Pre-Physician Assistant

PrePhysician Assistant Professional Program students must declare a primary major

Students are dual advised to ensure timely completion of both primary major and prehealth professions concentration coursework as of the date of their matriculation at SUNY Oneonta and should confer with advisors for their Primary Major and specific PreHealth Concentration, beginning at the time of admission to SUNY Oneonta.

  • The Primary Major Faculty Advisor assists with selection of courses for the Primary Major Requirements
    • Students can review their individual degree progress via DegreeWorks.
  • The PreHealth Advisor guides the student through the PrePhysician Assistant Concentration, listed below.
    • Students are encouraged to declare their intended PreHealth Profession for effective prehealth advisement.


Pre-Physician Assistant Concentration

The PrePhysician Assistant Concentration coursework satisfies the course requirements for admission at most physician assistant schools.

  • Additional elective courses are recommended but not required.
  • Students should review information regarding the schools to which they intend to apply for further information regarding recommended electives.

Students must consult the SUNY Oneonta's current undergraduate catalog for descriptions of courses, course prerequisites, and time of year when courses are offered in order to plan properly in advance.

Students have the responsibility to check entrance requirements for schools to which they intend to apply.

Required Coursework
TOTAL: 44 sh
BIOL 180, 181, 205-206, 362 20 sh
CHEM 111-112, 226 or 221 12 sh
COMP 100 3 sh
STAT 101 3 sh
PSYC 100 3 sh
SOC 101 (SOCL 100) 3 sh

Suggested Course Sequencing

The recommended course sequence is based on a student taking the GRE (if necessary) and applying to Physician Assistant School the summer BEFORE their final year at SUNY Oneonta, and that the student will graduate in four years. If a student wishes to take a "growth year", or take a different undergraduate path, coursework plans can change accordingly.

Individual student plans may vary depending on when the student hopes to enter physical therapy school and what primary major is chosen, therefore each student should work with their primary major advisor and their prehealth advisor to establish their own personalized schedule.

NOTE: Many pre-professional students are choosing to take at least one year off after they graduate. Having a “Growth Year” between undergraduate studies and beginning professional school is often beneficial for applicants and does not hurt your chances of admission as long as you continue to strengthen your application. It allows time to gain additional life experiences, continue volunteering, or pursue non-academic interests.

BIOL 180 (Biology I) 4 sh BIOL 181 (Biology II) 4 sh
CHEM 111 (General Chemistry I) 4 sh CHEM 112 (General Chemistry II) 4 sh
COMP 100 (Composition) 3 sh PSYC 100 3 sh
major coursework or elective or Gen Ed 3-4 sh *MATH 105 (as advised) or other course 3 sh


BIOL 205 4 sh BIOL 206 4 sh
CHEM 226 or 221 4 sh STAT 101 (Intro to Statistics) 4 sh
major coursework or elective or Gen Ed 3-4 sh major coursework or elective or Gen Ed 3-4 sh
upper division courses or research or immersion experience or elective or Gen Ed 3-4 sh upper division courses or research or immersion experience or elective or Gen Ed 3-4 sh


BIOL 362 (Microbiology) 4 sh SOC 101 (SOCL 100) 3 sh
upper division courses or research or immersion experience or elective up to 12 sh upper division courses or research or immersion experience or elective up to 12 sh


YEAR 4 * additional experiences to enhance undergraduate experience*
upper division courses or research or immersion experience or elective 12-16 sh upper division courses or research or immersion experience or elective 12-16 sh

Applying to Physician Assistant School

Application to Physician Assistant programs is made through the centralized application CASPA

  • The 2017-2018 CASPA application cycle opened April 27, 2017 and closes March 1, 2018

Check out the directory of Physician Assistant programs to learn more about over 200 Physician Assistant Programs in the United States.


Requirements for Physician Assistant School

Admission to Physician Assistant School is highly competitive and applicants are encouraged to complete the CASPA early in the cycle. Some PA schools require the Baccalaureate Degree to be complete at the time of application and many PA schools require school specific supplemental applications

Acceptance rates: 32% of SUNY Oneonta PrePhysician Assistant students matriculate into a PA program after graduation (CASPA data, 2012-2015 matriculants). Schools students attend include LeMoyne, SUNY Upstate, SUNY Downstate, Albany Medical, among others.

Applicants are evaluated on:

  • healthcare experience (direct patient care experience)
  • GRE
  • GPA
  • Successful completion of Primary Major Requirements
  • minimum of 3 letters of recommendation
    • Physician Assistant
    • Clinician
    • Professor (or other professional reference)

Early Assurance Program (EAP) at Albany Medical College

The Albany Medical College Center for Physician Assistant Studies (CPAS) offers highly qualified students at SUNY Oneonta the opportunity to apply for early assurance to CPAS during their junior (3rd) year.
(note: SUNY Oneonta transfer students are NOT eligible for the EAP but can apply regular decision)

  • To be eligible to apply for acceptance into the Early Assurance Program (EAP):
    a student must be of junior standing (in 3rd year at SUNY Oneonta) and have:
    a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or above (*minimum 3.20 in all Chemistry courses)
    completed General Biology I and II
    completed General Chemistry I and II
    completed Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II
    completed Elementary Organic Chemistry or Organic Chemistry I
    substantial progress towards completing Health Care Experience hours

If accepted, students are assured of admission to the program upon:

  1. completion of the prerequisite courses
  2. attaining the required health care experience
  3. completion of the undergraduate degree with a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.20.

