Pre-Physician Assistant

Formation for Master of Physician Assistant

See more in the Course Catalog.

What is Pre-Physician Assistant?

The term “Pre-PA” refers to a course of study intended to prepare students for a Master of Physician Assistant (MSPA or MPAS) program. A student can be any major and still be Pre-PA, but will be most successful in a major he or she is passionate about. However, there are common prerequisite science courses required or recommended by MSPA programs. In addition, some MSPA programs require a student to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and the majority of MSPA programs require at least 1000 hours of hands-on clinical experience.

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Rigorous Liberal Arts Formation

Similar to medical school, MSPA programs are academically intensive, requiring a heavy load of memorization and the comprehension of complex scientific information. Furthermore, becoming a physician assistant necessitates the ability to critically analyze, process, apply, and communicate the learned information. A mixture of science and liberal arts classes will give a strong base for success in a MSPA program.

Benedictine College offers a variety of rigorous courses in the sciences and liberal arts that will provide not only the prerequisites needed, but also the liberal arts framework that helps with critical analysis as well as written and oral communication.

Best Majors for Completing Physician Assistant Prerequisites

There are common prerequisite courses you have to take to be admitted to physician’s assistant school, and several majors will allow you to take these prerequisites for PA school within the major. These majors are academically rigorous, preparing you for the demands of physician’s assistant school. Some examples of preparatory majors for physician’s assistant school are Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, or Psychology.

Outside the Classroom

MSPA Programs expect students to not only have a strong academic record, but also have a strong record of leadership and service outside of the classroom. Students should seek out service opportunities both at the college and in the broader community that demonstrate a desire to help others with compassion and empathy. Furthermore, students should demonstrate the ability to be a leader in different environments, establishing a clear intrapersonal maturity. Benedictine College has numerous opportunities to be involved in student organizations, academic groups, and community service projects both at home and abroad.

Strong Student-Faculty Relationships

MSPA Programs expect students to have strong letters of evaluations, vouching for the student’s academic aptitude and overall motivation. At Benedictine College, because of small class sizes and professor-guided service and research opportunities, students have numerous opportunities to interact one-on-one with professors. This builds relationships that will not only help with recommendation letter writing, but will provide sustainable professional relationships that will provide a basis of community learning during a student’s undergraduate career and beyond.


Martha Z. Carletti, Ph.D.

Director of Advising for Pre-Medical Healthcare Professions
Associate Professor of Biology
Contact by Email

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What Classes Should I Take to Prepare for Physician Assistant School?

BIOL-1121General Biology 1 with lab
BIOL-1122General Biology 2 with lab
CHEM-1200/1201General Chemistry 1 with lab
CHEM-1210/1211General Chemistry 2 with lab
PYSC-1000General Psychology
CHEM-3500-3501Biochemistry 1 with lab
PSYC-3901Abnormal Psychology
EXSC-3303Basic Nutrition
THEO-3940Christian Bioethics
BIOL-3000/4000+Upper-level biology courses

*Molecular and Cellular Biology, Genetics, Immunology, Cell Physiology, Microbiology

Suggested Pre-Physician Assistant Activities

  1. Engage Intellectually
    1. Display a curiosity in learning different subjects
    2. Strive to both learn and retain information
    3. Attend lectures & academic discussions
  2. Familiarize Yourself with the Healthcare Field
    1. Obtain paid clinical hours to achieve admission into MSPA programs
    2. Observe an EMT a paramedic, a CNA, or medical assistant to receive clincial hours
    3. MSPA programs require at minimum 1000 hours, but admitted students usually have 4000 hours
    4. Receive training for these paid clincial experiences over the summer
  3. Perform Volunteer and Service Work
    1. Engage the community
    2. Show empathy and understanding of others
    3. Broaden appreciation of diverse backgrounds and experiences
  4. Reflect on the Journey
    1. Recognize strengths and weaknesses
    2. Seek opportunities to improve

Physician Assistant Schools That Have Accepted Recent Benedictine Graduates

  • Des Moines University
  • Harding University
  • Northeastern State University
  • Oklahoma City University
  • Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • University of Oklahoma: Tulsa
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Texas: San Antonio
  • West Liberty University
  • Wichita State University

For more information on preparing for Physician Assistant School see:

Be sure to take advantage of the post-graduate support and guidance provided by the Benedictine College Student Success Center.