Dr. Patricia Biesiot, Associate Dean and Preprofessional Advisor
L. Machell Haynes, Staff, Administrative Assistant
118 College Drive, Box 5165
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
The Premedical and Health Professions Office administers 12 undergraduate curricula that lead to professional study in the following fields: medicine, dentistry, optometry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physician assistant, dental hygiene, physical therapy, occupational therapy, cytotechnology, radiologic science and health information management. These preprofessional programs vary in content and duration; all are designed to prepare students for admission to the appropriate professional school or program. Students interested in any of these fields are urged to contact the Premedical and Health Professions Office to ensure that the proper courses are taken and the necessary procedures are followed. For details regarding the individual programs, consult the preprofessional Web site: www.usm.edu/science-technology/preprofessional.
Admission to most health care professional programs is very competitive. Students must achieve and maintain a high academic record in the courses required for admission, and they must have competitve scores on the required admissions tests. Hands-on clinical experiences and job shadowing are highly recommended and are often required. Interviews by an admission committee before being accepted into a professional program are common. Admissions committees look for evidence of leadership skills, volunteer and community service activities that benefit diverse groups of people, and good time-management skills. Other non-academic requirements include excellent oral and written communication skills, critical-thinking skills, decision-making and problem-solving skills, altruism and empathy. Successful applicants to professional schools are hard-working, motivated, mature, and ethical.
Mississippi law requires a criminal history background check for all health care workers. Felony convictions may impact a student's ability to sit for certification, registration or licensure examinations, thereby preventing a candidate from practicing in the state. Most traffic violations are considered misdemeanors.