The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's pre-physician assistant curriculum provides a pathway to graduate school for students interested in a career as a physician assistant (PA).
Physician assistants are health professionals who deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services. PAs are licensed to practice under the supervision of a physician (MD or DO) and state law determines the scope of their practice. In general, they take medical histories, examine and treat patients, order and interpret laboratory tests and X-rays, make diagnoses, prescribe medications, administer treatments, assist in surgery, and counsel and educate patients.
Pre-physician assistant studies is not a major at UW-Eau Claire, but rather a declaration of your intention to continue your education and become a PA. No specific undergraduate major is required to become a PA, but certain courses, skills and experiences are favored — especially when applying for graduate school. For example, health professional schools often require a high GPA, a competitive Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score, letters of recommendation, direct healthcare experience and/or job shadowing experience and a completed Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) application. Science aptitude and strong communication skills are also expected.
Our exceptional faculty and career advisors are aware of these requirements and ensure you gain the knowledge and experiences necessary for acceptance into graduate school.
The UW-Eau Claire Foundation provides many scholarships for incoming and current Blugolds, including those interested in becoming a pre-physician assistant. Learn more about which scholarships and resources are available to you by checking out our scholarships page.
Financial aid at UW-Eau Claire
Working to make your college education affordable is very important to us. We are here to walk you through the financial aid process and make applying for aid and paying your bill as easy as possible.
To get this process started, please contact our staff at Blugold Central — our one-stop shop for tuition and financial aid. They will help you learn how to pay for your education and minimize debt, freeing you up to focus on your academics.
Learn more about our financial aid process at UWEC.
Relevant student organizations. On-campus student organizations — like the Pre-Professional Health Club — connect students like you who are also interested in becoming a physician assistant. These extracurriculars are an excellent way to learn from guest speakers, engage in volunteer work and tour graduate programs in the region.
Valuable partnerships. UW-Eau Claire students benefit from several major medical facilities in the region that provide the area with not only state-of-the-art, quality healthcare but also opportunities for volunteering, clinical observations, job shadowing and internships. UW-Eau Claire specifically has strong ties to Mayo Clinic Health System, Marshfield Clinic and Sacred Heart Hospital, as well as smaller healthcare facilities like the Chippewa Valley Free Clinic.
Innovative facilities. UW-Eau Claire is one of only a few schools of its size with a career center dedicated to supporting pre-physician assistant students. The William J. and Marian A. Klish Health Careers Center offers one-on-one advising, opportunities to meet with professional school admissions representatives, connections to health-related clinical research, and volunteer opportunities and workshops designed to build effective tools for career development and competitive applications.
Excellent preparation. The university’s success rate at preparing students who gain admission to professional schools is outstanding. Previous students have gone on to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Marquette University, Carroll University, Augsburg College, St. Catherine University and Des Moines University.
Admission requirements and prerequisites differ depending on which graduate school you are considering, so it is important to check for specific requirements. In general, students interested in becoming a physician assistant should take:
- Two semesters of chemistry
- Two semesters of physics
- Two semesters of anatomy and physiology
- Biology courses, including organismal form and function, and microbiology
- Psychology courses
- A communication course
Learn more about pre-physician assistant studies in the UWEC course catalog.
A few majors that would best support a career as a physician assistant include: