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Get on the right track to physician assistant school

We’ll guide you through choosing the courses and experiences PA schools look for.

Pre-Physician Assistant Path

Students of many majors have applied to become a physician assistant in the past and the PHPAC help to make sure that you are prepared to apply to PA programs.


If you are a biomedical sciences major you will take all of the important prerequisite classes your application as part of your major. If you are not one of these majors, it is important to take the following classes.

  • General Biology (BIO101, 4 credits with lab)
  • Microbiology (BIO203, 4 credits with lab)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II (BIO326 and BIO327, 8 credits with lab)
  • General Genetics (BIO305, 4 credits with lab)
  • General Chemistry I and II (CHE111 and CHE112, 8 credits with lab)
  • Organic Chemistry I and II (CH241 and CH242, 8 credits with lab)
  • General Psychology (PSY101, 3 credits)
  • Statistics (MAT161) or Biostatistics (BIO333, 3 credits)

The Honors Program at SUNY Plattsburgh is an important way to show academic excellence. You should take advantage of this opportunity if possible.

Healthcare Experience

Schools will expect you to have between 500 and 2000 hours of healthcare experience before starting their program. This must be hands-on experience in some role that involves direct patient care. Some examples of this include being an EMT, a certified nursing assistant (CNA), a phlebotomist, EKG technician, medical scribe, or military corpsman. Your hours don’t need to be complete before applying, but you must be able to show that they will be by the time you begin their program.

Applying to PA School

Application to physician assistant schools is through the CASPA system. The CASPA system opens for the each application cycle in late April and closes in March of the following year. Each PA school will have its own deadlines for application, which are usually in the fall. CASPA will require an official copy of your transcripts, letters of recommendation, MCAT or GRE scores (GRE preferred), and a list of schools where you want your application sent. More complete information can be found in the CASPA Policies and Procedures Manual on the CASPA Resources page.


Clarkson University

Marywood University

Albany Medical College — Joint Bachelor’s & Master’s Admission Program

Albany Medical College — Early Assurance Program

Alumni Profiles

Adelena Sackett, Class of ’20

  • Hofstra University, Physician Assistant Program

“I entered freshman year at SUNY Plattsburgh undecided and after my first biology and chemistry classes I realized that it would be a perfect fit. Let me just say — I am so glad I made this decision. The professors are so amazing and helped me tremendously. Each class I took was more and more mentally stimulating. I was given opportunities to conduct and present gathered research at different academic conferences. I was also able to take many interesting electives to help me better guide my own education. Finally, one of my favorite features of the bio department at SUNY Plattsburgh is that it is made up of many vastly educated women which proved to be very inspiring throughout my academic journey. I would have chosen SUNY Plattsburgh’s bio department time and time again!”

Portrait of Kayla NapperKayla Napper, Class of ’19

  • Marist College, Physician Assistant

“When I think about my experience at SUNY Plattsburgh, I am immediately reminded of the kindness that surrounded the educational environment. The biggest asset that SUNY Plattsburgh has to offer is the amazing faculty and staff. It is easy for students to become confident in their skills with professors that are dedicated to helping students implement their knowledge.

“SUNY Plattsburgh also offered me many opportunities to develop important communication skills — from helping provide internships, to providing flexible class schedules. This allowed me to work and gain hours for PA School. SUNY Plattsburgh is the foundation in which my career is going to be built on.”

Portrait of Jackie BattistaJacqueline Battista, Class of ’17

  • MA College Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Physician Assistant Program

“SUNY Plattsburgh gave me the freedom to make the most out of my major and tailor it to my personal interests. As I realized that the classes I loved best were geared towards the medical field, my professors and advisor did everything possible to encourage me. The opportunities I found, as well as the enthusiasm of my professors for their subjects, made me so excited to practice medicine. The support and guidance I got while at SUNY Plattsburgh is something I will always be grateful for!”

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