Pre-Physician Assistant

The Department of Biological Sciences offers outstanding preparation for a career as a Physician Assistant. The suggested curriculum below fulfills the admissions criteria for the University of Kentucky and other regional Master’s of Science in Physician Assistant (PA) Studies programs. Students usually apply to the 2-and-a-half-year professional program during the spring of their senior year for admission in January of the following year.

To meet the minimal requirements for admission into a PA program of study, students should adhere closely to the suggested Pre-PA curriculum, earn an overall GPA of at least a 3.0, and take the GRE General Test. The General Test is a national examination composed of three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The GRE is offered several times during the fall/early spring, and it is not uncommon for students to take it more than once. Competitive applications will have an overall GPA greater than 3.5 and a combined Verbal and Quantitative score of greater than 300.

In addition, many PA programs have a requirement for health care experience which varies depending on the program (200-2000 hours). This direct "hands-on" patient care experience may include clinical experience as a health professional (nurse, health educator, paramedic, EMT, respiratory therapist, etc) or experience as a medical/nursing assistant, clinic aide, orderly, patient care attendant, etc. It is not uncommon for pre-PA graduates to work full-time to acquire this experience prior to applying for a PA program. Any applicant with minimal exposure to physician assistants (no regular contact with a PA in a work setting for example) may want to arrange with one or more PAs to "shadow" them on a regular basis, especially PAs who work in primary care settings such as family practice, internal medicine or general pediatrics. Students should familiarize themselves with the specific requirements of each program early into their Pre-PA studies.

Suggested Curriculum Outline, B.S. in Pre-Physician Assistant

Fall Year 1 (16 total hours)

  • Bio 100T Transitions (1 credit hour)

  • BIO 115 The Cellular Basis of Life (3 credit hours)

  • CHE 201 General College Chemistry (5 credit hours)

  • ENG 105 Critical Reading, Writing & Inquiry (4 credit hours)

  • PSY 180 General Psychology (3 credit hours)

Spring Year 1 (18 total hours)

  • BIO 216 Biological Inquiry & Analysis (4 credit hours)

  • CHE 202 General Chem & Quantitative Analysis (5 credit hours)

  • BIO 221 Zoology: Animal Form and Function (4 credit hours)

  • MAT 150 Algebra & Trigonometry or MAT 250 Calculus & Analytical Geometry (5 credit hours)

Fall Year 2 (15-16 total hours)

  • BIO 222 Botany: Plant Form & Function (4 credit hours)

  • CHE 312 Organic Chemistry I & Lab (5 credit hours)

  • STA 135 Intro to Probability & Statistics or PSY 300 Principles of Statistical Analysis (3-4 credit hours)

  • PSY 260 Lifespan Development (3 credit hours)

Spring Year 2 (14 total hours)

  • BIO 300 Microbiology (4 credit hours)

  • PHY 130/131 General Physics I & Lab (4 credit hours)

  • CHE 320 Organic Chemistry II (3 credit hours)

  • COM 161 Introduction to Public Speaking (3 credit hours)

Fall Year 3 (15 total hours)

  • BIO 120 Scientific Etymology (1 credit hour)

  • BIO 227/228 Human Anatomy & Lab (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 321 Cell Biology: Mechanisms (3 credit hours)

  • PHY 132/133 General Physics I & Lab (4 credit hours)

  • SOC 133 Introduction to Sociology (3 credit hours)

Spring Year 3 (15 total hours)

  • BIO 220 Clinical Terminology (1 credit hour)

  • BIO 229/230 Human Physiology & Lab (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 333 Genetics (4 credit hours)

  • CIV 201 World Civilization I (3 credit hours)

  • HUM 211 The Western Tradition (3 credit hours)

Fall Year 4 (14 total hours)

  • BIO XXX Upper Level Biology Elective (4 credit hours)

  • BIO XXX Upper Level Biology Elective (3 credit hours)

  • BIO XXX Upper Level Biology Elective (3 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Ethics Elective (3 credit hours)

  • IDC 300 GRE Preparation (1 credit hour)

Spring Year 4 (13 total hours)

  • BIO 499 Senior Seminar (1 credit hour)

  • BIO XXX Upper Level Biology Elective (3 credit hours)

  • CHE XXX Upper Level Chemistry Elective (3 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Unrestricted Upper Level Elective (3 credit hours)

  • XXX XXX Global Awareness Elective (3 credit hours)

Fall Year 1 Post Associate's Degree (16 total hours)

  • BIO 120 Scientific Etymology (1 credit hour)

  • BIO 221 Zoology: Animal Form & Function (4 credit hours)

  • CHE 312 Organic Chemistry I & Lab (3 credit hours)

  • PSY 180 General Psychology (3 credit hours)

  • PSY 300 Principles of Statistical Analysis (3 credit hours)

Spring Year 1 Post Associate's Degree (15 total hours)

  • BIO 220 Clinical Terminology (1 credit hour)

  • BIO 222 Botany: Plant Form & Function (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 300 Microbiology (4 credit hours)

  • CHE 320 Organic Chemistry II (3 credit hours)

  • PSY 260 Lifespan Development (3 credit hours)

Fall Year 2 Post Associate's Degree (15 total hours)

  • BIO 227/228 Human Anatomy & Lab (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 321 Cell Biology: Mechanisms (3 credit hours)

  • SOC 133 Introduction to Sociology (3 credit hours)

  • PHY 132/133 General Physics & Lab (4 credit hours)

  • IDC 300 GRE Preparation (1 credit hour)

Spring Year 2 Post Associate's Degree (15 total hours)

  • BIO 229/230 Human Physiology & Lab (4 credit hours)

  • BIO 333 Genetics (4 credit hours)

  • BIO XXX Upper Level Biology Elective (4 credit hours)

  • CHE XXX Chemistry Elective (3 credit hours)

Fall Year 3 Post Associate's Degree (13 total hours)

  • BIO XXX Upper Level Biology Elective (3 credit hours)

  • BIO XXX Upper Level Biology Elective (3 credit hours)

  • BIO XXX Upper Level Biology Elective (3 credit hours)

  • BIO 499 Senior Seminar (1 credit hour)

  • XXX XXX Unrestricted Upper Level Elective (3 credit hours)

Note, the transfer student pathway follows the pre-Biology Curriculum from WKCTC. It assumes that students have taken courses that will transfer as Murray State's BIO 115, BIO 216, CHE 201, CHE 202, MAT 150 and PHY 130/131. See Murray State Transfer Equivalency Tool to help you figure out how courses transfer from your current institution.

For More Information Please Contact:

Dr. Chris Trzepacz

Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences

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