Early Assurance admission allows accepted students to focus on achieving a strong knowledge base in the sciences, completing of prerequisite courses, and obtaining the required health related experience. Accepted EAP students must carry full course loads during their remaining semesters at Oneonta and fulfill the remaining prerequisite courses.

The GRE is waived for students accepted through the EAP.

Requirements for Admission to the Center for Physician Assistant Studies, Albany Medical College:

  • Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • 1000 hours of responsible health care experience by time of enrollment
  • Application through the Centralized Application Process for Physician Assistant Programs (CASPA)
  • Supplemental Application with $60.00 fee
  • Accepted applicants must meet Technical Standards for Physician Assistant Student
  • The following courses with grades of “C” or better:
Course Oneonta Course Cr. Hrs.
General Chemistry I & II with Labs* CHEM 111-112
8 s.h
Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, or other Advanced Chemistry* CHEM 226
4 s.h.
General Biology I & II with Labs BIOL 180, 181
8 s.h
Anatomy and Physiology I & II with Labs BIOL 205-206
8 s.h
Microbiology with Lab BIOL 362
4 s.h.
Statistics STAT 101
3 s.h.
Psychology PSYC 100
3 s.h.
English Composition or other writing intensive course COMP 100 3 s.h.


Application & Admission Processing timeline beginning FALL of 3rd year at SUNY Oneonta:

  1. Fall: SUNY Oneonta Students submits "Intent to Apply" to Coordinator of PreHealth Professions
  2. Fall/Winter: Student begins crafting essay and contacts references to request recommendation
  3. January: Student creates account at Albany Medical College for supplemental application & declares EAP
  4. April: Students creates applicant account with CASPA
  5. Early May: requests letters of recommendation from 3 references, finalizes essay
Application Actions and Deadlines
Supplemental application with Albany Medical Center CASPA application, credentials, &
May 1
CASPA application, credentials, & supporting online documents uploaded & complete
May 30
CASPA processed and received by Center
June 30
Interview at Albany Medical Center
July/early Aug
Notification to applicant of Admission Committee decision
August 15
Commitment from accepted applicant September 1

Students who wish to investigate this opportunity should express their interest to Ms. Tami LaPilusa, Coordinator of the PreHealth Professions Program at SUNY Oneonta, during the FALL SEMESTER of their junior year to discuss the expectations of the EAP and the application process.

Applicants should be confident of their interest in pursuing a career path in medicine as a Physician Assistant, and that admission to the Albany Medical College’s PA program is the path they would choose toward that goal.

As a part of the application process, applicants must articulate in writing why they want to be a physician assistant and how they have pursued completion of healthcare hours. Any descrepancies in academic credentials should be discussed. In addition, they must outline their goals and objectives for the remaining undergraduate year, including time between graduation and the start of the PA Program. The plan for meeting these goals must include specific academic coursework, extracurricular activities, and healthcare related experience. Specifically, they must indicate how the proposed activities for the senior year will enhance their capabilities as a future physician assistant. Each accepted student is committed to continuing vigorous intellectual activity as demonstrated by breath of education as well as depth in some field of concentrated study.

Acceptance and Continuation in the Program

An offer of admission by CPAS requires a reciprocal commitment by the student that is binding unless there is a compelling reason to withdraw from the EAP.

It is understood that the student will not apply to other physician assistant programs once accepted to Albany Medical Center under the early assurance program. In return, the CPAS will reserve a place in the class to be admitted in January following completion of the student’s undergraduate degree. (ie: May graduates will matriculate into the Albany Med PA Program the following January).

Upon acceptance a tuition deposit of $500 will be required. This deposit will be returned to the student if continuation in the EAP is denied by the CPAS. It will be forfeited if the student subsequently declines to enroll.

Continuation in the EAP will require evidence of general academic progress consistent with past performance, and of significant progress toward achievement of individually specified goals. Students are expected to maintain a minimum grade point average each term of 3.20 both in overall course work and in the sciences. Grades in prerequisite courses must be “C” or better. Failure to meet academic standards will constitute grounds for dismissal from the EAP.

A Center advisor will meet with the EAP students at least once each semester to discuss their progress and any problems that may develop. On-going communications between SUNY Oneonta and Center representatives will ensure that both school’s requirements and individual student objectives are being met.

Admission to the Center can be denied should events occur that would cause the Admissions Committee to question a student’s suitability to pursue a career in medicine. These include, but are not limited to, felony conviction, academic dishonesty, or unprofessional conduct in a health care setting.


PreHealth related questions should be directed to Ms. Tami LaPilusa, PreHealth Professions Program Coordinator.

last update 18 July 2017 (TLL Webmaster)