What is a Physician Assistant?

With a set curriculum of courses, Regis College prepares you to be a premiere candidate for a top-tier physician assistant program after you graduate.

PAs are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient’s principal healthcare provider. With thousands of hours of medical training, physician assistants are versatile and collaborative. PAs practice in every state and in every medical setting and specialty, improving healthcare access and quality.

(Reprinted with permission from the American Academy of PAs)


PAs are educated at the master’s degree level. There are more than 250 physician assistant programs in the country and admission is highly competitive, requiring a bachelor’s degree and completion of courses in basic and behavioral sciences as prerequisites. Incoming PA students bring with them an average of more than 3,000 hours of direct patient contact experience, having worked as paramedics, athletic trainers, or medical assistants, for example. PA programs are approximately 27 months (three academic years), and include classroom instruction and more than 2,000 hours of clinical rotations.

(Reprinted with permission from the American Academy of PAs)


Prerequisite requirements can vary between physician assistant programs. It is important to check the requirements of each school you are considering to make sure you complete the specific requirements. Many programs require that prerequisite courses be taken within five years of the application date.

(Reprinted with permission from the American Academy of PAs)

Below are some of the common courses required by PA programs across the country and that are offered through Regis College's Pre-Physician Assistant program.

Course Subject # of Semesters Regis Course Number to fulfill requirement
Anatomy and Physiology w/lab Two semesters
  • BI 105
  • BI 106
General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Most schools require two semesters of general chemistry with lab. Some schools may additionally require two semesters of organic chemistry with lab or biochemistry
  • CH 103, CH 104 Organic Chemistry
  • CH 305, CH 306 Biochemistry
  • CH 315
Biology Two semesters, some schools require and additional upper level biology class such as immunology, genetics, or cell biology
  • BI 203
  • BI 306
  • BI 306
  • BI 316
Microbiology w/lab One or two semesters
  • BI 209
Psychology One or two semesters of an introductory psychology course
  • PS 203
  • PS 233
Math Math requirements vary between programs. Most programs require statistics. Some schools require a combination.
  • Statistics
  • MA 210 Algebra
  • MA 100A Calculus
  • MA 101
Physics One or two semesters required by some programs
  • PY 213
  • PY 214

In addition to academic prerequisites, most programs require direct patient care experience. Direct patient care experience includes but is not limited to, taking vital signs, drawing blood, changing bandages, dressings, casting and setting up EKG’s. Student’s outside of an academic program that provides patient care experience may consider work as a certified nursing assistant, an ER technician, an EMT, a physical therapy assistant, a paramedic, a nurse, or a physical therapist..

Physician Assistant Web Resources