Pre-Physician Assistant Studies Human Biology Major — Prepare for Master's Level PA Studies

College of Saint Mary’s unique, five-year physician assistant studies program combines a bachelor of science degree in human biology and master of science in physician assistant studies. You start pre-physician assistant classes leading to a bachelor of science degree in human biology and begin physician assistant classes during your fourth year of study, leading to a master of science degree in physician assistant studies.

College of Saint Mary Estimated Net Tuition for the Physician Assistant Program

High School Graduates: You can become a physician assistant in five years instead of the traditional six to seven years it takes elsewhere with the comfort of knowing you will be admitted into our physician assistant program if you are accepted to our pre-physician assistant program and meet our progression requirements.

Transfer Students: You can transfer to College of Saint Mary and take missing prerequisites by joining us as a pre-physician assistant student during your second or third year of undergraduate study. You’ll have the security of knowing you will be admitted into College of Saint Mary’s master of science degree in physician assistant studies program if you are accepted as a pre-physician assistant student and meet the progression requirements.

Accreditation Statement

College of Saint Mary's physician assistant program has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).  College of Saint Mary anticipates matriculating its first physician assistant class in fall 2016, pending provisional accreditation in Spring 2016. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards. Pre-physician assistant students are currently being accepted and under all circumstances will be eligible to complete a degree in human biology.

We also offer a bachelor of science degree in human biology and a bachelor of science degree in biology

General Cellular Biology Lecture/Lab

In this course, you will study the basic principles of biology. Course topics will focus on cellular principles, metabolism and genetics. The lab component will provide a hands-on investigation of topics discussed in the lecture.

General Microbiology Lecture

In this course, you will study the basic principles of microbiology. Topics covered will include the history of microbiology including classic experiments, microbial structure and function, nutrition, growth, control, metabolism and genetics of microbes.

General Microbiology Lab

The lab component of General Microbiology will provide an introduction to microbiological techniques, as well as a hands-on investigation of bacterial anatomy and physiology, growth conditions, genetics and basic biotechnology.

Advanced Anatomy and Physiology I Lecture/Lab

In this course, you will cover the chemical organization, cellular organization and tissue organization of the body. You will learn the anatomy and physiology of the integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system and endocrine system. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the physiology of osseous tissue, muscle contraction and nerve function and conduction, as well as familiarity with the anatomy of neural pathways and CNS regional specialization.

Advanced Anatomy and Physiology II Lecture/Lab

This course will cover the application of advanced anatomical and physiological concepts in a laboratory setting. Microscopic analysis of select tissues will be coupled with cadaver inspection, models, dissections and laboratory exercises to develop your understanding of the body systems covered in Advanced Anatomy and Physiology I.

Genetics Lecture/Lab

This course will provide an introduction to the basis of inheritance from molecular to organismal level with emphasis on the role of genetics in evolution and adaptation to the environment, as well as considerable human application. The lab component will provide a study of basic genetic principles with the aid of a variety of organisms and online lab exercises.

Biochemistry Lecture/Lab

This course will provide you with a discussion of the structure and function of proteins (and enzymes), lipids and carbohydrates. Energetics of biochemical reactions and enzyme kinetics will also be discussed. The lab component of this course will be an application of basic methods and techniques in biochemistry.

Pathophysiology

​This course deals with the disruption of normal physiology with the alterations, derangements and mechanisms involved in disruption and how they manifest themselves as signs, symptoms, physical and laboratory findings.

Statistics

In this course, you’ll learn collection and tabulation of data, averages and measures of disbursement, correlation and regression analysis, probability and sampling and hypothesis testing.

Scientific Methods

This course will familiarize you with the steps of the Scientific Method — including proper experimental design and use of controls — and the basic format of scientific papers and presentations.

Scientific Literature

In this course, you will begin to develop critical thinking skills by observing and evaluating presentations by your peers. Primary literature will be discussed and presented, as well as critical analyses of experimental designs in journal articles and as presented by students in other seminar courses.

Requirements for Human Biology (Pre-Physician Assistant Studies)

To earn your bachelor of science degree in human biology, you must complete 43 credit hours of general education, 38 credit hours of major courses, 31 credit hours of supporting field classes and 16 credit hours of electives.

During the pre-professional phase, a student must meet or exceed the progression criteria to continue in the program and begin the physician assistant program in level 4.

Acceptance and Progression Requirements 

1. You will begin the program as a pre-physician assistant student and will be assigned to an appropriate level (1-3) based on previous college coursework.

2. Once assigned an appropriate level (1-3) cohort as a pre-physician assistant student, you may not change cohorts without permission from the physician assistant program admissions and progression committee.

