Cardiovascular Perfusion

Cardiovascular perfusionists are highly-skilled professionals who operate hart-lung bypass machines during cardiac surgeries. They ensure the continuous circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Perfusionists monitor and regulate the patient's blood flow, blood pressure and oxygen levels during surgical procedures to support the heart and lungs.

The College of Charleston's pre-professional advising program is designed to guide your through the process  of preparing for admission to a graduate cardiovascular perfusion program.

Contact Health Professions Advising

Pre-Cardiovascular Perfusion Advising Guide

While there is no "pre-cardiovascular perfusion major" at the College of Charleston, the following guide and consultation with your advisor can help prepare you for your application and potential admission to a cardiovascular perfusion program.
  • Undergraduate Preparation/Prerequisites

    Each cardiovascular perfusion program establishes its own set of prerequisites. The following lists common prerequisite courses for admission into cardiovascular perfusion programs. Make sure to check the websites of the programs that you are most interested in applying to for complete undergraduate requirements.

    • Anatomy and Physiology (8 semester hours)
    • General Chemistry with labs (8 semester hours)
    • Math (6 semester hours)
    • Statistics (3 semester hours)
    • Physics with labs (4 semesterhours)
    • Psychology (6 semester hours)
    • Medical Terminology (1 semester hour)


    Most programs require a shadowing component with a practicing board certified perfusionist. Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) requires at least 4 hours. Always check the schools you are most interested in applying to for the most current requirements.

    View Catalog Course Descriptions
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

    The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a standardized examination required by some U.S. Cardiovascular programs. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) MS in Cardiovascular Perfusion entry level program does not require the GRE.

    The test covers basic mathematics and reading comprehension skills and is designed measure your general academic ability including critical thinking, analytical reasoning, quantitative reasoning and communication skills.

    The GRE consists of five sections. 

    • Analytical Writing (One section)
    • Verbal Reasoning (Two sections)
    • Quantitative Reasoning (Two sections)
    Learn More on the GRE
  • Timeline

    First Year

    • Declare your major. Identify yourself as a pre-health profession student on the major declaration form. 
    • Make an appointment and get to know your advisors. Discuss your academic gameplan. Check in regularly to discuss your academic progress.
    • Begin taking your basic science courses. 
    • Join a pre-health professional student organization.

    Sophomore Year

    • Continue with your sequence of courses.
    • Stay involved in extracurricular activities (shadowing, service, volunteer). Consider leadership positions in these groups.
    • Visit your professors during office hours (You will need letters of recommendation).
    • Visit Health Professions Advising to begin assessing competitiveness. 
    • Start cardiovasuclar perfusion experience (Observing/Shadowing).
    • Identify the programs that you want to apply to. 

    Junior Year

    • Talk to your advisors about competitiveness.
    • Register for the GRE (Fall).  Don't miss the deadline!
    • Study and take the GRE (Spring/Summer).
    • Begin work on you personal essay.
    • Identify 3-4 individuals to write letters of recommendation (Spring).
    • Complete and submit your application.
    • Continue shadowing/engaging in activities.

    Senior Year

    • Meet with your advisor.
    • Get a degree audit and apply for graduation.
    • Ensure your application materials are organized and submitted within the deadlines (earlier is always better).
    • Prepare for interviews (if applicable).
    • Interview and wait.
    • Explore opportunities for financial aid.
    • Send updated transcripts directly to the schools to which you applied (Spring).
    • Discuss alternative plans with your advisor if necessary.
    • Finish your degree requirements and graduate.