Pre-Physician Assistant Program
This page contains statistical information and other data provided to me by physician assistant schools and a variety of other sources to be used in advising pre-physician assistant students. Although every attempt has been made to be factual, the accuracy of all data contained on this page cannot be guaranteed. It is provided here for students to consider as they plan their pre-physician assistant studies at SBU. Also, toward the end of the page is an exhaustive list of Internet Resources for Pre-Physician Assistant Students.
Pre-Physician Assistant Topics
- Physician assistant
- Undergraduate CoursesUsually Required For Admission
- Additional Undergraduate CoursesUsually Recommended
- Average Undergraduate GPA of Successful Applicants
- Undergraduate Degree
- Undergraduate Major
- AdmissionsTest Required
- Application Service
- Typical Physician Assistant School AdmissionFees
- Approximate Tuition Costs Per Year
- Length of Time to Obtain Degree
- Average Indebtedness Upon Graduation
- A Typical Timetable For Pre-Physician Assistant
- Admissions Applications
- SBU Acceptance Rates
- Miscellaneous Items of Interest
- Why SBU?
- Internet Resources For Pre-Physician AssistantStudents
Physician assistants are educated in one of the 104 physician assistant programs, completing a program of approximately 2-3 years duration. Physician assistants are licensed and, after passing certifying exams, are qualified to perform approximately 80% of the duties of a primary care physician. This would include physical exams, diagnosis and treatment of illness, wound suturing, ordering and interpreting laboratory tests, preventive health counseling, assisting in surgical procedures, etc. In 38 states, physician assistants can prescribe medications. Currently over 30,000 physician assistants practice in the U.S., and all must work with the supervision of a licensed physician or other medical professional as required by law. The following information is pertinent to students wishing to pursue physicians assistant as a career.
|English (ENG 1113, 2213)||6 hrs|
|Biology (BIO 1004, 2134, 2234)||12 hrs|
|General Chemistry (CHE 1115, 1125)||10 hrs|
|Organic Chemistry (CHE 3304, 3314)||8 hrs|
|Human Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 2204, 3304) or Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (BIO 3335)||5-8 hrs|
|Microbiology (BIO 3314)||4 hrs|
|College Algebra (MAT 1143)||3 hrs|
|History or Humanities||3 hrs|
|Fine Arts||3 hrs|
|Physics (PHY 1114, 1124)||8 hrs|
|Introduction to Immunology (BIO 3322)||2 hrs|
|Vertebrate Physiology (BIO 3344)||4 hrs|
|Histology (BIO 3384)||4 hrs|
|Vertebrate Embryology (BIO 4444)||4 hrs|
|Analytical Chemistry (CHE 3345)||4 hrs|
|Biochemistry I (BIO 3364/CHE 3364)||4 hrs|
|Cell and Molecular Biology (BIO 4224)||4 hrs|
|Mathematics [through Calculus II (MAT 2254)]||9-13 hrs|
Data are not available.
Most students do not complete a major or degree program before entering a physician assistant program. The prerequisite courses a pre-physician assistant student must take before application and admission are usually specified by the physician assistant program. Generally, 60-90 hours of undergraduate coursework are necessary before application.
Since pre-physician assistant students transfer to a physician assistant program before completing a bachelor's degree program, the major is irrelevant.
Admissions testing varies greatly among programs. Check with the specific physician assistant program.
Application is made directly to the physician assistant programs or through Central Application Service for Physician Assistant (CASPA) for multiple applications.
National averages are not available. Check with the specific physician assistant program.
Most programs run 24-36 months. Counting time taking prerequisite courses, a total of 4-5 years is required.
See General Information
Beginning in SPRING of the FRESHMAN YEAR at SBU:
- MARCH-APRIL--Obtain application materials from the physician assistant program.
- JULY-DECEMBER--If a letter of recommendation from SBU is required, start a file with the SBU Pre-Health Committee by completing the Pre-Health Committee forms. When your file is established with the Pre-Health Committee, evaluation forms will be sent to all science faculty and any non-science faculty selected by the student.
