April 01, 2019

Biomedical Sciences Program Tailored to New Med School Requirements

When semesters of social sciences and critical thinking started cropping up as required sections of the mandatory Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), Susquehanna’s biology faculty were quick to respond.

Students who plan to work in health care often major in biology, and they were having a hard time fitting in courses needed for medical school and the MCAT that were not required for their major.

In 2016—just a year after the new MCAT requirements—SU’s biomedical sciences major was born.

It has all the required courses for entrance exams to medical, dental, optometry and other health care professional schools while eliminating some ancillary science course requirements often needed for attending graduate school in the natural sciences.

“To have a natural science major like this that requires psychology and another social science is rare,” says Jan Reichard-Brown, associate professor of biology and director of health care studies.

Such a program fits perfectly within Susquehanna’s liberal arts environment, where a wide range of social science and other courses are already offered.

“Taking liberal arts courses is important as a future health care provider because you don’t know who you’re going to be talking with. You don’t just talk to other health care providers—you talk to patients, psychologists and social workers. You need to be able to talk to people in their professional language, and a liberal arts education makes you better able to do that,” Reichard-Brown says.

Studying a broad range of subjects also gives students important tools for any field—such as how to find information on their own, assimilate it and make decisions about its value.

“There’s been some push in all health care professions for more humanistic and less authoritarian care. Having those liberal arts courses, in my opinion, will make this approach easier for a health care practitioner to achieve,” Reichard-Brown says.

“Studying in a liberal arts environment prepares you to better negotiate the world around you.”