Find Success in a Vital Field

Careers in healthcare are becoming increasingly important and highly in demand. Whether you’re considering a career as a physician assistant, physical therapist, pharmacist, optometrist, or specialist in another emerging field, you’ll find the support you need in F&M’s pre-health program.

About Health Professions Advising: Pre-Health

The pre-health program is offered through F&M’s Health Professions Advising as a supplement to your chosen major. While you won’t declare your major until the end of your sophomore year, your pre-health advising experience will begin the moment you step on campus.

As a pre-health student, you’ll work with the Director of Health Professions Advising throughout your time at F&M. You’ll enjoy personalized guidance on recommended courses to take and specialized programming, resources, and more to help you develop the skills and experiences you’ll need to compete for post-graduate opportunities. Whether you are exploring which health profession might be right for you, looking for a summer internship, deciding when to apply to health professions school, or trying to select which school to attend, the F&M’s Health Professions Advising is with you every step of the way.

Personalized Guidance & Workshops

As a pre-health student, you will work with Marissa Sheaf, M.S.Ed., director of health professions advising, throughout your time at F&M. Marissa provides one-on-one advising during drop-in hours and appointments, enabling you to get personalized guidance on the prerequisites for health professions schools, how to become a competitive applicant, and more. She also creates and oversees experiential learning programs where you can gain clinical experience and helps connect you with alumni in different health professions. Additionally, Marissa presents on numerous topics and holds workshops throughout the year designed to provide insight and exploration into different careers in healthcare.

Clinical Opportunities

With our guidance, you’ll uncover exciting opportunities to immerse yourself in the day-to-day life of medicine prior to entering the field. Marissa Sheaf, M.S.Ed., director of health professions advising, creates and oversees experiential learning programs through which you can gain clinical experience and helps connect you with alumni in different health professions. If you have a specific area of interest, you’ll receive mentorship and support to find clinical opportunities. 

In particular, physician assistant (PA) programs generally require over 500 hours of direct patient care. Pre-PA students receive guidance throughout their time at F&M on the different ways they can complete these hours, including serving as an EMT, volunteering as a patient transporter at a local hospital, performing clinical research, working as a certified nursing assistant or a caregiver, and more. If you’re interested in physical therapy, you can shadow in several settings, such as in-patient at Lancaster General Hospital and outpatient in several local clinics and private practices.

Research Opportunities

Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research. Pre-health students at F&M can apply for funding to support their off-campus research projects.

Benjamin Rush Pre-Health Honor Society

Clubs and organizations offer a fun and exciting way to get involved while supplementing your academic experience. In your sophomore or junior year, you can apply to become a member of F&M’s Benjamin Rush Pre-Health Honor Society, an organization that hosts programs and events and creates a sense of community among pre-health students.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Preparation

If you plan to attend graduate school after graduating from F&M, you will need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). With the help of the Health Professions Advising team, you can prepare for this exam with customized study and preparation strategies and through test-preparation resources, including an official practice test from the Educational Testing Service.

Early Assurance Program: Physician Assistant, Penn State College of Medicine

Early assurance programs allow undergraduate students the opportunity to apply to and secure spots in post-graduate programs prior to completing their degree. Through such a program, F&M students may apply to the Physician Assistant Program at Penn State College of Medicine in the fall of their junior year. If accepted, students will attend Penn State College of Medicine shortly after graduation. Students work closely with the Director of Health Professions Advising to prepare their application.

If you have questions about the early assurance program, please reach out to Marissa Sheaf at

Success Beyond F&M

F&M pre-health students are distinctly prepared to continue forging their paths to successful healthcare outcomes after graduating from F&M. Many of our graduates go on to graduate school after F&M before beginning their careers as leaders in the field. 

Graduate School

The individualized learning and hands-on experience F&M provides gives them a competitive advantage when it comes time to apply to the nation’s top programs, including:

  • Nursing
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing
  • NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
  • University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
  • Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Physical Therapy
  • Drexel University 
  • Emory School of Medicine
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
  • Physician Assistant
  • Arcadia University
  • Duke University School of Medicine
  • Penn State College of Medicine
  • Rutgers School of Health Professions
  • Public Health
  • Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Temple University College of Public Health
  • University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Yale School of Public Health

Career Paths

Many F&M alumni have become leaders in healthcare. They hold positions such as:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Physical Therapist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Physician Assistant
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Midwife
  • Community Health Educator
  • Practice Manager
  • Health Specialist
  • Clinical Director

Related Fields of Study


The biological sciences expand and advance frontiers of knowledge about all forms of life. From molecules to ecosystems, from oceans to deserts, from the distant past to present day, biology gives you insights into other species, ourselves, and our world.

Health Humanities (Certificate)

Health humanities is a growing field at the intersection of humanistic scholarship and health professions. This certificate blends rich perspectives from several academic fields to explore questions of health (including mental health and public health), illness, medicine, and disability.

Public Health

Do you want to explore the fascinating connections between science and government? Study public health at F&M and challenge assumptions and structures as you develop a deep moral intelligence surrounding public health around the globe.

Beyond Career Services

Health Professions Advising is offered through F&M’s Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD). Pronounced “os-puh-god,” OSPGD prepares F&M students and graduates for success in every aspect of life beyond college.

Learn more »