Pre-Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant Program at UNT

Physician Assistant Specialties 

Cardiology | Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery | Dermatology | Emergency Medicine | Obstetrics & Gynecology | Oncology | Orthopedic Surgery |
Pediatrics | Plastic Surgery | Primary Care | Psychiatry | Surgery | and more!


Physician Assistants "are medical professionals who diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient's principal healthcare provider" (AAPA, 2018). As the name indicates, PAs are under the supervision of a physician. The road to becoming a PA tends to be shorter than becoming a physician, with the curriculum lasting two-and-a-half to three years. Many times, this field is attractive to those who value a healthy work-life balance and desire to work more one-on-one with patients. 

Students preparing for a Physician Assistant career are classified as Pre-Physician Assistant. To qualify for admission to a physician assistant program, students must take the necessary prerequisites for each school. A bachelor's degree is also required for admission. 


What do I need to become a physician assistant?

In order to become a physician assistant, an individual must earn a Master of Physician Assistant Studies from an accredited program and pass the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam, PANCE. State licensure is also required. Unlike the path to becoming a physician, PAs can specialize in certain fields without a residency. The three ways to specialize are as follow (AASPA, 2018):

  • Graduating from an accredited PA program that has a focus in that specialization
  • Completing a residency in that specialization
  • Receiving on-the-job training from your employer in a hospital, clinic, or other related setting

Which major should I select at UNT for a pre-PA path?

Popular/Possible majors for pre-physician assistant students at UNT:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Biology, College of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
  • Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, College of Science
    • Option III would be the best fit for pre-health students 
  • Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, Allied Health or General Tracks, College of Education
  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Studies, College of Health and Public Service
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Health, College of Health and Public Service

Note: Physician Assistant programs do not require a particular degree. If you choose a major outside of the sciences, we recommend taking extra courses in biology, in addition to all of the required prerequisites. 

For more information about each major, please visit the UNT Catalog and select 'majors, minors, certificates' that is found beneath the link to ‘Catalog Home’.

What courses do I need for physician assistant school?

Please refer to our Pre-Physician Assistant Packet for a list of Texas PA program prerequisites. To review prerequisites for PA programs outside of Texas, please refer to each individual school's website. 

Timeline: When do I apply to physician assistant school?

Students must apply to physician assistant schools one year before entering a program. On the traditional four-year path, students will apply during the summer after their junior year of college, complete their bachelor's degree at the end of their senior year, and enter PA school the following fall semester.

Note: Each student's timeline is different. Your UNT academic advisor/counselor is committed to creating a plan that accommodates your individual goals and circumstances. 

Call, click or come by for more information!

Office of Health Professions:  940-369-7500 | | Hickory Hall, Room 256

What makes a competitive application to physician assistant school?

Admission to PA programs is very competitive, sometimes more competitive than admission to medical schools. As such, students should create a strategic plan well in advance. Below you will find typical categories of a competitive application. Please contact our advisors in the UNT Office of Health Professions to further explore each competitive characteristic and to create your pre-PA plan.

competitive application: gpa, gre, community service, clinical experience , leadership, extracurriculars, shadowing PAs


GPA 3.5-4.0, schools vary
GRE Verbal: 150+
Quantitative: 150+
Writing: 4+
Community Service 150+ Hours 
PA Shadowing 150+ Hours
Clinical Experience 500+ Hours

What is the GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination, GRE, is the entrance exam that must be taken before applying to physician assistant programs. The score range for the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE is 130-170. The range for the writing section is 0-6. For more information about the GRE, please visit the official ETS website.

How do I apply to physician assistant school?

Physician Assistant programs in the United States use a single-application service to obtain student information:

Central Application Service for Physician Assistants, CASPA

Are there any scholarships available to pre-physician assistant students?

Yes, the following scholarship is offered to pre-health students:

The Dr. Charles D. and Vernil Mitchell Endowed Scholarship

To be considered, a student must enroll as a full-time undergraduate student in any degree-granting major in the College of Science and be a graduate of any high school in Dallas ISD.  For more information about this scholarship pleas contact Todd Lang.

Additionally, general scholarships are offered to students through each department and college across campus. Below you will find scholarship webpages for some of the popular majors listed above:

College of Science:

College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences:

College of Education:

  • Kinesiology majors should click on the 'College of Education' link for more information.

College of Health and Public Service:

  • Rehabilitation Studies Scholarships
  • Public Health majors should click on the 'College of Health and Public Service' link for more information

If you do not see your major listed under one of the three colleges listed above, please visit the scholarship website of the college that houses your major.

What pre-health student organizations are there at UNT? 

HERE you will find a list of health-related student organizations at UNT. 

Professional Organizations and Resources

American Academy of Physician Assistants
Physician Assistant Education Association
PA Education
Explore Health Careers

Who can help me create a plan for this career path?

If you are a current student, please visit to schedule an appointment.

For general questions email:

To view contact information for individual pre-health advisors, visit this siteOn the left, under "Office of Health Professions Pre-Health Advising" you will find all of the pre-health advisors' emails. 



If you are a current student, join our canvas course to receive important announcements and view resources related to your pre-physicians assistant journey. 



AAPA (2018). What is a PA? Retrieved from

AASPA (2018). Education & licensing. Surgical PA profession. Retrieved from