Careers

Study Pre-Health. Do Anything.

What can I do with a Pre-Health major?

Pre-health majors at Notre Dame hone their research, communications, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills while developing a keen cultural understanding and interdisciplinary perspective that prepares them to thrive as leaders in the medical professions and in their families, churches, and communities.

Our alumni are flourishing in top graduate and professional schools, elite service organizations, and jobs in government service, human resources, education, public policy, marketing, sales, scientific research, health care, and consulting.

Skills you'll learn

  • Ability to articulate complex thoughts and theories
  • Effective oral communication
  • Strong writing
  • Team Work
  • Critical thinking and analytical reasoning
  • Ability to apply knowledge to real-world settings
  • Ethical judgment and decision making
  • Ability to analyze and solve problems with people from different backgrounds

Natalie (Jackson) Hibshman ’17

M.D. student, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

“I loved psychology and the brain. I knew I wanted to go to medical school but was unsure where my interests could take me. I was happy I chose to major in Arts and Letters Pre-Health because it allowed me to explore interests outside of science, and I ended up with a studio art minor because of that freedom," says Natalie Hibshman, a pre-health and psychology major. “My route to medical school has helped me because I feel that I can think outside the box. Those of us in medical school with bachelor of arts degrees have been regarded as the creative thinkers of the class. You need those deviations to make strong teams, and I think all of our eclectic backgrounds will make us better physicians someday.

“Overall, I think that the experiences I had as a liberal arts major gave me a more well-rounded education and a wider lens with which to gaze at my world.”

  • Natalie (Jackson) Hibshman ’17

    M.D. student, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

    “I loved psychology and the brain. I knew I wanted to go to medical school but was unsure where my interests could take me. I was happy I chose to major in Arts and Letters Pre-Health because it allowed me to explore interests outside of science, and I ended up with a studio art minor because of that freedom," says Natalie Hibshman, a pre-health and psychology major. “My route to medical school has helped me because I feel that I can think outside the box. Those of us in medical school with bachelor of arts degrees have been regarded as the creative thinkers of the class. You need those deviations to make strong teams, and I think all of our eclectic backgrounds will make us better physicians someday.

    “Overall, I think that the experiences I had as a liberal arts major gave me a more well-rounded education and a wider lens with which to gaze at my world.”

  • Mark Winkler ’11

    Resident Physician - Radiology and Biomedical imaging, University of California, San Francisco

    “I wanted a broader experience than just a traditional biology or chemistry major,” said Winkler, who majored in Arts and Letters pre-health and economics and did a year of service in Guatemala before attending Duke University School of Medicine. “I seriously doubt I would be where I am today had I not taken the liberal arts track at Notre Dame. Every day, I rely on the ways I learned to critically examine academic papers and studies. And the academic writing I did in many of my economic classes, I still do today. Writing concisely and clearly and being able to integrate multiple concepts and ideas—that is very much a liberal arts skill.”

    “The liberal arts education opened my mind to all sorts of things, particularly serving others, and that’s how I ended up choosing what I was going to do beyond Notre Dame,” he said. “In the same way that I wanted a broad experience by choosing the College of Arts and Letters, I wanted a broad exposure to the world before continuing on in medical school. There are so many options available, and I think being able to take advantage of them comes from having that exposure to various ways of thinking and doing things. My Arts and Letters experience really gave me that.”

  • James Gajewski ’78

    Hematologist

    “I’ve got to constantly confront death and the meaning of life,” said Dr. James Gajewski, who majored in Arts and Letters pre-health and government. Over the course of his nearly 35-year medical career as a hematologist, Dr. Gajewski has specialized in stem cell and bone marrow transplants and cancer treatment and serves as an advocate for healthcare access. “I want to care for the poor, I want to care for people with the best care regardless of their income status. But I also have to make tough decisions when society has finite resources. My Notre Dame education makes me a better doctor because I have to question values and try to think of what’s important for the circumstances."

    “Sometimes with a limited drug supply, I’ve had to decide who got a life-saving drug and who didn’t. How do we prioritize those life-saving drugs? Those were difficult decisions, and they’re very much about values. The ability to make those decisions doesn’t come from being a science major. The ability comes from the discussion of values that happen as a liberal arts major.”

     

  • Kim Lisiak ’13

    Director of Leadership Development — Lippert Components. Previously chief of staff to the CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America

    While Lisiak enjoyed her math and science coursework, she soon felt that something was missing. “The classes were so technical in nature that I was missing this other creative component of myself,” she said. “I had found a way to make my life at Notre Dame well-rounded in other aspects, and I realized I was looking for that in my major as well.” She switched her majors to theology and Arts and Letters pre-health and began exploring a new question—how to help people in a way that would have as great an impact as being a doctor.

