Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions

Pursue your passion as a health professional. The CU Continuing Education Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program one-year program offers college graduates access to science prerequisite courses needed for graduate programs.

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Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions

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Designed for Professionals Interested in a Healthcare Career

The Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program at CU Boulder is a highly selective program designed for career changers. The transition from a previous career to a calling in the medical field is momentous and requires thoughtful planning and dedication. From your initial inquiry to your acceptance to professional school, we work hard to understand your individual goals and challenges and to provide you with strategic advice that sets you up for success.

Our program is characterized by rigorous academics in an accelerated format; a supportive, cohort-based peer group; exceptional pre-health advising; and dedicated tutors and mentors. We are proud of the success of our program; since rolling out the current version of our program in 2016, our two most recent cohorts of students have achieved nearly a 100% admission rate to professional school. Several of our students have earned MCAT scores in the 98-99th percentile after completing our program.

To maintain the outstanding quality of our program, we intentionally limit the size of each cohort to roughly 10 to 20 students per year. To maintain the cohort experience, all students in the program take all of their courses together; we do not allow course substitutions.

Our program is designed for students pursuing the following professions:

  • Anesthesiologist Assistant
  • Dentistry
  • Medicine (MD and DO)
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physician Assistant*
  • Podiatry
  • Veterinary Medicine

* Note: Not all PA schools require all of the courses included in this program.

Our One-Year Format

Our program is designed for career-changers who already hold a bachelor’s degree but now seek all of the undergraduate-level science prerequisites for professional school. Our students complete 36 credit hours of prerequisite science coursework in one year, starting in June and ending the following May. Those who seek to apply immediately to professional school after completing our program will do so just a few weeks after finishing the program, typically taking the MCAT, DAT, OAT, or PCAT in June or early July.

The course load is rigorous; most of our students dedicate 40 to 60+ hours per week to their academic work throughout the duration of the program. This program is not appropriate for those who anticipate needing to spend more than ~10 hours per week on work and/or other extracurricular commitments.

Please note that some professional schools require additional prerequisite courses that cannot fit into a one-year program, such as Anatomy and Physiology or, for medical school, Organic Chemistry 2 (which is not required in order to take the MCAT). Our advisors can explain how you can complete these additional prerequisites at CU Boulder (or elsewhere) after the program year ends.

Characteristics of strong applicants:

  • A history of consistent academic excellence at the undergraduate level. Most accepted students have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or above and, typically, Bs or above in any math/science courses taken in college. That said, we give full consideration to students who have lower cumulative GPAs if they earned term GPAs of 3.5 or above in each of their two most recent full-time semesters of college coursework.
  • Extensive clinical experience, including:
    • Direct patient interaction experience: We typically select applicants who, at minimum, have engaged in weekly patient interaction in clinical settings for at least six months (within the past two years) by the time they submit their application. (Examples include: hospital or clinic volunteer, medical assistant, EMT, clinical research coordinator.) Most of our students have significantly more clinical experience than the minimum.
    • Clinical shadowing: At least a half day, each, with a minimum of 3 clinicians from different specialty areas by the time you submit your application. We focus primarily on shadowing experiences completed within the past two years.
  • A long history of working and volunteering in roles involving service to others.
  • Ability to express clarity of purpose in pursuing a clinical career in health care, which includes an ability to articulate your professional goals and to explain how your experiences have informed your decision to pursue a career in health care.
  • A desire to engage in a supportive, collaborative, cohort-based learning experience
  • The ability to focus primarily on academics for the duration of a one-year program.
  • Have completed a bachelor’s degree and have met our prerequisites.

A Program with Exceptional Student Support

We offer an extraordinary level of individualized advising and support from mentors and tutors in addition to the resources of the University of Colorado Boulder. Our students’ outstanding admission rate to professional school speaks for itself. Moreover, unlike most career-changer post-baccalaureate programs, we offer a close-knit, cohort-based learning experience.

Pre-Health Advising

Students enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions program work closely with our experienced pre-health advisor, who has successfully guided thousands of students through the pre-health preparation and application process over the past 10 years. Pre-health advising begins from the time you confirm your seat in our entering cohort and continues until you matriculate into professional school.

Our pre-health advisor will provide you with:

  • Honest-yet-supportive feedback on your current areas of strength and weakness as a prospective applicant to professional school
  • Individualized guidance on how to improve your candidacy
  • Resources and options should you encounter a setback on the pre-health path.

