Pre-Physician Assistant

Physician Assistant talking to Doctor

Program Description 

Rockhurst University offers a four-year pre-professional program for students interested in pursuing a Master of Physician Assistant degree. Based in the Division of Natural Sciences, this program leads to a Bachelor of Science degree and provides students with the undergraduate courses in biology, chemistry, physics and math necessary to pursue an advanced professional degree. Students interested in this program should consult with the pre-physician assistant (PA) advisor.

Rockhurst is a member of the PA Scholars program with the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). With this program, students will receive all PA school requirements. Students interested in the PA Scholars program will apply to UMKC at the end of their junior year.

The UMKC School of Medicine offers a PA Scholars program that would offer early and guaranteed admission to college students interested in applying to the Master of Science in Anesthesia program or the Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant program. Admission is guaranteed to those students offered admission through the PA Health Scholars Program, who earn their bachelor's degree from a partner institution and successfully complete all final matriculation requirements.

Learning Outcomes 

The American Academy of Physician Assistants lists nine reasons to become a PA, including a favorable job market, competitive salary, work/life balance and developing relationships with patients. Completion of a PA program results in a master’s level degree and PAs are nationally certified and licensed before beginning practice.

Rockhurst Pre-PA students will work closely with Pre-Health advisors to tailor their pre-requisite coursework to the PA programs of choice. In addition to course requirements, Pre-PA students must gain relevant health care experience prior to their application.

Course Map 

Pre-PA students work with their pre-health advisors to develop a course plan that prepares them for the PA schools of their choice.

Typical courses for the Pre-PA program include:

  • General Chemistry I and II  (8 hours)
  • General Biology I and II (8 hours)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II (8 hours)
  • Microbiology (4 hours)
  • Statistics (3 hours)
  • Organic Chemistry I (4 hours)
  • Biochemistry (3 hours)
  • Medical Terminology (1 hour)

Prospective Students 

Current Students 


  • PA Scholars partnership with UMKC Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant
  • Alumni medical networks in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska, to facilitate shadowing
  • Active Pre-Health Blackboard page to consistently communicate research, volunteer and shadowing opportunities
  • Annual meetings with local and regional admissions representatives from health professional programs
  • Class sizes all under 48 and taught by full-time faculty
  • Open-door access to professors
  • Personalized advising
  • Free tutoring and supplemental instruction
  • Kaplan Institutional Partnership with half-price MCAT, DAT, PCAT and GRE courses
  • 77% placement rate for students into health care professional programs in the past five years


What Is a Physician Assistant?

A physician assistant (PA) is a medical provider licensed to diagnose and treat illness and disease, as well as to prescribe medication for patients.

Pre-PA Student Feedback

“Studying to become a physician assistant has been the most rewarding and challenging experience in my life. Being in the medical field has been a dream of mine that Rockhurst made possible by providing ample opportunity for job experiences, volunteer work and, most importantly, the educational foundation that has more than prepared me for this next step in achieving my goal!”

– Paige Grasso
B.S. Biology, 2017
University of Missouri-Kansas City, Physician Assistant Class of 2020