Program Details

Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physician Assistant

Offered By: College of Science, Engineering, & Technology
Next Start Date:
Program Now Enrolling
Total Program Credits & Course Length:
Total Program Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
Transfer Credits:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
Program Tuition Rate:
Campus: $8250 per semester. [More Info]

Overview

Prepare for a Graduate Physician Assistant Program

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a physician assistant (PA), the Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physician Assistant degree program offered by Grand Canyon University's (GCU) College of Science, Engineering and Technology provides an outstanding foundation. This pre PA program is designed for students seeking acceptance into a graduate-level physician assistant education program.

This comprehensive pre physician assistant program provides insight into a broad range of disciplines including sociology, psychology, ethical principles in healthcare, global health issues and Christian values, providing you with a balanced view of the disciplines needed to continue to transition into an advanced medical degree.

Additionally, all BS in biology students have access to a team of advisors who provide information sessions, guidance in one-on-one meetings, application assistance, mock interviews, personal statement review and much more. The goal of these sessions is to help you achieve your medical or graduate school goals.

Degree Outcomes

Gain Foundational Knowledge in Biological Sciences

The Bachelor of Science in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physician Assistant program includes specialized coursework focused on preparing you for success in your graduate studies and professional career. You may acquire foundational knowledge in biological sciences, physical sciences, social sciences and healthcare issues. As a student of the pre physician assistant program, you have the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge and skills working in GCU's cadaver lab.

What You Will Learn

Understand Human Physiology

Since a major part of a PA’s job is working with patients, physicians and other healthcare professionals, effective communication skills are essential. The pre physician assistant program helps develop and refine these skills as well as helps you investigate the psychological, spiritual and physical components of health, wellness and medical intervention, including:

  • Properties of major and complex biological networks
  • Study of human cadavers, along with opportunities to learn comprehensive human anatomy and practice cadaveric dissection skills
  • Focused courses on scientific enquiry and critical analysis skills
  • Multiple laboratory courses in which students learn via hands-on activities real-life application
  • Understanding and recognizing ethical issues, with an emphasis on Christian influence

Career Outcomes

Prepare to Assist Physicians in Private Practice, Hospitals and More

As a graduate of this pre PA program, you should have the skills and tools necessary to apply for an entry-level graduate physician assistant program. You may also choose to apply to other allied health graduate programs. PAs practice in a variety of medical fields, under the direction of physicians and surgeons. PAs may work in physician’s offices, hospitals and clinics.*

In addition, the pre PA program provides you with the skills to seek employment in other biology-related fields, including as a research technician or technologist. Depending upon your desired position, additional education or certification may be required.



*Information obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. In order to view the specific course content and credit length available for your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
80 credits
Open Elective Credits:
0-6 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University's General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4 credits
  • UNV-103, University Success: 4 credits
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4 credits
  • UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4 credits

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4 credits
  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4 credits
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4 credits

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4 credits
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4 credits

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments (mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, physical geography, ecology, economics, theology, logic, philosophy, technology, statistics, accounting, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of intermediate algebra or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4 credits
  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4 credits
  • PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4 credits
  • MAT-134, Applications of Algebra: 4 credits
  • BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4 credits

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4 credits
  • PSY-100, Psychology in Everyday Life: 4 credits
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4 credits

Required General Education Courses

Course Description

This course presents the fundamentals of algebra and trigonometry with an applied emphasis; it provides the background and introduction for the study of calculus. Topics include review of linear equations and inequalities in one and multiple variables; functions and their graphs; polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; vectors and complex numbers. Slope and rate of change are introduced to set up the concepts of limits and derivatives. There is an emphasis on both an understanding of the mathematical concepts involved as well as their application to the principles and real-world problems encountered in science and engineering. Software is utilized to facilitate problem analysis and graphing. Prerequisite: MAT-134 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This foundation course in the science of behavior includes an overview of the history of psychology, the brain, motivation, emotion, sensory functions, perception, intelligence, gender and sexuality, social psychology, human development, learning psychopathology, and therapy.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the study of basic probability, descriptive and inferential statistics, and decision making. Emphasis is placed on measures of central tendency and dispersion, correlation, regression, discrete and continuous probability distributions, quality control population parameter estimation, and hypothesis testing. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-134, MAT-144 or MAT-154.

Course Description

This is a course in developmental psychology with emphasis on the physical, social, cognitive, personality, and moral developments within an individual. The course is designed to provide an understanding of the transitions of life from conception to death.

