700 Fisher Hall
(412) 396-6335


Director: Amy R. Whittington, MS
Associate Director: Julie Mihelcic, M.S. Ed

History and Overview

Established in 1990 and restructured in 2014 to create a uniquely-Duquesne experience, the Pre-Medical and Health Professions Program (PMHPP) is a unique advising and learning unit that assists students with many different academic backgrounds, to gain the necessary background to be eligible to apply to graduate medical and health professional education schools. Post-baccalaureate (PB) students enrolled in this program receive expert advice and structured, individualized guidance designed to help them gather the necessary experiences and pre-requisite coursework needed to pursue one of fourteen different professional preparation tracks and to be prepared for the admission examinations (eg, MCAT, DAT).  They also enroll in PMHPP-designated courses that allow them to become eligible to earn a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Pre-Medical and Health Professions at the time of matriculation from the University. Some of the uniquely-Duquesne features of the PB-PMHPP are the individualized curricular plans, personalized advisement, formal instruction and guidance through the professional school admission process, and a professional preparation curriculum, available only to students enrolled in the PB-PMHPP.  These “0” credit courses introduce them to inter-professional education and practice, common health and safety practices and standards, evidence-based medicine, cultural competency and the professional and educational expectations desired by the different medical and health professions. Students also have opportunities to pursue specialized basic clinical medicine and medical terminology courses designed specifically for PB-PMHPP students. 


With an emphasis on the Primacy of the Patient, the Pre-Medical and Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Programs (PB-PMHPP) prepares post-baccalaureate students through the provision of comprehensive services, personalized advisement, and specialized coursework to pursue advanced graduate medical and health professional education.

The Goals of the PB-PMHPP are to:

  • Facilitate students' professional preparation and application processes through the provision of guidance, preparatory activities and individualized assistance.
  • Coordinate and provide individualized counseling and curricular advisement to improve student understanding and preparation to meet medical and health care professional entrance requirements.
  • Encourage and facilitate the advancement of student professional involvement through participation in relevant student organizations, volunteer activities, patient care experiences, and research.
  • Provide unique and clinically-relevant opportunities and coursework that allow students to gain additional credentials, skills, and understanding of discipline-specific and inter-professional health care.

Philosophy of the PMHPP

Students enrolled in the PB-PMHPP are preparing to be responsible for the health and lives of others. Therefore, they are expected to prepare for that future by not only seeking coursework and opportunities that will allow them to reach their fullest potentials as students, individuals, and future medical and health care professionals, but also recognize and respond appropriately to the needs and situations of others. At all times, students are expected to act and behave in mature and professionally appropriate and responsible ways that are consistent with the professional behavior expectations of the medical and health care professions they strive to join.

Admissions Requirements

  • Hold an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; relevant post-baccalaureate coursework also will be considered.
  • Have a minimum 2.75 Math/Science GPA for all relevant math/science courses work taken.  Career changers are encouraged to take one science or math course in advance of application to demonstrate ability.
  • Demonstrate no final D or F grades on transcripts, with no more than one repeat of courses in which D or F grades were earned.
  • Have chosen a specific medical or health discipline to pursue
  • Have demonstrated knowledge and/or experiences in areas of interest (eg, shadowing, understanding of entrance standards, and previous observations or experience in medical setting)
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident of the United States

NOTE: Special consideration will be given to students who have not taken the professional school admission test (eg. MCAT, DAT, OAT, or GRE); however if an applicant has taken the examination before applying to the PB-PMHPP, they must share those results with the PMHPP and should not retake the examination until the PB-PMHPP program is completed. Failure to disclose this information are grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

The annual application cycle is from November 1 through June 1; however, the PB-PMHPP cannot guarantee course availability for applicants who apply after May 1. Preferential acceptances will be granted to those applicants whose applications are received prior to May 1; therefore, all applicants are encouraged to make application as soon as possible, after the application cycle opens. Career Changer pathway applicants within the certificate program are encouraged to apply and have all supplemental materials submitted before March 1 to allow sufficient time, upon acceptance, to begin coursework earlier, during the summer, if desired.

