Apr 13, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    
2022-2023 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, Pre-Professional (Pre-Physician Assistant), B.S.


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What does it mean to be Pre-Physician Assistant (Pre-PA)?

Pre-physician assistant is not a specific major.  The term is used to describe students who plan to enter a physician assistant (PA) program after completing an undergraduate degree. 

Pre-physician assistant students must complete courses required for admission to PA programs, acquire the capacity to perform well on the Physician Assistant College Admission Test (PA-CAT), and gain the depth of knowledge necessary to be successful in a PA program. 

Each PA program has its own specific prerequisites.  Almost all require one or two semesters of physics, two semesters of general chemistry, two semesters of introductory biology, a two semester sequence of human anatomy and physiology, microbiology, math (calculus or college algebra), statistics, and social science courses (psychology and/or sociology).  Some require 2 semesters of organic chemistry.  Because students will generally apply to more than one PA program, an undergraduate degree that provides a strong background in the natural sciences and “covers all the bases” is essential.

The Biology, Pre-Professional (Pre-Physician Assistant), B.S. is designed to provide prerequisite coursework and opportunities for students to acquire foundational knowledge (in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics) that will prepare them for the rigor of a PA program.  Pre-physician assistant students are encouraged to begin a discussion with their academic advisor during the first year (to develop a plan) and continue these discussions throughout their undergraduate career (to review progress and receive advice on the timing and execution of the plan). 

What Other Courses Should Pre-Physician Assistant Students Take?

We recommend PSYC 110  (General Psychology) and SOCI 101  (Introduction to Sociology).  These courses provide content relevant to the behavioral sciences portion of the PA-CAT.  Students may select these courses as General Electives or as part of the Chowan VALUES Core.

We recommend that pre-physician assistant students select BIOL 221  (Human Anatomy and Physiology I) and BIOL 222  (Human Anatomy and Physiology II) as Electives in the Core. 

What Else Should Pre-Physician Assistant Students Do Before Applying to PA programs?

  • Get experience.

Relevant work or volunteer experience is essential for developing a competitive application.  Examples include shadowing a PA, participating in healthcare related volunteer opportunities, becoming a medical scribe, or pursuing certifications (e.g., Emergency Medical Technician or Certified Nursing Assistant).  Students completing relevant work, volunteer, or shadowing experiences may be eligible to receive credit toward their degree program (BIOL 493  – Cooperative Internship Experience).

  • Take the PA-CAT

What is the PA-CAT?

The PA-CAT (Physician Assistant College Admission Test) is a standardized exam required for admission to many PA programs.  It is an important component of a competitive application.

The PA-CAT assesses knowledge in nine subject areas that are required for admission to a majority of PA programs.

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • General Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • General and Organic Chemistry
  • Statistics
  • Behavioral Sciences

Criteria for Admission to Program

Students pursuing a degree in biology are officially admitted to the program upon satisfying the following criteria:

2.0 GPA for all university work completed at time of admission to program.

Grades of C or better in the following core courses:

GPA 2.00

Minimum Graduation Requirements (120 credit hours)


C or Better On All Courses Toward The Major.


Core Requirements (53 credit hours)


Biology Core (23 credit hours)


Chemistry Core (16 credit hours)


Physics Core (8 credit hours)


The Department of Biology strongly recommends that students take PHYS 203  and PHYS 204 .

Mathematics Core (3-4 credit hours)


The Department of Biology strongly recommends that students take MATH 170 .

Capstone (3-4 credit hours)


Electives in the Major (12 credit hours)


At least 4 credit hours must come from at least two of the following categories: cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology and evolution. A course used to fulfill the requirement in one category may not be used again to fulfill the requirement in another category. At least 4 credit hours must come from 300- or 400-level courses. At least two courses must have a lab component.

Special topics courses (BIOL 299 , BIOL 399 , BIOL 499 ), seminar (BIOL 391 ), directed research (BIOL 392 ), and internships (BIOL 493 ) are assigned a specific category at the time they are offered.

Cellular and Molecular Biology


Additional Requirements (19 credit hours)


VALUES Core (36 credit hours)


Vocation, Application, and Learning in the Undergraduate Experience for Students

Chowan VALUES (18 credit hours)


*Personal and Civic VALUES (6 credit hours)


These 6 credit hours must be from 2 different disciplines. Disciplines are designated by prefixes. Personal and Civic VALUES courses allow students to develop self and identity and explore the individual’s role in and impact on society. Personal and Civic VALUES courses are designated in the Academic Catalog and designated in the Class Schedule with PV. To view a list of approved Personal and Civic VALUES courses, click VALUES Core.

*Historical and Global VALUES (3 credit hours)


Historical and Global VALUES courses engage students in critical analysis of the past to understand how knowledge of history helps them to navigate their future. These courses also encourage students to ask critical questions about global issues and challenges. Historical and Global VALUES courses are designated in the Academic Catalog and designated in the Class Schedule with HV. To view a list of approved Historical and Global VALUES courses, click VALUES Core.

*Scientific VALUES (3 credit hours)


Scientific VALUES courses enable students to develop the skills necessary to employ the scientific method and assess the way evidence-based knowledge affects the understanding of self, others, and the world. These courses encourage students to explore the physical, natural, and behavioral world. Scientific VALUES courses are designated in the Academic Catalog and designated in the Class Schedule with SV. To view a list of approved Scientific VALUES courses, click VALUES Core.

*Cultural and Diversity VALUES (6 credit hours)


These 6 credit hours must be from 2 different disciplines and at least 3 of these 6 credit hours must be 200 level or higher. Disciplines are designated by prefixes. Cultural and Diversity VALUES courses prepare students to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and thrive in an interconnected world. These courses introduce students to an understanding of diverse cultures, arts, and communities. Cultural and Diversity VALUES courses are designated in the Academic Catalog and designated in the Class Schedule with CV. To view a list of approved Cultural and Diversity VALUES courses, click VALUES Core .

*Notes


These 18 credit hours must include 3 credit hours of social or behavioral science and 3 credit hours of humanities or fine arts. Social or behavioral sciences include geography, history, sociology, political science, psychology, or economics. Humanities or fine arts include philosophy, music, literature, drama, art, or religion.

Students can “double count” up to 6 credit hours of these 18 credit hours for both their major and general education. However, students cannot use a course to fulfill both the VALUES Core and the Global Learning Core.

To qualify for a baccalaureate degree, a student must complete a minimum of 120 credit hours, meet the university’s VALUES Core requirements, and meet any specific requirements of the major.

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