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Academic Requirements


The prerequisites for PA programs vary from school to school so students should refer to potential schools’ websites. PA schools can be searched using the Physician Assistant Program Directory.
As a general reference, most PA schools require the following prerequisite courses:

General Biology (2 semesters)

  • Prior to Fall 2018: Bio 101F and Bio 102S; or Bio 115F and a 200-level biology course

  • Beginning in Fall 2018: Bio 100 (several options, some offered in fall, others in spring) and a 200-level biology course (some offered in fall, denoted with an "F" after the course number, others in spring, denoted with an "S").  This only applies to those who have not previously taken Bio 101 and 102.

    Note: Given that many PA programs also require Anatomy, microbiology, and genetics, other 200-level biology lab courses should be taken to fulfill the two-semester general biology requirement. Options may include: Bio 213S Marine Biology, Bio 228F Invertebrate Biology, Bio 237F Ecology, and Bio 280S Plant Function and Structure. To confirm whether or not a course will count toward a given school's general biology requirement, call or email the school in advance of taking the course.
    Note that Bio 270S Biological Chemistry should not be taken to fulfill the general biology requirement if taken to fulfill the general chemistry requirement (see below).

General and/or Organic Chemistry (2 semesters)

  • Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F) or Principles of Chemistry: Fundamentals to Applications (Chem 125F- for those with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam) and
  • Inorganic and Materials Chemistry (Chem 265S) or Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S) - to complete the general chemistry requirement

Some schools will substitute one semester of organic chemistry or biochemistry for the second semester of general chemistry; other schools require one semester of Organic Chemistry I (Chem 190S) or biochemistry in addition to two semesters of general chemistry. For schools that require two semesters of general chemistry as well as biochemistry, there are two options:

  1. Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F), Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S), and Biochemistry (Bio 346F); or
  2. Principles of Chemistry (Chem 120F), Inorganic Chemistry and Materials (Chem 265S), and Biological Chemistry (Chem 270S)

Anatomy and Physiology (2 semesters)

  • Survey of Human Anatomy (Bio 222S) and
  • Vertebrate Physiology (Bio 331F)

Note: Be sure to confirm that the above courses will fulfill the requirement for “human anatomy and physiology” at the schools to which you plan to apply.

Microbiology (1 semester)

  • Microbiology (Bio 221S)

Notes: Prerequisites include Bio 101 and 102, or Bio 115 as well as Chem120 or 125. Also, this course is offered every other spring semester; plan accordingly!

Genetics (1 semester)

  • Genes & Genomes (Bio 248S)
Statistics (1 semester)
  • Statistical Analysis of Data (Math 252F/253S) or
  • Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology (Psych 201)

Note: You must take Introductory Psychology (Psych 101) as a prerequisite for Psych 201.

Psychology (1-2 semesters)

  • Introductory Psychology (Psych 101)

Note: Some schools require two semesters of Psychology. In this case, it is recommended that you take Lifespan Development (Psych 350S). Psych 201 (Statistics and Research Methods in Psychology) is a prerequisite for this course.

English/Writing (1-2 semesters)

Note: Any writing intensive course in the Literature and Creative Writing department will meet the requirement but most 100-level courses are open only to first-year students.

In addition to the above, most PA programs require courses in the social sciences (e.g. sociology, anthropology, women’s studies); check individual school requirements. Some schools may also require a medical terminology course which can be done on-line at many community colleges.

Contact Information


Leslie Bell

Director of Health Professions Advising
315-859-4338 lbell@hamilton.edu
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