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Advanced Placement


Health professions graduate schools vary in their attitudes toward advanced placement.  The following are general guidelines, but students are encouraged to contact individual schools for clarification of policies at specific institutions.


For the student who was granted advanced placement in a science (biology, chemistry, physics), most health professions graduate schools will accept this as long as the student takes an equivalent number of courses (and laboratories) at a more advanced level within that discipline. Please keep in mind that pre-health requirements may or may not coincide with the requirements of a major. 

There are pluses and minuses to taking advantage of advanced placement opportunities.  On the plus side, it allows the student to get more quickly involved in intellectually challenging upper level courses.  On the negative side, one's freshman year is often a significant period of adjustment.  This, combined with the highly competitive nature of health professions graduate school admissions, may argue for careful course planning during one's freshman year.  Below are some guidelines for the subjects in which advanced placement is commonly awarded.

Advanced Placement for Biology:  For students granted advanced placement in biology, deciding whether to enroll in higher lever Biology electives (see Biology web site) or not can be challenging.  Options for Biology and Non-Biology majors are outlined below:

Biology Majors:  Those students, who plan to major in biology and choose to skip Foundational Courses (BIOL 2000-2010) and enroll directly in Distribution Requirements will have the opportunity to "round out" their biology education by completing a diverse number of electives in their undergraduate careers.  At a minimum, we recommend electives in the following general areas:

1)      Physiology
2)      Biochemistry
3)      Genetics

Non-Biology Majors: Freshman non-biology majors who have received a 5 in AP Biology have the option of placing out of BIOL 2000 (Molecules and Cells). If you choose to place out of BIOL 2000, we recommend biology courses (see Biology Department web site) covering similar material.

In this situation, popular options include a Genetics course (e.g. BIOL 3501, BIOL 3190, etc. – see department website) and Cell Biology (BIOL 3040 F or S). As mentioned earlier, non-biology majors pre-healthl students should also take Physiology (BIOL 3030 F or S) (or if space is available, Human Physiology with Lab BIOL 4330F/4340 S). Since the MCAT and DAT cover material including molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, and population biology.

Additional electives in the following areas are recommended:

1)      Physiology
2)      Biochemistry
3)      Genetics

In addition, a background in Evolution and Ecology is useful

Advanced Placement for English:  Regardless of whether or not you received advanced placement in English, it is strongly recommend that students take two English courses while in college. The Freshman Writing Seminar fulfills the requirement of ONE English course. 

Advanced Placement for Mathematics:  For students who received advanced placement in mathematics, most health professions graduate schools will accept this and will either grant one or two semesters credit for mathematics.  Depending on the requirements of their major, many students who receive advanced placement for mathematics choose to enroll in MATH 1101 (Calculus II) for the fall semester, and then enroll in BIOL 2300 (Biostatistics) or ECON 1151 (Statistics) for the spring semester.  This option allows students to complete two semesters of mathematics, without having to take a more advanced Calculus course.  If a student arrives at Boston College with advanced placement in math, the Mathematics Department may "recommend" beginning by taking a higher-level math course.  Please keep in mind that this is only a recommendation. For students who feel that their background is insufficient, they should feel free to "drop down" to a lower level course (e.g. MT 1100) before the drop/add period ends.