Pre-Physician Assistant - Pre-Health Program - Christopher Newport University

Pre-Health Program

Pre-Physician Assistant

Pre-requisites for applying to a typical physician assistant program:

  • BIOL 211/211L & BIOL 213/213L (non-BIOL majors will need special permission to enroll in these courses)
  • CHEM 121/121L - 122/122/L (this course should be completed as soon as possible)
  • CHEM 321/321L - 322/322L (Organic Chemistry)
  • BIOL 301/301L (Microbiology)
  • BIOL 314/314/L - 315/315/L (Anatomy and Physiology)
  • BCHM 414 (for biochemistry majors) or BCHM 410 (for non-majors)
  • at least six credits in PSYC (201, 202, 207 (Lifespan Development) and/or 315 (Abnormal)
  • BIOL 272 (Medical Terminology)
  • MATH 130 and 125
  • Many PA schools require a minimum grade (e.g. B) in the pre-requisite courses and some require that you have your pre-requisites done BEFORE you apply.

Most PA programs require a significant number of direct patient contact hours (500+). However, each school defines patient contact hours differently. In many cases shadowing and scribing does not count as patient contact hours (although they do recognize it as a valuable experience). Working or volunteering as either a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or an emergency medical technician (EMT) is a very good way to gain valuable patient contact hours. Students must check the prerequisites for each program they intend to apply to. In addition to the pre-requisite courses and patient contact hours, volunteer, research and other extracurricular activities are also beneficial.

You may have to take the GRE-Graduate Record Examination.*

The verbal and quantitative portions of the GRE are scored between 130–170, and the average score falls somewhere around 150-152. Analytical writing section of the GRE is scored between 0 and 6 in half-point increments, and the average hits somewhere around 3.5. A writing score of 4 with a combined verbal and quantitative score of 300 or greater is preferred. Prepare for the GRE.

*Scores should be sent directly to your chosen school.

It takes a minimum of three years to complete the pre-requisite coursework. Applications are submitted approximately one year before intended matriculation. Most pre-PA students take a gap year to accumulate the significant amount of patient contact hours needed to be a competitive applicant.

Most physician assistant schools use the centralized application service CASPA.* Since many programs have rolling admissions, it is advised that you apply as soon as possible. In addition, it may take up to four weeks for your application to be verified by CASPA and many programs will not accept unverified applications regardless if it was submitted before the deadline.

  • Research programs you wish to apply to. Pay special attention to:
    • Deadline requirements.
    • Reference requirements.
    • Minimum requirements, including prerequisites, standardized test scores, supplemental applications, foreign evaluations, etc.
  • Ask your schools to send you the official transcripts you'll need to enter your coursework.
  • Begin contacting potential references to confirm their participation.
  • Begin drafting your personal essay.
  • Review the instructions in CASPA's Help Center and the CASPA professional code of conduct.

*CASPA applications are deleted at the end of every application cycle. Don't create an account unless you intend to apply within that cycle.

Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) and CNU have entered into an agreement whereby CNU applicants that meet certain criteria and are recommended by the DPP and CHPP will be guaranteed admission into the EVMS Master of Physician Assistant Studies Program.

Application Requirements

To be eligible to apply through the Early Assurance Program, a student must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an enrolled "career student" at a partner institution since your Freshman year of college
    • This program is not available to students transferring into the institution
  • Be in their "Junior year" at a partner institution
    • Applicants should have no more than one additional academic year to complete at the time of their interview session
  • Meet all institutional and degree requirements to continue as a student in good standing
  • Have no academic or conduct code violations
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident (green card holder)
  • Maintain an overall GPA of 3.4 or better
  • Have satisfactorily completed at least 7 of the 8 pre-requisite courses
    • Anatomy or A&P I
    • Physiology or A&P II
    • General or Intro Chemistry
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Microbiology
    • Introductory Psychology
    • Upper Level Psychology
    • College Math, Statistics, or Physics
  • Be able to accumulate 500 hours of patient care experience before acceptance into the program
  • Have no academic or other code of conduct violations

Maintaining Eligibility

The guarantee of admission through the EAP is contingent upon the students's continued eligibility in the EAP. The student must:

  • Meet with EAP Advisor each semester and maintain contact with the PA Program after graduation
  • Carry sufficient credit load during the remaining regular academic semesters to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements
  • Maintain an overall 3.4 GPA or better with consistent academic performance
  • Make significant progress towards achieving the individually specified goals outlined on the Healthcare Experience Plan of Completion
    • To obtain strong direct patient care experience, students should give sincere consideration to obtaining a certification as a healthcare provider (e.g., CNA, EMT, paramedic, phlebotomy, etc.)
    • The goal is for the applicant to have at least 1000 hours of patient care experience before matriculating in the PA program
  • Fulfill all institution and degree requirements to maintain status as a student in good standing (no academic or conduct code violations) and earn a bachelor’s degree prior to matriculation in the EVMS PA program
  • Complete the additional specific conditions set by the PA program at the time of acceptance notification (e.g., official transcripts confirming date of degree completion, a criminal background check, indication of ability to independently meet the technical standards, and submission of all health requirements)
  • Remain free of any actions or conduct that would cause the admissions committee to question a student's suitability to pursue a career in medicine. These include, but are not limited to, misdemeanor or felony convictions, academic dishonesty, or other code of conduct violation, and/or unprofessional conduct in a health care or educational setting

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