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Medicine - Physicians Assistant (PA)


“A physician assistant (PA) is a medical professional who works as part of a team with a doctor. A PA is a graduate of an accredited PA educational program who is nationally certified and state-licensed to practice medicine with the supervision of a physician.” (What is a PA?)


The necessary prerequisite courses vary significantly among institutions. Below are courses often required by PA programs:

1 year general biology – Biology 111, 112

1 year (or semester) physics – Physics 109 and 110, or Physics 111 and 112

1 year general chemistry – Chemistry 111, 241

1 year (or semester) organic chemisty – Chemistry 221, 321

1 semester Biochem – Chemistry 361

1 semester Anatomy – Biology 321

1 semester Physiology – Biology 315 (requires Bio 212)

1 semester Microbiology – Biology 325

Psychology or Sociology – Psychology 201


PA programs also expect applicants to have significant healthcare experience, such as working as an EMT, nursing aide, phlebotomist, etc.  School’s expectations regarding clinical experience vary significantly, so interested students should consult websites of PA programs they are interested in attending.

Students can learn more about becoming a PA at the AAPA or PAEA.

There is now a centralized application service for physician assistant programs, CASPA.  This allows applicants to submit one application for multiple programs. Admission to programs is competitive, and applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.3.   The standardized test required for entrance into most PA programs is the GRE.  Most programs take 26 months (3 academic years) to complete and include classroom and clinical coursework.