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the analysis skills required for scientific problems. Students will study approaches on inquiry, reasoning, and logic as applied to science, the systematic use of data to make critical decisions, and the expectations of science careers in healthcare or research.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function, particularly at the molecular and cellular levels of organization. Cell components and their duties are investigated, as well as the locations of cellular functions within the cell. The importance of the membrane is studied, particularly its roles in controlling movement of ions and molecules and in energy production. The effect of genetic information on the cell is followed through the pathway from DNA to RNA to protein. Co-requisite: BIO-181L.

Course Description

This lab course is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-181 through experiments and activities which complement and enhance understanding of macromolecules, cell membrane properties, cellular components, and their contribution to cell structure and function. Assignments are designed to relate cellular processes such as metabolism, cell division, and the flow of genetic information to cell structure. Co-requisite: BIO-181.

Course Description

This is the first course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. The course assumes no prior knowledge of chemistry and begins with basic concepts. Topics include an introduction to the scientific method, dimensional analysis, atomic structure, nomenclature, stoichiometry and chemical reactions, the gas laws, thermodynamics, chemical bonding, and properties of solutions. Prerequisite: MAT-134 or MAT-154. Co-Requisite: CHM-113L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-113 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of density, classification of chemical reactions, the gas laws, determination of enthalpy change using calorimetry, and determination of empirical formula. Prerequisite: MAT-134 or MAT-154. Co-requisite: CHM-113.

Course Description

This course examines human anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on function and homeostasis of the following areas: tissues, integument, skeletal system, muscular system, and the nervous system. Case studies are utilized to reinforce physiological processes. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-210L.

Course Description

This course involves study of the gross anatomy and function of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. This experiential lab involves an advanced exploration of concepts utilizing human cadavers and other supplemental materials. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-210.

Course Description

This course, designed for Science majors, introduces the principles of microbiology and the study of the general characteristics, growth, and diversity of microorganisms. Topics include microbial cell structure and function, bacterial genetics, immune response and immunization, physical and chemical control of microorganisms, specific characteristics and mechanisms of antimicrobial medications, and microbial diseases with emphasis on pathogenesis, epidemiology and treatment. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-215L.

Course Description

The General Microbiology laboratory supports further learning surrounding principles gained in the lecture. Students develop fundamental skills in microbiological laboratory techniques, microscopy methodologies, molecular methods of detection, and the isolation and identification of pathogenic microorganisms. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L. Co-Requisite: BIO-215.

Course Description

This is the second course of a two-semester introduction to chemistry intended for undergraduates pursuing careers in the health professions and others desiring a firm foundation in chemistry. Upon successful completion of this course, students demonstrate knowledge and/or skill in solving problems involving the principles of chemical kinetics, chemical equilibrium, and thermodynamics; understanding chemical reactions using kinetics, equilibrium, and thermodynamics; comparing and contrasting the principal theories of acids and bases; solving equilibrium involving acids, bases, and buffers; describing solubility equilibrium; describing terms associated with electrochemistry and solving problems associated with electrochemistry; and describing fundamentals and applications of nuclear chemistry and organic chemistry. Prerequisite: CHM-113. Co-requisite: CHM-115L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-115 reinforces and expands learning of principles introduced in the lecture course. Experiments include determination of rate law, examples of Le Châtelier’s principle, the use of pH indicators, buffer preparation, experimental determination of thermodynamic quantities, the use of electrochemical cells, and qualitative and quantitative analysis. Prerequisites: CHM-113 and CHM-113L. Co-Requisite: CHM-115.

Course Description

This course examines human anatomy and physiology with an emphasis on function and homeostasis of the following systems: endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive. Case studies are utilized to reinforce physiological processes. Prerequisites: BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: BIO-211L.

Course Description

This course involves study of the gross anatomy and functions of the endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, and reproductive systems. This experiential lab involves an advanced exploration of concepts utilizing human cadavers and other supplemental materials. Prerequisites: BIO-210 and BIO-210L. Co-Requisite: BIO-211.

Course Description

This course is a study of biological concepts emphasizing the interplay of structure and function at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels of organization. Relationships of different life forms are studied, noting characteristics and general lifecycles of the different types of organisms, including bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Plant structure, function, and reproduction are studied, as well as photosynthesis and plant nutrition. Ecological principles are discussed, including organism interactions at the various ecological levels. Principles of conservation are introduced. Prerequisite: BIO-181. Co-Requisite: BIO-182L.