In addition to meeting individually with our pre-health advisor, we offer a rich array of pre-health advising workshops and special events throughout the year. We strongly encourage all Post-Baccalaureate students to attend each of these group meetings, which have been thoughtfully designed to prepare you for the professional school application process. Please view the Upcoming Events page for a list of annual events.

Personalized Coaching for Applications and Interviews

Our career advisor offers individualized coaching on your written application materials for professional school, as well as expert preparation for interviews at professional schools, including videotaped mock interviews with coaching.

Committee Letter

Current and former members of our Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program who meet certain eligibility standards and deadlines can be considered for a Committee Letter from the Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program.

A Committee Letter of Evaluation is used to introduce you to admissions committees and to provide a comprehensive overview of your pre-health preparation. The committee letter will differ from your traditional letters of recommendation (which also will be included in your committee letter packet), in that it provides a comprehensive summary of the meaningful experiences that have:

  • Informed your decision to pursue a clinical career in healthcare, and
  • Fostered the development of the personal strengths that you can offer as a future clinician.

The following types of professional schools typically request a Committee Letter if one is available to you:

  • Medical (both MD and DO)
  • Dental
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Podiatry

The value in our Committee Letter Process is two-fold:

  • It requires you to prepare your professional school application materials—and to begin preparing in earnest for your professional school interviews—on a timeline that sets you up for success. During the Committee Letter process, we will offer you detailed coaching on your application materials, interview style, and overall readiness for applying to professional school.
  • The letter itself allows us to advocate for you, which can help get you noticed in the professional school application process.

You can read more about the benefits of participating in a Committee Letter Process on the AAMC Advisors Corner website.

Group and Individual Tutoring

We offer Chemistry group tutoring sessions throughout the program year. During Summer General Chemistry 1 and 2, these sessions are offered twice per week. During Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry during the fall and spring semesters, group tutoring is offered once each week, with additional review sessions provided before exams. In addition, we have individual tutors on staff to assist you with Chemistry, Physics, and Biology (at no additional cost to you), as needed.

Program Mentoring

A distinguishing feature of our program are our mentors, who are selected from the previous year’s cohort and serve as an invaluable resource to Post-Baccalaureate students. They have successfully navigated the program and are able to offer insights, advice, and encouragement as you progress through the program. Our mentors are on hand to support you individually but also organize both educational and social group events throughout the program year.

MCAT Preparation Materials and Workshops

For students preparing to apply to medical school, the program offers MCAT prep workshops to help you understand how to set up your study schedule and how to prepare effectively for the types of questions on the test. The program also provides each student with the official AAMC MCAT Prep Complete Bundle of preparation materials and practice tests.

Courses for Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions

Our program is designed to fulfill the most common science prerequisites while giving you a foundation in the subjects that are heavily featured on the MCAT, DAT, OAT, and PCAT tests. Unlike other nondegree students at CU Boulder, you will have a guaranteed seat in the courses offered in the post-baccalaureate curriculum. In order to preserve the integrity of the cohort experience, all students in the Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions program are required to complete the entire curriculum. Substituting courses is not an option. If you are preparing to apply to professional schools that require additional courses, our advisors can help you understand how best to complete those additional courses after the program year ends.

Summer (10 Credits)

  • General Chemistry 1 with Lab
  • General Chemistry 2 with Lab

Fall (13 Credits)

  • Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology (no Biology lab in fall term)
  • Organic Chemistry 1 with Lab
  • General Physics 1 with Lab

Spring (13 Credits)

  • Principles of Genetics
  • Biology laboratory course (2 credit hours, equivalent to a full-year biology laboratory sequence)
  • Principles of Biochemistry (no lab)
  • General Physics 2 with Lab

Please be aware that each professional school sets its own prerequisites. Our program covers the most commonly required prerequisites, but certain schools require additional courses that cannot fit into a one-year program. We encourage you to make a list of the prerequisites for your specific professional schools of interest.

Students must complete the summer general chemistry sequence with grades of B or better to continue in the program. In the fall term, students must achieve a GPA of 3.5 or higher in order to continue on to the spring term. Courses cannot be taken for pass/fail or no credit.

Options for Completing Your Health Professions Prerequisites

The University of Colorado Boulder offers two options to complete your health professions prerequisites as a nondegree student:

Structured Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program

Our structured Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program features a cohort experience, dedicated tutors and mentors, and rigorous full-time academics. This one-year program has a summer start date and a competitive application process that runs from mid-August through mid-January each year. Strong applicants to this program typically have a strong academic history (cumulative GPA 3.5+ or a compelling upward grade trend) as well as solid histories of both clinical experience (with a focus on direct patient interaction) and non-clinical interpersonal jobs or volunteer roles that have informed their decision to pursue a clinical career.

