Physician Assistant

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PrePhysicial Assistant

Thinking About Physican Assisant Programs?

Physician assistants, also known as PAs, practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers. They examine, diagnose, and treat patients.

--Definition from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Explore Careers & Programs

Physician Assistant at a Glance

Track or Major? 

Physician Assistant is a track made up of pre-admission courses you complete along with a major of your choice. This prepares you for admission into a Physician Assistant Master's program. 

  • track hours to complete: 43+
  • time to compete: PA pre-requisite courses and Bachelors degree of your choice (4 years), 26+ months at the graduate level

Level of degree - Master of Science

Does KU have a program? 

No. Students can complete all of their pre-physician assistant track requirements and accompanying major at KU. However, KU does not offer the Master's degree program. KU can help prepare you for the Master's program of your choice. 

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Research what PA program you are interested in applying to - then contact your advisor to match those with KU courses! 

View specific course and sequencing suggestions.

Quick Tip: If you have selected a major, you will be advised within your major department. They can assist with your Pre-PA requirements. If you are still exploring majors, contact the Undergraduate Advising Center.

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Program Admission

How to Apply: Application Quick Links

Most PA programs use the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). The application is available in April. Deadlines can range from August to October; we recommend submitting applications in early June.

Special application information

  • Application includes supplemental forms, personal statements, and recommendation letters.
  • Begin your application process between the summer of your junior and senior year.
  • Application requires PA shadowing experience and direct patient care.
  • Strong application characteristics include healthcare work & experience, volunteering experience, non-healthcare volunteering, and strong leadership.
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required.
  • Interview is typically required.
Quick Tips: To practice interviewing, you may want to get started by using the pre-built medical school mock interview (instructions) available in Also, check The P.H.O.G. (Professional House of Garments) if you need interview attire!
Explore other physician assistant programs
Quick Tip: If you need assistance with your application resume and/or personal statement, schedule an appointment at the KU Writing Center and/or University Career Center!

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Gain Experience Before You Apply!

Gaining Experience: Quick Links

Strong applicants have healthcare and non-healthcare experience through jobs, internships, volunteer experiences, shadowing, student organizations, and more. These experiences give you the necessary leadership, technical, and transferable skills you need to be a competitive applicant and also allow you to evaluate the field to make sure it is a good fit for you before you apply to a specific program.

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. You may want to try Physician Assistant Shadow Online, a national database of PA's who are willing to let students shadow!

Direct Patient Care Experience

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.

Quick Tip: The University Career Center can assist you in finding experiential opportunities. Schedule an appointment online or by calling 785-864-3624.

Explore jobs & internships

Connect with alumni

KU Mentoring

Also, consider the following:

Local CNA courses
Campus involvement

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Deadlines & Contact Information

Application due date:
Differs by program - deadlines can range from August to October, with most applications available in April

Advising home:
Exploring and pre-professional students: Undergraduate Advising Center, 785-864-2834

Students with a declared major: major department

Is this path for you?
PrePhysician Assistant FAQs
Healthcare Part-time Jobs & Internships

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