Health Professions Student Development Undergraduate Certificate

Health Professions Student Development Undergraduate Certificate program"The diversity of the courses along with the hands-on experiences required by the certificate have molded my mind to be more focused on preventative care and patient centered. My experiences during my journey towards this certificate have positively impacted my medical knowledge and philosophy." -Rachel Millaway, Class of 2019

This undergraduate academic certificate was specifically designed to support the pre-health student at UNT. Preparing for admission to a health professional school can be a difficult and confusing process for anyone. In order to be a competitive applicant for [medical, dental, pharmacy, PA, etc.] school, students need structure, accountability, and small victories along the way. The HPSD Academic Certificate was created to provide a basic roadmap with these attributes in mind. Not only will students strengthen the basic sections of a professional school application, but they will also be challenged to think critically about their future role in health care. Since UNT does not offer a pre-health major, this certificate will provide realistic expectations and valuable preparation through four different categories: Health Care Competency Development, Community Service, Health Care Experience, and Application Awareness and Enhancement. Once the certificate has been completed, students will see their new credential listed on their official UNT transcript. Students can also advertise the certificate on a resume and/or their professional school application.

The Health Professions Student Development Undergraduate Certificate is open to all majors on campus and will be administered through the college and schools in collaboration with the Office of Health Professions. 

HPSD Certificate Requirements

Health Care Competency Development

Professional schools look for applicants who are competent in several areas. In addition to a high GPA and entrance exam score, the admitted applicant will possess strong communication skills, a mature and ethical mindset, and an appreciation for diverse backgrounds and ideas. To complete this academic portion of the certificate, students must complete 18 credit hours from the following categories: Oral Communication, Written Communication, Cultural Awareness, Ethical Responsibility, and Leadership & Business. Two courses must be taken from one of the five categories, and one course must be taken from each of the remaining four categories. Students must earn a B or better in all courses that apply toward the certificate. Even though the certificate requires six courses, we designed each category to contain courses that would translate well to most degrees; many of these courses can apply towards the core curriculum or count as advanced electives to meet the general advanced hour requirement in any degree across campus. Please see your major academic advisor to determine how these courses can satisfy your degree requirements. 

In addition to the coursework and grade requirement above, students must have a 3.25 Cumulative GPA at the time the certificate is awarded.

Use this course list to see which courses can be taken to complete each competency area!

Community Service

Volunteering and community service is an important section of professional school applications. Serving others without compensation shows you are passionate and serious about a career in health care. Showing commitment and consistency with your community service will make you stand out, for these traits communicate your passion to help others. To complete this category of the certificate, students must acquire at least 100 hours of volunteering or community service. A log of hours, along with signatures from a supervisor, is required.

Health Care Experience

To better understand the health care setting, professional schools would like to see shadowing hours from their applicants. Shadowing professionals in your field of interest will not only provide you valuable knowledge, but will also convey your commitment to that particular healthcare field. To complete this category of the certificate, students must acquire 50 hours of shadowing in their field of interest. For example: If you are considered ‘Pre-Medical’, your shadowing hours must come from a physician, not a pharmacist or dentist. A log of hours, along with signatures from each healthcare practitioner who was shadowed, is required.

Application Awareness and Enhancement

As with the activities listed above, preparing for the professional school application is also very important in the pre-health process. To complete this requirement, students must participate in three activities offered by the Office of Health Professions in the College of Science. Examples of activities include (but not limited to):

  • "What Should I Be Doing Now?" Seminars
  • Application Seminar
  • HPAC Seminar
  • Personal Statement Workshops
  • Mock Interview with a Counselor in the Office of Health Professions
  • Guest Speakers
  • Health Professions 'Spring Swing' Academic Fair

An approval form for each health professions event or activity is required, along with a signature from the individual who hosted the event.

Students must also submit a 5000 character essay addressing what they learned from all four categories of the certificate (Health Care Competency Development, Community Service, Health Care Experience, and Application Awareness and Enhancement), and how their experience will make them a strong healthcare practitioner one day. 5000 characters includes spaces. This particular requirement was designed to help students prepare for the personal statement, and other essays, in the actual application.

Advising for the Certificate

View an unofficial four-year plan to start mapping out your course work.  

If you are currently a student at the University of North Texas, please see your major academic advisor to declare the HPSD certificate. To evaluate your progress and seek guidance, feel free to schedule an appointment with one of our Pre-Health Advisors in the Office of Health Professions.