Preparation for Professional Schools

The plan of undergraduate study at the California State University, San Bernardino emphasizes a liberal education in preparing for professional or vocational specialization.

Some professions, such as law, stress that candidates for admission to professional schools can best prepare themselves during college by acquiring several fundamental skills. Others, for example, medicine and dentistry, emphasize certain subject matters. A student preparing for either kind of emphasis (skills or specific subjects) has opportunities to do so by selecting, in consultation with an appropriate preprofessional advisor, the kind of curriculum that most soundly meets the standards set by the profession he or she wishes to enter.

Preprofessional Programs

Preprofessional Programs: Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy

The majority of students entering medical and dental schools in the United States do so after having acquired a B.A. or B.S. degree at an undergraduate college. Possession of an undergraduate degree is especially worthwhile, since professional schools do not offer liberal arts subjects.

Any undergraduate major is appropriate for a preprofessional student as long as certain basic subject areas are included in the program. For specific requirements of professional schools, the student is urged to consult special sources such as "Medical School Admission Requirements" (a publication of the Association of American Medical Colleges) or a preprofessional advisor in the College of Natural Sciences.

In general, medical and dental schools recommend that the undergraduate degree program include: one year of general chemistry, one year of organic chemistry, one year of general biology, with additional course work in developmental biology and/or comparative anatomy and genetics, and one year of physics. Other courses, e.g., mathematics through calculus and physical chemistry, are often recommended as well.

Since preprofessional programs in dentistry place heavy emphasis on biology and chemistry, these are the two majors most often elected by preprofessional students. A preprofessional student majoring in biology should complete the biology core program, supported by courses in chemistry and physics, and should elect MATH 211 and BIOL 342. A preprofessional student majoring in chemistry should complete the chemistry core program, supported by courses in mathematics and physics, and should elect BIOL 342 and 440.

The science and mathematics components of preprofessional programs in veterinary medicine are quite similar to those for medicine.

Admission to a school of pharmacy can also be gained after two years of undergraduate work. Although entrance requirements vary somewhat, they generally include full-year introductory courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. A course in organic chemistry is sometimes required as well.

Pre-engineering Program

Most students earn engineering degrees by attending a university with an accredited program in engineering. Although there are many different engineering disciplines, the first two years of course work is quite similar for most of these fields.

The pre-engineering courses offered allow the student to complete the first two years of courses ranging from generic to engineering. Students may then transfer to an accredited engineering program of their choice.

The advantages to students who enter the pre-engineering program are many. Most engineering schools are very competitive and not all qualified students can be accepted as freshmen. However, it is much easier for a student to qualify as a transfer student. Students with math course deficiencies can enter the pre-engineering program and complete their course work at their own pace. Classes here have smaller enrollments than in large engineering schools and provide students with greater opportunities to interact with the faculty.

The physics faculty, working as pre-engineering advisors, help the student design a course of study specific to the engineering field of interest and to the program to which the student will transfer. For detailed course information, refer to the courses listed under the Department of Physics.

Preprofessional Program: Law

Applicants for admission to most law schools are expected to have a B.A. or B.S. degree and to have taken the Law School Admission Test. There is no single "prelaw" major required since the successful study of law is more often related to the ability to grasp and solve difficult intellectual problems and to employ disciplined work habits, than it is to any narrow, specialized field of study. However, students headed for law school are well advised to take a small number of selected liberal arts courses in subjects relevant to the law. Accordingly, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences offers a pre-law minor consisting of such courses. For further information concerning the prelaw minor, refer to the listing under the Department of Political Science.

Several broad objectives of prelegal education are set forth by the Association of American Law Schools. These include the oral and written command of language; an understanding and appreciation of social, political and economic values, institutions, problems and frames of reference; and an ability for creative, innovative, critical and analytical thinking.

For these reasons, every prelaw student should carefully choose, with the aid of appropriate advisors, courses which sharpen the skills and sensitivities previously listed. Since no one major is mandatory, the student should select one which emphasizes the areas mentioned above (administration, economics, English, history, philosophy, political science and sociology, to name a few). For additional information, the student should consult with the prelaw advisor and should be familiar with the Prelaw Handbook.

For additional information, a student should see the bulletins or catalogs of various law schools or the official Prelaw Handbook, current edition, prepared by the Law School Admission Test Council and the Association of American Law Schools. This handbook may be obtained at most college bookstores or ordered from Educational Testing Services, Princeton, N.J. 08540.


Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is a nationwide program that allows students to pursue commissions (become officers) in the United States Air Force (USAF) while simultaneously attending college. AFROTC consists of four years of Aerospace Studies classes (Foundations of the USAF, Evolution of USAF and Space Power, Air Force Leadership Studies, and National Security Affairs/Preparation for Active Duty), and a  corresponding Leadership Laboratory for each year (where students apply leadership skills, demonstrate command and effective communication, develop physical fitness, and practice military customs and courtesies).  College students enrolled in the AFROTC program (known as "cadets") who successfully complete both AFROTC training and college degree requirements will graduate and simultaneously commission as Second Lieutenants in the Active Duty Air Force.  Classes are offered at California State University, San Bernardino; however, UCR students may enroll using our cross-town agreement. For more information about Air Force ROTC at CSUSB  contact the Aerospace Studies Department, FO-144, (909) 537-5440.  AFROTC course descriptions are listed in the Courses A-Z section of this bulletin. Program details are listed under the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Programs.

The Army ROTC is a two or four year program which leads to a commission in the U.S. Army and trains students for positions of responsibility in the active Army, Army Reserve, or National Guard. The university has the only ROTC program in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Scholarships, simultaneous enrollment in the National Guard or Army Reserve, specialized summer training, and other challenging activities are some of the benefits of the program. Students may attend ROTC classes on this campus, and attend any of the other two- or four-year colleges in the area. For more information about Army ROTC at CSUSB, contact the ROTC Office, FO-124 and 125, (909) 537-5533. Program details are listed under the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Programs.