Professional Preparation

Preparation for Professional Schools: Each year, many Carleton graduates and alumni continue their education in a variety of professional and graduate schools. Carleton does not provide a set curriculum for professional/graduate school preparation, and does not offer pre-professional (i.e. pre-law, pre-med) majors. Instead, a regular program of studies in one of the established major fields is recommended as the best preparation for further training. In consultation with their faculty advisers, department chair, and other academic and career advisers, students can arrange a program of study that best suits their own needs and objectives.

Students planning to enter any of the professions listed below should see the chair of their department and the appropriate pre-professional adviser. The staff at the Career Center can provide assistance to students who are seeking more information about these career fields as well as internship and other exploratory opportunities and information.

ARCHITECTURE, URBAN PLANNING, AND RELATED FIELDS: A wide range of professional degrees—typically master’s programs lasting around 1.5 to 3 years—exist in fields such as architecture (MArch), landscape architecture (MLA), urban planning (MUP), historic preservation (MHP), and all manner of graphic and industrial design (MDes). Such study easily spills into professional spheres as diverse as structural engineering (see Engineering below), interior design, construction management (see Business and Management below), environmental design and sustainability, fashion, cinematography, transportation planning, urban studies, geography, housing studies, game design, and so forth. While some students specialize narrowly in such fields as university undergraduates, a liberal-arts education is a strong—and common—first step towards careers in all these areas. To practice some of these professions, such as architecture, requires specific degrees as well as passing licensure exams.

Graduate schools of architecture do not require a specific major, but most require or recommend some combination of courses from a subset of four different fields: Studio Art (especially drawing, such as ARTS 110, 113 and 210), Physics (particularly classical mechanics, such as PHYS 131), Mathematics (sometimes specifically calculus, such as MATH 101 or 111), and Art History (especially architectural history, such as ARTH 245 and 247). Few programs require coursework in all four of these disciplines, but some emphasize more extensive preparation in one or two areas. Refer to specific program requirements on a case-by-case basis. Most programs require a portfolio of visual materials as part of the application process, and thus students may want to take additional courses in studio art. For information consult the chair of the Department of Art and Art History.

BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT: Many Carleton grads obtain careers in the management of business firms, government agencies, and nonprofit enterprises. Potential employers as well as graduate schools of business urge students to take courses in economics, mathematics, statistics, computer science and ethics. Interested students can discuss careers in these fields with the chair or any member of the departments listed above, as well as with coaches in the Career Center.

CHEMISTRY: The American Chemical Society Certified Chemistry Major. The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a professional society for chemists that has provided guidelines to baccalaureate institutions on best practices for teaching chemistry to undergraduate students. An ACS certified chemistry major requires more breadth and advanced study than the regular chemistry major. Students interested in continuing in chemistry after graduation in either graduate school or industry should consider the guidelines of the ACS certified chemistry major when planning their studies.

EDUCATION: Preparation for Careers in Public Education: The Carleton College teaching licensure program, in partnership with the St. Olaf College licensure program, is accredited by the Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board and is in full compliance with federal Title II regulations for disclosure of state-mandated MTLE examination pass rates. For 2022-2023, the most recent year for which data are available, the Carleton licensure candidate pass rates were 100% for all areas. See page 27 on this detailed Title II certified disclosure statement. Teacher licensure at Carleton will no longer be available beginning with the class of 2027.

ENGINEERING: Carleton provides an option for a 3-2 Engineering Program, also called the Dual-Degree Program. The 3-2 program allows students to spend three years at Carleton and two years at an engineering school receiving dual degrees, a B.A. from Carleton and a B.S. in Engineering from a partner engineering institution. We currently have a formal partnership with Washington University in St. Louis. There are also 4-2 (B.A./B.S.), 3-3 (B.A./B.S./M.S.), and 4-3 (B.A./B.S./M.S.) versions of the program available to interested students.

LAW: The best pre-law education is a rigorous liberal arts education. You won’t find a “pre-law” major at Carleton. In fact, most law schools discourage such programs. Any Carleton major can be a great background for someone considering a career in law. There are no specific courses you need to take to prepare for law school, but your schedule should include as many courses as possible requiring writing, oral analysis, research, and significant quantitative work. To help you prepare for the types of logic problems that appear on the LSAT and in law school courses, PHIL 210 (Logic), may be helpful.

An Accelerated Interdisciplinary Legal Education (AILE) Program is offered in cooperation with Columbia University Law School. Under this plan a student combines three years of study at Carleton with three years at Columbia Law School. After completion of the six year program, the student is awarded two degrees, a BA degree from Carleton and a JD degree from Columbia. Application should be made early in a student's junior year, but students interested in exploring this program should visit with the pre-law advisor as early as possible after arriving at Carleton.

Any student interested in pursuing a career in law, should meet with Carleton’s pre-law adviser, RJ Holmes-Leopold in the Career Center.

LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE: People with degrees in library and/or information science are employed in a wide range of settings, including academic, public, school and specialized libraries, archives, historical societies, and museums, as well as in business, government, and information technology. A master’s degree from a school of library and information science accredited by the American Library Association is the credential usually needed by those planning a career in librarianship or related fields.

Any undergraduate major is acceptable for those planning to go to library school; however there is a particular demand for people with science and social science backgrounds. Course work and practical experience in organizing, retrieving, manipulating, and presenting information are highly valued, as is teaching and working directly with information seekers. Students with an interest in librarianship or related fields can gain practical experience through a wide variety of student jobs in Carleton's library and Archives. Carleton’s librarians and archivists are always eager to talk with students about work in library and information management settings. Contact the College Librarian for a referral to a local librarian or other information professional.

HEALTHCARE: Students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare fields (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, physical therapy and nursing, for example) should discuss their plans and questions with pre-health advisor Pam Middleton during their first year at Carleton. Most students who plan to enter schools of allopathic or osteopathic medicine major in a science, but a major in any field is acceptable providing certain basic science courses are included. For detailed information, see the pre-health program website.