New CASPA Offering: Common Prerequisites List
If you’ve seen one PA program, you’ve seen one PA program.
This phrase is often heard in PA education spaces. From international elective rotations to state-of-the-art simulation labs to community outreach and more, PA applicants have a variety of options when choosing which PA program to attend. However, a common barrier for PA applicants is the variation in prerequisite course requirements. Questions from health professions advisors related to program requirements, especially regarding prerequisite courses, have increased significantly in recent months.
PAEA strives to support member programs in attracting and recruiting qualified applicants; eliminating barriers for those interested in applying to PA programs is one of the many ways the Association can help. Pre-PA student preparation is critical to ensuring an applicant pool that is ready for the rigors of PA school. To help create a more equitable admissions process and support programs in pursuing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, PAEA will share a list of common prerequisite courses with Pre-PA students, applicants, and advisors, beginning with the 2022-23 CASPA Application Cycle.
Providing adequate resources to pre-health advisors is critical to the success of those entering the applicant pool each year. In 2021, the PAEA Presidents Commission published the results of the Curriculum Survey, which demonstrated strong support from PA faculty for standardized prerequisite course requirements for admissions. PAEA’s Curriculum Report 4 revealed that among the 234 programs that completed the survey, 12 prerequisite courses were common across many programs:
- Biology (general)
- Biology (microbiology)
- Chemistry (general)
- Chemistry (organic)
- English Composition/Writing
- Medical Terminology
- Psychology (general)
PAEA is pleased to share this list of common prerequisite courses (previously published in the Presidents Commission paper, “Reflections on a PA Entrance Exam: Does the Profession Need One?”) with Pre-PA students, applicants, and advisors.
Please note: It is still recommended that applicants seek counsel from individual PA program admissions offices throughout the application process.
 VanderMeulen, Stephane MPAS, PA-C; Snyder, Jennifer A. PhD, PA-C; Kohlhepp, William DHSc, MHA, PA-C; Mustone Alexander, Lisa EdD, MPH, PA-C; Straker, Howard EdD, MPH, PA-C; Bowser, Jonathan MS, PA-C; Bondy, Mary Jo DHEd, MHS, PA-C Pipeline to the Physician Assistant Profession: A Look to the Future, The Journal of Physician Assistant Education: March 2022 – Volume 33 – Issue 1 – p e1-e10 doi: 10.1097/JPA.0000000000000414
 Physician Assistant Education Association, By the Numbers: Curriculum Report 4: Data from the 2018 Prerequisite Curriculum Survey, Washington, DC: PAEA; 2019. doi: 10.17538/CR4.2019.003
 Vandermeulen, Stephane MPAS, PA-C; Hills, Karen MS, PA-C; Snyder, Jennifer A. PhD, PA-C; Kohlhepp, William DHSc, MHA, PA-C; Alexander, Lisa Mustone EdD, MPH, PA-C; Bowser, Jonathan MS, PA-C; Lane, Steven MA, MPP Reflections on a Physician Assistant Entrance Exam: Does the Profession Need One?, The Journal of Physician Assistant Education: March 2021 – Volume 32 – Issue 1 – p 20-25doi: 10.1097/JPA.0000000000000343