This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The pre-physician assistant minor provides foundational courses for students that are preparing to be competitive applicants for Master of Physician Assistant (M.P.A.) programs after completing their bachelor’s degree at VCU. The pre-physician assistant minor can be completed as a part of any undergraduate degree. Completing this minor does not guarantee admission into any physician assistant program. This minor is structured to academically prepare students to apply for physician assistant programs broadly. Clinical and non-clinical experiences are a requirement of application to most physician assistant programs. In addition to this minor, students should participate in clinical and non-clinical experiences to develop a competitive application for physician assistant school. Visit the VCU Career Services - Pre-Professional Health Career Advising website for more information and to schedule an appointment with a pre-professional health and STEM career counselor.

Physician assistant programs across the U.S. have different prerequisites for admission. The list below shows courses that may be required by various physician assistant programs. It is always recommended that you check with each physician assistant program which you are interested in applying to because requirements can and do change. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic adviser to integrate these courses into their academic plan. In addition, students are encouraged to discuss career plans with their pre-professional health academic minor adviser and career counselor for additional guidance.

For the pre-physician assistant minor, a minimum of nine credits in upper-level science (300-level or higher) courses must be taken at VCU. All upper-level science courses at a 300-level or higher listed in this minor are strongly recommended to be completed at VCU. It is encouraged to demonstrate future academic success in physician assistant programs through a rigorous course schedule. Physician assistant programs may prefer students complete these courses at a four-year institution in order to demonstrate future academic success in physician assistant program coursework. 

Declaring the pre-physician assistant minor

To declare the pre-physician assistant minor:

  • Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours to be eligible to declare the minor

  • Students must obtain a minimum cumulative VCU GPA of 3.0

  • Students must complete BIOL 151 and BIOZ 151 with minimum grades of C

Maintaining the pre-physician assistant minor (progression policy)

  • Students must maintain a minimum 3.0 VCU cumulative GPA.

    • If a student's VCU cumulative GPA drops below 3.0, they will be placed on probation in the minor and allowed one semester to raise their cumulative GPA to 3.0 — provided it is mathematically possible to do so. If it is not mathematically possible to do so, or if the student fails to raise their minimum cumulative GPA to 3.0 during their probationary semester, they will be removed from the pre-physician assistant minor and can re-declare the minor once eligible. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their minor adviser to discuss their academic plans/progress.

  • Students cannot exceed more than three attempts of any course within the minor including withdrawals and historical repeat attempts. If a student exceeds three attempts for any course within the minor, they will not be eligible to maintain and graduate with the minor.

Required courses

Course Title Hours
BIOL 151
BIOZ 151
Introduction to Biological Sciences I
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory I
BIOL 152
BIOZ 152
Introduction to Biological Sciences II
and Introduction to Biological Science Laboratory II
BIOL 205Basic Human Anatomy4
BIOL 209
BIOZ 209
Medical Microbiology
and Medical Microbiology Laboratory 1
or BIOL 303
BIOZ 303
and Microbiology Laboratory
CHEM 101
CHEZ 101
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry Laboratory I
CHEM 102
CHEZ 102
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM 301
CHEZ 302
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM 302
CHEZ 302
Organic Chemistry
and Organic Chemistry Laboratory II
CHEM 403Biochemistry I3
HPEX 250Medical Terminology1
MATH 151Precalculus Mathematics4
or MATH 200 Calculus with Analytic Geometry I
PHIS 206
PHIZ 206
Human Physiology
and Human Physiology Laboratory
PSYC 101 Play VideoPlay course video for Introduction to PsychologyIntroduction to Psychology4
PSYC 304Life Span Developmental Psychology3
or PSYC 407 Psychology of the Abnormal
STAT 210Basic Practice of Statistics3
Total Hours56-57

BIOL 300 is a prerequisite for BIOL 303.

Additional recommended prerequisites for physician assistant programs nationwide

Physician assistant programs across the U.S. have different prerequisites for admission. Students should discuss career plans with a pre-professional health career counselor for additional guidance. If the 300-level science course requirements have been completed, students are encouraged to continue taking upper-level science courses to demonstrate academic rigor and success. The list below shows courses required by various physician assistant programs beyond the courses listed above for the pre-physician assistant minor. Completing courses from the list below will not contribute to the pre-physician assistant minor requirements.

Course Title Hours
BIOL 300Cellular and Molecular Biology3
BIOL 303Microbiology3
BIOL 310Genetics3
UNIV 191Student Success Special Topics1-3