A Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physician Assistant is an undergraduate degree program that prepares students for admission into a Physician Assistant (PA) master's degree program. The curriculum of a pre-PA emphasis program focuses on the sciences, healthcare and medical knowledge required to pursue a career as a PA. The goal of this pre-physician assistant program emphasis is to provide students with a strong educational foundation and the necessary prerequisites for PA school.
Earn Your Pre-PA Degree Emphasis to Take the First Step to Become a Physician's Assistant
Physician assistant candidates who graduate from the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Grand Canyon University (GCU) are well prepared in their field. The college uses five domains to ensure that the coursework for the pre-PA emphasis is effective. Courses will prepare future PAs in these domain areas:
- Science Foundations
- Professional and Scientific Communication
- Professionalism and Ethics
- Data Analysis and Interpretation
- Advanced Biomedical Concepts
Graduates with a BS in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physician Assistant who go on to become physician assistants must work closely with patients and physicians. This pre-physician’s assistant program also places a strong emphasis on the importance of interpersonal communication.
Pre-PA Emphasis Course Topics
The GCU pre-physician assistant emphasis ensures that you will study all the topics necessary to prepare for future roles as physician assistants. This program includes topics such as:
- Ethics in healthcare
- Global health
- Biological sciences
- Physical sciences
The advanced scientific concepts included in these domains ensure that pre-physician assistant grads receive the training they need. While you’re in the pre-PA emphasis you will study:
- Complex biological networks
- Human anatomy
- Scientific inquiry and methods
- Lab methods
- Ethical healthcare issues
- Chemistry and organic compounds
- Heredity and genetic issues
- Disease and syndromes
Career Opportunities for Graduates With a Pre-Physician Assistant Bachelor’s Degree Emphasis
Advanced physician assistant studies are the next stop in higher education for many BS in Biology with an Emphasis in Pre-Physician Assistant program grads. The core coursework may also lead pre-physician assistant students into other allied health graduate programs, such as medical school, graduate nursing degrees, cardiovascular sciences or other specialties. If you are interested in beginning a career as a physician assistant, a pre-physician assistant bachelor’s emphasis may be the right choice for you.
Pre-Physician Assistant Bachelor’s Degree Emphasis FAQs
Pursuing a pre-physician assistant emphasis degree is a big step in your professional career. GCU has answers to your most frequently asked questions about our pre-physician assistant program.
1 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2022, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physician Assistants, retrieved on Feb. 8, 2023.
2 The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Physician Assistants as of May 2021, retrieved on Feb. 8, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as physician assistants. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.
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.
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.
- UNV-112, Success in Science, Engineering and Technology & Lab: 4
- UNV-103, University Success: 4
- UNV-303, University Success: 4
- UNV-108, University Success in the College of Education: 4
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.
- UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
- ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
- ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
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.
- CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
- CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4
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.
- MAT-154, Applications of College Algebra: 4
- MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4
- PHI-105, 21st Century Skills: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: 4
- BIO-220, Environmental Science: 4
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, cross-cultural 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.
- HIS-144, U.S. History Themes: 4
- PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
- SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4
Required General Education Courses
* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.