Advising for students interested in the pre-physician assistant program is done by Dr. Erich Ottem, Biology Department, 906-227-1072; email:

Northern Michigan University offers courses that prepare students for admission to many physician assistant programs. This pre-physician assistant program is similar to the pre-medical program because of the strong emphasis on basic sciences and requisite courses focused on the human body and functions. More advanced courses required for admission to a specific physician assistant program may vary widely depending on the school. Students may have any major but must complete the science courses required for entry to the programs to which they are applying. NMU has an articulation agreement with Central Michigan University's physician assistant program that allows for four NMU students to have a guaranteed interview with a high probability of acceptance into the program on a non-competitive basis providing the students meet all of the admission criteria in the CMU curriculum guide, and minimum GPA requirements.

Whether applying for admission to the CMU PA program or considering any other school, it is imperative that students seek advise and guidance from the pre-physician assistant adviser in the Chemistry Department.

Additional Application Criteria for the CMU Physician Assistant Program

  1. Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.5.
  2. No grade less than a B in any prerequisite course work.
  3. Recommendation by Physics Department pre-medical adviser.
  4. A minimum of 500 direct patient care hours must be completed prior to application.
  5. Community/volunteer service involvement.
  6. Graduate Record Exam completed.
  7. Receive a passing score from an interview with CMU Physican Assistant Admissions Committee.

Students will typically take courses selected from the list below to qualify for PA school. The student should determine the specific requirements for the PA schools of interest and consult with the pre-PA advisor for course selection. 

For department information or additional degree requirements, go to the Pre-Professional Programs department page.

For related information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,

Total Credits Required 0

Although not typically required, other upper level biology courses such as histology and immunology are useful for preparation for PA school.