As a pre-physician associate student, Carthage has numerous faculty/staff members to support your journey to professional school. Make sure you are working closely with your assigned faculty advisor to address any questions relating to your major or minor requirements. For questions regarding physician associate school requirements and preparation, please contact the science and pre-health career specialist in The Aspire Center.

See the pre-physician assistant timeline

These are the most common prerequisites for physician associate programs. However, different schools may have different prerequisites on what classes you should take. Make sure to check your desired program’s website.

  • 2 General Chemistry Courses (CHM 1010 & 1020)
  • 2 Introductory Biology Courses (BIO 1110 & 1120)
  • 2 Organic Chemistry Courses (CHM 2070* & 2080)
  • Microbiology (BIO 3340*)
  • Biochemistry (CHM 3010*)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (BIO 2010 and 2020 or BIO 3300 and 3310)*
  • Introduction to Psychological Science (PYC 1500)
  • Medical Terminology (BIO 400D)
  • 1 Statistics Course
  • 2 English Courses (COR 1200 and another course)
Other suggested courses 
  • Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1000) 
  • Genetics (BIO 2400*)

*= prerequisites needed for a course

There is no requirement for a set undergraduate major before applying. It is important to work closely with your advisors to ensure you are meeting all prerequisites for physician associate school.
The median number of shadowing hours for students accepted into PA school is around 100, but to secure a strong application, you should aim for more! You should try to shadow at various places, such as under different types of PAs and in different healthcare settings. While volunteering or community service is often not explicitly required by schools, as many as half of students accepted into PA school had community service hours.
Many PA programs also require prior healthcare experience with hands-on patient care. Though it is not an exhaustive list, you can get healthcare experience by being a medical assistant, emergency medical technician, paramedic, athletic trainer, medic or medical corpsman, lab assistant, phlebotomist, registered nurse, emergency room technician, or certified nursing assistant. Most students have about three years or 2000+ hours of healthcare experience before entering a program.
The PA schools you plan to apply to may or may not require the GRE. Some schools will also accept the MCAT or the PA-CAT, but most will require the GRE. Make sure you check your list of schools you plan to apply to before registering. The GRE will require less or more time studying based on how extensive your knowledge is on tested material, and you should pace out those hours around your own current and anticipated schedules. has free resources and practice tests available to assist you. We recommend that you take the GRE at least one full year before you submit your application. This would align with the summer going into junior year or the fall of your junior year, allowing adequate time to prepare if you need to retake it and ensures you have your results before your application deadline.
You will need to submit a personal statement with your application. To help craft your personal statement, attend our Personal Statement Workshop, typically held in the fall semester.

You will need several letters of recommendation (3-4) for your application. While different schools may have different expectations for where your letters of recommendation should come from, it is usually expected to have 1-2 from a science course professor and 1-2 from a healthcare provider you have worked with or shadowed under.

Ideally, you should ask for a letter of recommendation at least 2-3 months in advance of your application deadline, although give as much time as possible. This way, they have adequate time to reflect upon their experience and write the best possible letter they can. If you are participating in an experiential role, it is suggested that you ask for a letter a month or two prior to the close of that experience.

While Carthage students usually apply to somewhere between eight and 12 schools, you can apply to as many schools as you would like. However, you should be aware that there is a financial commitment associated with application fees and the cost of submitting materials for review. As such, you should only apply to schools you would genuinely consider attending.

Applications will be submitted through the CASPA platform. If you plan on attending right after your undergraduate degree, you should apply in the summer of your junior year. It is recommended that you have all materials ready when the platform opens and submit them during late summer or early fall. Your application will be most competitive if you submit it before September 1. Below is the list of application materials.

  • Personal statement
  • Shadowing hours
  • Healthcare experience hours
  • Three or more letters of recommendation
  • GRE scores
  • Transcripts (official copy)

Preparing for professional school starts year one at Carthage, and we are here to help you each step of the way! We recommend that you reach out to your advising team as soon as possible regarding your plans so they can help you start preparing. Carthage also has many articulation agreements that can assist you in reaching your professional goals. 

You should also join the Pre-Health Club at Carthage, which could help you foster connections with other pre-health students, understand your next steps, and deepen your experience with healthcare. Start building connections with professors now by getting involved and seeking out opportunities. It is also recommended you start looking for experiential learning opportunities and get involved.