Physician Assistant

Advisors: Clark Cotton, Manuel Campos, David Mitchell

Pre-physician assistant students must take a number of natural and social science courses as pre-requisites for admission.  There are no universal set of common pre-requisites to all programs, but the courses listed below are common to most. Because of the complexity of scheduling prerequisite courses, we recommend that students interested in applying to physician assistant school contact an advisor as early as possible in their academic career.

Pre-requisite courses common to most programs:


BIOL 101 (Foundations of Biology)
BIOL 201 (intermediate cell and molecular)
BIOL 316 (genetics)
BIOL 307 (microbiology)
BIOL 317 (Biochemistry)
BIOL 325 & 326 (Anatomy and Physiology)



CHEM 125 (Organic)
CHEM 250 (Reactivity I)
CHEM 255 (Inorganic and quantitative)
CHEM 251 (Reactivity II: only required if a full year of organic is required)

Labs (for credit):

CHEM 201 (Purification I)
CHEM 202 (Purification II)
CHEM 205 (Quantitative)
CHEM 203 (if 2 semesters of organic is required)


MATH 124 (statistics) 


PSYC 111 (introductory psych)
PSYC 360 (developmental psychology)
PSYC 381 (abnormal psychology)
COLG 121: (1 credit) Medical Terminology

In addition most programs require a substantial number of patient contact hours prior to admission - the number of hours is very variable from program to program but somewhere near 1000 hours is generally recommended.

Examples of patient care hours includes work as a(n):

  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Personal Care Assistant (PCA) in a health care setting (i.e. hospital, nursing home)
  • home health aide
  • physical therapy aide
  • camp counselor for kids who are patients
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Phlebotomist
  • Volunteer in a health care setting (but must be working with patients)

Some schools also require completing the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as well as significant shadowing experience with a Physician Assistant.