Prephysician Assistant

KU students can take classes and get health care experience to meet entry requirements to graduate-level PA programs at other colleges and universities. And, you can join the KU Prephysician Assistant Club. KU doesn't, however, have a PA program.
Different PA programs have different requirements, and requirements change. So, it's important to identify the programs you'll apply to, and get complete and current admissions information directly from them. The Physician Assistant Education Association sponsors a PA Focus career and application information center, and a PA Program Directory. The only PA program in Kansas is at Wichita State University
Most PA programs require or recommend shadowing experience. You can try cold calling/e-mailing, however, you'll likely have better luck starting with a PA in your personal physician’s practice, or volunteering in a hospital or free clinic to set the occasion to arrange shadowing experiences. Also, you may have more luck outside of Lawrence, as local PA’s get asked by many students. And, you may want to try Physician Assistant Shadow Online, a national database of PA's who are willing to let students shadow.
Most PA programs also require or recommend extensive direct patient care experience. Although WSU's program doesn't absolutely require experience, it's very helpful. WSU's admissions committee weighs professional direct-patient care experiences more heavily than informal health care activities. So, if you plan to enter a PA program immediately after completing a bachelor's degree, we recommend training for an entry-level profession, like Certified Nurse Aide, early in your undergraduate education, and immediately start working with that credential to build experience. 
Most PA programs require a bachelor's degree before entry, and many candidates major in biology, exercise science, or nursing. For a printable list of requirements visit our Resource page!
The following KU courses meet minimum entry requirements at WSU's PA program: 
  • General Chemistry I & II with labs, first two courses for science majors, e.g., CHEM 130 Foundations of Chemistry I (5 credit hours) and CHEM 135 Foundations of Chemistry II (5) 
  • Organic Chemistry, e.g., CHEM 330 Organic Chemistry I (3)
  • Biology I with lab, first course for biology majors, e.g., BIOL 150 Principles of Molecular & Cellular Biology (4), NOT BIOL 100 or 102 
  • Microbiology with lab, e.g., BIOL 200 Basic Microbiology (3) & 203 Lab (2), or BIOL 400 Fundamentals of Microbiology (3) & BIOL 402 Lab (2) 
  • Anatomy with lab, e.g., BIOL 240 Human Anatomy (3) & 241 Lab (2)
  • Physiology with lab, e.g., BIOL 246 (3) Human Physiology & 247 Lab (2), or BIOL 546 Mammalian Physiology (3) and 647 Lab (2)
  • Statistics, e.g., PSYC 210 Statistics in Psychological Research, HSES 310 Research & Data Analysis​, ​MATH 365 Elementary Statistics or BIOL 570 Introduction to Biostatistics (3)
  • Medical Terminology, e.g., HEIM 230 Medical Terminology (3)

In addition, many PA programs require one-semester of biochemistry, e.g., BIOL 600 Introductory Biochemistry (3). Some require introductory psychology and sociology courses.

Additional genetics, pathophysiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, gerontology, medical ethics, health policy, epidemiology, abnormal psychology, sociology and human nutrition courses are recommended.

Here’s one way of sequencing required and recommended the courses:

1st Fall

1st Spring

2nd Fall

2nd Spring

3rd Fall

3rd Spring

4th Fall

4th Spring

Chemistry I

Chemistry II








Biology I

Anatomy Lab

Organic Lab


Microbiology Lab







Physiology Lab

Medical Terminology











For answers to all questions concerning requirements and admission to WSU's PA program, you can call 316-978-3011. 
If you plan to enter a PA program immediately after your senior year, you should begin the application process in the summer between your junior and senior years! 
  1. Graduate Record Exam (GRE), if required. Although WSU's program doesn't require an admission test at this time, many PA programs require the GRE. It's a computer-based test, so you can arrange to take it shortly after you finish preparing and practicing for the test.
  2. Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA)To apply to most PA programs, including WSU's, complete the CASPA. The application is available in April, and different programs have different deadlines. UMKC's verified CASPA deadline is August 1st and WSU's is October 1st, so it would be wise to submit your application and transcripts in early June.
  3. Complete supplemental applications and have recommendation letters sent to CASPAWhen you finish a draft of your personal comments essay, call 785-864-2399 to schedule an essay review meeting with Consultant in the Writing Center.
  4. And, the final stage is interviewing for admission. When you get an invitation, practice with University Career Services, which has a similar online Medical School Interview Module, and call 785-864-3624 to schedule an in-person practice interview!

For much more information, see the Applicant FAQ.

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