Physician Assistant - Preliminary Information

Undergraduate Coursework ~ Standardized Tests ~ Required Extracurriculars

Undergraduate Coursework

The required undergraduate coursework for physician assistant programs are often lengthy and vary greatly from institution to institution. You will need to research the schools to which you wish to apply in advance to ensure you can compete all of your requirements (you can do this using the PAEA directory available in the Pre-Health Advising Office).

Some schools require classes not offered by the Claremont College (i.e. "Medical Terminology"). If you are applying to one of these schools, you will need to take these classes elsewhere during the summer.

The majority of schools will require some version of the following (there are, however, many other courses that may be required):

  • General Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • Anatomy (sometimes human)
  • Physiology (sometimes human)
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Calculus
  • Statistics
  • Psychology (several courses)
  • English

Click PA School Requirements to see a more specific list of requirements for each school. You can also find this information in the ADEA Official Guide to Dentals Schools available in the Pre-Health Office.

If you are interested in becoming a PA, make an appointment with Susie Fang, to discuss your coursework.

Standardized Tests

Most schools require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE is a computer-based test similar to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). You can prepare for it using independent study materials or by taking a prep course. Whatever you choose, you should take advantage of the free practice software available on the GRE website (

Some schools will accept the MCAT in lieu of the GRE. Visit our MCAT for more information.

Required Extracurriculars

Experience in patient care is either required or strongly recommended by most PA programs. You will need it to be a competitive applicant. Visit our Volunteer page for ideas and lists of opportunities.