The following academic work must be completed prior to applying by the September 1 deadline. Please review the FAQ section on course prerequisites for additional guidelines and explanations.
For a brief summary of course prerequisites click here.
Advanced placement (AP) or international baccalaureate (IB) credits from high school do not fulfill any of our course prerequisites. For applicants who received college credits for high school biology and chemistry AP courses, upper level biology and chemistry taken in college may be substituted. Statistics must be taken in college even if college credit was given for high school statistics. Non-credit college courses are not accepted to fulfill any prerequisites. Advanced placement will not be awarded to any applicant to the Physician Assistant Program, regardless of prior education or experience.
Biology and chemistry courses need to be the “hard core” science courses that are considered by the school offering them to be pre-med or science major courses. Courses labeled “for non-science majors” are not appropriate.
For applicants who have taken introductory biology and introductory chemistry lecture courses more than 7 years ago, upper level courses may be substituted rather than repeating those basic level courses. However, the upper level courses must have been taken at a regionally accredited 4-year institution within 7 years of applying to the program. Any combination (general or upper level) of 2 semesters of biology lectures plus 2 semesters of chemistry lectures will fulfill the prerequisites. Examples of upper level biology-related courses include, but are not limited to, genetics, immunology, infectious disease, pathophysiology, cell biology, microbiology, etc. Examples of upper level chemistry-related courses include biochemistry, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry.
As long as you have taken college biology and chemistry labs and earned grades of solid B or better, it is not necessary to take additional lab courses even if the labs are older than 7 years. Only the biology and chemistry lectures need to be within 7 years of applying.
There are no substitutes for anatomy and physiology. If your A&P courses are more than 5 years old at the time of application, you would need to repeat them and ensure that the entire body and all systems are covered.
Statistics courses offered by various departments (math, biology, psychology, etc.) are acceptable. Calculus cannot be used to satisfy the statistics prerequisite.
Grades of solid B or better are required in all prerequisite courses. ” B-minus” grades or Pass/Fail grades do not fulfill any the prerequisites.
Hands-on patient care experience should be completed prior to applying by the September 1 deadline. Please review the FAQ section on hands-on patient care experience for additional guidelines and explanations.
For applicants who have earned degrees outside of the United States, the following prerequisites must be completed prior to applying:
Successful completion of the ECFMG or USMLE cannot be substituted in lieu of taking all of the prerequisite courses in the United States. Advanced standing credit will not be given for courses taken elsewhere. All students accepted into the program must successfully complete the entire 2-year curriculum regardless of previous education and degrees.
Current and ongoing hands-on patient care experience is needed in order to be a competitive applicant. While the Admissions Committee may consider experience gained in your home country, hands-on patient care experience in the United States is also required.
A candidate for the Physician Assistant Program must have abilities and skills in:
Candidates and students must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in experiments in the basic sciences, and must observe a patient accurately at a distance and close at hand, noting both nonverbal and verbal signals. Observation necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and other sensory modalities.
Candidates and students must be able to: speak intelligibly, hear sufficiently, and observe patients closely in order to elicit and transmit information; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and perceive nonverbal communications communicate effectively and sensitively with patients. Communication includes not only speech, but also reading and writing skills. Candidates and students must be able to communicate effectively and efficiently in oral and written English with all members of the health care team. Students must demonstrate reading skills at a level sufficient to accomplish curricular requirements, provide clinical care for patients, and complete appropriate medical records, documents, and plans according to protocol in a thorough and timely manner.
Sensory and Motor Coordination and Function
Candidates and students are required to possess motor skills sufficient to: directly perform palpation, percussion, auscultation, and other basic diagnostic procedures; and execute motor movements reasonably required to provide basic medical care, such as airway management, placement of catheters, application of sufficient pressure to control bleeding, simple obstetrical maneuvers, etc. These actions require coordination of gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision.
Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of physician assistants, requires all of these intellectual abilities. Candidates and students must be able to: independently access and interpret medical histories or files; identify significant findings from history, physical examination, and laboratory data; provide a reasoned explanation for likely diagnoses and prescribed medications and therapy; recall and retain information in an efficient and timely manner. The ability to incorporate new information from peers, teachers, and the medical literature in formulating diagnoses and plans is essential. Good judgment in patient assessment and diagnostic and therapeutic planning is essential. Students must be able to communicate their knowledge to others when appropriate.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
Candidates and students must possess the ability to: use their intellectual capacity, exercise good judgment, and promptly complete all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients under potentially stressful and/or emergency circumstances; develop empathic, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients; adapt to changing environments and learn in the face of uncertainties that are inherent in the practice of medicine; use supervision appropriately and act independently when indicated. Compassion, integrity, ethical standards, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational process.