Coursework

The following is a general guide for courses you may need to apply to a PA program. Requirements vary from school to school. So, it is always necessary to consult the websites of PA schools where you know/think you want to apply.

For a pre-physician assistant course planning guide, click here. Also consider using our four-year planner to map out your coursework and extracurricular activities.

Mathematics

Most PA schools require one semester of statistics. Some require another math course as well (e.g., Math 112). NOTE: Math 112 is a prerequisite for Chem 103.

Statistics

Choose one of the following:

  • Statistics 371 (recommended)
  • Statistics 301
  • Biostatistics 541
  • Statistics in your major

Chemistry

General Chemistry

Most schools require 2 semesters with lab. Some require 1 semester with lab. Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Chemistry 103-104
  • Chemistry 109

Organic Chemistry

Most schools require 1 semester, some with lab. Less than 10 schools require 2 semesters. Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Chem 341 & 342: Elementary Organic Chemistry with Lab
  • Chem 343, 344, & 345: Introductory & Intermediate Organic Chemistry with lab

Biochemistry

Many schools require 1 semester. A few require 2 semesters. Choose one:

  • Biochemistry 501
  • Biochemistry 507-508

Biological Sciences

General Biology

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Zoology 101-102 + Additional bio-science course
    • Options include: Genetics, Microbiology, Cell Biology, Immunology
    • Note: you may need to do an additional bio-science course with lab
  • Biology 151-152
  • Biocore: Students must apply to enroll in Biocore. For more information, visit their website.
    • Biocore 381-382 Evolution, Ecology and Genetics lecture/lab
    • Biocore 383-384 Cellular Biology lecture/lab
    • Biocore 485-486 Organismal Biology lecture/lab
    • Biocore 587 Biological Interactions

Microbiology

Choose one of the following sequences:

  • Microbiology 101-102
  • Microbiology 303-304

Anatomy/Physiology

  • Physiology (Anat&Phy 335/435 [both include lecture and lab])
  • Anatomy (Anat&Phy 337 [lecture] & 338 [lab])

I/A Bioscience

A number of PA programs recommend immunology, cell or molecular biology, virology, pathophysiology, or other upper-level bio-science coursework.

Behavioral and Social Sciences

PA schools require coursework in psychology and/or human development. Check individual schools for specific requirements. Schools may require one or more of the following:

Psychology

Most PA schools require an introductory psychology course. Others require one or more of the other courses listed here:

  • Introductory Psychology: Psych 202
  • Human Development: HDFS 362 OR 363, Ed Psych 320, Psych 460
  • Abnormal Psychology: Psych 405

Social Sciences

  • Introductory Sociology course

English

Many programs require 3-6 credits of English composition or literature.

Other Coursework

(Not required by all programs):
  • Medical Terminology: Classics 205 or options available off campus
  • Genetics: Genetics 160 or Genetics 466

Patient Care

PA programs also require patient care experience. Patient care is defined as having some level of responsibility for patients. There is a spectrum of these experiences, ranging from some volunteer situations to others for which you earn a license to practice the position (e.g., CNA, EMT). PA programs vary in how many hours they consider to be competitive and what they count as patient care.