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
ProgramLength:
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

Academically 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 biology degree program is designed for students seeking acceptance into a graduate-level physician assistant education program.

Since a major part of a PA's job is working with patients, physicians and other healthcare professionals, effective communication skills are essential. The BS in biology with an emphasis in 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. You also further engage in the study of human anatomy and physiology, which includes the study of cells, tissues and genetics, as well as the integumentary, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems.

Degree Outcomes

Gain Foundational Knowledge in Biological Sciences

The bachelor's in 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

Among the subjects you learn are:

  • Pathophysiology, which bridges the gap between basic preclinical science courses and clinical requirements of healthcare professionals
  • General biology – both lecture classes and labs
  • Principles of biochemistry – both lecture classes and labs
  • Genetics
  • Health psychology

Career Outcomes

Prepare to Assist Physicians in Private Practice, Hospitals and More

As a graduate of this program, you should have the skills and tools necessary to apply for an entry-level graduate physician assistant program. 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.*



*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:
72 credits
Open Elective Credits:
8-14 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 is a course in writing academic prose, including various types of essays, arguments, and constructions. A writing intensive course.

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 explores various types of research writing, with a focus on constructing essays, arguments, and research reports based on primary and secondary sources. A writing intensive course. Prerequisite: ENG-105.

Course Description

This course is a unified study of fundamental algebra and trigonometry concepts that provide the necessary background for the study of calculus. Topics include linear equations and inequalities in one and two variables; scatter diagrams and curve fitting; polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions, their graphs, and their inverse functions; and systems of equations and inequalities. There is an emphasis on developing both a fundamental understanding of the concepts involved as well as their application to real-world problem solving. Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in MAT-134 or MAT-154.

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 course presents a survey of the concepts, theories, and methods used by sociologists to describe and explain the effects of social structure on human behavior. It emphasizes the understanding and use of the sociological perspective in everyday life.

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.

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to the principles and applications of microbiology and a study of the general characteristics of microorganisms, their activities, and their relationship to humans. Students develop understanding of microbial cell structure and function, microbial genetics, related pathologies, immunity, and other selected applied areas. Co-requisite: BIO-205L.

Course Description

The laboratory section of BIO-205 supports further learning surrounding principles gained in the lecture course. Students develop fundamental skills in microbiological laboratory techniques, microscopy methodologies, and the isolation and identification of pathogenic microorganisms. Co-requisite: BIO-205.

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 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 first of a two-course sequence examining the structure and function of the human body and mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis within it. This portion includes the study of cells; tissues; genetics; and the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Co-requisite: BIO-201L.

Course Description

This course involves a study of the gross anatomy and functions of the skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. This experiential lab involves gaining basic knowledge of the use of human cadavers, animal demonstrations, and computer-assisted instruction. Co-requisite: BIO-201.

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 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 the second of a two-course sequence examining the structure and function of the human body and mechanisms for maintaining homeostasis within it. This portion includes the study of immunity; metabolism; energetics; fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance; and the endocrine, hematologic, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems. Prerequisites: BIO-201 and BIO-201L. Co-requisite: BIO-202L.

Course Description

This course is a study of the gross anatomy and functions of the endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, and reproductive systems. The experiential lab involves an advanced exploration of concepts using human cadavers, animal demonstrations, and computer-assisted instruction. Prerequisites: BIO-201 and BIO-201L. Co-requisite: BIO-202.

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 provides a foundation of basic nutrition theory, with a focus on assessment, food components, exercise, nutrition, weight control, community programs, and resources. Application of these aspects is used to promote health and prevent illness.

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 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 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

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 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

This writing-intensive course explores the concepts of health, wellness, and spirituality from the Christian perspective and as they relate to the holistic needs of patients, providers, and health care communities. Students reflect upon the concepts of healing and the caregiver's role in meeting the spiritual needs of diverse populations while seeking to advance health and wellness within the context of a healing paradigm.

Course Description

This course reflects psychology’s growing interest in health-related issues, and gives students an overview of the broad topics in health psychology. Topics include theories of health behavior, patient adherence, stress and pain development and management, cancer and chronic illness development and management, and health-related behaviors such as substance use, proper nutrition, and exercise. This course focuses on health from a biopsychosocial perspective. Prerequisite: PSY-102.

Course Description

This course introduces students to major ethical theories, principles, and decision-making models that form the basis for resolution of ethical dilemmas in the health care field. Guidelines for legal and ethical practice are also examined from the context of regulatory requirements established by accrediting and certifying agencies.

Course Description

This course introduces global health and health-related challenges of developing and resource-limited nations and explores the social, behavioral, economic, biomedical and environmental determinants of health. This course will examine the global epidemiology of major diseases and threats to the populations of the world, and the current organizational structures that have been established to respond. Topics include communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, unintentional injury and violence, health romotion, reproductive health, maternal and child health, and disaster preparedness. Students will gain an understanding of the diverse determinants associated with these diseases and issues, such as poverty, education, gender imbalance, culture, and poor environmental conditions. Global health involves many disciplines within and beyond the health sciences and promotes inter-disciplinary collaboration. This course will use a wide variety of perspectives from disciplines such as epidemiology, biology, environment, human rights, nursing, psychology, public policy, technology and economics. Students will acquire an understanding of the nter-relationships between socio-cultural-economic development and health, and the impact of policy and health care delivery systems.

Faculty Bios

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.

On-campus program disclosures

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