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Required Courses

Courses required for admission vary significantly from one institution to another. These courses are mentioned frequently as being required and/or recommended:

  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Statistics
  • Other courses may also be required

Some of the above courses may not be offered by Northwestern University’s undergraduate program but may be available through the Northwestern School of Professional Studies (SPS). 

Because pre-requisite courses can vary so much by program, we encourage pre-PA students to research PA programs early by using the PAEA directory and reviewing PA program websites. 

  • Coursework that may be accepted by one PA program may not necessarily be accepted by other PA programs. 
  • It’s important for pre-PA students to communicate with each program to double-check that their coursework is accepted as fulfilling that particular program’s pre-requisites.
  • We’re also happy to meet with students to discuss the best way to plan and complete the necessary coursework.

Choosing a Major

PA students come from a wide variety of educational back grounds. Applicants are not required to major in a particular major in college to be eligible for admission to a PA Masters degree program.  If the physician assistant pre-requisite courses are not required as part of an applicant’s undergraduate major, these courses will need to be completed as electives or outside of the Northwestern system (there would not be a need to transfer the courses back to Northwestern).