- JULY-DECEMBER--Complete and send applications along with all supporting documents to the physician assistant program. Schedule and complete an interview with the SBU Pre-Health Committee. It takes the Pre-Health Committee approximately 4-6 weeks to circulate evaluation forms, interview the student, and prepare a letter of recommendation. DO NOT wait until too close to the December deadlines to request a letter of recommendation or you will not be able to meet the deadlines set by the physician assistant program.
- JANUARY-MARCH--Interviews at the physician assistant program.
- FEBRUARY-MARCH--Notification of interview results and acceptance/rejection.
Only one SBU student has applied to (and been accepted by) a physician assistant program in the last ten years.
Involve yourself in activities which will improve your nonacademic credentials:
- Do volunteer and/or paid work at a health facility.
- Participate in an externship program.
- Participate in campus activities (e.g., Student Association, sports, clubs, etc.).
- Participate in community activities (e.g., volunteer work).
- Participate in church activities.
Involve yourself in activities which will improve your academic credentials:
- Participate in undergraduate research and/or independent studies, especially those leading to a scholarly publication.
- Participate in the honors program.
- Enroll in writing-intensive courses to improve your communication skills.
As a pre-physician assistant student selects a school for his undergraduate prerequisite courses, a basic question to be answered is "Why go to SBU and not someplace else?" There are a number of factors about SBU that should be considered in answering this question:
- SBU is committed to Christian, higher education. The primary purpose of the SBU faculty is academic excellence, with Christ as the focal point of all activities, both in and out of the classroom.
- SBU has a history of success. SBU graduates applying to professional programs are accepted at a high rate. Once in the professional programs, the performance of SBU's graduates has been outstanding.
- Most upper-level classes at SBU are small (usually less than 20-25 students). This has a number of important results. Closer interactions between faculty and students will occur at SBU than at most other institutions. You will get to known everyone "up close and personal." Life-long friendships will be established with both the faculty and other students because you will have many of the same classes. Individualized, one-on-one attention, assistance, instruction and counseling are available from the SBU faculty. Students do not have to push through a maze of graduate students, teaching assistants and secretaries to meet with their professors.
- SBU has a Pre-Health Committee, consisting of faculty from the departments of biology and chemistry. This committee is dedicated to preparing and sending out those SBU students who wish to become physician assistants. The SBU Pre-Health Committee provides a number of services to the pre-physician assistant students. Some of these services are listed below:
- Information and assistance about physician assistant programs, school catalogs, admissions policies, grade requirements, application procedures, preparing letters of recommendation, etc., are provided.
- SBU students, by registering through the SBU Pre-Health Committee, can participate in the Greene County Medical Society Pre-Med Advisory Conference. This conference, held every other year in Springfield, is a day-long meeting with the admissions officers from all of the Missouri medical schools. At the conference, students have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with these admissions officers and are educated about careers in medicine and the medical schools. Students are the guest of the Greene County Medical Society for a dinner at the end of the conference day.
- SBU students, by registering through the SBU Pre-Health Committee, can participate in the Greene County Pre-Med Externship program. In this program, SBU students are assigned to Springfield-based physicians for a two-week period during December-January of alternating years. During these two weeks, students observe and work one-on-one with a physician in the medical specialty of the students choice (e.g., pediatrics, family practice, thoracic surgery, etc.). The Springfield-area physicians donate their time free of charge.
Selected Physician Assistant School Websites
- Duke University PA Program
- Saint Louis University PA Program
- Seton Hall University Physician Assistant Program
- Southwest Missouri State University
- University of Florida Physician Assistant Program
- University of Saint Francis Physician Assistant Program
- University of Texas Health Sci. Ctr. at San Antonio PA Program
- Wayne State University
- Wichita State University
Physician Assistant Organizations and Associations
- CASPAAS - Central Application Service for Physician Assistants
- American Academy of Physicians Assistants