Natural Sciences


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For degree, see Choice of Majors, below.


The Pre-Dental advising track is designed for students who have demonstrated an interest in dentistry-related fields. Students declaring an interest in this concentration will be designated as Pre-Professional and be tracked for progress throughout their academic career at the Mount.

At the College, we prepare students for several Pre-Professional programs which include Dentistry, Medicine, Physical Therapy, Physician Assistant, Podiatry, and Veterinary.

Academic Preparation

Choice of Major. No school of dentistry requires a specific major of its applicants; however, they recognize the importance of a strong foundation in the natural sciences which includes biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. The current "Pre-Dentistry" curriculum offered at the College follows the course requirements recommended by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is similar to that offered by virtually all schools in the US.

It includes:

  • A year of Freshman Chemistry with laboratory
  • A year of Organic Chemistry with laboratory
  • A year of Biology with laboratory
  • A year of Physics with laboratory
  • A year of English
  • A year of Calculus or other advanced math classes, including Statistics

Although these course requirements can be met while pursuing any area of study at the College, they are embedded in the Biology major. The Division of Natural Science is of the opinion that completion of requirements for a BA in biology best prepares the students for further studies in areas of their choosing. This is supported by a recent report "Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians" from the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), which recommended that medical and premedical education evolve from a static listing of courses to a dynamic set of competencies.

The competencies defined as the knowledge, skill, or attitude that enables an individual to learn and perform in medical practice include the ability to:

  • Apply quantitative reasoning and appropriate mathematics to describe or explain phenomena in the natural world.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the process of scientific inquiry, and explain how scientific knowledge is discovered and validated.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic physical principles and their applications to the understanding of living systems.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of chemistry and some of their applications to the understanding of living systems. 
  • Demonstrate knowledge of how biomolecules contribute to structure and function.
  • Apply an understanding of the principles of how molecular and cell assemblies, organs, and organisms develop structure and carry out function.
  • Explain how organisms sense and control their internal environment and how they respond to external change.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how the organizing principle of evolution by natural selection explains the diversity of life on earth.

All the competencies defined above are addressed in the Biology curriculum.

Development of Personal Attributes

Academic and scientific accomplishments, while important, are not sufficient for entry into professional programs. A critical aspect is the development of physician–patient relationship. It is expected that the incoming students be altruistic and dutiful. Students are expected to be aware of community and public health issues and understand that there are several complex, non–biological causes that can result in poor health. While a commitment to making evidence-based decisions is required, it is also expected that the future professionals will make ethical decisions, based on compassion, respect, and integrity.

Pre-dentistry at the Mount

There are many advantages to being a Pre-Dental student at the Mount:

Pre-professional advisor. A Pre-Dental advisor is available for consultation about your progress towards acceptance to dental school. Regular meetings of Pre-Professional students, reminders about deadlines, formation of a Pre-Professional committee for recommendations, and one-on-one personal attention from our full-time faculty advisor are what you can expect as a Pre-Dental student at the Mount.

A strong peer group. Science majors quickly become a part of the science community at the Mount. Students who have majors within the Division of Natural Science take their math and science classes together and quickly form study groups, supporting each other in their courses. This peer support is a great way to make new friends with goals and attitudes similar to your own.

Peer tutoring. Science majors work together toward a successful college career as upper-classmen serve as peer tutors (as one-on-one or drop-in tutors, or as recitation leaders) and all students have the opportunity to get help to support their learning efforts. Not only will tutoring provide you with income, but it will also help you to build your resume and strengthen your knowledge base.

Research. All full time faculty members have PhD degrees in a variety of different fields and can offer you the opportunity to develop a research project which will help you to apply your coursework to real problems. A research project not only will enhance your knowledge and ability to integrate your learning, but it will impress graduate schools and future employers, giving you an edge when you move on from your studies at the Mount.

Learning science as a process. Many of our laboratory courses use inquiry-based collaborative learning to introduce students to the process of science and give you an idea of what scientific research is all about.

Mentoring. All science students are assigned a full-time faculty advisor to help you explore career options, plan your course schedule, and follow your academic progress. New freshmen are assigned a “science sibling” before coming to campus, so that they have the opportunity to ask questions of an upperclassmen, student to student.

Opportunities outside of the classroom. You could be a student representative at division meetings, an officer in the Biology and Chemistry honor societies, or participate with the American Chemical Society student chapter on campus. Students organize speakers, museum tours, hiking trips, campus activities like faculty vs. student quiz bowl, and science night for elementary school students. You'll get involved in things you enjoy, while providing you more opportunities to meet new people, interact with the faculty, and develop your leadership skills.

Program requirements

Students declaring an interest in this concentration will be designated as Pre-Dental / Pre-Professional and will be tracked for progress throughout their academic career. The advisory committee will write a joint recommendation letter in support of a student’s candidacy only if the student has met the criteria listed below.

  1. Maintain an overall GPA of 3.4 the first year and then an average of 3.4 or better in science classes taken at the college, with a minimum grade of B- in each of the required science courses.
  2. Be an active participant in the “Pre-Professional Club.” This would require an active participation in activities that demonstrate a commitment to leadership, altruism, and dutifulness in the community. Students would be required to:
    • Develop, organize and implement community activities such as volunteering, talks and presentations
    • Volunteer in both clinical and non-clinical settings
    • Be a mentor
    • Attend a minimum of four club meetings per year
  3. Maintain a portfolio that documents both academic and non-academic activities. Students will be responsible for updating it annually.
  4. Set up an advisory committee in their junior year.
  5. Meet with their academic advisor every semester to have a continued dialog about meeting goals and expectations.
  6. Attend an orientation seminar during their first year at the College.
  7. Undertake an independent project / research here at the College or at other institutions (optional but highly recommended).
  8. Take the appropriate graduate entrance exam, MCAT, DAT, GRE, in the spring of their junior year.
  9. Complete the appropriate application to the graduate school of choice in the summer of their junior year.
  10. Initiate an interview with the Pre-Professional Advisory Committee to discuss the application progress in the fall of their senior year.
  11. Inform the Pre-Professional Advisory Committee of the application outcome.

Where Mount Students Have Interned

  • Gateway to Dentistry Program, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)
  • Wadsworth Center, state health laboratory at Albany
  • The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Minority Student Summer Research Opportunity
  • University of Tennessee, Memphis Immunology Laboratory
  • University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Microbiology Laboratory

Career Options

Dentistry is a profession comprised of primary health care practitioners who evaluate, diagnose, prevent, and treat disease disorders or conditions of the oral cavity, maxillofacial area, and other associated structures and their effects on the human body. There are two dental degrees: DDS, Doctor of Dental Surgery, and DMD, Doctor of Dental Medicine. Dental schools decide to award either degree, both of which indicate general dentistry, because the curriculum for each degree is the same.

Besides the general dentistry described above, there are a number of specialty areas in dental practice:

Dental Public Health is the science of dental practice relating to community rather than the individual. Dental diseases are prevented and controlled through organized community efforts, particularly through education.

Orthodontics is a dental specialty concerned with growing or mature dentofacial structures. Through diagnosis, interception, and treatment, movement of teeth can be accomplished by the use of corrective appliances (braces).

Periodontics is the specialty of dentistry related to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseased tissues supporting and surrounding teeth (gums). Dentures are made to maintain oral health, function, and esthetics.

Other specialties include: oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, and prosthodontics.

Career Outlook

The projected 2004-2014 national employment outlook predicts a 25.8% increase in jobs for healthcare practitioners and those in technical occupations.

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