University of Notre Dame

Special Programs


While Notre Dame does not offer undergraduate courses in elementary or secondary education, students interested in a teaching career can integrate their Notre Dame major with professional preparation in education available through a cooperative program with Saint Mary’s College. The Saint Mary’s Education Department provides students with professional training in elementary, middle school, and secondary education. These programs are approved by both the Indiana Professional Standards Board and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Normally, Notre Dame undergraduates interested in one of the professional teacher education programs apply to the department in the second semester of their first year. It is best to start the program in the first semester of the sophomore year, but for secondary school certification it may be started as late as the first semester of the junior year under some circumstances. For elementary education, it is a good idea to begin as early as the second semester of the first year.


The following Notre Dame majors have been approved for secondary education licensing (including junior high or middle school) through the Education Department at Saint Mary’s College. In the College of Science the approved majors are biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. In the College of Arts and Letters the approved majors are English, foreign languages (French, Spanish, Latin), art, music, and social studies (history and political science).


Notre Dame students taking elementary education at Saint Mary’s College also must complete a Notre Dame major along with the appropriate Notre Dame University and college requirements.

Health Professions

If medicine or one of the other health professions, such as physical therapy, dentistry, or veterinary medicine, is attractive to you, several options are available. Medical and other health professional schools specify no particular major but do prescribe certain minimum course requirements. Generally, these requirements include two semesters of general chemistry with laboratory, two semesters of organic chemistry with laboratory, two semesters of biology with laboratory, two semesters of physics with laboratory, two semesters of calculus, and a semester of composition and a semester of English literature. Most college programs at Notre Dame can be modified to include these requirements, and students may prepare for the medical and health professional schools through such diverse programs as music or engineering, provided they include the required courses.

If you have a strong interest in one of the basic disciplines such as biology, biochemistry, chemistry, engineering, or physics, and if you would like to hold open the possibility of a career in that area as well as prepare for medical school, you should plan to enter the corresponding college program modified to include the required courses. Students interested in preparing for medical school, but not interested in focusing on one of the above disciplines, frequently choose the arts and letters preprofessional program (APH2) or the science preprofessional program (SCPP). Please note that “preprofessional” here refers to premedical programs and other health-related fields, and not pre-law or pre-MBA.


Students interested in medical school generally take the MCAT exam at the end of their junior year. Study abroad programs, when desired, work best during the first semester of the junior year. Students who wish to study abroad in the spring of their junior year or for the entire junior year may choose to wait a year to apply for medical or dental school.


Law schools state simply that an applicant should have a strong undergraduate education and should have performed well academically. Students may pursue any course of study at Notre Dame to prepare for admission to law school. In addition to the academic advisor in their major, upper-level pre-law students work with the pre-law advisor. The pre-law advisor for the University is Ava Preacher, assistant dean in the Office for Undergraduate Studies in the College of Arts and Letters.