tracking pixel
Academic Programs

Pre-Physician Assistant Curriculum

What major should I choose?

The physician assistant can choose from several disciplines of medicine in which to specialize, and as such, your major can be just as varied. Biology and Chemistry are popular choices, as are Exercise Science and Human Performance and Fitness.

But depending on your career aim, you might decide to major in a foreign language or International Studies to take your medical skills to another country. Bear in mind that additional biology, chemistry, physics, and math courses would be necessary additions to your plan of study if you choose a non-science major. Be sure to discuss your post-graduate plans with your SAU advisor so that you construct a plan of study that satisfies both whatever major you choose plus prepares you for graduate school.

What courses should I take?

The requirements for physician assistant programs focus on the biological, chemical, and social sciences.

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 range of 500–1,000 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, 232)
• 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. Read the requirements and pre-requisites needed to apply for admission to the SAU MPAS program

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.

Where are SAU pre-Physician Assistant 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.