Physician Assistant

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.

Ambrose Advantages

  • Excellent Academic Foundation
  • Comprehensive Education
  • One-on-One Attention and Guidance

If you are considering a career in a health-related field, SAU has a program for you. Whether you choose to pursue graduate studies or directly enter the job market, our undergraduate majors are designed to give you the skills you need to succeed.

Learn about our Master of Physician Assistant Studies program

More Information About Pre-Physician Assistant Studies


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 prerequisites 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.

What will I learn?

At SAU, we know what kind of educational foundation students need to get accepted into PA school, because we offer a Master of Physician Assistant Studies program.

Most PA programs require a variety undergraduate coursework, including anatomy & physiology, psychology, and medical terminology. Biology, Chemistry, Exercise Science, and Human Performance and Fitness majors will take many of the required classes while earning their undergraduate degree. Non-science majors will likely have to pick up a few classes, but we make that easier by offering a list of summer courses, as well as some winterim courses, too. Your advisor can help craft a plan of study that is right for you.

We recommend you get some hands-on experience in a health-related profession, and our Career Center can help find an internship that is right for you. There are several major hospitals and healthcare providers in the area, giving you many options to explore.

St. Ambrose is a university rooted in the Liberal Arts. That means we focus on academia and we focus on you. We encourage inquiry, discussion, diversity, and critical thinking. We also give you opportunities to contribute to the community. You can lead an on-campus organization or volunteer to help build homes, mentor youth, etc.

SAU provides you with a high quality and comprehensive education experience.


Scholarships and Grants

For academic/merit-based awards, eligible students are matched to the qualifying award; some of them are listed below.

For need-based support, eligibility is determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You may also qualify for a scholarship or grant due to your talent in the fine arts or athletics. Give us a call or send an email so we can get to know you and find the best package for you. (You're also encouraged to seek outside scholarships and begin that search early.)

Institutional scholarships (2018-19)

To receive an institutional grant or scholarship students must meet specific criteria, and some may require a certain GPA to stay eligible. There is no need to apply for these; students automatically are eligible if they meet the criteria.

The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores.

Ambrose Scholar
For First Year, on-campus residents only. Straight As on high school transcript and a minimum 30 ACT score. Applicants who meet Ambrose Scholar criteria will be invited to compete for a full tuition scholarship for $@{17-18-Tuition}.

Trustee Scholar
$22,000/year - For First-year, on-campus residents only. Unweighted 3.8 GPA, 28+ACT. May be offset by state and/or federal aid if eligible.

Academic Scholarship
$14,000-17,000/year - Based on GPA and ACT/SAT score

University Grant
$12,000/year - Based on high school GPA and ACT/SAT score

Additional Awards

If you want to apply for any of the scholarships below, contact the Admissions Office.

Fine Arts Scholarships
Award based on performance and ability in art, music, or theatre. Includes the Michael Kennedy Theatre Scholarship. Audition or portfolio required.

Athletics Scholarships
Award varies. Based on performance and ability. Marching Band scholarships available. See below.

Freeman Pollard Minority Scholarship
$1,000 for on-campus students; $500 for off-campus. For accepted minority students.

Diocese of Davenport Catholic Parish Scholarship
Award varies. For First Year students only who are recommended by their parish pastor in the Diocese of Davenport. Recommendation to be completed by your pastor available here (pdf).

Father Welch Alumni Scholarship
$1,000/year. For on-campus students only whose parent is a St. Ambrose graduate.

Athletic Scholarships

As a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), St. Ambrose can award athletic scholarships to student athletes. These scholarships allow you to earn a college education while competing in the sport that you love. At Ambrose, we embody that value of developing both the mind and body.

How do I qualify for an athletic scholarship?
You must first be eligible to play a sport at St. Ambrose. You can read about those qualifications here. The NAIA also has a complete website on how to register for eligibility at

Transfer Scholarships

Amounts are for transfer students entering St. Ambrose in the 2018-19 academic year. For questions about any of the awards below, give our friendly Financial Aid Office a call at 563-333-5775.

Guaranteed Minimum Scholarship Award 

based on GPA (Grade Point Average)
3.5-4.00 GPA: $12,000 per year scholarship award
3.0-3.49 GPA: $11,000 per year scholarship award
2.5-2.99 GPA: $10,000 per year scholarship award
2.0-2.49 GPA: $8,000 per year scholarship award


Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society

Based on Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society membership. Award is $12,500 per year for new transfer students.

Awards are renewable each year up to a maximum eight semesters, including transfer hours. Scholarships awarded for fall and spring semesters only. GPA is based on 4.0 scale.

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.

Apply Visit Info


Admissions Office
Admissions and Welcome Center
310 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? St. Ambrose offers more than 60 programs and 26 athletic teams and sports to join on campus. Become an Ambrosian today!