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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 & within last 5 years):

  • MATH 153 (Pre-Calculus)
  • CHEM 111, 112, 113 with labs OR CHEM 181, 182, 183 with labs - See Advisor
  • CHEM 361, 362 with lab (Organic Chemistry)
  • CHEM 431 (Biochemistry)
  • BIO 181, 182, 183 with labs (General Biology, pre/corequisite CHEM 181 series) 
  • BIO 305, 306 with labs OR BIO 355, 356 with labs (Human Anatomy and Physiology)
  • BIO 322 (Microbiology) OR BIO 323
  • PSY 101, 313 (General or Developmental Psychology)
  • PSY 362, BIOL 213, OR Math 311 (Statistics)

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)
  • PHIL 104 (Current Ethical Issues) and/or PHIL 308 (Medical Ethics)
  • PHYS 111, 112, 113 with labs OR PHYS 121, 122, 123 with Labs (General Physics)
  • PSY 449 (Abnormal Psychology)
  • 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

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