Clinical and academic preparation

The following prerequisite information outlines the educational and clinical experiences you will need in order to be successful in the physician assistant studies program. Preference is given to those candidates who complete all prerequisites at the time of application.

Preprofessional Prerequisite Courses Minimum Semester Hours

  1. Life sciences (14 hrs minimum)

    1. Must include courses (8 semester hours total) in anatomy and physiology at the pre-med level or for science majors with lab. Weighted consideration is given for upper division courses. Separate courses in human anatomy and human physiology are preferred.

      MSU courses that would fulfill this requirement: BIO 380, BIO 361, KIN 250, KIN 252, *BMS 307 and *BMS 308 (*preferred). For students completing the MSU Biomedical Sciences Anatomy & Physiology option, BMS 307, BMS 442, BMS 542, and BMS 562 are strongly preferred.

    2. Must include a course in microbiology (3 semester hours minimum), preferably including a lab component.

      MSU courses that would fulfill this requirement: BIO 210, BIO 212/213, BIO 312/313, BIO 310, *BMS 317 (*preferred).

    3. Must include a course (3 semester hours minimum) in human or general genetics.

      MSU courses that would fulfill this requirement: *BMS 230 or BIO 235 (*preferred). A lab is not required.

    4. Weighted consideration is given for supplemental life science coursework beyond the required prerequisites. Appropriate courses include, but are not limited to: cell biology, cell physiology, embryology, endocrinology, histology, virology, immunology, molecular biology, neurobiology, bacteriology, pathophysiology, pharmacology or epidemiology.
  2. Chemistry (12 hrs minimum)

    1. Must include the complete sequence (2-3 semesters) of general chemistry at the pre-med level or for science majors, including lab.

      MSU courses that would fulfill this requirement: CHM 160, 170, (CHM 161 and 171, labs)

    2. A course in organic chemistry or biochemistry is also required (a survey course is acceptable).
  3. Statistics (3 hrs minimum)

    1. One introductory course in statistics

      MSU courses that would fulfill this requirement: BIO 550, MTH340, PSY 200, QBA 237, SOC 302

  4. Social Science (6 hrs minimum)

    1. Must include a course in general or introductory psychology.

      Missouri State University course that would fulfill this requirement: PSY 121

    2. Additional courses may include: developmental psychology, abnormal psychology, sociology, health care ethics or death and dying.

      MSU courses that would fulfill this requirement include, but are not limited to: PSY 304, PSY 350, PSY 363, PSY 380, PSY 441, SOC 150, PHI 613. (*The list of Missouri State University social science courses that may fulfill the "additional course" requirement is not exhaustive, but representative.)

For all academic prerequisite course work

  • A grade of “C” or higher must be earned in each of the courses.  A minimum GPA of 3.0 (as calculated by CASPA) is required.
  • CLEP examination or advanced placement credit may not be used to meet any of the above requirements, unless a comparable number of credits in advanced courses in the discipline have been completed.
  • No advanced placement credit is awarded in the Program.
  • Due to the rapid evolution of the basic sciences, preference may be given to applicants who have completed their pre-professional prerequisite courses during five years prior to applying to the program, particularly those with strong science work.
  • Additional life science courses (listed above) beyond the minimum will strengthen the application.

Contact the Physician Assistant Studies Department for additional information.


  • Candidates for admission to the PA program are strongly encouraged to shadow a practicing PA for at least 24 hours.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of 500+ hours of paid, direct, hands-on patient care experience at the time the CASPA application is submitted.  Patient care experience requiring certification is most competitive and includes, but is not limited to:  nurse, paramedic, EMT-B, CNA or PCT, health educator, respiratory therapist, athletic trainer or certified Medical Assistant (CMA). Supervised clinical internships may account for up to 50 of the required 500 hours. Volunteer work at hospitals, clinics or other medical venues does not count toward the required hours of clinical experience, but is valued by the admissions committee and can, therefore, strengthen a candidate's application.
  • A course in medical terminology is strongly recommended for applicants who: 
    • are not health professionals
    • have limited experience using medical terminology extensively
    • whose native language or first language is not English
    • any applicant not confident of their ability in this area