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Preprofessional Office

Frequently Asked Questions

Pre-professional at USM

Pre-professional is another way of saying that, as a student, you are pursuing education beyond your undergraduate studies to become a healthcare, legal, or other specialized professional. In other words, as a pre-professional student you are aiming to supplement your degree with courses designed to help you pursue a career in a specialized field.


Pre-professional programs are not a series of majors like degree programs; rather, they are a set of courses varied by program to prepare you for entrance into professional schools. These courses can be taken regardless of what your traditional academic major may be.


The best major is one that interests and engages you. Your major should be in a field you would enjoy working in should you decide against professional school; it should be something that motivates you to get your undergraduate degree.

Most professional schools will accept any major, but do be mindful of their course prerequisites outlined in the above program links. Consider how those required courses would fit into your major education.


Admission into professional school is determined by many factors, including:

  • High grade point averages in core and prerequisite curriculum
  • Admissions test scores (varied by program)
  • Interview scores
  • Observation or shadowing established professionals in practice
  • Demonstration of care for others (i.e. community service)
  • Leadership ability (i.e. student organization officer, event organizer)
  • Motivation to succeed
  • Personal characteristics (i.e. integrity, critical thinking, empathy)

Our pre-professional advisors can assist you in preparing for admission by arranging shadowing opportunities, providing mock interview sessions, and directing you to resources across campus for both academic and emotional support. Our staff is dedicated to the success of our students, and they are always willing to lend a helping hand.


A “well-rounded” student is an ideal professional school applicant. While at USM, try to make the most of your time: join student groups, engage in community service, explore career opportunities, meet established professionals. It is also important to consider your next steps and explore potential professional schools and their communities; consider where you want to attend and why those schools stand out to you.



Preparation for a healthcare career has two phases:

  1. Course work at Southern Miss (the "pre-professional" phase)
  2. Four or less years in a professional school

For many fields, such as medicine, dentistry, and physical therapy, “pre-professional preparation” typically means a baccalaureate (bachelor’s) degree from Southern Miss followed by four or fewer years at a professional school. Some programs, such as pharmacy, dental hygiene, and occupational therapy, may consist of two to three years of courses at Southern Miss followed by up to four years in a professional school.

Admission to professional programs is very competitive and the application process must be initiated anywhere from several months to almost a year before the expected date of entry.




Pre-law advising refers to professional and academic guidance about the pathways to law school and legal careers. There are many pathways to law school so guidance about options is important. Whether you are just beginning to explore law as a career or have made the decision, getting an early start is strongly encouraged. Beginning early allows students to structure an academic plan of study, allows sufficient time for LSAT preparation, development of a competitive admissions packet, and participation in experiences which enhance the law school application.


Academic Pathways to Law School

If you are considering law school and are wondering what are the best majors to prepare for law school, we suggest you choose a major based on personal interest. There is no “best major” for law school, what’s important is that you love the subject you’re studying, get great grades, establish relationships with your faculty and collegues, and learn the skills you’ll need to be successful.

A competitive GPA and LSAT score are substantial factors when applying for law school. Many Pre-Law students often choose a major that will help them maintain an impressive GPA and that hones the following skills:

  • analysis and problem-solving
  • critical reading
  • written communication
  • oral communication and listening
  • research
  • organization and management
  • public service
  • relationship-building and collaboration
  • background knowledge: history, political thought, mathematics and finance, human behavior and social interaction, and an understanding of diverse cultures



Contact Us

Preprofessional Office
Liberal Arts Building 210
118 College Dr. #5004 Hattiesburg, MS 39406

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