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Pre-Physician Assistant Curriculum with a Biology Major

Where are SAU pre-Physician Assistant Biology graduates now?

Over the past five years, SAU graduates have been accepted to physician assistant programs at the following schools: St. Ambrose University, Midwestern University, Trevecca Nazarene University, South College, Des Moines University, and Southern Illinois University.

What courses should I take?

The requirements for physician assistant programs focus on the biological, chemical, and social sciences, which includes many courses within the Biology major.

The course requirements for admission to physician assistant programs differ for each institution, but all programs place a strong emphasis on patient contact. In fact, programs generally require a minimum of 500 - and up to 1,000 - hours of direct patient contact. Many students obtain these hours by earning a medical certification (such as CNA or EMT) and working in the field, interning, and volunteering in a variety of patient settings.

Many of the physician assistant programs in the Midwest region require:

• General Biology + lab (BIOL 101, 199, or 200)
• One year General Chemistry + lab (CHEM 105, 106)
• One semester Organic Chemistry + lab (CHEM 207, 209)
• One year Human Anatomy & Physiology (BIOL 230, 204)
• Biochemistry + lab (CHEM 319)
• Microbiology (BIOL 251)
• Statistics (STAT 213)
• One year English (ENGL 101 + ENGL elective)
• Public Speaking (COMM 129)
• Intro to Psychology (PSYC 105)
• Lifespan or Developmental Psychology (PSYC 212)
• Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 324)
• Medical Terminology (HS 250)

Individual physician assistant programs may have additional requirements.

The entrance exam for physician assistant school is the GRE General Test. This exam includes questions related to verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.

The GRE should be completed by the end of the summer after the junior year to be considered for admission in the fall semester after graduation.