Course Description

This lab is designed to reinforce principles learned in BIO-182. Organisms are examined to recognize similarities and differences among different types. Plant structure and processes, including photosynthesis and water transport, are investigated through observation and activities. Concepts of ecology are explored through study of species interactions projects and other activities. Co-requisite: BIO-182.

Course Description

This course is the first of two organic chemistry courses. The first half of this course develops the vocabulary and concepts of chemical bonding, chemical structure, acid-base principles, and nomenclature needed to understand properties and reactions of organic compounds. The second half of this course discusses chemical reactions, including radical reactions, substitution and elimination reactions, and synthesis and reactions of alkenes. Students learn how to predict reaction products and draw reaction mechanisms. Organic synthesis and structural determination are also covered. Instruction includes lecture and in-class problem solving. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-requisite: CHM-231L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-231 reinforces principles learned in the lecture course through various techniques that organic chemists use to synthesize compounds. Students use these techniques throughout the semester. These techniques include determination of melting point, determination of solubility, thin layer chromatography, recrystallization, and distillation. Structural determination using theories discussed in CHM-231 is applied to unknown compounds. Prerequisites: CHM-115 and CHM-115L. Co-requisite: CHM-231.

Course Description

This course covers the language of medicine that will be used as a foundation for understanding upper level undergraduate and graduate level courses to follow. It will include pronunciation, definition, usage and origins of medical terms. Medical terms presented will be used to identify signs, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment options for selected pathologies. With these skills the student will be able to effectively interpret and communicate in a healthcare setting. Prerequisites: BIO-202 and BIO-202L.

Course Description

This course reviews and reinforces the fundamental components of the scientific method. Emphasis will be placed on analysis of scientific literature, with discussion of hypotheses, experimental design, results, and possible alternative explanations and experiments. Students will learn to critically review current scientific literature and apply these examples to the proper design of novel experiments. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This course is a study of basic concepts of physics, including motion; forces; energy; the properties of solids, liquids, and gases; and heat and thermodynamics. The mathematics used includes algebra, trigonometry, and vector analysis. A primary course goal is to build a functional knowledge that allows students to more fully understand the physical world and to apply that understanding to other areas of the natural and mathematical sciences. Conceptual, visual, graphical, and mathematical models of physical phenomena are stressed. Students build critical thinking skills by engaging in individual and group problem-solving sessions. Prerequisite: MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-Requisite: PHY-111L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-111 lecture course. Learners are able to perform the proper analysis and calculations to arrive at the correct quantifiable result when confronted with equations involving gravity, sound, energy, and motion. Prerequisite: MAT-250, MAT-261 or College Algebra. Co-requisite: PHY-111.

Course Description

This course is the second of two organic chemistry courses. The course is organized by common organic functional groups, including alkynes, alcohols, ether, aromatic compounds, ketones and aldehydes, amines, carboxylic acid, and carboxylic acid derivatives. The reactions and properties of each functional group are discussed. Students learn how to predict reaction products, draw reaction mechanisms, and predict physical properties. Instruction includes lecture and in-class problem solving. The final assignment for the course is a paper that describes the synthesis of a popular pharmaceutical agent. Prerequisites: CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-requisite: CHM-232L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of CHM-232 supports and extends principles learned in the lecture course. Students carry out various organic syntheses using techniques taught in CHM-231. The experiments include preparation of an alkene from an alcohol, a Grignard reaction, preparation of cinnamaldehyde, nitration of methyl benzoate, synthesis of N-Methyl Prozac, an Aldol reaction, Benzimidizole synthesis, and a Diazonium coupling reaction. Prerequisites: CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-requisite: CHM-232.

Course Description

This writing intensive course provides a comprehensive examination of the principles of heredity and variation, including Mendelian, molecular, and population genetics. Students explore topics such as gene mapping, DNA structure and replication, population genetics, and molecular change. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

The course objective is to survey basic biochemical principles, including the composition, structure, and function of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates. Important biochemical principles include structure-function correlation, chemical reactivity, kinetics and equilibrium, thermodynamics, membrane structure and function, and metabolic energy pathways. The application of biochemical concepts in the medical field is emphasized. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L, and one of the following combinations: 1) CHM-331 and CHM-331L or 2) CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-requisite: CHM-360L.

