Pursue your path to medicine: you’ll do that here.

The biology pre-physician assistant program is for students preparing to apply for admission into a physician assistant program. The field is one of the fastest-growing in the country due to a shortage of primary care physicians as well as economic pressures on healthcare costs.

What You’ll Do

The curriculum includes required and supporting courses typically required for admission into physician admission programs. Students can select electives in virology, immunology, pathogenic bacteriology, epidemiology, health physics, and toxicology.

  • Gain hands-on experience with required 80 hours outside the classroom experiential learning opportunity shadowing PAs, doctors, and nurses or working at a hospital.
  • Learn in courses devoted to medical terminology, psychology, chemistry, and mathematics.
  • Prepare for MMS schools with rigorous coursework in anatomy, physiology and molecular genetics. 

Physician Assistants complete a Master’s of Medical Science (MMS). The application process is very competitive. Many programs require substantial (500-2000 hours) of creditable medical employment. This may be fulfilled as a Certified Nurse Assistant, Emergency Medical Technician, and other allied health fields. Students considering becoming a Physician Assistant should consult the websites of the institutions they plan to attend for requirements and qualifications for admission.

Hands-on Learning

You’ll gain hands-on real-world experience through a required 80 hours outside the classroom experiential learning opportunity working at hospitals or with PAs and doctors.

Outcomes & Careers

  • 97%

    Successful Outcomes Rate

    Students graduating with degrees from the Department of Biology report being employed or furthering their education six months after graduation.

  • $112k

    Physician Assistant

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a physician assistant is $112,410.

  • $112k

    Nurse Practitioner

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a nurse practitioner is $111,840.

  • $36k

    Medical Assistants

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary for a medical assistant is $35,720.

What You'll Study

The biology pre-physician assistant option prepares students for any area of biology, put primarily prepares you for MMS school. You’ll complete a minimum of 120 credit hours to complete this degree, including the general education requirements and at least 39 senior division hours.

“Critical Courses” are italicized and bolded. Data shows that students who have completed this course in the first two years and have earned the noted grade are most likely to complete this program of study.

Required Courses:

  • BI163 Evolution & Ecology (4)
  • BI173 Cell & Organismal Biology (4)
  • BI283 Genetics (4)
  • BI389 Career Development in Biology (2)
  • CH184 General Chemistry I Lab (1)
  • CH185 General Chemistry I (3)

Choose one math course:

  • MA116 Precalculus A (3)
  • MA137 Precalculus (5)
  • MA139 Applied Calculus (3)
  • MA140 Analytical Geometry & Calculus I (5)

Choose one additional math course:

  • MAxxx Additional math (for which MA116 is a prerequisite) (3)
    OR
  • MA155 Statistical Reasoning (3)

Experiential Learning Requirement: 2 hours

  • BI471-473 Internships in Biology (2)
  • BI551-553 Biology Field Studies (2)
  • BI563-565 Experience in Museum Curation (1-3)
  • BI570 Development of Instructional Materials (1)
  • BI589-591 Biological Research (2)

Pre-Physician Assistant Option Required Courses:

  • BS113 Anatomy & Physiology I and Lab (4)
  • BS114 Anatomy & Physiology II and Lab (4)

Biology Electives - choose 12 Hours

  • BI/BO/BT/ZO prefix with at least 9 hours at the 300 level (12)
    OR
  • BS 240 Microorganisms and Their Human Hosts (4)
    AND
  • BI/BO/BT/ZO prefix with at least 9 hours at the 300 level (8)

Non-Biology Requirements:

  • CH 186 General Chemistry II (3)
  • CH 187 General Chemistry II Lab (1)
  • CH341 Foundations of Organic Chemistry (4)
  • HL113 Medical Terminology (3)
  • PY220 Psychological Development Across the Lifespan (3)

Some requirements may be fulfilled by coursework in major program.

  • Social and Behavioral Sciences – 6 hours
  • Constitution Requirement – 3 hours
  • Written Communication – 6 hours
  • Oral Communication – 3 hours
  • Natural Sciences – 7 hours (from two disciplines, one to include a lab)
  • Mathematics – 3 hours
  • Humanities & Fine Arts – 9 hours (from at least two disciplines)
  • Additional requirements – 5 hours (to include UI100 for native students)
  • Civics examination

Freshman Year    

Fall Semester (15-17 Hours)     

  • UI100 (1) 
  • BI163 (4) 
  • CH184/185 (4) 
  • MA116/137/139/140 (3-5) 
  • General Education (3) 

Spring Semester (14 Hours)     

  • BI173 (4)
  • EN100 (3)
  • CH186 (3) 
  • CH187 (1)
  • PY220 (3) 

Milestone: achieve a target cumulative GPA of 3.2

Sophomore Year    

Fall Semester (15 Hours)  

  • BI283 (4)
  • PYxxx* (3)
  • Experiential Learning Course (2)
  • General Education (3)
  • Elective (3)

Spring Semester (15 Hours)    

  • Biology Elective (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • General Education (3)
  • General Education (3)

Milestone: achieve a target cumulative GPA of 3.2

Junior Year    

Fall Semester (15 Hours)    

  • BI389 (2) 
  • BS113/013 (4) 
  • Additional Math (3) 
  • Biology Elective (3) 
  • General Education (3) 

Spring Semester (14 Hours)     

  • BS114/014 (4)
  • CH341 (4)
  • Biology elective (3)
  • Elective (3)

Milestone: take admission test (if required) and apply through CASPA

Senior Year    

Fall Semester (17-18 Hours)     

  • Biology Elective or BS240/040 (3-4)
  • General Education (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (4)
  • Elective (4)

Spring Semester (15 Hours)  

  • HL113 (3)
  • Biology Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (3)
  • Elective (2)

Milestone: achieve a target cumulative GPA of 3.2

A “Milestone” signifies a significant stage for a student in the completion of a degree.

 *Recommended for program; consult advisor

Become a Redhawk.

Do more than dream about the future. Take the first steps to make it all happen.

Launching Extraordinary Careers

Southeast’s biology pre-physician assistant option lays a solid foundation for students who wish to further their education. Our students are prepared to be successful in MMS schools because of our program while reaping the benefit of getting their undergraduate coursework done at an affordable price. That’s a smart investment in your future. Students successfully matriculate to professional schools at:  

  • Southern Illinois University
  • University of Missouri School of Medicine Springfield Clinical Campus
  • University of Kentucky
  • Saint Louis University
  • Missouri State University

Getting the Job

Your education is just one piece to launching an extraordinary career. Once you’ve mastered the material, you still have to find the job you want, make the right connections, sell your knowledge and experience—and if all this is giving you anxiety, don’t panic. SEMO’s Career Services office is here to help you with the next step. They’ll provide the expertise and support you need, so you’re landing your dream job in no time.

Pre-Physician Assistant (BS) Degree Map

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