Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Premedicine Program only for students interested in applying to medical school?
No. Students who intend to apply to graduate programs in dentistry, podiatry, optometry and veterinary medicine are also admitted to the Premedicine Program.

I have already taken some science courses; can I still apply to Premedicine Program?
The Premedicine program is designed for students who are career changers and still need to complete all prerequisite courses for medical school entry. Students who have completed more than eight semester hours (or twelve quarters hours) of science coursework are not eligible for the Premedicine program and should consider the Premedicine Completion program. We recommend the Advanced Studies in Biology Certificate program for students who have completed all the required medical school coursework.

Is an interview required?
Generally speaking, students are not required to meet with an admissions committee prior to applying or during the application process.

Should I explore volunteer opportunities in my chosen career field before applying to the Premedicine Program?
Though it is not mandatory, exploring your chosen career field is the best way to decide if that field is the right one for you. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to spend some time in the desired healthcare setting before applying to our program.

Am I eligible to apply for admission to the Premedicine Program if I am graduating with my bachelor's degree this term?
Yes, you do not need to wait until you complete the undergraduate degree before applying for admission. In many cases, the admissions office can make an admission decision pending the receipt of your final transcript verifying the completion of your undergraduate degree. However, you will need to provide an updated transcript that verifies the completion of your bachelor's degree.

Am I eligible to apply for admission to the Premedical Program if I am an out-of-state resident?
Yes. Northwestern University is a private school, which means Illinois state residency is not a factor in either admissions or financial aid criteria.

Do you accept applications from international students?
If your degree is the equivalent of a bachelor's degree from a college or university in the U.S., then yes, you are eligible to apply.

It is important to consider the challenges faced by non-U.S. citizens and individuals who are not permanent residents who hope to enter U.S. medical schools. Not all medical schools will consider international applicants. As an international student, medical school admission is extremely competitive. Less than 10% of applicants gain acceptance to medical school, and most admitted international students have attended a U.S. college or university.

Some schools require that international students provide proof that they are able to meet the cost of four years of medical school and living expenses. As a general rule, no federal financial aid is available for non-U.S. citizens. It is imperative for international students to thoroughly research the medical schools that they are interested in applying to before taking any premedicine courses.

How do I know if my bachelor's from overseas is accredited?
To verify accreditation, you must contact the school from which you received your bachelor's degree.

When are admissions decisions made?
Decisions are made and available 6-8 weeks after the application deadline. 

What is the typical course of studying the program?
Students generally complete the program in 15 or 21 months. You may view the sample course plans for the required courses.

When are classes held?
During the fall, winter and spring quarters, lectures are held one evening a week from 6:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. on the Evanston campus. Labs are held on Saturdays, and also on the Evanston campus.

May I take other courses beyond the program requirements?
Students are able to take any of the courses that are offered through the School of Professional Studies. However, any courses outside of the program are not eligible for financial aid. Many students take upper-level biology courses, such as Human Physiology, Immunobiology and Anatomy. Courses in the humanities and social sciences are also popular, such as Philosophy of Medicine and Medical Sociology.

Does the Premedicine Program have any linkages with medical schools?  The participating schools listed below have linkage agreements with the School of Professional Studies and have agreed to give Northwestern University premedicine students who qualify for admission the opportunity to enroll directly after finishing the requirements of the premedicine post-baccalaureate program.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Science

What types of support services are available to premedicine students?
Students enrolled in the Professional Health Careers Certificate program have access to the following support services:


  • In-person advising on both Evanston and Chicago campuses
  • Phone and email advising to accommodate for busy schedules
  • Workshops both in person and through webinars

Academic Support

Physician Shadowing

  • Thanks to collaboration between the Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, SPS students will be given the opportunity to shadow physicians as an integral part of the preparation needed for medical school. There is a separate application process for the shadowing program once students have matriculated into the Premedicine program.

Career Services

  • Mock interviews to prepare for medical school or other graduate school interviews available through academic and career advising at SPS

Northwestern University Pre-Health Professionals (NUPP)

  • Student organization consisting of all SPS students interested in the health professions
  • Allows the opportunity to network with other students who have similar interests
  • Brings in admissions representatives from area medical schools to talk about the admissions process
  • Organizes tutoring for core science courses

Campus Safety
As provided by the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990, now known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, you are entitled to request and receive a copy of Northwestern University's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. This Report includes statistics for the previous 3 years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Northwestern University; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus. The Report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies on drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, fire safety and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this Report by contacting the Northwestern University Police Department Deputy Chief at (847) 491-3256. The Report can also be accessed and printed from the University Police website.

What is the "glide" year and is there any way to eliminate it?  The term “glide year” refers to the year between completing a post-baccalaureate program and the start of medical school. A glide year can provide an opportunity to finish preparations for medical school admission and gain clinical or research experience. High-achieving students who wish to bypass the glide year should consider applying to medical school via a linkage agreement. SPS linkages provide the opportunity for students who qualify for admission to enroll directly after finishing the requirements of the post-baccalaureate program. Students interested in a linkage or planning for their glide year can discuss either option with their adviser.

Is campus housing available for students in the Post-baccalaureate Program?
Campus housing at Northwestern University is reserved for degree seeking students. Certificate students are not eligible for campus housing. Students are encouraged to view the NU Off-campus Resources page, for more information.

Is financial aid available for the Premedicine Program?
Students of the Premedicine Program are eligible for financial aid. Students should speak with the Financial Aid office for information regarding financial assistance. Please see Tuition and Fees for program costs.

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