Academic Programs

The PB-PMHPP certificate program is designed to prepare students to pursue graduate medical and health professional education programs in allopathic medicine, osteopathic medicine, dental medicine, veterinary medicine, optometry, podiatry, chiropractic medicine, physician assistant, and 6 other medical and health professions. PMHPP students have been very successful in gaining admission to graduate medical and health professional schools. Reported outcome (placement) data for students enrolled in the PMHPP include combined undergraduate and graduate student results.

Overall, PMHPP graduates have excellent placement in medical, dental, physician assistant and several other health professional school programs. Both undergraduate and graduate -PMHPP student placement outcomes are included in the program's overall 7 year placement rates. PMHPP student acceptance rates for the 2015-2022 placement cycle are as follows: medicine - MD/DO (81.9% accepted – 44.7% above national mean), dental medicine (77.8% accepted – 25.9% above national mean), and physician assistant (72.9% accepted - 40.3% above national mean). 100% of all PMHPP students applying to veterinary, physical therapy, public health, optometry, nursing, and podiatry school were accepted – rates that are well above the national averages.

Academic Policies

PMHPP Retention Standards

These are the minimum retention standards for students enrolled in the PB-PMHPP. NOTE: While the standards below are the PB-PMHPP academic retention requirements, these levels of performance are lower than the standards that must be achieved to be admitted to a medical, dental, or other health professional program and are subject to change at the discretion of the PMHPP.

  • Overall Cumulative  and Semester Cumulative GPAs ≥ 3.0
  • No grade lower than "C" in any course
  • Cumulative Math/Science and Semester Math/Science GPAs ≥ 3.0
  • Cumulative Science and Semester Science GPAs ≥ 3.0
  • Passing Grade in all PBPM courses
  • Continual progress to acquire professional pre-requisites

The first time a post-baccalaureate student who earns Semester GPAs (Semester Cumulative, Semester Math/Science, and Semester Science) and/or Cumulative GPAs (Overall Cumulative, Math/Science Cumulative, or Science Cumulative) of < 3.0 that PB student will be placed on PMHPP Academic Probation.

A student may incur a deficiency that places them on PMHPP Academic Probation only one time. Should a second academic deficiency occur and/or a student fails to meet the requirements for Continuing Academic Probation or Good Standing, that student will be Permanently Dismissed from the PMHPP.

Once placed on PMHPP Academic Probation, students must:

  • Never again fall below a 3.0 in the Cumulative Semester GPA, Semester Math/Science GPA and/or Semester Science GPA and
  • Must repeat any grades lower than "C"; note that some professional schools average grades, whereas others take the best grade during the professional school application process
  • Achieve improving Overall Cumulative, Cumulative Math/Science, and Cumulative Science GPAs every semester thereafter until that GPA is elevated above the 3.0 standard
  • Repeat any required PBPM course in which a failing grade was earned
  • Take positive actions to demonstrate continual progress in the program

Students who fail to meet the requirements to either return to Good Standing or maintain Continuing Academic Probation, are Permanently Dismissed from the PMHPP.

Students' statuses within master's degree programs at the University are determined by that degree program.

Professional Behavior Standards and Policies

PB-PMHPP students must remain in compliance with the PMHPP Policy on Professional Behavior while enrolled in the Program. Students who fail to comply with this policy may be subject to reduced services and/or may be dismissed from the PB-PMHPP. A full description of this policy may be found in the PMHPP Student Handbook, which is sent via email at the beginning of the academic year.

Graduation Requirements

To successfully complete the Pre-Medical and Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program, a PB-PMHPP student must earn a minimum of 24 credits, as stipulated in the PB-PMHPP individualized  academic plan and student contract that was signed when accepted to the program and meet the academic standards delineated below. Failure to meet all of these requirements will result in a change of status and/or dismissal from the PMHPP.

  • Achieve an Overall Cumulative GPA  of ≥ 3.25
  • Achieve a Cumulative Science/math GPA and a Cumulatie Science GPA of ≥ 3.0
  • Meet all programmatic requirements as stipulated in individual Post-
    Baccalaureate Certificate Program Contract
  • Be in good standing with the University, school, department, and the PMHPP

Student Organizations

There are three student run pre-medical and health professional student organizations that students enrolled in the PMHPP are involved. While these organizations are managed by undergraduate students, post-baccalaureate students are welcome to participate in these organizations. While affiliated with the PMHPP, the activities and oversight of these organizations are independent of the PMHPP.

