A professor and a student work in a lab.
Program Overview

Pre-Medicine and Health Careers

Make a lasting difference in lives and communities.

Professor Tracie Paine works with an undergraduate research assistant on the neurobiology of mental health.
Photo credit: Jennifer Manna

Health Sciences in a Liberal Arts Context

Health-care providers treat their patients as they grow and change, break and heal, age and die. To help, guide, and comfort another person through these moments is an honor that many past and present Obies have chosen as their calling. These intense human interactions call on the broad knowledge, sensitivity, and adaptability that is developed through liberal arts training. As an Oberlin student pursuing a career in medicine or health care, you will grow into a lifelong learner who can navigate the science and art of medicine.

Science Savvy, Humanistic Understanding, Social Context

At Oberlin, you can prepare for a medical/health career with the guidance of a dedicated pre-medical/health advisor and the support of a collaborative community. Prerequisite classes are compatible with your own personal curricular and co-curricular tracks.  Musicians, athletes, student leaders, and linguists can all merge their passions with an intentional path to a health profession. Developing into your best self will make you the sort of physician that patients connect with on a personal level.

Health professions represent the second highest employment sector among Oberlin alumni

Science with a Positive Social Impact

The curricular strengths of Oberlin’s science education combined with our ethos of social engagement prepare our students with the tools needed to make new discoveries, the skills to communicate them, and the passion to have them make a difference.

Two students in lab coats working with a professor.
32 different majors are represented in the medical applicants from Oberlin in the past 5 years

Health Engagement from the Local to the Global

Oberlin’s career development center works with students interested in the health field to secure summer and Winter Term internships as well as physician shadowing opportunities.

A student and a professor together in a lab.

Featured Courses

NSCI 103

Environmental Toxicology and Global Health

This course introduces students to key concepts in the history and dynamics of global public health. Students will examine the basics of toxicology, environmental science, neuroscience, and other fields as they apply to the effects of environmental pollutants on diseases.

Taught by
Gunnar Kwakye
RELG 249

Medical Ethics

This course explores major topics pertaining to the field of medicine and research. Attending to the diverse array of religious, philosophical, and legal perspectives, students gain an appreciation for the complexities surrounding decision making on issues such as genetic engineering, children and medicine, and global infectious diseases.

Taught by
Joyce Kloc Babyak
CHEM 254

Bioorganic Chemistry

Learn how chemistry transforms living systems. This unique organic chemistry offering was designed to provide life science students the opportunity to learn mechanisms and structures typical of organic chemistry II within a biological context.  This, along with Biology 213, covers the basic biochemistry required of pre-medical/health students.

Taught by
Jason Belitsky
BIOL 312


This course explores how the human body works.  Both health and disease are foci, which we approach by studying a handful of cases to understand key physiological concepts that apply across varied life forms.  Throughout, we integrate function at multiple levels (molecular to whole body) and ways the external environment influences this function.

Taught by
Taylor Allen

Student Profiles

Double-Degree Nexial Prizewinner

As a double-degree student at Oberlin, Janet Wu ’21 combined her love of music with her fascination for science. A winner of the Nexial Prize, an award worth $50,000, Wu is now off to Stanford’s Medical School to train for a career as both a physician and a scientist.

Janet Wu.

Gap Year Options Before Medical School

Joy Udoh ’19 was a neuroscience major on the pre-med track while at Oberlin. During her gap year before medical school, she worked as a doctor’s assistant at Kuchnir Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery.

Joy Udoh

From Oberlin to Vanderbilt

As a double major in biology and neuroscience with a minor in chemistry, Kate Frost ’15 knew early on that she was on a science track. Now enrolled at Vanderbilt University Medical School, she reflects on how being a student-athlete aided her transition to graduate school.

Kate trying on a lab coat.

Next Steps

Get in touch; we would love to chat.

Students with backpacks walk across campus.
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay