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Physician Assistant Prerequisites


The following is information on the prerequisite courses required for admission to the UW-Madison Physician Assistant Program. Completion of these courses does not guarantee admission to the program. Courses must be equivalent to courses offered at UW-Madison. All prerequisite courses must be completed successfully with a grade of C or better by the end of the fall semester prior to planned matriculation.

If you are, or plan on, completing prerequisites at a college or university other than UW-Madison, it is important that you read the tips at the bottom of the page.

All applicants must complete all prerequisites.

Anatomy and Physiology: 1 sem of human anatomy AND 1 sem of human physiology; OR a 2 sem sequence of combined human anatomy & physiology which must be at the 200 (sophomore) level or above i.e. Anatomy & Physiology I and II.

  • Human Physiology must be taken within 5 years of matriculation. See our policy if the 5 year limit is exceeded).
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Applicants to the PA class entering in 2017 must have completed the Human Physiology requirement within 3 years of matriculation into the program.

  • A human physiology lab is no longer required, nor do we require a human anatomy lab.
  • A two-semester sequence of Human Anatomy and Physiology must be completed at the same school/college.

UW-Madison Equivalent Courses:

  • Anatomy 328
  • Physiology 335 or 435

Biomolecular Chemistry or Human Biochemistry or equivalent mammalian biochemistry at an intermediate level:
Note: Organic Chemistry and/or combined Organic/Biochemistry courses do not satisfy the Biochemistry requirement.
If you are not completing this prerequisite at UW-Madison, an equivalent course must contain the following content:
1.. Introduction to Biochemistry
2.. Structure and function of enzymes in biochemical reactions, including enzyme kinetics/catalysis
3.. Hormone function and regulation of biological processes
4.. Biological/chemical characteristics and roles of the 5 major groups of macromolecules in human/animal biological processes: carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, lipids, nucleic acids
5.. Major metabolic pathways, including glycogenesis, gluconeogenesis,lipogenesis, glycolysis, Krebs cycle, electron-transport chain
6.. Principles and processes of absorption

UW-Madison Equivalent Courses:

  • Biomolecular Chemistry 314 or
  • Biochemistry 501 or
  • Biomolecular Chemistry 503 or
  • Biochemistry 507 & 508

Zoology or Mammalian Biology w/ lab
NOTE:Applicants who have earned a degree in Biology are exempt for the Zoology requirement.
Cellular and/or Molecular Biology do not satisfy the Microbiology or Zoology requirements.
UW-Madison Equivalent Courses:

  • Zoology 101 & 102 or
  • Biology 151 & 152

Microbiology: microbiology lecture w/ a lab

UW-Madison Equivalent Courses:

  • Microbiology 101 & 102 or
  • Microbiology 303 & 304

Psychology: A minimum of one semester of general, introductory, developmental or abnormal psychology.

UW-Madison Equivalent Courses:

  • Psychology 202 – Introduction to Psychology or
  • Psychology 509 – Abnormal Psychology
  • HDFS 362 – Development of the Young Child
  • HDFS 363 - Development from Adolescence to Old Age

Statistics: 1 semester basic level statistics

No GRE or standardized testing required.

3.00 GPA baccalaureate degree required from an accredited institution with a minimum science GPA of 3.00.

A minimum of 100 hours of direct patient care experience at the time of application is required for your application to be reviewed. However, we recommend having between 500-1000 hours in order to be competitive. IMPORTANT NOTE: APPLICANTS TO THE PA CLASS ENTERING 2017 ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE A MINIMUM OF 500 HOURS DIRECT PATIENT CARE AT THE TIME OF APPLICATION.


  • Typically, the title, delivery and content of courses will differ from school to school. Although a prerequisite may be a one semester course at UW-Madison, it’s possible the required content is spread out over a two semester sequence at other colleges and universities, i.e. Biochemistry I and II. In addition, many schools do not offer courses titled Zoology. However, the required content is often part of a Biology course or course sequence i.e. Biology I and II. It is important that you contact the PA Program to verify that you are completing the prerequisites appropriately. We may request course syllabi to ensure that required content is covered. (Please see contact information below.)
  • A two-semester sequence of Human Anatomy and Physiology must be completed at the same school/college.
  • 100 level science coursework from community or technical colleges is not considered equivalent to prerequisites.
  • To explore more specific information about prerequisite courses, please go to www.wisc.edu and search course name
  • NOTE: If you apply to the UW-Madison PA Program and have not taken the appropriate prerequisites, or do not have a plan to do so, your application will not be reviewed.
  • For questions regarding prerequisite coursework or to request a transcript review, please contact Erin McCarthy Orth at emmccarthy@wisc.edu