Kick Off Your Holiday Break with Curriculum Report 4

Just in time for the holidays, By the Numbers: Curriculum Report 4: Prerequisites delivers a comprehensive look at the requirements for entering PA education. This report includes information about programs’ required prerequisite coursework, health care experience, and tests; applications and admissions; and a bit about curricular design. Data for this report come from the combined 2018 Program Directory and Prerequisite Curriculum Survey, which covered the 2017-2018 academic year. The previous iteration of this report, Curriculum Report 1, was released in October 2017. 

Consistent with the last Prerequisite Curriculum Report, this report demonstrates the wide variability among PA programs regarding the prerequisites required for admission. On average, PA programs require nine prerequisite courses (Table 7), with at least 20% of responding programs requiring 12 courses. (Figure 4). Beyond that, there is a “long tail” of other prerequisites required by a small number of programs. All of this may act as a barrier to admission for some prospective students. To address this, for the first time, we asked whether programs would support an effort by PA education to develop a set of universal academic course prerequisites for admission to all PA programs. More than two-thirds of responding programs supported this idea! 

In addition to reporting on prerequisite courses in the aggregate, the new Curriculum Report includes newly added “Prerequisite Profiles.” These profiles individually present the features of each of the 12 prerequisites courses required by at least 20% of responding programs. Interested in the restrictions other programs place on their anatomy requirements? Check the anatomy Prerequisite Profile on page 13 for all the relevant information presented together — rather than having to collect that information across multiple different tables. 

As always, Curriculum Report data are available to researchers interested in getting access to raw data for their own research. Please note that Curriculum (and Program) Survey data requests are exempt from the IRB approval/exemption process. These are the easiest raw data to request. Custom reports are also available to PA faculty members who would like a more focused research report on specific items. Our data request and sharing policies are detailed here

For questions, comments, and suggestions, please contact the Research Team at or 703-651-8536.