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You are

  • fascinated with the human body and how it works
  • patient and persistent, willing to fail and try again
  • someone who wants to make life better – for people who are hurting, physically or mentally, and those who love them


Like most colleges and universities, Bethel doesn’t offer a specific “pre-med” major. In fact, these days, medical schools are looking for applicants with a liberal arts background.

Though there isn’t a required major for pre-medicine, some common choices are:

Bethel’s liberal arts curriculum means you’ll complete college able to

  • think critically and ask good questions
  • write and speak effectively

Bethel’s emphasis on undergraduate research has

  • taken students to national and international professional conferences
  • earned students trips to undergraduate research conferences to present to science faculty and peers from across North America
  • helped students secure competitive summer REUs (Research Experience for Undergraduates) at leading research universities around the country

All of this gives you an edge for medical school entrance interviews and graduate studies.

Importance of mentoring

Your pre-med faculty adviser [will

  1. help you discern what interests you most about medicine;
  2. help you figure out where you’d like to go to medical school;
  3. work with you to put together the course of study most likely to lead you to 1. and 2. above.

Bethel’s size means you get personalized attention and the kind of mentoring that leads you down your chosen path.


Collaboration is key. More and more, health-care and mental health-care providers work together in professional teams – that function best when team members understand and appreciate the contributions of those with professional training different from their own.

Bethel’s Interprofessional Health Studies certificate can add value to a pre-medical course of study.

Bethel College has a proven record of success for students going on from here to medical school. Read about what some of our alumni have done.

Want to talk more with faculty and current students? Schedule a campus visit.

Already visited campus, but want to come back to interview for a science or STEM scholarship? Schedule an interview.


As a pre-med student at Bethel, you’ll have the chance to put what you learn in the classroom to use in practical situations. One common way is by collaborating in research with faculty members. Students have also pursued summer research positions at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and in university laboratories across the country.

Research experience can be particularly helpful in preparing you to become an independent learner, as medical school increasingly requires students to be. Other opportunities include shadowing physi­cians and other health-care professionals and participating in meetings and service projects of the Bethel Pre-Health Professions Club.

I needed the individual attention and I wanted teachers who knew me and my strengths and weaknesses. I knew that [Bethel College] was the kind of environment I needed, and where I would thrive.
—Erica Coulter ’00, pre-med

Bethel pre-med students have gone on to success in medical schools across the country and to a range of medical professions.

Post-graduate careers include:

  • Emergency medicine
  • Family practice
  • Internal medicine
  • Medical mission work
  • Neurology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopedics and sport medicine
  • Osteopathic medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology
  • Surgery

Those careers have taken alumni to hospitals and clinics, urban and rural areas, and under­served areas around the world as well as to nationally and internationally respected educational, health-care and research institutions.

Notable Alumni

Erica Coulter – ’00

As a biology major at Bethel, Erica knew she wanted to enter the medical field, yet she wasn’t ready for med school immediately after graduation. So she spent a year in Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) in Boulder, Colo., as a medical assistant in a clinic for low-income clients.

“I think that the environment at Bethel encouraged me as much toward voluntary service as toward medical school,” Erica says. “I had a desire to pick a career that was service-oriented, specifically toward international service. MVS cemented my desire to go into medicine and specifically family medicine, which emphasizes forming relationships and seems more applicable to doing service overseas.”

Following a year of voluntary service, Erica was accepted into the University of Kansas School of Medicine and, after earning her M.D. degree, into the Family Practice Residency Program at Lancaster (Pa.) General Hospital. Her medical interests include the full spectrum of family care, preventive care and international medicine.

She recalls her decision to attend Bethel: “I needed the individual attention and I wanted teachers who knew me and my strengths and weaknesses. I knew that was the kind of environment I needed, and where I would thrive.”

Jennifer Scott Koontz – ’98

Following graduation from Bethel, Jenny and Matt Koontz spent two years in Mennonite Voluntary Service in Hamilton, Ontario. Jenny was a community development worker with North Hamilton Health Centre. After MVS, she earned masters of public health (MPH) and M.D. degrees from the University of Kansas. She then entered the Via Christi Family Medicine Residency Program in Wichita, serving as chief resident 2007–08. She was board-certified in family medicine in 2008 and is currently practicing with Pinnacle Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics in Newton. She also serves as team physician for Bethel College athletics.

Jenny has stayed involved in service activity well past her MVS days. She was a founder, and has served as executive chairperson, of JayDoc Free Clinic in Kansas City, Kan., in 2003, and helped found JayDoc Community Clinic in Wichita in 2005, both student-run clinics for uninsured clients. While she was studying and working in Wichita, she was a facilitator for “Ready, Set, Fit,” a program of the American Academy of Family Physicians that presents fitness and nutrition ideas to third- and fourth-grade students in the Wichita public schools. In January 2010, shortly after the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jenny traveled there with the medical aid group Heart to Heart International and spent eight days treating earthquake victims.

Jenny’s interest in sports medicine stems from her Bethel student days, when she was a member of the varsity volleyball, women’s basketball and track teams, and when she began gaining sports medicine experience as a student athletic trainer for track, volleyball and women’s basketball during her junior year.

Suzanne Wedel – ’76

Suzanne is a founder of and chief executive officer for Boston MedFlight critical care transport system in Bedford, Mass.

Laurel Preheim – ’69

Laurel, of Omaha, Neb., retired recently as professor of medicine, medical microbiology and immunology at Creighton University School of Medicine, professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and chief of medicine at for the Veterans’ Affairs Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System.

Like most colleges and universities, Bethel offers no specific major for pre-med students. Completing a major in a field such as biology, chemistry or psychology will give you the knowledge and skills to succeed in medical school and beyond. These are some of the more popular majors for pre-med students, though one recent graduate now in medical school majored in music at Bethel.

In addition to the courses required for the major you choose, Bethel faculty recommend these courses in preparation for a medical career:

  • Zoology
  • Cell Biology and Microbes
  • Chemistry I & II
  • Organic Chemistry I & II
  • Biochemistry
  • Computers in the Sciences
  • Applied Statistics
  • Introductory Physics I & II
  • General Physics
  • Biopsychology and Health
  • Principles of Sociology

Mission Statement

Bethel College prepares students for meaningful lives of work and service through faith formation, the liberal arts, and practical experience in career pathways.