The prerequisites for PA programs vary from school to school so students should refer to potential schools’ websites. PA schools can be searched using the Physician Assistant Program Directory.
As a general reference, most PA schools require the following prerequisite courses:

General Biology (2 semesters)

  • Bio 100 (several options, some offered in fall, others in spring) and a 200-level biology course (some offered in fall, denoted with an "F" after the course number, others in spring, denoted with an "S"). 

  • Note: Given that many PA programs also require Anatomy, microbiology, and genetics, an additional 200-level biology lab course should be taken to fulfill the two-semester general biology requirement. Options may include: Bio 213S Marine Biology, Bio 228F Invertebrate Biology, Bio 237F Ecology or Bio 239W Plant Diversity. Note that Bio 270S Biological Chemistry should not be taken to fulfill the general biology requirement if taken to fulfill the general chemistry requirement (see below). To confirm whether a course will count toward a given school's general biology requirement, call or email the school in advance of taking the course.

Chemistry/BIOCHEMISTRY (2-3 semesters)

PA schools vary considerably in terms of their chemistry requirements. All require at least one semester of "general" or "inorganic" chemistry which at Hamilton is: Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F). 

Some PA schools require two semesters of "general" or "inorganic" chemistry which at Hamilton can be fulfilled with either Inorganic and Materials Chemistry (Chem 265S) or Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S).

Some schools will substitute one semester of Organic Chemistry (Chem 190S) or biochemistry (Chem 270S or Bio 346F) for the second semester of general chemistry.

Some schools require one semester of Organic Chemistry I (Chem 190S) or biochemistry in addition to two semesters of general chemistry. For schools that require two semesters of general chemistry as well as biochemistry, there are two options:

  1. Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F), Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S), and Biochemistry (Bio 346F); or
  2. Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F), Inorganic Chemistry and Materials (Chem 265S), and Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S)

Anatomy and Physiology (2 semesters)

  • Human Anatomy (Bio 222S) and
  • Vertebrate Physiology (Bio 331F)

Note: Be sure to confirm that the above courses will fulfill the requirement for “human anatomy and physiology” at the schools to which you plan to apply.

Microbiology (1 semester)

  • Microbiology (Bio 221S)

Notes: Prerequisites include Introductory Biology (Bio 100, 101, 102, or Bio 115) and Chem120 or 125. Also, this course is offered every other spring semester; plan accordingly!

Genetics (1 semester)

  • Genes & Genomes (Bio 248S) or Developmental Genetics (Bio 334F)
Statistics (1 semester)
  • Statistical Analysis of Data (Math 152F/S) or
  • Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology (Psych 201F/S)

Note: You must take Introductory Psychology (Psych 101F/S) as a prerequisite for Psych 201.

Psychology (1-2 semesters)

  • Introductory Psychology (Psych 101F/S)
  • Lifespan Development (Psych 350S)

Note: Psych 201 (Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology) is a prerequisite for Psych 350S.

English/Writing (1-2 semesters)

Note: Any writing intensive course in the Literature and Creative Writing department will meet the requirement but most 100-level courses are open only to first-year students.

In addition to the above, most PA programs require courses in the social sciences (e.g. sociology, anthropology, women’s studies); check individual school requirements. Some schools may also require a medical terminology course which can be done on-line at many community colleges.


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Courtney Hance

Director of Health Professions Advising

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