Pre-Physician Assistant Area of Emphasis (3 or 4 years)

Overview of Physician Assistant as a Career

Physician assistant programs are at the masters level whereas the other health care professional programs are at the doctorate level. Physician assistants work under the supervision of a physician. They can write some prescriptions, diagnose, and treat patients. Frequently they work in family practice clinics. But, they may not build a practice on their own beyond the supervision of a physician. Generally, 60 hours are required for admission but some programs are now requiring that applicants have completed a bachelor's degree.

See the Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physician Assistant. Also, see the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Prerequisite Courses

The courses listed below are general suggestions. Check the professional school of your choice to see specific admission requirements.

Science Coursework

  • Principles of Biology I and II (BSC 120 and 121)
  • General Bacteriology and Lab (BSC 302 and BSC 304) or Microbiology(BSC 250) Note: BSC 250 does not count toward a Biological Science degree.
  • Human Anatomy (BSC 227) Note: BSC 227 does not count toward a Biological Science degree
  • Human Physiology (BSC 228) Note: BSC 228 does not count toward a Biological Science degree.
  • Principles of Chemistry I and II and Labs (CHM 211, 212, 217, and 218)
  • Organic Chemistry I and II and Organic Lab (CHM 355, 356, and 361)
  • Mathematics to meet prerequisite requirements for the science courses listed above (MTH 122, Trigonometry; MTH 127/130, College Algebra; MTH 140, Applied Calculus, or MTH 229, Calculus I). COS requires Calculus (MTH 140 or 229) to meet graduation requirements.

General Education Coursework

  • English Composition I and II (ENG 101 and 201)
  • Social and Behavioral Science. General Psychology (PSY 201) and Introductory Sociology (SOC 200) are recommended.
  • Follow catalog for degree requirements B.S. or B.A.

Recommended Coursework

  • Additional requirements that vary among institutions.
  • Some programs will not consider an applicant who has not completed a bachelors degree.

Professional Exam

Generally, the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required but the entrance exam requirement may vary among institutions.

The GRE is a three hour computer-based general test is composed of verbal reasoning (30 minutes consisting of 30 questions), quantitative reasoning (45 minutes consisting of 28 questions), and analytical writing sections. The analytical writing section is always first and is split between an issue task and argument task. For the issue task, two topics will be presented and you will choose one. The argument task does not present a choice of topics; instead, one topic will be presented. In addition, one unidentified un-scored section may be included, and this section can appear in any position in the test after the analytical writing section. Questions in the un-scored section are being tested for possible use in future tests, and answers will not count toward your scores. The verbal and quantitative sections may appear in any order. Treat each section presented during your test as if it counts.

The approximate cost is $140.00. Additional fees such as late registration, change of testing site, or rescheduling fees can be included in the total cost.

Three scores are reported on the General Test:

  1. Verbal Reasoning score reported on a 200-800 score scale, in 10-point increments.
  2. Quantitative Reasoning score reported on a 200-800 score scale, in 10-point increment.
  3. Analytical Writing score reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments. 

Official scores will be sent to you and the professional schools you designated within 10 to 15 days after you take the test. Any section in which you answer no questions at all will be reported as a no score (NS).

For the most current information, review the GRE web site.

Links to Professional Schools

College of Science • One John Marshall Drive • Science Building 270 • Huntington, WV 25755
(304) 696-2372