Pre-Physician Assistant

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Degrees: Vary by chosen academic discipline

Special programs: Pre-PA Scholars PAthway


Physician Assistants (PAs) are health professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physician. They are nationally certified and licensed by individual states and bring a breadth of knowledge and skills to patient care. As healthcare providers, PAs deliver a broad range of medical and surgical services to diverse populations in rural, urban and suburban settings. The primary mission of the Saint Louis University Physician Assistant Program is to educate men and women to become competent, compassionate Physician Assistants dedicated to excellence in healthcare and the service of humanity.

At Saint Louis University, the Physician Assistant program is distinguished by a number of factors. The program is among the first 12 in the country and has maintained a tradition of academic excellence and earned a national reputation as a solid leader in physician assistant education. Part of the SLU Medical Center, which includes the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, the School of Public Health and the Doisy College of Health Sciences, the Physician Assistant program exposes students to the vast range of disciplines and skills involved in modern health care.

SLU's Pre-PA Scholars PAthway (PPSP) makes it possible for a select number of outstanding SLU undergraduate students, who maintain exemplary academic records, to be guaranteed a position in SLU's graduate PA program.


Pre-PA Scholars PAthway students follow a prescribed curriculum provided by the undergraduate degree-sponsoring department. Regardless of the degree selected, Pre-PA Scholars must also complete specific pre-requisite coursework at Saint Louis University. The PPSP allows the student seeking a career as a physician assistant to gain valuable health care credentials, competence and expertise prior to entrance into the post-baccalaureate Physician Assistant Program.

The post-baccalaureate PA Program offers a full-time 27 month (seven-semester) didactic and clinical curriculum which culminates in conferral of the Master of Medical Science (M.M.S.) degree and eligibility to sit for the Physician Assistant National Certifying Examination (PANCE).

Careers in the Field:

The role of the physician assistant varies depending on the specialty of the physician. Approximately 87 percent of the graduates of the Saint Louis University Physician Assistant Program are active in practice as physician assistants in primary care practices such as family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, surgery and women's health. Physician assistants can be found performing physical exams, diagnosing and treating illnesses, ordering and interpreting tests, counseling patients on preventive health care, assisting in surgery, and in most states writing prescriptions. Among those Saint Louis University Physician Assistant Program alumni who are not in active clinical practice as physician assistants are administrators, educators, physicians, attorneys, pharmaceutical representatives and members of other health related occupations.

About the Faculty:

The core faculty of the Department of Physician Assistant Education offers a breadth of background and experience in health care and education. In addition, over 150 area physicians, PAs and other health professionals teach in the department, along with science faculty from within the University.

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