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Preparing for Admission to a Physician Assistant Program


Note: Most PA schools have a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0, but keep in mind that even with this minimum, admission is competitive, so most admitted students will have a much higher GPA (>3.5 or 3.75). The following guidelines represent a summary of the coursework required to be admitted at most PA schools. Course guidelines from individual schools may be more stringent.

Courses required by most PA programs:

**Complete by the end of your last fall semester before admission to be considered by many programs**

  • Principles of Biology I (BIO 135)
  • Principles of Biology II (BIO 140)
  • General Genetics (BIO 283)
  • General Chemistry I (CHEM 151)
  • General Chemistry II (CHEM 152)
  • Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 251)
  • Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 252)
  • Biochemistry (CHEM 330)
  • Anatomy and Physiology I (BIO 270)
  • Anatomy and Physiology II (BIO 275)
  • Microbiology (BIO 210)
  • Medical Terminology (EXSS 170)
  • General Psychology (PSY 190)
  • Statistics (MATH 220)
  • Human Development (EDU 142)
  • Abnormal Psychology (PSY 360)

Other recommended or required courses vary, but may include: Immunology (BIO 375) Pathophysiology (BIO 370), Cell and Molecular Biology (BIO 381), Sociology (SOC 110). A few schools require additional math or physics (PHY 111-114)

Additional courses to earn a major if you complete all the required courses listed above, your general education courses (and earn 120 total credit hours):

Biology (Pre-Prof/Health Sci Emphasis):

  • Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry (MATH 115)
  • Evolution (BIO 340)
  • Cell and Molecular Biology (BIO 381)
  • Scientific Literature Skills (BIO 201)
  • Thesis I (BIO 398)
  • Thesis II (BIO 498)
  • 2-10 hrs approved electives


PA programs require patient contact hours. Consult individual schools for specific requirements, but many fall in the 100-1000 hour range. Patient contact can often include paid or unpaid work as a CNA, phlebotomist, EMT, etc. In cases where a minimum number of hours are required, many more are often necessary to be a competitive applicant. Average experience hours of accepted students are sometimes as high as 3-4000 hours.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Many PA schools require you to take the GRE. Consult individual schools for guidelines and minimum scores. Plan to complete the GRE in the summer between your junior and senior years. Some schools will not accept scores from exams later than September 1.

Application Timelines

Application deadlines vary from November to June for the following academic year, with most in December-February. Many schools participate in a centralized application system, CASPA.The application will include a personal statement, details of your academic record, documentation of your patient contact hours, and letters of reference from faculty and medical professionals with whom you have worked.