Pre-Physician Assistant

  • Pre-Physician Assistant

  • Program Designation: Pre-Professional

    Program Contact: Yaich, Lauren

    Academic Division: Biological and Health Sciences

    Program Description:

    As a physician assistant, you'll practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. You'll examine and treat patients. You'll treat minor injuries. Prescribe medicine. Order and analyze lab tests and X-rays.

    If that sounds like the career for you, you'll need to earn a physician assistant master's degree. But your first step will be to get your bachelor's degree here. You can choose any major. But, there are certain courses you will need to take here - chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, and microbiology - to prepare you for graduate school. We'll also help arrange an internship with a local physician to give you that extra edge. 

    Keep in mind that requirements vary at each graduate school. Be sure to contact graduate schools early to make sure you have met all of their requirements. Many programs also require some previous working experience in a health care environment. You can meet that requirement by working as a nurses' aid, an EMT or in some other way in a health care setting.

    What you can do with a degree in Pre-Physician Assistant.

    Transfer Program Requirements

    To enter a physician assistant graduate program, a student must usually complete a bachelor’s degree first, which should include the prerequisite courses below:


    In addition, many PA programs also recommend the following courses:


    Keep in mind that requirements do vary from program to program, so be sure to contact the schools you plan to apply to early on during your undergraduate career to ensure that you have met all of their prerequisite requirements. Many programs also require some previous working experience in a health care environment, which can often be met by working as a nurse’s aide, an EMT, or in some other health care professional capacity.

    Freshman Guarantee for the Physician Assistant Studies Program

    The Physician Assistant Studies Program in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, has developed a freshman guarantee program for students at the regional campuses of the University of Pittsburgh.

    To obtain the freshman guarantee in Physician Assistant Studies students must:

    • Earn the highest grade point average available in student’s high school with a curriculum showing the greatest academic rigor possible
    • Top 1% of class
    • Combined Math & Critical Reading (verbal) score of 1400
    • Indicate Pre-physician’s Assistant as an intended field of study on the admissions application
    • Have a completed admissions application on file, including all required documents, by December 15
    • Submit directly to the program, three letters of recommendation and a personal statement describing their interest in a career as a physician assistant
    • Successfully complete an interview with the program faculty

    To maintain the freshman guarantee, the student must:

    • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.75 or higher and a science GPA of 3.75 or higher at Pitt
    • Complete the prerequisite courses and requirements for the PA Program
    • Must have at least 40 hours of shadowing a PA
    • Must meet with PA faculty member at least once a year providing proof of GPA and courses taken
    • Complete their undergraduate degree in four years

    Please be advised

    Please be advised that some programs or courses of study require that students complete rotations, fieldwork, internships/externships and/or teaching assignments at facilities external to the university, while other programs or courses of study may offer voluntary internships or externships at facilities external to the university. Depending on the program or course, such facilities will or may require a criminal background check, an act 33/34 clearance (if applicable), and perhaps a drug screen to determine participant qualification or eligibility. Additionally, in order to become licensed, many states will inquire as to whether the applicant has been convicted of a misdemeanor, a felony, or a felonious or illegal act associated with alcohol and/or substance abuse.