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Pre-Health Program

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Information for Students Interested in Physician Assistant School

Marist offers courses that provide a strong scientific background for Physician Assistant (PA) school, as well as internships and special advising. Visit the American Academy of Physician Assistants for more information about training to be a Physician Assistant. You can also contact Pre-Health Program Co-Coordinators, Prof. Kristin Dragos or Dr. Michael Powers for information regarding resources for preparing to attend physician assistant school.

Marist has a strong record of students matriculating into PA school. Over the years, alumni of the School of Science have gained admission to schools throughout the United States, including but not limited to Arizona School of Health Science, Cornell University College of Medicine, Hofstra University, Marist College, Mercy College, New York Institute of Technology, and Pace University

Requirements for Applying to PA School

PA schools can vary greatly in terms of their requirements for applicants. Because of this, it is important to visit the websites of individual schools that you are interested in attending to learn more about the specific requirements of each school. In general, however, the following requirements are fairly common among PA schools.


  • General Chemistry I and II plus labs (CHEM 111 & 112 plus 115 & 116)
  • At least 1 semester of Organic Chemistry with Lab (CHEM 211 & 212 plus 215 & 216 OR CHEM 201 & 202)
  • Biochemistry I with Lab (CHEM 420 & 423) or Principles of Biochemistry with Lab (CHEM 301 & 302)

  • General Biology I and II plus labs (BIOL 130 & 131)
  • Anatomy and Physiology I and II (BIOL 201 & 202)
  • Algebra and Statistics

Other courses often recommended and sometimes required by PA schools:

  • Microbiology
  • Courses in the social sciences
  • Upper divisional biology courses

Please see your advisor to obtain a flow chart and pre-requisite course checklist to aid in your course planning.

Clinical Experience

In addition to the required coursework, the vast majority of PA schools require direct patient contact experience. Schools require anywhere from 100-3,000 hours of experience before beginning PA school. Typically shadowing, medical office clerical work, hospital experience that does not include patient contact (including scribing), and non-clinical research do not count towards those hours.

The types of experiences often accepted include:

  • EMT
  • Paramedic
  • Nurse
  • Medical assistant (as long as you are working independently with patients)
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (as long as you are working independently with patients)
  • Phlebotomy

Marist College also offers a fully accredited MS in Physician Assistant Studies degree program.