The pre-physician assistant interest track comprises a core of courses required for admission to physician assistant programs. Your choice of the pre-physician assistant track indicates your interest in preparing for a career as a physician assistant. Because the required courses for physician assistant school can be incorporated into many majors at UNCG, students should consider a major they find interesting and feel they will do well in academically.
The Student Experience
- Experienced advisers will help plan your academic path and answer questions about the various aspects of building a competitive application to physician assistant schools.
- You will be enrolled in a Canvas Pre-Professional group with resources and information about upcoming events, opportunities, and deadlines.
- Consider membership in pre-medical student organizations such as the American Medical Student Association and Minority Association of Pre-medical Students, which allows you to have a peer group of like-minded students with whom you can share ways to engage in leadership, service, and medical experiences.
- Required pre-PA coursework includes six to seven biology courses, four to five chemistry courses, and courses in psychology and medical terminology. Many courses are sequential, so beginning science and math coursework early is essential to success.
- Students will need to study for and take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as they prepare to apply to PA schools, typically in the summer after their senior year.
- Past participants have attended physician assistant programs at institutions including Wake Forest University, Wingate University, Duke University, East Carolina University, and UNC Chapel Hill.
Students enrolled in the pre-PA interest track are assigned a pre-PA adviser (a member of the UNCG Health Careers Advisory Committee) as their secondary adviser. Physician assistant schools, unlike medical schools, stipulate a minimum number of direct patient contact hours, which is typically 1,000 hours. For a competitive application, students should demonstrate not only academic excellence, but also accrue 1000-plus hours of medical experience (including shadowing), leadership (both on and off campus) and extensive longitudinal service to underserved populations while in college. For example, a well-rounded, competitive applicant may work part time during the year and full-time in the summer as a CNA in a hospital for all four years of college, volunteer at the Center for New North Carolinians helping refugees navigate a new country, tutor and SIP lead for organic chemistry, and shadow at least two physician assistants.