3. Summer course work may be required for some students to complete levels 1-3 on schedule.

4. Immunology must be taken in level 4 and cannot be transferred into the program or taken in an earlier level.

5. The physician assistant program begins at level 4, at which time your status will be changed to physician assistant student if all of the following criteria are successfully met for progression from level 3 to level 4:

  • No major program or supporting field course below B-
  • Cumulative College of Saint Mary GPA 3.0 or above
  • All level 1-3 courses successfully completed and passed
  • Full-time (12 credits) status maintained through all levels
  • Required immunizations and screenings completed.
  • Completed history and physical by a licensed physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner with no restrictions. This must be performed within six months of entry into level 4.
  • Criminal background check with no violations that would prevent PA licensure performed within six months of entry into level 4 
  • Negative urine drug screen performed within six months of entry into level 4

 

6. Any violation in the progression from level 3 to level 4 by the criteria above will result in the loss of your cohort seat in the physician assistant program. You will be allowed to finish your bachelor of science in human biology and may reapply to the physician assistant program (level 4) when future seats are available.

7. Any violation for entry into level 4 may be appealed to the physician assistant program admissions and progression committee for review and final decision.

As a pre-physician assistant student at College of Saint Mary, you will be assigned to a specific future professional phase (physician assistant) cohort upon admission as a pre-physician assistant student and will have a guaranteed seat in your assigned physician assistant cohort as long as all progression requirements are followed.

The Assurance of Accreditation

The assurance of regional accreditation means that our degrees have been evaluated for their outcomes — including how well they prepare you to meet the needs of your employers, yourself and our global society. College of Saint Mary is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Accreditation Statement

College of Saint Mary's physician assistant program has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).  College of Saint Mary anticipates matriculating its first physician assistant class in fall 2016, pending provisional accreditation in Spring 2016. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards. Pre-physician assistant students are currently being accepted and under all circumstances will be eligible to complete a degree in human biology.

Requirements for Admission to College of Saint Mary's Pre-Physician Assistant/Human Biology Major

College of Saint Mary’s accelerated dual degree program is designed for students to enter as first semester freshmen; however, transfer students are welcome to apply. College of Saint Mary does not offer advanced placement for the professional phase (physician assistant) of the program (level 4).

Pre-Professional Admissions Requirements

First-time / Full-time Freshman (High School Seniors)

  • ACT ≥ 24 or SAT ≥ 550 Reading / ≥ 550 Math / and ≥ 1100 combined
  • High school cumulative GPA: 3.0 or above
  • Completed seven units of high school science and/or math
  • Ready to enter Math 114 (college algebra) or higher; Math ACT ≥ 24 or Math SAT ≥ 560
  • Ready to begin Chemistry 110 (general chemistry); requires completion of/or concurrent enrollment in Math 114
  • Personal statement essay
  • Participation in high school extra- and co-curricular activities
  • Names and contact information for three references
  • Ability to comply with the College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program Technical Standards

 

Transfer or Current College of Saint Mary Student Admission

  • Cumulative GPA: 3.4 (12 or more credits) or ACT ≥ 24 or SAT ≥ 550 Reading / ≥ 550 Math / and ≥ 1100 combined
  • No collegiate science grade below B-
  • Ready to enter Math 114 (college algebra) or higher; Math ACT ≥ 24 or Math SAT ≥ 560
  • Ready to begin Chemistry 110 (general chemistry); requires completion of/or concurrent enrollment in Math 114
  • Names and contact information for three references
  • Personal statement essay
  • Ability to comply with the College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program Technical Standards

 

Admission Process and Decisions

Admission to the program is competitive with a limited number of seats in each cohort. Admission decisions are made by the physician assistant program admissions and progression committee and will be made based on the following:

  • Past academic performance (GPA and completed courses, particularly science and math courses)
  • Documented academic aptitude (ACT/SAT or collegiate GPA if more than 12 credit hours of collegiate work has been completed)
  • Extra- and co-curricular activities
  • Medical and/or clinical experiences (shadowing, volunteering, etc.)
  • Recommendations from qualified individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s character and performance
  • Communication and interpersonal skills (via essay, interview and/or review of letters of reference)
  • Aptitude for successfully completing the program and passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)

 

Application Process

  • Apply Online
  • Submit $30 application fee
  • Submit high school and/or college transcripts
  • Submit names, phones and e-mail addresses of three references
  • Submit provided extra- and co-curricular activities form (attach to electronic application)
  • Submit essay (attach to electronic application)
  • If selected, participate in an on-campus interview with College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant program director and faculty

You must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher with no science, math or psychology grade below a B- to continue in the program. The program is organized into levels.

