Physician Assistant

Physician Assistants provide diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventive healthcare services under the supervision of a physician, usually in a hospital or clinic. Working as part of a comprehensive medical team, they take medical histories, examine patients, order tests, and prescribe medications.  They also treat injuries, apply splints and casts, provide other types of therapy and surgical assistance, and may be the principal care provider in small or rural clinics where a physician is not on staff every day. They may also have managerial and supervisory duties.


Required Classes for Physician Assistant

Required courses CHEM 464 -- Biochemistry I & 464L Lab - 4 


Entrance exam


MCAT exam

Suggested electives


Biol 488 Molecular immunobiology
BIOL 487 Diagnostic parasitology
BIOL 470 -- Cancer Biology
BIOL 423 -- Pathogenesis (we don't currently offer this but we should bring it back; Dr. Racz would like to teach it)
BIOL 498 -- Undergraduate research
PSYC 221 -- Lifespan Developmental Psychology - 3
PSYC 451 -- Psychology of Abnormal Behavior - 3

Shadowing hours 50-100 hours of medical shadowing generally required



Required Classes for All Medical Majors

Biology courses BIOL 151 -- General Biology I & 151L Lab - 4
BIOL 153 -- General Biology II & 153L Lab - 4
BIOL 221 -- Human Anatomy & 221L
BIOL 326 -- Biomedical Physiology & 326L
BIOL 331 -- Microbiology & 331L 381L Lab - 4

BIOL 371 -- Genetics & 371L Lab - 4


Chemistry courses CHEM 112 -- General Chemistry I & 112L Lab - 4

CHEM 114 -- General Chemistry II & 114L Lab - 4
CHEM 326 -- Organic Chemistry I & 326L Lab - 5
CHEM 328 -- Organic Chemistry II & 328L Lab - 5


Math courses MATH 123 -- Calculus - 4

MATH 281 -- Introductory Statistics - 3 or Math 381 Probability and Statistics

Physics courses PHYS 111 -- Introduction to Physics I & 111L Lab - 4

PHYS 113 -- Introduction to Physics II & 113L Lab - 4

Social Science courses PSYC 101 -- General Psychology - 3

SOC 100 -- General sociology

English courses Met through SDBOR general education requirements
Suggested electives


BIOL 375 Current Bioethical issues
Epidemiology (no course number yet)
SOC 411 Licit and Illicit Drugs
SOC 420 Alcohol Use and Abuse


Student Resources

      Professional Associations and Accreditation

      Entrance Exam

      Most physician assistant schools require the Graduate Record Exam as an entrance exam. Learn more about the GRE here .

      Selected Regional Programs


      Important Note:

      Consult the admissions/application web pages of the professional programs for information on required pre-requisite courses and admissions tests, application procedures, and application deadlines. Some professional/graduate programs will not accept AP or CLEP credits, online courses, or correspondence courses for the core science and math pre-requisite requirements. Many programs also require that all pre-requisite coursework be completed within a certain period of time, e.g., within 5 years prior to application. Policies vary by school and program. Be sure you know the requirements