Pre-Professional Tracks

Art Therapy and Counseling
Art therapists use the creative process to help people of all ages improve their health and emotional well-being. They are qualified to work as counselors in hospitals, school and community clinics, vocational schools, rehabilitation centers, universities, military installations, and other health care and educational settings. Art therapists may serve as mental health, substance abuse, or behavioral disorder counselors. Students wishing to apply to accredited graduate programs in art therapy and counseling must meet the minimum standards of the American Art Therapy Association. These include the completion of a B.A. degree with specific coursework in studio art and psychology. The Studio Art major at Virginia Wesleyan, coupled with a minimum of 16 semester hours in psychology, meets these criteria. Students must complete coursework in drawing, painting, ceramics and sculpture, as well as abnormal and developmental psychology and theories of personality. A minor in psychology is strongly recommended. Interested students should work with faculty advisors in both art and psychology to plan an appropriate course of study.

Church-Related Vocations
Ministry in today’s world takes many forms: pastoral ministry, religious education, hospital and military chaplaincies, teaching in church-related colleges, and counseling. A broad program of studies in the liberal arts is required for admission to the seminaries and graduate schools that prepare individuals for these ministries. Students interested in these vocations may choose to major in religious studies or some other area of the humanities or the social sciences. The university chaplain is available as a vocational advisor for students contemplating a future in the ministry.

Dental School
Students applying to dental school are expected to achieve a satisfactory score on the dental school admissions test (DAT) and to complete the following courses: General Biology, two semesters (BIO 132, BIO 200); Introductory and Inorganic Chemistry, two semesters (CHEM 120, CHEM 200); Organic Chemistry, two semesters (CHEM 221, CHEM 222); and Physics, two semesters (PHYS 221 and PHYS 222). Some dental schools may also require additional courses in biochemistry, psychology, and English.

Dentistry, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine
Students who wish to pursue careers in these fields must meet the admissions requirements for the professional school of their choice. Those standards include interest in grades, relevant co-curricular activities and appropriate internships, externships, and research. Virginia Wesleyan’s Pre-Professional Committee guides students through the application and interview process. In addition, the student-run Pre-Professional Club sponsors a variety of activities, including seminars by professionals from various fields, campus visits and meetings with admissions officials from pre-professional programs, and student volunteer activities. The club meets at least twice each semester.

Students interested in a career in teaching have several options, and are encouraged to contact the VWU Education department for advising. The Comprehensive Liberal Studies – Curricular Emphasis major is intended for students seeking to pursue a certification for teaching at the elementary school level. Students seeking certification at the secondary level will pursue a major in a specific field, and then take the recommended education courses. A Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) degree is also available for VWU students who have met the program prerequisites and who wish to complete their certification while earning a Master’s Degree, typically during their fifth year at VWU. Careful advising is essential for students seeking teacher licensure, so these students are strongly recommended to seek an adviser from the EDUC department as soon as possible during their academic career.

The Old Dominion University Pre-Engineering Program (Master of Science in Engineering) offers students the opportunity to earn both a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Wesleyan University and a Master of Civil, Environmental, Mechanical, Electrical, Computer, Biomedical, or Aerospace Engineering from Old Dominion University in five years. Students attend Virginia Wesleyan for four years and ODU for one year. Starting their junior year, students take one or two engineering courses each semester at ODU while enrolled at VWU. After graduating from VWU, students are automatically admitted to the one-year Master of Engineering graduate program at ODU. Students are also eligible for the longer Master of Science in Engineering program.

Environmental Studies
Students interested in the environment can major (or minor) in either Earth and Environmental Science or Environmental Studies. Those interested primarily in science should major in Earth and Environmental Sciences or another natural science to prepare for graduate work and careers in areas including environmental science, ecology, or toxicology. A dual degree program is also available in which students complete a bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Virginia Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Old Dominion University. Students may also choose the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies major, whose flexibility and breadth of curricular options can meet a diversity of student interests and needs in environmental education.

Law School
Many Virginia Wesleyan students have been accepted into law school. No single major is recommended for students interested in pursuing a legal career. It is important to note, however, that law schools emphasize the importance of a broad liberal arts education in which the student has excelled.

Medical School
Students applying to medical school are expected to have gained broad exposure to the medical profession prior to submitting the application. They are expected to achieve a satisfactory score on the medical school admissions test (MCAT) and complete the following courses: General Biology, two semesters (BIO 132, BIO 200); Introductory and Inorganic Chemistry, two semesters (CHEM 120, CHEM 200); Organic Chemistry, two semesters (CHEM 221, CHEM 222); and Physics, two semesters (PHYS 221 and PHYS 222). It is also strongly recommended that students complete the following courses: Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 221 and BIO 222); Comparative Anatomy (BIO 372); Histology (BIO 371); Biochemistry (CHEM 330); and Ethics and Health Care (PHIL 221/321).

Pre-Nursing/Allied Health
Students wishing to enter allied health professions (dental hygiene, pharmacy, nursing, health care management, medical technology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or radiological technology) need to complete at least two years—and may want to complete four years—of preparatory studies at Virginia Wesleyan before applying to a professional school.

Schools of Veterinary Medicine
Students applying to veterinary programs are expected to have gained significant experience working with animals and to have attained a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Specific course requirements vary among schools, and students are expected to contact the schools about their specific requirements prior to submitting an application. In general, students should complete the following courses: General Biology, two semesters (BIO 132, BIO 200); Introductory and Inorganic Chemistry, two semesters (CHEM 120, CHEM 200); Organic Chemistry, two semesters (CHEM 221, CHEM 222); Biochemistry, one semester, (CHEM 330); Physics, two semesters (PHYS 221 and PHYS 222); English, two semesters; Mathematics, two semesters (college algebra or higher); and Social Science, two semesters. It is also strongly recommended that students complete Comparative Anatomy (BIO 372) and Histology (BIO 371).

Social Work
The Social Work Program embraces the values of the social work profession in its mission to “enhance human well-being” and “help meet human needs,” appreciate and build on individual and collective strengths, and advocate for the vulnerable and disempowered. As the University strives to prepare students to participate in civil society and to respond creatively to a “rapidly changing world,” social work education promotes critical thinking about issues from the micro to the macro level, grounded in a broadly based liberal arts foundation. Social Work’s emphasis on social justice parallels the University’s commitment to social responsibility. Social Work education blends didactic and experiential learning with its strong emphasis on field education, a corollary to Virginia Wesleyan University’s emphasis on civic engagement and community-based learning.

Sport and Recreation Professions
All students completing either the Sport and Recreation Management or Recreational Therapy major are eligible to take the national examination to be recognized as a Certified Park and Recreation Professional (CPRP). Students completing the Recreational Therapy Major and designated coursework are also eligible to take the national examination to become a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS).