The SUNY Cortland Difference

You deserve to know why SUNY Cortland is a great place to pursue your passion for medicine, dentistry and other healthcare fields. When we talk about what makes the College’s pre-medical/dental training special, we often mention these reasons:

Pre-Medical/Dental Advisory Committee

This is a major asset to our students, especially when it comes time to submit medical or dental school applications and prepare for interviews. Committee members advise students on courses and research opportunities, and they also perform mock interviews, prepare a committee letter of recommendation and shed light on their own areas of research expertise.

Undergraduate Research

Besides earning outstanding grades and excellent test scores, aspiring medical and dental students need research experiences outside of the classroom from which they can draw. Make it your goal to seek out these opportunities from day one on campus.

SUNY Cortland houses an active Undergraduate Research Council that affords hands-on learning experiences to promising students from all disciplines.

Students may earn academic credit; apply for College-issued grants; or pursue an Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, which comes with a $4,000 award and eight weeks of on-campus housing during the summer. Students are encouraged to plan ahead – seek out faculty members, note deadlines and prepare application materials early.


Each year, more than 100 of our hard-working students seize the opportunity to present at Transformations: A Student Research and Creativity Conference. This day-long event includes poster sessions and discussions that showcase some of the College’s top student work across all disciplines. 

Students who are interested in medical or dental school should strongly consider participating in this event, held each year in the late spring. Transformations demonstrates academic curiosity outside of the classroom, and it also helps students articulate their research interests and problem-solving skills in person.

Service and Student Involvement

A career in healthcare requires compassion and concern for others. And at SUNY Cortland, our students contribute an estimated 200,000 hours of community service each year. 

The College’s Institute for Civic Engagement works to connect students with the volunteer and service-learning outlets that matter most to them, both on campus and in the community. The SUNY Cortland Student Volunteer Program (CSVP) also serves as a clearinghouse for more than 500 student volunteers annually.

Additionally, more than 70 student clubs and organizations exist on campus, including a Pre-Medical Club and SUNY Cortland Emergency Medical Services. It’s a good idea to consider these groups and others as early as your first year on campus.


The truth is that earning admission into medical or dental school is incredibly difficult. 

Our pre-medical/dental pathway doesn’t lead to a dead end if students decide that medical or dental school isn’t their best option. Sometimes, through their research, high-achieving students discover a new passion in the sciences.

Or they’ll consider these alternate next steps:

  • Post-baccalaureate programs to improve their GPA or gain additional pre-requisites. Some post-baccalaureate programs are limited to students who are not accepted into medical school.

  • Master’s programs to improve lower GPAs or gain additional pre-requisites

  • One year of healthcare experience before reapplying

  • Service programs such as Teach for America, Peace Corps or AmeriCorps

  • Test prep courses such as Kaplan or Princeton Review if the issue is a low MCAT or DAT score

  • A different but equally rewarding career in healthcare


Christian Nelson
Pre-Medical/Dental Advisor
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Bowers Hall, Room 1314

Advisory Committee

Jacqueline Augustine, Kinesiology
Christa ChatfieldBiological Sciences
Theresa Curtis, Biological Sciences

Katherine Hicks, Chemistry

Christian NelsonBiological Sciences
Frank Rossi, Chemistry
Jacob Wright, Career Services

Contact us

Admissions Office
Phone: 607-753-4711

Biological Sciences Department
Phone: 607-753-2715

Chemistry Department
Phone: 607-753-4323

Psychology Department
Phone: 607-753-4218