As a physician assistant, you’ll help prevent, diagnose and treat illnesses in patients under your care. At CMU, you’ll select a major of your choice while following the pre-physician assistant program of study to prepare for graduate school. You’ll want to contact the pre-physician assistant advisor early in your first semester, so you can select an appropriate major and identify prerequisite coursework.

Common Majors

Since Pre-PA is not an undergraduate major, students need to select a major and complete all of the prerequisite courses needed for PA school. Common majors include:

  • Exercise Science (Clinical, Kinesiology, Health Fitness options)
  • Health Administration
  • Public Health
  • Neuroscience
  • Dietetics
  • Child Development
  • Biology
  • Biomedical Science
  • Psychology


Suggested First-Year Courses

Fall schedule
    • Biology Options:
  • BIO 101: General Biology OR BIO 111: Foundations of Evolution and Diversity
    • Chemistry Options:
  • CHM 131: General Chemistry I OR CHM 120: Survey of Chemistry, CHM 127:  Lab
  • PSY 100: Introduction to Psychology 
  • MTH 105: Intermediate Algebra OR MTH Placement
  • University Program Course
  • HPS 101: Introduction to the Health Professions

Spring Schedule
    • Biology Options:
  • BIO 208: Microbiology OR BIO 112: Foundations of Cell Biology
    • Chemistry Options:
  • CHM 131: General Chemistry I OR CHM 132: General Chemistry II
  • PSY 220: Developmental Psychology
  • Competency Course: ENG 101 OR Communication
  • University Program Course


Applying to Physician Assistant School

Certain basic requirements must be fulfilled before being accepted into a Physician Assistant
graduate program. Each PA program can have its own requirements. Below are the CMU courses that are recommended to meet some common requirements:

  • BIO 101: General Biology OR BIO 111: Foundations of Evolution and Diversity
  • BIO 208: Microbiology OR BIO 112: Foundations of Cell Biology
  • HSC 214: Human Anatomy OR BIO 337: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • HSC 215: Human Physiology OR BIO 392: Mammalian Physiology
  • HSC 544: Biostatistics OR STA 282: Introduction to Statistics OR BIO 500: Biological Statistics OR PSY 211: Introduction to Psychological Statistics
  • PSY 100: Introduction to Psychology
  • PSY 220: Developmental Psychology
  • Chemistry Option 1 - CHM 131: General Chemistry I and CHM 132: General Chemistry II, CHM 345: Organic Chemistry I and CHM 346: Organic Chemistry II, CHM 425: Introductory Biochemistry
  • Chemistry Option 2 - CHM 131: General Chemistry I and CHM 132: General Chemistry II, CHM 342: Survey of Organic Chemistry, CHM 421: Survey of Biochemistry
  • Chemistry Option 3 - CHM 120: Survey of Chemistry, CHM 127: Lab, CHM 342: Survey of Organic Chemistry, CHM 421: Survey of Biochemistry
  • HSC 411: Pathophysiology

PA programs will have additional required or recommended courses. It is strongly suggested that you work with the PA programs you plan to apply to and/or an advisor to review additional requirements.

CMU does not require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). However, other PA programs may require it. Check with other schools on this requirement and learn more about this standardized test.

Direct patient contact hours in a healthcare setting should be completed if you are interested in attending PA school. Not all programs will have this requirement, but many of the Michigan programs do. A minimum of at least 500 hours of paid experience is encouraged.

All current CMU students or CMU graduates who apply to the PA program and meet the requirements for admission will receive an interview.

Pre-Physician Assistant students have gone on to PA programs at schools including:
  • Central Michigan University
  • Grand Valley State University 
  • University of Michigan/UM-Flint
  • Wayne State University
  • Duke University
  • Indiana State University
  • University of Toledo
  • Wingate University


Bureau of Labor Statistics for Physician Assistants

Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers. They examine, diagnose, and treat patients.


Physician assistants typically need a master’s degree from an accredited educational program. All states require physician assistants to be licensed.

The median annual wage for physician assistants was $101,480 in May 2016.

Employment of physician assistants is projected to grow 37 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. As demand for healthcare services grows, physician assistants will be needed to provide care to patients.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2017-18 Edition, Physician Assistant, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm.

For additional information:

Please contact the Health Professions Student Service Center at chp@cmich.edu or by telephone at 989-774-2315.

The CHP student service center is located in the Health Professions Building, 1250.