Pre-Physician Assistant Studies

Dr. Amy Obringer in the cadaver lab with students

You will develop the professional laboratory and anatomy skills needed to excel as a PA and to prepare for your PA master’s degree. Small classes offer individual attention so you can develop the technical knowledge and people skills you need to work with a variety of patients. The project based learning in our undergraduate program requires you work in teams. In teams, you’ll learn the leadership and communication foundational skills that will help you throughout your career.

Preparing for Graduate School

USF also has an internationally-recognized graduate Physician Assistant program on campus. Our graduate Physician Assistant students are some of the best in the country – 100% of them have passed their certification exam over the last seven years! 100% of Pre PA students receive interviews for PA graduate programs, here and at other universities.

Traditional vs. Dual Acceptance

Most students apply for the traditional Pre-PA program track. Students complete their undergraduate courses, apply for PA master’s program and apply for selection.

Dual Accept

USF also offers a dual-accept four year Pre-Physician Assistant program, which is identical to the traditional PA program academically. In the Dual-Accept track, qualified high school students will have a spot saved on the 25-person cohort the year after they graduate with their bachelor’s degree. If accepted, students transition immediately into your graduate degree program without worrying about availability.

Academic Roadmap

The academic roadmap will give you a general idea of what each year will be like. Each program has specific degree requirements and the curriculum plans offer a year-by-year breakdown of courses.


The first year, you will focus on academics. Your professors will help you transition to college courses while you gain a strong foundation through courses like Principles of Biology.


Your second year focuses on understanding medical biology. You’ll study host pathogen interaction in microbiology and learn how the human body is predisposed to illness in genetics.


During your junior year, you will take Immunology, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology. You’ll also complete your first Cadaver Lab experience. These classes will challenge you to “connect the dots” of health to understand how the human body works and the illnesses that occur with pathology.


Your senior year is a transformative year. You will take classes specifically designed to prepare you for your transition to a Physician Assistant program. These rigorous courses are the most challenging because they mirror PA program classes. Our program produces graduates who are prepared to succeed in our PA program at USF.

Pillars of Preparation

Academic Opportunities

  • Cadaver lab gives hands-on experience to undergraduates to prepare them for upper level coursework
  • New labs and equipment ensure students are learning in a realistic environment
  • Projects allow students to work in teams, building important communication and collaboration skills needed to be successful as a Physician Assistant

Patient Care Hours

  • 1000 PAID patient care hours
  • Work as an Emergency Room Technician Certified Nurse Assistants, EMTs, medical scribes, and more.
  • Also complete real clinical research over summer months, the MAHE program allows students to work directly with doctors and nurses in the field


  • Students can explore subspecialties like emergency medicine, orthopedics, ob-gyn, cardiology, primary care/family medicine, dermatologist, surgical and more.
  • Shadow PA already working in these various fields
  • Take special medical mission trips to deliver care to underdeveloped countries like Haiti
  • Experience different schedules, urgency in care

Opportunities Abound

US News and World Report named PA as one of the top 5 jobs in country and the starting salary range in Indiana for Physician Assistants is $80,000-99,000 per year. USF’s PA graduate program has such a solid reputation that medical companies want to hire USF PAs right out of clinical rotation. We are very successful placing PA graduates locally, but we are placing them all over the country as job growth expands.

Have Additional Questions?

Have a question that isn't answered here or looking for additional information, feel free to contact us.

Program Director

Dr. Michael Bechill
260.399.7700, ext 8208

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Admissions Office

Office of Admissions

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Are you passionate about making the world better? Come influence the future with us. USF’s success rate proves we’ve got what it takes to make sure you excel in your profession. Are you ready to succeed?

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