Pre-Professional Preparation

students in library
Professor Storz with students in lab
Professor Lubbers advising a student
Professor Wilson with students outside

Preparation for Careers, Graduate Schools, and Professional Schools

Almost half of Centre graduates pursue further formal education. Over the years, Centre has been noted for the outstanding success of its graduates in professions, professional schools, and graduate schools.

The College has always had a high number of graduates who pursue advanced degrees. Currently, 35 percent attend graduate or professional schools immediately upon graduation, and many more attend within five years of graduation. The majority of Centre graduates who attend graduate and professional schools pursue fields such as medicine (M.D.), law (J.D.), business (M.B.A.), public administration (M.P.A.), and education (M.Ed.). A smaller number pursue advanced degrees in languages, history, botany, or psychology, while others participate in combined-degree programs in fields such as engineering.

The three professional fields pursued most often by Centre graduates are medicine, law, and business.


Medicine is the most popular health-career area at Centre, but our graduates also choose specialized study in fields such as dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine.

Biology and chemistry are the most popular pre-med majors at Centre, but students from every academic major are accepted to medical school. Diversity is, in fact, not only possible, but encouraged by many medical schools, which have come to realize that students who pursue interests in art, music, philosophy, history, literature, and other areas of liberal study tend to become well-rounded, highly effective physicians. In fact, the only science background generally required for admission to medical school is two years of chemistry and one year each of biology, physics, and mathematics. However, the MCAT exam, required of all applicants to medical schools, does require a strong understanding of biology, physics, and chemistry.

Centre has established a Health Professions Advisory Group comprised of faculty members. Headed by a primary pre-med advisor, committee members are available to students throughout their four years at Centre to help them plan their courses of study and to assist them in exploring the many health-related professions. Advisors play an active role in making sure that the schools to which our students have applied process their materials in a timely manner. This continuing level of personal attention and concern is an important element in the success of Centre graduates in gaining acceptance to medical schools.

Another important resource that helps Centre students prepare for careers in medicine is the Pre-Med Society. This organization of students who are aiming toward careers in medicine and other health-related fields engages in a variety of activities. These include taking field trips to medical schools and bringing their representatives on campus to speak with interested students, inviting recent graduates back to campus to talk about their experiences in medical school and in medical practice, and arranging for local physicians to meet and talk with students. The society also coordinates a volunteer program with Danville's Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center that enables students to work regularly in the hospital's emergency room and become familiar with hospital procedures in general.


One of the most popular fields of advanced study among Centre students is law. About 10 percent of each class goes to law school immediately upon graduation and a similar percentage will attend after several years of work experience.

English, government, history, and other social science majors are the majors most often selected by Centre students who pursue law, but there is no such thing as a rigidly defined pre-law major. Students from every academic major are accepted into law school.

The broad-based skills that law schools emphasize—effective writing and speaking, analytical ability, and a general exposure to the social sciences—are essential goals of Centre's liberal arts curriculum. For this reason our graduates have a solid record of success in gaining admission to law schools.

At Centre, a faculty pre-law advisor works with students throughout their college years to help them explore law as a profession and to assist them in the application process during their junior and senior years. This advisor also works with interested students to make volunteer work and internships available on an individual basis. In addition, Centre has a Law Society composed of students interested in careers in the legal field. This organization meets regularly, sponsors field trips to places such as courtrooms and law schools, and brings experts in the legal profession as well as representatives from law schools on campus to speak with students.


While business, unlike medicine and law, does not necessarily require an advanced degree, Centre graduates frequently choose it as a field of advanced study. Within five years of graduation, about 10 percent will have done graduate work in business administration.

The most common major among Centre graduates who pursue advanced degrees in business is economics, although graduate business administration programs admit students from every academic major. As in other fields of advanced study, Centre graduates have had strong success in gaining admission to a wide variety of master of business administration (M.B.A.) programs.

Dual-Degree Engineering Studies Program

Centre offers a dual-degree engineering program in cooperation with the engineering schools of Columbia University, University of Kentucky, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University (St. Louis). This program leads to a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree from Centre and a bachelor of science degree in engineering from the respective university.

The program of combined studies is normally completed in five years—three years at Centre and two at the engineering school. This dual-degree program is designed to provide students interested in entering the engineering profession with backgrounds in liberal arts and in technical engineering studies.

In this program, students complete the requirements for a Centre degree—including a major in either mathematics, chemistry, physics, or chemical physics—and the university requirements for an engineering degree. (Additional information is available from the College's dual-degree engineering studies advisor.)

Helpful links on Centre's Web site

Career Services
Health Professions Advisory Group