Course Description

This laboratory course covers modern biochemical laboratory techniques and their theoretical foundations. Topics include methods for protein, nucleic acid, and lipid isolation and characterization; enzyme assays; chromatography; electrophoresis; and representing and manipulating proteins and nucleic acids. Experiments are designed for hands-on experimentation and students acquire practical techniques currently used in biochemistry laboratories. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L, and one of the following combinations: 1) CHM-331 and CHM-331L or 2) CHM-231 and CHM-231L. Co-requisite: CHM-360.

Course Description

This course is the second in a one-year introductory physics sequence. In this course, the basics of three areas in physics are covered, including electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics. Course topics include an introduction to electric and magnetic fields, the nature of light as an electromagnetic wave, geometric optics, quantum mechanics, and nuclear reactions. Prerequisites: PHY-111 and PHY-111L. Co-Requisite: PHY-112L.

Course Description

This course utilizes lab experimentation to practice concepts of physical principles introduced in the PHY-112 lecture course. Some of the topics learners understand and analyze involve the relationship between electric charges and insulators/conductors, magnetism in physics, energy transformations in electric circuits, the relationship between magnetism and electricity, and how they relate to the medical industry. Prerequisites: PHY-111 and PHY-111L. Co-Requisite: PHY-112.

Course Description

This course is designed to bridge the gap between basic preclinical science courses and the clinical requirements of health care/life science professionals. Systematic studies focus on the etiology, pathogenesis, morphology, and clinical manifestations associated with various altered health states and diseases. Material is presented using clinically relevant terminology that increases accurate and effective communication through extensive vocabulary expansion. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to correctly discuss a variety of disease states with health care professionals and patients while addressing the following questions: What is actually happening at the physiological level that causes the signs and symptoms of a given condition or disease? How does a change in normal physiology cause the signs and symptoms of a given condition or disease? How do these physiological effects correlate to mechanisms of accurate diagnoses? Why is one treatment method chosen over another? How do different systems intricately interrelate to cause a clinical picture and complications?. Prerequisites: One of the following combinations: 1) BIO-201, BIO-201L, BIO-202, and BIO-202L; or 2) BIO-360.

Course Description

This course presents the foundational concepts of pharmacology emphasizing basic mechanisms of drug action. Pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics principles and theories are presented. The course details the development of the current understanding of receptor signal transduction in mammalian systems. The course introduces the molecular biochemistry of receptor structure; mass action considerations governing ligand-receptor binding interactions; molecular pharmacology associated with signal transduction; and specific considerations of receptors as pharmaceutical targets. Following this introduction, a systematic study of the effects of drugs on representative organ systems and disease processes, the mechanisms by which drugs produce their therapeutic and toxic effects, and the factors influencing their absorption, distribution, and biological actions. Prerequisites: CHM-360 and CHM-360L and one of the following combinations: 1) CHM-231 and CHM-231L, or 2) CHM-331 and CHM-331L.

Course Description

The capstone project is a culmination of the learning experiences while a student in the science programs at Grand Canyon University. Students discuss and write on current topics in their field and prepare an extensive written scientific report or proposal on select topics on the sciences, relevant to their program of study. The capstone project needs to reflect synthesis and integration of course content and good scientific practice. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisite: Senior status.

Course Description

This course is a comprehensive study of the composition, structure, energetics, regulation, and growth of eukaryotic cells. Other topics include the essential processes of cells including the correlation of structure and function at the organelle and cellular levels. As well as, principles of molecular biology including recombinant DNA technology and other approaches and method used to investigate cell structure, development, chromosome organization, gene expression, and gene regulation. Prerequisites: BIO-181 and BIO-181L.

Course Description

This course is a continuation of Pharmacology I. Concepts and principles learned in the previous course are applied to additional organ systems and disease processes. Topics include cardiovascular drugs, chemotherapeutic drugs, endocrine drugs, and drugs of abuse. Prerequisite: CHM-451.

Program Locations

Campus

Campus

Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview. New modern classrooms, suite-style residence halls, popular dining options, resort-style swimming pools and a focus on creating a dynamic student life make GCU a top choice for high school graduates and transfer students. Exciting events, well-known guest speakers and Division I athletics round out the traditional student experience. Our welcoming campus community is the perfect place to find your purpose.

* The Department of Education defines how an institution must calculate a program's On-Time Completion rate for federal disclosure purposes. The On-Time Completion rate is based on a program’s published required number of months to complete all degree requirements as provided in the institution’s catalog. Completion statistics are updated every January and are based on the cohort of students who graduated between 7/1 – 6/30 of the preceding year. The On-Time Completion rate is determined by the number of students in the cohort who completed the program within the published program length divided by the number of students in the cohort who graduated.



* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.