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Pre Physician Assistant

Pre-Physician Assistant Coursework

A physician’s assistant (PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional. PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other medical specialists. Physician’s assistants diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider.

A bachelor’s degree is required for entry into a PA program. Undergraduate students do not have to major in one of the sciences. However, much of the pre-professional coursework is science focused and so most students major in one of the science areas. We encourage students to pursue a major that they find interesting so they will be successful.

Applicants should check whether they are required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or another exam for admission. Please check with each program as this requirement varies between schools. The GRE measures the applicant’s verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. For more information about GRE and preparation for the exam visit

Many hours of direct patient care experience is expected for admissions to PA programs. However, the number of hours varies considerably between programs so please check with each program to determine if you meet the minimal requirements. What qualifies as direct patient care may vary between programs as well. Work as a certified nursing assistant, EMT, or athletic trainer would most likely qualify; job shadowing may not. However, job shadowing experience would be beneficial to you application and may be required by some programs.

Science Department Office

SM 178
Southwest Minnesota State University
1501 State St.
Marshall, MN 56258

Course Guidelines

Due to variation in each school’s curriculum, the following is merely a guideline of typical requirements. To determine the exact requirements for each program, the student should work with their academic advisor to review each school to which he/she is applying.

Typical Course Requirements
SMSU Course Number Pre-Requisite courses for Program Semester Credit Hours
Biol 200

Introduction to cellular biology with lab

Biol 303

Microbiology with Lab

Biol 305/306 Anatomy and Physiology I and II with Lab 8
Biol XXX An additional biology course—check with school to determine best choice. 4
Chem 231/232 General Chemistry I and II with lab 10
Chem 351/352 Organic Chemistry I and II with lab 10
Chem 473 Biochemistry with lab 4
Math 150 Calculus I 5
Math Math 200 (most likely) Statistics 3
Psych 101 General Psychology 3
Psych XXX One or two additional applied psychology courses covering developmental and/or abnormal psychology 3-6
Courses in Behavioral or Social sciences Minimum of two courses from Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, economics, political science, or history 6+


  • Complete Application
  • $20 Non-refundable Application Fee
  • Official High School Transcript(s)
  • ACT or SAT Test Scores

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  • Rank in the upper half of graduating class
  • or
  • Score a composite of 21 or above on the ACT or 990 on the SAT

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Last Modified: 8/21/23 5:18 PM | Website Feedback