Prospective Pre-Physician Assistant Biology Students
I want to be a pre-PA major!
There is no such thing as a pre-PA major at the University of North Georgia. Pre-PA students commonly major in biology but may choose any major they wish. Pre-PA is an academic advisement area. We offer focused advisement for students interested in certain career paths. Pre-PA biology students are advised by an advisor who advises other pre-PA students.
Then what does it mean to be a pre-PA biology student at UNG?
It means you must plan your college career with at least five things in mind:
You may need to meet Biology degree requirements to earn the B.S. degree and graduate. UNG degree requirements can be found in the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin. One PA program in the state of Georgia only requires the completion of 90 credit-hours (e.g. Georgia Regents University, formerly MCG) while the others require an earned degree (e.g. Emory University, Mercer University, South University). Most require or recommend an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
You must meet entrance requirements for PA school. This typically means taking a few courses in addition to those required to earn the UNG biology degree. Most PA schools require courses in statistics, psychology, and human anatomy & physiology. Georgia Regents University (GRU) now requires 12 semester hours of specific social sciences.
You must acquire health care experience along the way. For example, the GRU PA program requires 100 hours of medical experience while the Emory PA program requires 2000 hrs of direct patient care experience (the Emory class entering Fall 2012 had an average of 4500 hrs). Please note that programs vary in the number of practicing Physician Assistants you need to have observed during your clinical exposure hours (e.g. GRU requires more than two clinical settings).
You must obtain multiple (usually three) letters of recommendation. These letters typically need to focus on your clinical experiences, not just your academic preparedness, and one or more of the letters should be from a practicing PA.
You must get prepared to take the GRE General Test. Admission to PA programs is highly competitive. According to information from the Emory PA program, approximately 20% of applicants are interviewed and 5% of applicants are admitted (i.e. only one in twenty applicants actually begins their program).
Where can I learn more about becoming a Physician Assistant?
The American Academy of Physician Assistants site has a nearly-comprehensive set of links to PA programs in the U.S. The site also has information on the Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA). Additionally, a group of PAs has a comprehensive informational site that includes materials relating to finding the right program for you.
Biology Pre-Physician Assistant advisors:
Ms. Danyelle Aganovic
Dr. Shane Webb
Dr. Alex Lowrey