Unstructured Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Option

Our unstructured Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions option offers a flexible, individualized approach to completing pre-health prerequisites through the ACCESS program, while including full access to our outstanding advising services. The application process for the unstructured option is quick, easy, and non-competitive; you can get started in summer, fall, or spring terms.

Advising for Prospective Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Students

We encourage all prospective students to speak with one of our advisors for individualized information and guidance. Our academic advisors can answer questions about the program, help you determine if it is a good fit for your learning style and goals, and explain the other enrollment options for completing pre-health prerequisites at CU Boulder. You may schedule an appointment with one of our academic advisors by calling our office at (303) 492-5148 or by using our online scheduling system (after logging in, scroll down and click on the Continuing Education icon). We usually have same- or next-day appointments available. You may also contact us at with quick questions.

If you are new to considering a career in health care, we encourage you to schedule a meeting with our career advisor. Prospective students may take advantage of up to two individual appointments with our career advisor at no charge prior to enrolling, and additional appointments can be arranged for a fee. Enrolled students may access career advising at no charge. You may schedule an appointment with our career advisor by calling our office at (303) 492-5148 or by using our online scheduling system (after logging in, scroll down and click on the Continuing Education icon).

Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Application Process

Applications must be submitted through PostBacCAS, a common application service, between August 15, 2019 and February 3, 2020. The PostBacCAS deadline is a firm deadline; we will not receive any additional applications after that date.

Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Application Requirements

You must meet the following minimum requirements to be considered for admission to the University of Colorado Boulder’s Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions program:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. permanent resident, or have DACA/undocumented status.
  • An earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • A complete PostBacCAS application (submitted by February 3, 2020, 11:59 pm, Eastern Standard Time). A complete application includes:
    • All required transcripts
    • Two required letters of recommendation
    • The CU Boulder Program Materials section and $35 supplemental application fee.
  • Completion of our prerequisites by May 28, 2020.


Prerequisites must be completed with a grade of B (not B-) or higher by May 28, 2020.

We are happy to accept community college coursework, online coursework, and AP/IB credit to fulfill prerequisites. AP/IB credit must be documented in an itemized list on a college transcript. Online courses are acceptable if completed at a regionally accredited institution.

  • Mathematics
    • Option A: Complete ONE of the following within two years of the start of the program:
      • One semester of College Precalculus, OR
      • One semester each of College Algebra and College Trigonometry
    • Option B: Complete College Calculus or above, with a grade of B or above, and pass an online assessment of your algebra and trigonometry skills with a score of 80% or higher. There is no “expiration date” on Calculus-or-above coursework. We will provide the math assessment at no additional charge. Statistics is not an acceptable substitute.
  • Chemistry
    • We require ONE of the following, with grade(s) of B (not B-) or higher:
      • Full year of high school chemistry, OR
      • One semester of college Introductory Chemistry
    • In addition, all incoming students must complete an online chemistry review course that we provide—at no additional cost—prior to the start of the summer term.

Letters of Recommendation

We require two letters of recommendation, uploaded by your letter authors to PostBacCAS.

Your letter authors should be written by college faculty members and/or supervisors who know you well and can provide supporting examples when describing your personal strengths. We recommend one of each of the following types of letters:

  • One academic letter from a college-level faculty member who can attest to your intellectual curiosity and academic readiness for a rigorous, accelerated post-baccalaureate program.
  • One supervisor letter from a job or long-term volunteer position you have held (or a long-time coach), who can attest to the personal strengths that will allow you to succeed in a cohort-based post-baccalaureate program, in professional school, and in your future clinical career.

We do NOT accept letters of recommendation written by friends or family members.

Please provide your letter authors with our Guidelines for Writing Compelling Letters of Recommendation. You may also find it helpful to read the advice on the Continuing Education Pre-Health Advising website on the topic of asking for letters of recommendation. All letters must be signed, dated, and submitted on official letterhead. We will let you know if any of your letters does not meet these formatting guidelines.

Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Application Timeline

We conduct a rolling admissions process, conducting interviews and offering admissions decisions throughout the duration of our application season.