Academic Description

Pre-Physician Assistant Studies Human Biology Major — Prepare for Master's Level PA Studies

College of Saint Mary’s unique, five-year physician assistant studies program combines a bachelor of science degree in human biology and master of science in physician assistant studies. You start pre-physician assistant classes leading to a bachelor of science degree in human biology and begin physician assistant classes during your fourth year of study, leading to a master of science degree in physician assistant studies.

College of Saint Mary Estimated Net Tuition for the Physician Assistant Program

High School Graduates: You can become a physician assistant in five years instead of the traditional six to seven years it takes elsewhere with the comfort of knowing you will be admitted into our physician assistant program if you are accepted to our pre-physician assistant program and meet our progression requirements.

Transfer Students: You can transfer to College of Saint Mary and take missing prerequisites by joining us as a pre-physician assistant student during your second or third year of undergraduate study. You’ll have the security of knowing you will be admitted into College of Saint Mary’s master of science degree in physician assistant studies program if you are accepted as a pre-physician assistant student and meet the progression requirements.

Accreditation Statement

College of Saint Mary's physician assistant program has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).  College of Saint Mary anticipates matriculating its first physician assistant class in fall 2016, pending provisional accreditation in Spring 2016. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards. Pre-physician assistant students are currently being accepted and under all circumstances will be eligible to complete a degree in human biology.

We also offer a bachelor of science degree in human biology and a bachelor of science degree in biology

Accreditation

The Assurance of Accreditation

The assurance of regional accreditation means that our degrees have been evaluated for their outcomes — including how well they prepare you to meet the needs of your employers, yourself and our global society. College of Saint Mary is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Accreditation Statement

College of Saint Mary's physician assistant program has applied for provisional accreditation from the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant (ARC-PA).  College of Saint Mary anticipates matriculating its first physician assistant class in fall 2016, pending provisional accreditation in Spring 2016. Provisional accreditation is an accreditation status for a new physician assistant program that has not yet enrolled students, but at the time of its comprehensive accreditation review, has demonstrated its preparedness to initiate a program in accordance with the accreditation Standards. Pre-physician assistant students are currently being accepted and under all circumstances will be eligible to complete a degree in human biology.

Admissions Requirements

Requirements for Admission to College of Saint Mary's Pre-Physician Assistant/Human Biology Major

College of Saint Mary’s accelerated dual degree program is designed for students to enter as first semester freshmen; however, transfer students are welcome to apply. College of Saint Mary does not offer advanced placement for the professional phase (physician assistant) of the program (level 4).

Pre-Professional Admissions Requirements

First-time / Full-time Freshman (High School Seniors)

  • ACT ≥ 24 or SAT ≥ 550 Reading / ≥ 550 Math / and ≥ 1100 combined
  • High school cumulative GPA: 3.0 or above
  • Completed seven units of high school science and/or math
  • Ready to enter Math 114 (college algebra) or higher; Math ACT ≥ 24 or Math SAT ≥ 560
  • Ready to begin Chemistry 110 (general chemistry); requires completion of/or concurrent enrollment in Math 114
  • Personal statement essay
  • Participation in high school extra- and co-curricular activities
  • Names and contact information for three references
  • Ability to comply with the College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program Technical Standards

 

Transfer or Current College of Saint Mary Student Admission

  • Cumulative GPA: 3.4 (12 or more credits) or ACT ≥ 24 or SAT ≥ 550 Reading / ≥ 550 Math / and ≥ 1100 combined
  • No collegiate science grade below B-
  • Ready to enter Math 114 (college algebra) or higher; Math ACT ≥ 24 or Math SAT ≥ 560
  • Ready to begin Chemistry 110 (general chemistry); requires completion of/or concurrent enrollment in Math 114
  • Names and contact information for three references
  • Personal statement essay
  • Ability to comply with the College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant Program Technical Standards

 

Admission Process and Decisions

Admission to the program is competitive with a limited number of seats in each cohort. Admission decisions are made by the physician assistant program admissions and progression committee and will be made based on the following:

  • Past academic performance (GPA and completed courses, particularly science and math courses)
  • Documented academic aptitude (ACT/SAT or collegiate GPA if more than 12 credit hours of collegiate work has been completed)
  • Extra- and co-curricular activities
  • Medical and/or clinical experiences (shadowing, volunteering, etc.)
  • Recommendations from qualified individuals with knowledge of the applicant’s character and performance
  • Communication and interpersonal skills (via essay, interview and/or review of letters of reference)
  • Aptitude for successfully completing the program and passing the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE)

 

Application Process

  • Apply Online
  • Submit $30 application fee
  • Submit high school and/or college transcripts
  • Submit names, phones and e-mail addresses of three references
  • Submit provided extra- and co-curricular activities form (attach to electronic application)
  • Submit essay (attach to electronic application)
  • If selected, participate in an on-campus interview with College of Saint Mary Physician Assistant program director and faculty

You must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher with no science, math or psychology grade below a B- to continue in the program. The program is organized into levels.

