraged to contact their synodical office concerning procedures for the endorsement process.

Occupational Therapy

Several options for courses of study are available for students interested in occupational therapy. Gustavus is affiliated with Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, in a program of joint studies leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gustavus and a Master of Science degree in occupational therapy from Washington University. When a student has completed at least five semesters of transferable course work with a GPA of at least 3.0 and has the recommendation of the College faculty adviser, application is made to the Office of Admissions at Washington University.

In addition to completion of a successful major course of study at Gustavus and fulfillment of the core and writing requirements at Gustavus, the following courses are required for admission to the Washington University program.

  • Art—one studio art class such as painting, sculpture, etc.
  • Anatomy/Physiology—HES-234, HES-235.
  • Medical Terminology—HES-214.
  • Psychology—PSY-100, PSY-234, PSY-241, and PSY-334.
  • Sociology/Anthropology—S/A-111, S/A-112, or S/A-113.
  • Statistics—MCS-140, 142, or PSY-224 (E/M-125 is not acceptable).

The courses listed above show what a representative OT program may look like; however, pre-requisite requirements vary between institutions. In addition, course prerequisites are subject to change at any time. Students should gather information from particular schools of interest for the most current requirements. Refer to

*Gustavus has an agreement with the College of St. Catherine regarding their Master of Occupational Therapy program, whereby two Gustavus students who meet St. Catherine’s admission criteria will be given preferential admission status.


Students interested in the requirements for optometry should request a catalog from the school or college they expect to attend, and then plan the pre-optometric education in compliance with its requirements. The student should become acquainted with eligibility requirements which govern licensing in the particular state or states where a practice is desired. The pre-optometric program typically would include:

  • Biology—BIO-101, BIO-102, BIO-118 or 380 (BIO-201 and BIO-202 if planning to take BIO-380).
  • Chemistry—CHE-107, CHE-141, CHE-251, CHE-255, and CHE-258.
  • Communications—COM-120.
  • English—one composition and one literature course.
  • Health and Exercise Science—HES-234 and HES-235.
  • Mathematics—MCS-118/119 or MCS-121; MCS-122; MCS-142 or PSY-224.
  • Physics—PHY-120/121 and PHY-170/171 or PHY-122/121 and PSY-172/171.
  • Psychology—PSY-234, PSY-241 or PSY-334.

Additional elective credits may be taken, and it is recommended that additional credits in mathematics and zoology be included in them. Most successful applicants have more than the minimum academic requirements.


Many pharmacy programs allow undergraduate students to enroll after completing the prerequisite courses. Pharmacy school programs are usually three years.

A student may transfer at any time to the pharmacy program at the university of his/her choice. Many students decide to complete several years of study or even graduate from Gustavus before transferring to a university pharmacy program. The student should be aware that the professional program will probably require an additional three years of study after transferring from Gustavus.

The following pre-pharmacy courses are required:

  • Anatomy/Physiology—HES-234, HES-235.
  • Biology—BIO-101, BIO-102, BIO-118 or BIO-380 (BIO-201 and 202 if planning to take BIO-380).
  • Chemistry—CHE-107, CHE-141, CHE-251, CHE-258.
  • Communications—COM-120.
  • Economics—E/M-101 or E/M-102.
  • English—two writing courses.
  • Mathematics—MCS-118/119 or MCS-121, MCS-142.
  • Physics—PHY-120/121 and PHY-170/171; or PHY122/121 and PHY-172/171.
    * University of Minnesota requires Physics with Calculus
  • Psychology—PSY-100 and PSY-234, PSY-241, or PSY-334.

Recommended additional courses: two elective courses in literature and artistic expression.

Physical Therapy

Gustavus students planning to apply to a physical therapy program after graduation from Gustavus should complete the requirements for a degree from the College, including a major course of study (usually Biology or Athletic Training) and fulfillment of distributional requirements. The following courses also should be considered, since they seem to be the minimum requirements for many professional programs in physical therapy:

  • Biology—BIO-101, BIO-102, BIO-118 or BIO-380 (BIO-201 and 202 if planning to take BIO-380).
  • Chemistry—CHE-107, CHE-141.
  • Health and Exercise Science—HES-234, HES-235 (HES-214 recommended).
  • Mathematics—MCS-118/119 or MCS-121, and statistics (not E/M-125).
  • Physics—PHY-120/121 and PHY-170/171 or PHY-122/121 and PHY-172/171.
  • Psychology—PSY-100 and PSY-241.
  • Sociology/ Anthropology—S/A-111, S/A-112, or S/A-113.

The courses above show what a representative physical therapy program might look like, however, prerequisite requirements vary among institutions. In addition, course prerequisites are subject to change at any time. Students should gather information from particular schools of interest for the most current requirements. Refer to

*Gustavus has an agreement with the College of St. Catherine regarding their Master of Physical Therapy program, whereby two Gustavus students who meet St. Catherine’s admission criteria will be given preferential admission status.

Reserve Officers’ Training Corps

Since the 1970s, Gustavus has been a cross-enrollment partner in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (Army ROTC) battalion hosted at Minnesota State University, Mankato. This partnership also includes Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato. Minnesota State University, Mankato, offers either a two- or four-year program enabling students/cadets to compete for a commission as an officer in the United States Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard. College credit is awarded for the courses in the program. However, the military science program is not an academic major. Students must complete an academic major in another area in addition to the military science requirements. (Historically, Gustavus students in the program have selected a variety of majors, including Political Science, Management, Communication Studies, and Religion.) Participating Gustavus students transfer 2–3 semester credits per term from Mankato. The ROTC is operated under Department of Defense policies and regulations that are inconsistent with Gustavus’s policy of nondiscrimination with regard to sexual orientation. Students should be aware that the military could require repayment of scholarship funds if they are discharged from the ROTC as a result of their sexual orientation. For information, contact the Gustavus Career Center or the MSU Military Science Department at 507-389-6226.

Veterinary Medicine

Admission requirements vary with schools, but most include the courses required by the University of Minnesota. Listed here are the Gustavus courses needed to meet these requirements:

  • Biology—BIO-101, BIO-102, BIO-201, BIO-202, either BIO-241 or 242, BIO-374 and BIO-380.
  • Chemistry—CHE-107, CHE-141, CHE-251, CHE-255, CHE-258.
  • Mathematics—MCS-118/119 or MCS-121.
  • Physics—PHY-120/121 and PHY-170/171 or PHY-122/121 and PHY-172/171.
  • English composition (met by completion of the Gustavus Writing Requirement)
    Recommended electives include Communications.