Be aware that PostBacCAS may take several weeks to complete their transcript verification step before forwarding your application to us. Once we received it, please allow an additional 2-4 weeks to review your application. If you are selected for an interview, we will offer you a choice between an in-person interview or a Zoom interview. You will complete a single, 45 to 60-minute interview with our admissions committee. We conduct interviews from October through March. We understand that interviews can feel stressful; rest assured that we genuinely want to get to know you. We are happy to answer any additional questions you may have at the time of your interview.

After completing an interview, applicants typically receive an admissions decisions within one week.

Cost of Applying to the Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program

The cost of applying through PostBacCAS is $130 for the first program and $45 for each additional program. In addition, CU Boulder charges a $35 supplemental application fee.

If you are economically disadvantaged, we encourage you to apply for the PostBacCAS Fee Waiver Program. Funds are limited, so apply early for this program, following the steps below:

  • Determine your eligibility
  • Submit all required supporting documents. If you are a reapplicant, please submit all new documents.
  • Do not submit your PostBacCAS application until you receive a decision from the Fee Waiver Program (three to four business days after the receipt of all required documents).
  • If approved, submit your PostBacCAS application within 14 days of being approved.

Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Calendar

You will find important dates for the 2020-2021 cohort listed below. Contact us at 303-492-5148 or email with questions about the calendar.

Application Opens August 15, 2019
Application Deadline February 3, 2020
Cohort Orientation May 29, 2020
Summer Term June 1-August 7, 2020
Fall Term August 24-December 16, 2020
Spring Term January 11-May 5, 2020

The program follows the CU Boulder main campus withdrawal policies and applicable dates for nondegree students.

Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Tuition Rates

All students in the Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions program take the same schedule of courses each semester. Your tuition rate is determined by your residency.

Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

In-state Tuition Rates

In-state students pay $605 per credit hour enrolled.

Semester Credit Hours Enrolled Tuition*
Summer 2020 10 $6,050
Fall 2020 13 $7,865
Spring 2021 13 $7,865

*In-state students may be eligible for a tuition discount through the College Opportunity Fund.

  • The COF rate for Summer 2020 is $94 per credit hour.
  • The COF rate for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 is $40 per credit hour.

Out-of-State Tuition Rates

Out-of-State students pay $1,005 per credit hour enrolled.

Semester Credit Hours Enrolled Tuition
Summer 2020 10 $10,050
Fall 2020 13 $13,065
Spring 2021 13 $13,065

Contact us at 303-492-5148 or email with questions.

The listed tuition is an estimated cost. The Board of Regents reserves the right to change the tuition rates at any time.

Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Student Fees

Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions program students are automatically assessed the full package of student fees, which provide access to the RTD bus system, the Student Recreation Center, Counseling and Psychiatric Services, and other campus services. All nondegree students, including Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions students, have the option to opt out of certain fees that are mandatory for students who have degree-seeking status.

You may reference a detailed list of fees on the CU Boulder Bursar’s website. (Using the sidebar, click on a given academic term to review the “Mandatory Undergraduate Fee” details. Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions students are considered full-time students.) The cost of the full student fee package currently is as follows:

  • Summer 2020: $641.16
  • Fall 2020: $870.24

If you do not plan to utilize the resources covered by student fees, you may follow the instructions on this page to waive the majority of your fees. Even if you waive fees, you still may retain access Counseling and Psychiatric Services if you send an email to to opt back into two specific fees: the Student Health Fee and Mental Health Resource Fee.

If you have questions about student fees, please contact the Continuing Education Bursar’s Office at or 303-492-2212 for assistance.

Please note that the Board of Regents reserves the right to change the fee rate at any time.

Fees Waiver

Nondegree students may be able to waive all student fees except for the computing fee and A&S technology fee by completing the online fee waiver form.

Instructions for Fees Waiver

  1. Pay your bill by the published due date excluding the student activity fee.
  2. Complete and submit the online fee waiver form by the deadline for the appropriate term.
    • Fall 2020 deadline: Sept 25, 2020
  3. Within one week of submitting your petition, login to Buff Portal to verify your account balance.

You will receive an email confirmation when your form has been successfully submitted, and another when your waiver has been processed.

Contact Continuing Education with questions by calling 303-492-2212.

Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Financial Aid

Federal loans, not grants, are available to qualifying students for three semesters. Financial aid awards typically cover the cost of tuition, but not living expenses. We encourage prospective students to learn more about their nondegree student financial aid options through the Office of Financial Aid at

Military-affiliated students interested in utilizing VA benefits should connect with a Continuing Education academic advisor for information on how to use benefits with this program.

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


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