Pre-Physician Assistant BS
Students develop the professional laboratory and anatomy skills needed to excel in a PA master’s degree. Small classes offer individual attention to foster the technical knowledge and people skills. Program Director Dr. Mike Bechill works in conjunction with the PA school providing insight to students as they prepare for PA school. Students are introduced to project based learning in our undergraduate program. which requires working in teams. This team approach teaches the leadership and communication foundational skills that are essential throughout one’s career.
USF has their own Physician Assistant school, which is internationally recognized. Among the graduates of the PA school, 100% have passed their certification exam over the last eight years. Likewise, 100% of Pre PA students receive interviews for PA graduate programs, at USF or other universities. Most students take the traditional Pre-PA program, but USF also offers a dual-accept four-year Pre-Physician Assistant program, identical to the traditional undergraduate PA program academically. The undergraduate curriculum aligns closely with the Pre-Medical biology degree, thus students could also apply for medical school.
Traditional vs. Dual Acceptance
Students complete their undergraduate courses, and apply for PA master’s program separately. To be successful in this program, it is suggested students rank in the upper half of their high school graduation class, have a GPA of at least 2.3 on a 4.0 scale and earn a Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) re-centered score of 1,000 or above (Verbal/Critical Reading and Math combined) or an American College Test (ACT) composite score of 21 or above.
Dual Acceptance Track
In the Dual-Accept track, qualified high school students proceed directly into the master’s degree curriculum of the Physician Assistant Studies program without having to complete an additional USF application.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Students are proficient in critical, analytical, and integrative thinking in the sciences.
- Students use the scientific method to conduct hypothesis-driven research or complete a science-based service project.
- Students demonstrate global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness in the pursuit of science.
- Students demonstrate leadership and the ability to work in teams.
- Students are proficient presenting scientific information in oral and written form.
- Students demonstrate knowledge of the major concepts and principles of biology.
- Students are confident, satisfied, and well-prepared to undertake careers in the biological sciences.
The B.S. in Biology-Pre-Physician Assistant degree requires 128 credit hours:
- 36-37 credit hours of Franciscan Core general education courses,
- 65 credit hours of prescribed courses in biology, chemistry, and physics,
- a minimum of 9 credit hours of directed electives in biology,
- elective courses as needed
Program of Study
- Major requirements: BIOL 190, BIOL 191 (Prin. of Bio. I & II), BIOL 226 (Micro.), BIOL 271/2 (Mammalian A&P I) or BIOL 349 (Vert. Phys.), BIOL 273/4 (Mammalian A&P II) or BIOL 290 (Comp. Anat.), BIOL 295 (Genetics), BIOL 296 (Ecol. & Div.), BIOL 352 (Adv. Topic in Med.), BIOL 366 (Exp. Design), BIOL 401 (Sen. Cap.), BIOL 480 (Bio. Seminar), CHEM 141, CHEM 142 (Prin. of Chem. I & II), CHEM 241, CHEM 242 (Organic I, II), CHEM 333 (Biochem), PSYC 121 (Gen. Psyc.), SCIE 257 (Physics I), SCIE 258 (Physics II)
- Major directed electives, 9 credit hours minimum: BIOL 350/1 (Cell/Lab), BIOL 440 (Mol. Bio.), BIOL 465 (Adv. Phys/Patho.), BIOL 471 (Immuno), BIOL 474 (Virol.)
Applicants to the Pre-Physician Assistant biology program must meet University of Saint Francis admission requirements. To be successful in this program, it is suggested students rank in the upper half of their high school graduation class, have a GPA of at least 2.3 on a 4.0 scale and earn a Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) re-centered score of 1,000 or above (Verbal/Critical Reading and Math combined) or an American College Test (ACT) composite score of 21 or above.
Students seeking Dual Acceptance to the B.S. and M.S. programs at USF must
- graduate from high school with a GPA of at least 3.5 a 4.0 scale,
- score at least 1280 on SAT (combined reading and math only) or 26 on ACT,
- shadow a PA for at least ten hours, and submit a one to two page paper regarding the shadowing,
- submit a one to two page paper about medical interest in voluntary work, organization activity or training,
- provide one reference from a physician assistant,
- provide one reference from a physician,
- be interviewed and approved by the Admissions Committee, and
- be accepted by the Physician Assistant Studies program.
Pre-Physician Assistant biology majors must maintain a Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0, and are required to earn a grade of “C” or better in all major courses required by the major, including directed electives. These major courses may be repeated only once.
Students not meeting the progression standards can change major to B.S. in Biology or other program at USF.
For students who have received Dual Acceptance to the BS and MS programs, they must
- earn a “C” or better in all courses,
- maintain an undergraduate GPA of 3.5,
- have no disciplinary actions recorded by Student Affairs,
- comply with all the enrollment requirements of the PA program, and
- complete 1000 hours of approved patient care experience prior to entering the graduate portion.
Students not meeting the progression standards will forfeit their reserved seat in the master’s portion, but can still apply for admission through the traditional route.
Pre-Physician Assistant biology majors are required to pass an exit exam by the end of their senior year.