Pre-physician Assistant Path

Physician assistants (P.A.) are healthcare professionals who provide diagnostic and therapeutic patient care with a supervising physician. PAs' duties depend on the setting in which they work, their specialty, and their level of experience. A PA's responsibilities include, but are not limited to: conducting physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting laboratory and radiological tests, counseling on preventative healthcare measures, and assisting in surgery. For more information on PA, see the Physician Assistant section at this link.

Starting with your first semester of college, you are accumulating the credentials to apply to PA programs. Applicants are expected to have:

  • Completed a bachelor's degree in any major
  • Completed prerequisite course requirements (see below)
  • Earn excellent grades; overall and science GPAs should be at least a 3.5
  • Earn a good score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Obtain individual letters of recommendations, academic and clinical
  • Obtain a minimum number of patient care hours (varies between program, ave. of 1,000 hours)

Course Requirements

These are the courses at SUNY Oswego that are recommended you complete to meet PA admissions requirements (note, there is a lot variation in course requirements for PA programs, you should check directly with the programs you are applying to for the most up to date information):

Course Requirements SUNY Oswego Course Notes
One year of Introductory Biology Bio 120 and either Bio 340 or Bio 370
  • All courses offered every semester
  • Bio 120 is the prerequisite to Bio 340 and 370
  • If not a Biology or Zoology major, you will need permission to register from the Biological Sciences Chair
One year of General (Inorganic) Chemistry Che 111 (113 lab) and Che 212 (214 lab)
  • Both courses offered every semester
One semester of Organic Chemistry and/or Biochemistry

Che 260 or 331 (organic)

Che 360 or 461 (biochem)

  • Che 260, 331, and 461 are Fall semester only
  • Che 360 is Spring only
  • Che 360 is recommended for students who wish to learn basic biochemistry. Che 461 & 462 are recommended for those seeking an in depth understanding of biochemistry
One semester of Microbiology Bio 310
  • Offered every semester
One semester of Genetics Bio 315
  • Bio 316 lab is a required co-requisite
  • Offered every semester
One year of Human Anatomy and Physiology Bio 305 and 306
  • Bio 305 is Fall only, Bio 306 is Spring only
One year of English Eng 102 and either Eng 203, 204, 302, or 304
  • Eng 102 offered every semester, others vary
One year of Social or Behavioral Sciences Psy 100, Soc 100,  Ant 112, Eco 101
  • Some programs require Developmental Psychology (Psy 320)
One semester of Math Mat 158 or Mat 179 and/or Mat 210
  • Offered every semester
One semester of Medical Terminology Oswego doesn't offer this course
  • Not required by all PA programs, can vary from 1-3 credits and may not have to be taken for college credit
  • There are many options via SUNY Online