Pre-Physician Assistant Studies

Welcome to pre-PA!  We are excited that you have your sights set on becoming a physician assistant.  You have a long road ahead of you but we are here to help.  We will provide information and support as you take the pre-requisite courses up until you start the application and testing process.


▼   Requirements for Physician Assistant Master’s Programs
  • Many PA programs require the following courses:
    • General Chemistry I and II and labs
    • Organic Chemistry I and labs (some also require organic chemistry II)
    • General Biology I and II and labs
    • Anatomy and Physiology I and II
    • Microbiology with lab
    • Statistics
    • Up to two semesters of College Level Math
    • General Psychology
    • Medical Terminology
  • Many PA programs are now requiring direct patient care as part of the admission requirements.  For example, some PA programs require 500 hours, while the University of South Alabama currently requires a minimum 100 direct patient care hours.  This is in addition to traditional shadowing of a PA or physician.
  • Some schools require higher level science, behavioral and math courses such as cell biology, comparative anatomy, genetics, embryology, mammalian or animal physiology, microbiology, histology, reproductive physiology, parasitology, immunology, cell biology, statistics, calculus and/or behavioral sciences. 

It is important that you research the requirements for those schools in which you are interested.  Your pre-health advisor can help you with this research.

Further information about these and other programs can be found at the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Program List.
▼   International Students and Physician Assistant Programs
  • Many U.S. physician assistant programs welcome international applicants.  For example, University of South Alabama, UAB and Mississippi accept applications from international students but University Florida does not.  However, international students may be required to demonstrate English language proficiency as a condition of their admission.
  • There also may be degree verification required as well as other requirements.
  • In order to receive financial aid students must be a permanent resident or citizen of the U.S.  Many physician assistant program, that do accept foreign applicants, may require that students prove the ability to finance the entire program prior to matriculation. 

The Physician Assistant Program List through PAEA provides information on whether or not a program accepts international students.  This is a great resource for those international students interested in pursuing a physician assistant degree in the United States.


Useful links for Physician Assistant Studies

American Academy of PAs

PA Focus Weblog

Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) Program List

American Academy of PAs (AAPA) General Information

Physician Assistant vs. Nurse Practitioner vs. Medical Doctor

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