Pre-Med/Pre-Health: Physician Assistant Information
Physician Assistant programs are looking for applicants with strength in the following three areas:
High aptitude in the sciences
This is demonstrated with a strong GPA in the sciences as well as a competitive score on the exam required for the program (some PA programs require the GRE). To ensure your academic success, build a strong foundation by using support resources such as the Learning Resource Center here at UMass Amherst.
Knowledge of the field through patient care experience
This is demonstrated by working in one of the many entry-level jobs in healthcare such as CNA (certified nursing assistant), EMT (emergency medical technician), MA (medical assistant), ER technician, and PCT (patient care assistant), among others. You can find more information about this on the Getting Hands On Experience page of the Pre-Med/Pre-Health Advising website.
Excellent communication skills with people from all walks of life
This is demonstrated by maintaining a consistent history of community service as well as actively participating in campus groups of various kinds. Check out our resources on Campus Engagement Opportunities and Volunteer Opportunities near UMass Amherst for ideas on where to look for good places to start.
Admissions Requirements for PA School
(Always confirm admissions requirements on individual PA program websites) Most PA programs prefer CLASSROOM-BASED coursework and labs taken during regular academic semesters (fall and spring). Therefore we DO NOT recommend winter/summer session or any on-line courses for the prerequisites.
Completion of the following courses would permit application to a broad range of PA schools in Massachusetts and beyond:
|UMass Course Title
|Prerequisites (at UMass)
|Anatomy & physiology I & II
|Kin 270, 272
|One of the following: Kin 100 or 110, Bio 151, Chem 110 or 111
|Introductory biology I & II with lab
|Bio 151, 152, 153
|General chemistry with lab
|Chem 111, 112
|Chem 121H, 122H
|Math placement score > 20
|Biochem 320 (prev 420)
|Biochem 423 (majors)
|Chem 250 or 261
|Microbio 310, 265 (lab)
|Microbio 312 (majors)
|Psych 240, ResEcon 212, PubHlth 223
|Psych 100 and Math 104 (for Psych 240 only)
What Other Classes Should I Take for PA Programs?
Course requirements for PA programs can vary widely from school to school. Students should look a the admissions websites at specific schools to be sure they are on track with prerequisite coursework and to confirm that the requirements have not changed.
Other courses that may be required by some PA programs include (but are not limited to):
|UMass Course Title
|BIO 311, BMB 311
|CHEM 261, 262, 269
|BIO 280, 288, 311, 372
|Specific courses in psychology or sociology
|Public health and social justice
|SRVCLRNG 192, PUBHLTH 389
|PHIL 160 or 164
|Classics 250, KIN 297T
|ENG WRT 112 plus Junior Year Writing in your major department
Applying to PA Schools
Applicants to PA programs use CASPA, which is a common application service for most PA schools.
CASPA provides this helpful Quick Start Guide and FAQ.
An important step in the application process is getting your transcripts sent to CASPA from any/all schools you attended for college credit. Check with both CASPA and the Registrar’s Office here at UMass Amherst and at any other schools you attended for their instructions on how to transmit your transcript(s).