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Physician Assistant

A Physician Assistant (PA) is a mid-level provider of medical care who is licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a physician. PAs are licensed to diagnose and treat patients and prescribe medications.  Many PAs work in primary care, but others prefer to work in specialty fields such as surgery and other subspecialties.  If you are interested in a career as a PA, please look over the information provided below.

  • Prerequisite Coursework

    PA schools can vary widely in the specific courses required for admission, and so each applicant must consider all the courses required at all the schools to which her or she intends to apply.  To get you started, we have provided a list of courses that are required by MOST programs, but it is critical to note that this list does not include everything that is required for each school.


    • Two semester of General Biology with Lab: BIO 110 and BIO 111
    • Two semesters of General Chemistry with Lab: CHEM 111 and CHEM 112
    • One semester of Anatomy with Lab: BIO 341
    • One semester of Physiology with Lab: BIO 350. Some programs will accept BIO 245 and BIO 246 instead of BIO 341 and BIO 350. Please be sure to check with each individual school for details.
    • Two semesters of Psychology: some programs will accept any two courses with a PSY prefix, but others explicitly state that they require Developmental Psychology (PSY 230) and Abnormal Psychology (PSY 255). If the program you are interested in requires Abnormal Psychology, you will also need to take PSY 120 (Principles of Psychology) which is a prerequisite for PSY 255.
    • One semester of Statistics: STAT 150 - many schools will not accept business statistics.
    • One semester of college math - many programs will accept College Algebra: MAT 124

    STRONGLY RECOMMENDED COURSES (required for quite a few programs)

    • One semester of Genetics: BIO 220
    • One semester of Organic Chemistry: CHEM 331
    • One semester of Biochemistry: CHEM 381
    • One semester of Microbiology: BIO 351
  • Timeline

    Freshman Year

    • Focus on coursework
    • Learn to be a successful student
    • Learn how to study
    • Earn a strong GPA
    • Begin working on prerequisite courses, especially BIO 110 and 111 and CHEM 111 and 112
    • Begin community service
    • Shadow a PA
    • Consider obtaining CNA or EMT certification during the upcoming summer, as clinical experience is a key requirement for PA school
    • Research the requirements of various PA schools

    Sophomore Year

    • Continue to focus on doing well in your courses
    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Continue to take prerequisite courses
    • Continue community service
    • Look for leadership opportunities
    • Start or continue clinical experience - this is key for PA schools!
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Consider who to ask for letters of recommendation

    Junior Year

    • Maintain a strong GPA
    • Continue to work on your science prerequisites
    • Continue community service
    • Continue clinical experience
    • Continue leadership activities
    • Study for the GRE
    • Take the GRE
    • Obtain letters of recommendation
    • Work on your personal essay
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Fill out CASPA and submit in May-June
    • Submit letters of recommendation

    Senior Year

    • Prepare for interviews
    • Continue community service, leadership activities and clinical experience
    • Meet with the prehealth advisors
    • Go to PA school interviews
  • How to Apply

    he process of applying to PA school starts by filling out one application that will then be sent to the schools of your choice.  For PA Programs, you will fill out the CASPA, which includes a space for your personal essay, your coursework history, your list of activities, your GRE score, and the names of your recommenders.  This application usually opens in Mid-April of each year so that you can begin to fill it out and then you can submit the application in early June.  For more information on filling out the application go to "link to tutorial".

    Once the schools receive your application, they may send you secondary applications which require more information and ask a series of short answer/essay questions. You will need to fill these out and then send them to each school.  

    After reviewing your secondary application (if applicable) and letters of recommendation, the schools will then invite students for interviews. This process typically begins and September and can last through February.  For more information on how to prepare for you interview go to our informational website and view our tutorial.

    After the interview process, students will either be accepted, denied or placed on a waitlist at each school.  From here each student then must decide where he or she will attend.

  • Statistics of Successful Applicants
    Data for 2015-2016 Cycle  
    Average Overall GPA of Accepted Students 3.6                       
    Average Science GPA of Accepted Students 3.5
    Average GRE of Accepted Students 307
    Total Number of Matriculants 8,666
    Median Age of Matriculants 25.9
    Average Health Care Experience of Matriculants (hours) 3,283
  • Other Resources