    “Health care administration requires knowledge from both my theology and Arts and Letters pre-health majors,” she said. “It’s important to understand the psychology of business—how people work, how people think, how we can problem-solve in a way that best fits everyone. And that’s where my theology major fits in perfectly. It allows me to step back and see the bigger picture, the purpose to why we’re all here. My work also requires concise and effective communication and writing. Were it not for my honors thesis and the numerous papers I completed, I would not be the confident writer I am today. ”

  • Patrick Lyons ’08

    Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellow — Washington University School of Medicine

    Dr. Patrick Lyons studied pre-health and English. “This seemed like a perfect hybrid,” he said. “It let me take the pre-med course requirements, but it gave me time to take a full curriculum of English and to study abroad. English prepared me well because I have the ability to think critically and organize and analyze the information in front of me. Word choice and the way you’re addressing patients can be really powerful.”

    Looking at how he practices medicine now, especially in his interactions with patients, Lyons realizes his English studies have had a profound effect on how he communicates. “Patients tend to be vulnerable at transitions of care. They’re meeting new providers and people who will be engaged in their care, and proper communication is vital in improving their conditions. With patient-level data, looking for patterns and being willing to re-evaluate a hypothesis is important,” Lyons said. “There are a lot of similarities with my work in English. One has had a big effect on the other.”

99% of recent Arts and Letters Pre-Health majors found full-time employment, enrolled in graduate school, entered service programs, joined the military, or launched independent projects within six months of graduation.

27% find full-time jobs

  • Analyst, Bank of America
  • Business technology analyst, Deloitte
  • Chief scribe, ScribeAmerica
  • Clinical informatics specialist, Oak Street Health
  • English teaching assistant, French Ministry of Education
  • Health and benefits analyst, Aon Corporation
  • Legal assistant, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 
  • Management fellow, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
  • Project manager, Epic
  • Research assistant, National Institutes of Health
  • Research coordinator, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Research specialist, University of South Carolina
  • Staff consultant, CPSG Partners
     

Our alumni leave Notre Dame with an expansive worldview and a variety of real-world skills.

Employers love that our students are passionate, curious, and socially engaged. Once on the job, they find that our graduates are critical thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and collaborators.

They are the embodiment of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters’ motto: our students study everything so that they can do anything.

49% go to graduate or professional school

  • Anthropology: Ohio State University
  • Art therapy: Art Institute of Chicago
  • Biophysics: Georgetown University
  • Dentistry: Columbia University, Marquette University, University of Pennsylvania
  • Epidemiology: Columbia University
  • Genetic counseling: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Global health: George Washington University
  • Journalism: Stanford University
  • Media and cultural studies: University of Wisconsin
  • Medicine: Brown University, Creighton University, Emory University, Georgetown University, Loyola University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Rush University, Tufts University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Miami, University of Southern California, University of Toledo, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University
  • Occupational therapy: University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Optometry: University of Houston 
  • Osteopathic medicine: Ohio University
  • Physical therapy: Northwestern University, University of Pittsburgh
  • Physiology: Case Western Reserve University, University of Michigan
  • Public health: Emory University, Northwestern University
  • Rehabilitation counseling: University of Texas
  • Veterinary medicine: University of Minnesota
     

Going on to graduate or professional school after majoring in Arts and Letters Pre-Health is a fantastic opportunity to branch out into a new area or dive in-depth into a subject focused on as an undergraduate. 

senior thesis is a great way to prepare for grad school — it demonstrates the ability to do serious research and independent work.

19% enter service programs

  • Alliance for Catholic Education, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • AmeriCorps, Chicago, Illinois
  • Casa de Esperanza de los Niños, Houston, Texas
  • Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, Denver, Colorado
  • Farm of the Child, Honduras
  • Haitian Project, Haiti
  • Harbor Health Services, Boston, Massachusetts
  • House of Brigid, Ireland
  • Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest, Boise, Idaho
  • Mercy Volunteer Corps, Savannah, Georgia
  • Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, Dominican Republic
  • Open Arms Home for Children, South Africa
  • Partners in Health, Mexico
  • Teach for America, San Antonio, Texas
  • Youth with a Mission Discipleship Training School, New Zealand
     

Postgraduate service can be a life-changing experience and provide students with transferable skills for the next step in their careers.

Every year, approximately 20 percent of the graduating senior class in Arts and Letters make a one- to two-year commitment to serve in areas such as public and private education, family and child services, after-school programs, and non-governmental organizations in the U.S. and around the world. Pre-health majors can find a wide array of service opportunities that have a direct connection to medicine and global health.  

1% join the miliary

3% launch independent projects