Pre-Physician Assistant

Pre-Physician Assistant

Pre-Physician Assistant Advisement Track

Dual-advising is available to assist students with timely completion of both the primary major coursework and the Pre-Health advisement track coursework as of the date of their matriculation at SUNY Oneonta.

  • Students must declare a primary major and are encouraged to declare their intended Pre-Health Concentration for effective advisement.
  • Consultation with advisors for the primary major and Pre-Health concentration should begin at the time of admission to SUNY Oneonta.

Students can review their individual degree progress via DegreeWorks.

  • The Primary Major Faculty Advisor assists with selection of courses for the Primary Major Requirements.
  • The Pre-Health Advisement Track Advisor guides the student through the Pre-Physician Assistant Concentration, listed below.

Pre-Physician Assistant Concentration

  • Satisfies the course requirements for admission at most physician assistant schools.
  • Additional elective courses are recommended but not required and can vary depending on the school.
  • Students must consult 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.
Fall 2020 and Later Matriculants TOTAL: 46-47 sh
BIOL 130, 131, 133, 205-206, 362 (or 203 if a non-Biology Major) 18-19 sh
CHEM 111-112, 226, 330 16 sh
COMP 100 3 sh
STAT 101 3 sh
PSYC 100 3 sh
SOC 101 3 sh
SPring 2020 and earlier Matriculants Total: 43-44 sh
BIOL 180, 181, 205-206, 362 (or 203 if a non-Biology Major) 19-20 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 and Planning for Applying to Physician Assistant School

The recommended course sequence is based on a 4-year undergraduate course plan, a student graduating in 4-years, the student taking the GRE after the 3rd year of college coursework, and applying to physician assistant school prior to starting the 4th year of undergraduate studies.

Many Pre-Physician students are choosing to take at least one year after they graduate SUNY Oneonta to work in healthcare prior to applying to physician assistant programs.

In fact, across the United States most first-time applicants to physician assistant school apply after their senior year or later. Having a “Growth Year” between undergraduate studies and beginning physician assistant 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.

If a student wishes to take a "growth year," or takes a different undergraduate path, students will need to adjust the course sequence plan accordingly, based on their personal planning needs. Individual student plans may vary depending on when the student hopes to enter dental school and what major is chosen, therefore each student should work with their Primary Major Advisor and their Pre-Health Concentration Advisor to establish their own personalized schedule

Year One Courses and Study Hours



BIOL 180 (Biology I) or BIOL 130 & 133 4 sh BIOL 181 (Biology II) or BIOL 131 3 or 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 another course 3 sh
Year Two Courses and Study Hours



BIOL 205 (Human Anatomy & Physiology I) 4 sh BIOL 206 (Human Anatomy & Physiology II) 4 sh
CHEM 226 or 330 4 sh CHEM 226 or 330 4 sh
BIOL 201 4 sh STAT 101 (Intro to Statistics) 3 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
Year Three Courses and Study Hours



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



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

Centralized Application Service

  • Application to Physician Assistant programs is made through the centralized application CASPA
  • FAQs for CASPA
  • The 2020 CASPA (for PA school start dates in 2021) opens April 30, 2020
  • 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. For application to highly competitive schools and those with a rolling admissions policy, it is imperative for applicants to submit their CASPA as early in the cycle as possible (end of April) as the interview seats for prospective students are generally full before the end of August.

Acceptance rates: 38.4% of SUNY Oneonta Pre-Physician Assistant students matriculate into a PA program after graduation (CASPA data, 2016-2019 matriculants).

Physician Assistant Schools SUNY Oneonta graduates attend include: Albany Medical College, Bryant University, Clarkson University, CUNY - New York, D'Youville College, Daemen College, Drexel University, Duke University Medical Center, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Hofstra University, Lake Erie College, LeMoyne College, Long Island University, MCPHS University (Boston), Marist University, Mercy College, Marrywood University, Methodist University, Nova Southeastern University (Ft. Meyers), Pace University (Lenox Hill Hospital - NYC), Pace University (Pleasantville), Salus University, Stony Brook University, SUNY Upstate Medical Center, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Touro College (Bay Shore), Touro University (California), University of New England, among others. [last update: May 18, 2020]

Applicants are evaluated on:

  • healthcare experience (direct patient care experience)
  • GRE
  • GPA
  • Successful completion of primary major requirements
  • minimum of three letters of recommendation (Physician Assistant, Clinician, Professor)

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);
  • have a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or above (*minimum 3.20 in all chemistry courses);
  • have completed General Biology I and II;
  • have completed General Chemistry I and II;
  • have completed Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II;
  • have completed Elementary Organic Chemistry or Organic Chemistry I; and
  • have made 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 healthcare 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 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:

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 or BIOL 130, 131, 133 7-8 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 Pre-Health Professions and schedules a meeting to discuss candidate's credentials and suitability of the EAP for the candidate's educational and healthcare training goals
  2. Fall/Winter: Student begins crafting essay and contacts references to request recommendation
  3. January: Student creates account at Albany Medical College & declares EAP by emailing
  4. April: Students creates applicant account with CASPA (portal opens in late April)
  5. May 1: Deadline for submitting supplemental application, career plan, & essay to Albany Medical Center PA Program
  6. Early May: requests letters of recommendation from 3 references, finalizes essay
Application Actions and Deadlines
Supplemental application & career plan with Albany Medical Center PA Program May 1
(DEADLINE for Albany Med to receive documents)
CASPA application, credentials, & supporting online documents uploaded & complete

(NOTE: It can take CASPA 2-4 weeks to verify & transmit your application to Albany Med; your VERIFIED CASPA application must be received by Albany Med by the June 15 deadline, therefore it is recommended to submit your CASPA no later than May 31)
Between April 26 - May 31, 2018
(for VERIFIED CASPA to be received by June 15)
CASPA processed and received by Center 30 days after submitting CASPA
EAP Applicants Interviewed at Albany Medical Center before August 31
Notification to applicant of Admission Committee decision before September 15
Commitment signed & deposit paid from accepted applicant October 1

Students who wish to investigate this opportunity should express their interest to Tami LaPilusa, Coordinator of the Pre-Health 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 hoursAny discrepancies 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 the 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 (AMC) 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 of 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 coursework 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. Ongoing communications between SUNY Oneonta and AMC representatives will ensure that both school’s requirements and individual student objectives are being met.

Admission to AMC 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 healthcare setting.

    Pre-Physician Assistant questions should be directed to Tami LaPilusa, M.S., Pre-Health Professions Program Coordinator
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