Most PA programs will require statistics courses, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, psychology, and more.  The additional course requirements will vary from school to school. There will also be specific rules about grade minimums and expiration dates for prerequisite courses, again varying from school to school. Academic advisors work with students to plan their prerequisite courses around the courses students are already taking for their degree requirements. Many pre-PAs will spend four to five years preparing to apply for the master's degree and will utilize a combination of two-year and four-year courses. PMHSC advisors help students take the prerequisite courses they need while staying on a budget for time and money. 

Recommended Pre-Physician Assistant Coursework 

The PMHSC uses the Wayne State University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences program as a baseline for recommended pre-PA courses, grade minimums [B (3.0)], and expiration timeline (six years). Specific rules and requirements for other schools can be found by visiting the individual Program Websites section. Students are encouraged to use the Pre-PA Planning Guide to track their progress.


One course in microbiology  

  • BIO 2270 and 2271 Principles of Microbiology 5 credits OR 
  • BIO 3250 and 3251 Molecular Mechanisms of Microbiology 5 credits 

Two courses in anatomy and physiology 

  • BIO 2870 Anatomy and Physiology with lab 
  • BIO 3200 Advanced Human Physiology 

One additional course in human biology, to be chosen according to major, minor, and graduate programs of interest 

Examples include:  

  • Bio 2600 Cellular Biology  
  • Bio 2550 Cell Bio for Neuroscience  
  • Bio 3070 Genetics  
  • Bio 3270 Introductory Immunology  
  • Bio 4120 Comparative Physiology  
  • Bio 4630 Histology  
  • Kin 6300 Exercise Physiology I 
  • Other courses as approved 

Graduate level coursework cannot be considered for prerequisite courses 


Chemistry is the most challenging coursework to plan for pre-physician assistant students. There are two chemistry tracks available to Wayne State University undergraduates. Coursework should be planned with respect to a student's major, programs of interest, and available study time. These pre-requisite courses will be listed on program websites as General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry and/or Biochemistry. 

Survey Sequence (option available to Psychology, Kinesiology, and other non-science majors) 

  • CHM 1020 Survey of General Chemistry 4 credits 
  • CHM 1030 Survey of Organic and Biochemistry 4 credits **Available Winter semester only 

Science Major Sequence (required for Biology, Neuroscience, Nutrition, and other science majors, strongly encouraged for non-science majors) 

  • CHM 1100 and 1130 General Chemistry 1 OR CHM 1140 and 1150 General Chemistry 2 
  • CHM 1240 and 1250 Organic Chemistry 1 OR CHM 2220 and 2230 Organic Chemistry 2 
  • BIO 3100 Biochemistry 3 credits ORCHM 5600 Biochemistry 3 credits 

**Please note These courses must be planned with respect to the Chemistry department prerequisite rules, even if not specifically required by physician assistant programs. 


One course in human development. Must be lifespan. 

  • PSY 2400 -- Developmental Psychology   
  • KIN 3400 Lifespan Growth and Development 

Human nutrition 

One course 

  • NFS 2030 Introduction to Nutrition and Food Sciences  
  • HE 3440 Nutrition and Health Education 

Non-Science Courses 

  • Any Statistics course 
  • Medical Terminology 
  • Two English Composition courses 
  • ENG 1020 Basic Composition  
  • ENG 3010 Intermediate Composition or any other intermediate level writing class 

Program Websites

A successful candidate applies to about eight programs. There are eleven physician assistant programs in the state of Michigan. While the PMHSC works to track updates and changes for each one, each potential candidate is responsible for learning the requirements for the programs where they will be applying. There is a quick comparison guide that shares basic information on Michigan programs such as minimum grades, minimum contact hours, and required tests.   

All pre-physician assistant students are also encouraged to use the website as a resource for learning more about the profession and programs around the country.  

Central Michigan University 
Concordia University - Ann Arbor 
Eastern Michigan University 
Grand Valley State University 
Lawrence Technological University 
Michigan State University 
Oakland University 
University of Detroit-Mercy 
University of Michigan - Flint 
Wayne State University 
Western Michigan University 


Programs typically require either a B (3.0) or C (2.0) minimum in all prerequisite courses. Grade point averages for physician assistant applicants may be as high or higher than medical school applicants. Students are encouraged to use all available resources to support their learning including: