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Pre-Physician Assistant

Essential Courses


Course # Title Credit Hours Prerequisites
BI 105 Biological Diversity and Ecology 3 None
BI 121 Biology Lab I 1 BI 105 (corequisite)
BI 106 Structure and Function of Cells and Organisms 3 BI 105 and CH 105
BI 122 Biology Lab II 1 BI 105 and BI 121(prerequisites)
CH 105 Organic Chemistry Concepts I 3 None
CH 116 Organic Chemistry Lab I 1 CH 106 (corequisite)
CH 106 Organic Chemistry Concepts II 3 CH 105 (with C or better)
CH 118 Organic Chemistry Lab II 1 CH 106
BI 207 Dynamics Of Biological Processes 4 BI 106, CH 106, and CH232
CH 232 Intro to Inorganic Chemistry 4 CH 105 and CH 116
CH 250 Analytical Chemistry* 4 CH 232
MA 220 Intro. to Probability & Statistics 4 MA 130
BI 305 Biostatistics 4 BI 106 or EES 100
ND SS 214 Statistics for Social Sciences 4 None
BI 231 Microbiology I 3 BI 106 and CH 106; BI 232 (corequisite)
BI 232 Microbiology I Lab 1 BI 231 (corequisite)
BI 331 Microbiology II 3 BI 207; BI 332 (corequisite)
BI 332 Microbiology II Lab 1 BI 331 (corequisite)
BI 310 Physiology 4 BI 207
BI 367 Comparative Anatomy 3 BI 106 and BI 122; BI 368 (corequisite)
BI 368 Comparative Anatomy Laboratory 1 BI 367 (corequisite)
PY 101 Introduction to Psychology 3 None
EN____ English course (in addition to CWS) 3 Varies


*Not Required for St. Francis but is a prerequite for many schools. Check websites.

Statistics is preferred, but Calculus I, Precalculus, or Linear Algebra will also be accepted

Important Notes:

  1. Strongly recommend Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I, Genetics, foreign language (especially Spanish), medical terminology, and Ethics of Health Care. Also recommend Immunology, environmental science, Human Sexuality, history, religion, business courses, economics, art, and Communication courses.
  2. These courses reflect broad-based program requirements for schools in Pennsylvania. Although this course list will be sufficient for most other programs, make sure to check requirements of schools in which you are interested no later than your sophomore year.
  3. This course list does NOT represent a POE, nor does it cover College requirements. Design a POE in consultation with your advisor.
  4. Make sure to have an advisor on the Health Professions Committee, preferably Dr. Randy Bennett.
  5. In addition to your course work you are urged to gain some experience shadowing a physician assistant either during the school year or over the summer.
  6. There are both bachelors and master's programs, but the profession is moving toward the master's degree.
  7. If you study abroad the SAFEST strategy is to take ALL prerequisite courses for professional school in the U.S., which may require you to take courses in the U.S. over the summer, preferably at a 4 year institution. However, if this is extremely difficult for your situation, check with the professional schools you wish to attend to see if they will accept courses taken abroad and if so, get their response in writing.  Also if you have a Biology POE and will not have BI 207 by the time you go abroad, check with the Biology Department to see if there is a Cell and Molecular course you can take abroad that will enable you to take upper level biology offerings at Juniata your senior year that require BI 207 (ex. Physiology, Immunology, and Microbiology).
  8. Be mindful of your POE courses, which are NOT indicated here. For example, if you have a Biology POE, you will need to take Freshman seminar the spring of your freshman year, Frontiers of Biology the fall of your sophomore year, and Biology 207 at your earliest opportunity after completing Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry.


St. Francis

Regular Progression (4 years at Juniata) OR 4 + 2 B.S./M.P.A.S. Program
Courses Credits
Chemistry with Lab 8
Anatomy and Physiology with Labs 8
Microbiology with Lab 4
Psychology 3
Statistics (or upper level math) 3
On-line medical terminology course (available through St. Francis) no later than fall of the year before matriculation at St. Francis


Competitive Credentials:

For programs in general: Science GPA and overall GPA of 3.4-3.5. 500-1000 hours of "hands-on" health care experience for many programs (exs. nurse's aide, hospital volunteer, EMT; some schools do not count "shadowing") ; for master's programs GRE combined score of 1000 or better in the verbal and quantitative sections or an MCAT of 24-25

For our agreement with St. Francis: GPA of 3.0 overall and 3.0 in prerequisite courses with no less than a C in any given course and a B or better in the Fall online course in Medical Terminology at St. Francis (PA 200; register no later than August 15th of the summer before senior year); Health care experience encouraged but not required. GRE not required. ONLY 2 GUARANTEED SEATS; You must identify your interest in the 4 + 2 Program NO LATER than the second semester of the SOPHOMORE YEAR and the overall GPA and prerequisite course work in progress must be at least 3.0 by the end of the sophomore year. For transfer students, St. Francis prerequisite courses taken at the student's former institution(s) MUST transfer to Juniata to count toward St. Francis requirements; all additional prerequisite course work must be taken at Juniata or St. Francis. IF YOU APPLY TO THE 4 + 2 PROGRAM YOU CANNOT APPLY TO ANY OTHER PROGRAMS. Therefore, this affiliation is only for students for whom St. Francis is their first choice. The 4 + 2 students send their transcript and a Letter of Intent (with their full name, address, phone number, social security number, and date of birth) to St. Francis, accompanied by a letter of endorsement from the Health Professions Director, the fall of their junior year. The only additional requirement for application is a supportive Committee letter and updated transcript that is sent the summer after their junior year; Applicants NOT in the 4 + 2 program apply through CASPA during the summer or early fall of the year prior to their intended year of matriculation.

ALL PREREQUISITE courses MUST be taken at either St. Francis or Juniata College unless a prerequisite course was taken prior to matriculation at Juniata. If you take a prerequisite course abroad that is given credit and a grade on your transcript at Juniata, St. Francis will accept it.

Helpful websites:

Physician Assistant Education Association - and

American Academy of Physician Assistants -

St. Francis University -

General Information:


Bolded courses are offered only in the indicated semester and/or require a specific sequence due to Juniata prerequisites. Non-bolded courses are either offered in both semesters or represent open-ended choices, making them more flexible in when they can be taken.

Freshman Year Bi 105 Biology Lab II
Biology Lab I Organic Chemistry Concepts II (if C or better in OCC I)
Organic Chem Concepts I Organic Chem Lab I
Sophomore Year BI 106 BI 207
  Introduction to Inorganic Chemistry English course
  Organic Chemistry Lab II  
Junior Year Statistics Anatomy and Lab
Physiology Analytical Chemistry
(not required for St. Francis)
Microbiology and Lab*  
GRE Exam Preparation** GRE Exam Preparation


*Microbiology I/Lab or Microbiology II/Lab could be taken in the fall of your senior year. Consult with your health professions advisor.

**Both semesters of the year that you plan to take the exam.