Curriculum

General Cellular Biology Lecture/Lab

In this course, you will study the basic principles of biology. Course topics will focus on cellular principles, metabolism and genetics. The lab component will provide a hands-on investigation of topics discussed in the lecture.

General Microbiology Lecture

In this course, you will study the basic principles of microbiology. Topics covered will include the history of microbiology including classic experiments, microbial structure and function, nutrition, growth, control, metabolism and genetics of microbes.

General Microbiology Lab

The lab component of General Microbiology will provide an introduction to microbiological techniques, as well as a hands-on investigation of bacterial anatomy and physiology, growth conditions, genetics and basic biotechnology.

Advanced Anatomy and Physiology I Lecture/Lab

In this course, you will cover the chemical organization, cellular organization and tissue organization of the body. You will learn the anatomy and physiology of the integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system and endocrine system. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the physiology of osseous tissue, muscle contraction and nerve function and conduction, as well as familiarity with the anatomy of neural pathways and CNS regional specialization.

Advanced Anatomy and Physiology II Lecture/Lab

This course will cover the application of advanced anatomical and physiological concepts in a laboratory setting. Microscopic analysis of select tissues will be coupled with cadaver inspection, models, dissections and laboratory exercises to develop your understanding of the body systems covered in Advanced Anatomy and Physiology I.

Genetics Lecture/Lab

This course will provide an introduction to the basis of inheritance from molecular to organismal level with emphasis on the role of genetics in evolution and adaptation to the environment, as well as considerable human application. The lab component will provide a study of basic genetic principles with the aid of a variety of organisms and online lab exercises.

Biochemistry Lecture/Lab

This course will provide you with a discussion of the structure and function of proteins (and enzymes), lipids and carbohydrates. Energetics of biochemical reactions and enzyme kinetics will also be discussed. The lab component of this course will be an application of basic methods and techniques in biochemistry.

Pathophysiology

​This course deals with the disruption of normal physiology with the alterations, derangements and mechanisms involved in disruption and how they manifest themselves as signs, symptoms, physical and laboratory findings.

Statistics

In this course, you’ll learn collection and tabulation of data, averages and measures of disbursement, correlation and regression analysis, probability and sampling and hypothesis testing.

Scientific Methods

This course will familiarize you with the steps of the Scientific Method — including proper experimental design and use of controls — and the basic format of scientific papers and presentations.

Scientific Literature

In this course, you will begin to develop critical thinking skills by observing and evaluating presentations by your peers. Primary literature will be discussed and presented, as well as critical analyses of experimental designs in journal articles and as presented by students in other seminar courses.

Degree Requirements

Requirements for Human Biology (Pre-Physician Assistant Studies)

To earn your bachelor of science degree in human biology, you must complete 43 credit hours of general education, 38 credit hours of major courses, 31 credit hours of supporting field classes and 16 credit hours of electives.

During the pre-professional phase, a student must meet or exceed the progression criteria to continue in the program and begin the physician assistant program in level 4.

Acceptance and Progression Requirements 

1. You will begin the program as a pre-physician assistant student and will be assigned to an appropriate level (1-3) based on previous college coursework.

2. Once assigned an appropriate level (1-3) cohort as a pre-physician assistant student, you may not change cohorts without permission from the physician assistant program admissions and progression committee.

3. Summer course work may be required for some students to complete levels 1-3 on schedule.

4. Immunology must be taken in level 4 and cannot be transferred into the program or taken in an earlier level.

5. The physician assistant program begins at level 4, at which time your status will be changed to physician assistant student if all of the following criteria are successfully met for progression from level 3 to level 4:

  • No major program or supporting field course below B-
  • Cumulative College of Saint Mary GPA 3.0 or above
  • All level 1-3 courses successfully completed and passed
  • Full-time (12 credits) status maintained through all levels
  • Required immunizations and screenings completed.
  • Completed history and physical by a licensed physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner with no restrictions. This must be performed within six months of entry into level 4.
  • Criminal background check with no violations that would prevent PA licensure performed within six months of entry into level 4 
  • Negative urine drug screen performed within six months of entry into level 4

 

6. Any violation in the progression from level 3 to level 4 by the criteria above will result in the loss of your cohort seat in the physician assistant program. You will be allowed to finish your bachelor of science in human biology and may reapply to the physician assistant program (level 4) when future seats are available.

7. Any violation for entry into level 4 may be appealed to the physician assistant program admissions and progression committee for review and final decision.

As a pre-physician assistant student at College of Saint Mary, you will be assigned to a specific future professional phase (physician assistant) cohort upon admission as a pre-physician assistant student and will have a guaranteed seat in your assigned physician assistant cohort as long as all progression requirements are followed.