Academic Requirements for Physician Assistant School

Prior to applying for admission to physician assistant school, prospective applicants should have completed the following requirements for physician assistant schools:

  • 2 semesters of Introductory Biology with labs (BIOL 107 & 108)
  • 2 semesters of Anatomy & Physiology with labs (BIOL 214 & 215, BIOL 302, BIOL 315, BIOL 325, or BIOL 365/365L)
  • 1 semester of Microbiology (BIOL 204 or 304)
  • 2 semesters of General Chemistry with lab (CHEM 130 & 131)
  • 1-2 semesters of Organic Chemistry with lab ([CHEM 329, 330, 331, & 332] or CHEM 320 – depending on your major)
  • 1 semester of Biochemistry (CHEM 335)
  • 1-2 semesters of Psychology (PSYC 166, another Psychology course)
  • 1 semester of Medical Terminology (HLTH 200)

Some schools have additional requirements and/or strong recommendations for courses.  Information and data about specific schools and their requirements, as well as other valuable advice, may be found on the Physician Assistant Education Association site.

Grades and Course Load

The detailed academic record is the prime indicator of an applicant’s talent, performance, and judgment.  In general, admissions committees like to see evidence that you can do well while carrying a substantial course load (15-17 credit hours), but remember: you must establish a very good GPA and it may be very difficult to do so with a heavy course load. Physician assistant schools look for A’s and B’s in classes overall, as well as a strong science GPA.  Faced with the prospect of a C, some students will want to withdraw (W) and try for a higher grade later.  More than two W’s indicates a lack of judgment and an inability to handle difficult situations.  Remember, course withdrawals must be recorded on physician assistant school applications, so this is something to discuss with your advisor.

The national average science GPA of students accepted to physician assistant school is around 3.50.