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Pre-Physician Assistant Prerequisite Courses

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Prerequisite Courses

The following courses are the most commonly required by physician assistant schools as prerequisites. Students should always check their prerequisite classes against their top choices of schools, as schools do vary by requirement.

Listed here are core prerequisite courses for schools in and around the Pacific Northwest. Although most schools require similar prerequisites, they all differ slightly and required clinical hours range from 0 to 4,000 hours. Additionally, there is some flexibility in the science requirements for Washington schools, so it is imperative that students seek advising to determine coursework and major course of study. It is strongly recommended that students go beyond the minimum requirements to be a competitive applicant.

Core Prerequisites (Required C or better for most schools):

  • MATH 153 (Pre-Calculus)
  • CHEM 111, 112, 113 with labs OR CHEM 181, 182, 183 with labs 
  • CHEM 431 (Biochemistry) OR CHEM 113 (Intro to Biochemistry) - See advisor
  • BIOL 181, 182, 183 with labs (General Biology) 
  • BIOL 355, 356 with labs (Anatomy and Physiology)
  • BIOL 322 (Microbiology)
  • PSY 101, 313 (General or Developmental Psychology, required by most schools)
  • PSY 362, BIOL 213, OR Math 311 (Statistics, required by most schools) *Prerequisite Math 130

In addition, coursework in the following is recommended for many programs:

  • 300-400 level biology or chemistry courses
  • BIOL 201 (Human Physiology)
  • BIOL 422 (Immunology) *Prerequisite BIOL 183
  • CHEM 361, 362 with lab (Organic Chemistry) *Prerequisite CHEM 183
  • PHIL 210 (Current Ethical Issues) and/or PHIL 308 (Medical Ethics)
  • PHYS 111, 112, 113 with labs
  • PSY 449 (Abnormal Psychology) *Prerequisite PSY 101
  • SOC 101 or 107
  • Spanish courses


Clinical Healthcare Experience

A minimum of 1-2 years (approximately 2,000-4,000 hours accumulated as of the October deadline) of health care experience in a position of responsibility is expected of all applicants. Students should always check the amount of experience required by their top choices of schools, as schools do vary by requirement.

Some examples of acceptable health care experience are:

  • Military (medic, corpsman, pararescueman, etc.)
  • Emergency medicine
  • Nursing
  • Clinical research
  • Scribe

Please note that Medex Northwest (University of Washington) requires 4,000 hours of paid direct patient care experience. Here is a link to a helpful FAQ to better understand their specific requirements :

MEDEX Northwest FAQ: Clinical Prerequisite Information