  • Duquesne University Health Professions Society (DUHPS)
  • Delta Delta Signma - Duquesne Pre-Dental Society (DDS)
  • Friends of Doctors Without Borders (Medecins sans Frontieres)

Interested students may learn more about these organizations by visiting CampusLink on the Duquesne website. All PMHPP students are encouraged to join these organizations to network with others with similar interests and to take the opportunity to maximize the additional volunteer, service, and other learning activities sponsored by these organizations.

Programs of Study

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program

This Post-Baccalaurate Certificate Program is designed for students holding a minimum of bachelor degrees who require at least one year of pre-requisite coursework to become eligible to apply to graduate medical or health professional schools. Students applying to the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program must designate whether they are interested in the Enhancement or Career Changer pathways. The PB-PMHPP is not designed to assist students who already have applied to or are in process of applying to medical, dental, or other health professional school simultaneously with making application to the PB-PMHPP; this is NOT a "growth/gap year" program. Students pursuing the PB-PMHPP should not take the admissions entrance examinations (eg. MCAT, DAT) prior to completing the Duquesne program; however, if students have taken these graduate entrance exams, they must report those scores as part of the application process.

Students enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program must complete a minimum of 24 course credits of math/science and humanities coursework to be awarded the Pre-Medical and Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Certificate. While all curricular plans for the Certificate Program are individualized to allow a student to achieve specific goals, we highly recommend that students include at least one non-science course each semester in order to help prepare them for the non-math/science professional expectations required of all medical and health care professionals, including admission examination (eg, MCAT, DAT) critical thinking and reasoning sections, professional school interviews, and future clinical practice expectations. Typically, PB-PMHPP Certificate students take three sciences and one non-science course each semester. Post-Baccalaureate students often enroll in courses with both undergraduate and graduate students at the University.

PB-PMHPP Certificate students are required to enroll in a minimum of two "0" credit PB-PMHPP courses (PBPM 501 and 511) over the time of their enrollment. PBPM 501 provides PB-PMHPP students with basic understanding of the expectations of graduate medical and health professional training, cultural competency, inter-professional education, evidence-based practice, as well as training in basic medical health and safety skills.  The PBPM 511 course is designed to assist and guide students preparing to make application to medical and other health professional schools through the highly competitive and difficult professional school application and admission processes.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program with Masters Degree Option

To provide students with more options upon matriculation from Duquesne and make them more attractive candidates to medical, dental, or other health professional programs, PB-PMHPP students also may choose to couple their Certificate work with the pursuit of masters degrees. This Certificate-Masters Option generally takes a minimum of two years of study. The PB-PMHPP students currently have three options for masters degrees under this program, Master of Biomedical Engineering, Master of Science in Biotechnology, and the Master of Arts in Health Care Ethics. These options require PB-PMHPP students to make secondary applications once accepted to the PB-PMHPP; however, there is no requirement to secure copies of supportive materials (eg, transcripts) as the PB-PMHPP facilitates the students' application processes by sharing all PB-PMHPP application materials with the appropriate masters program. Students applying to some of the masters programs are required to also write additional essays as part of their application processes. Should a student choose to pursue a masters degree program that is not listed above, it would be the student's responsibility to meet all requirements of that alternative masters degree program, including the completion a separate application process and duplication of processes (eg, submission of transcripts).

Post-Baccalaureate Non-Certificate Program

Applicants who require less than 24 credits to meet their admission requirements for medical, dental, or other health professional program or admission examination pre-requisites may be interested in pursuing the PB-PMHPP Non-Certificate Program. These students work with a PB-PMHPP advisor to create individualized curricula. Students in this Non-Certificate Program are not eligible to enroll in the PB-PMHPP courses with the exception of PBPM 511. They also are not eligible to be awarded PB-PMHPP Certificates, Duquesne University endorsement/committee letters, or assistance with the preparation of their medical or professional school applications. They only are eligible for assistance with the submission of their professional letter packets. Students in this option are required to complete all coursework in no more than 24 months or two years (whichever occurs first).