Work on the front lines of healthcare to help improve your community’s health and wellbeing.

The field of healthcare offers rewarding and important work that is vital to the success of any and every community. Completing a degree in our pre-physician assistant program could be the first step you need to attain a future career dedicated to helping others. As a physician assistant, you would play a critical role in healthcare, practicing medicine alongside physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare professionals.  

And if you change your mind about becoming a PA later on, don’t sweat it. This program is designed to teach you the basics about natural sciences, opening doors for you to make an impact in any scientific career you choose as you contribute to vital medical discovery and innovation in areas like clinical research and chemistry applications. By earning a degree in pre-physician assistant, you’ll be prepared to take on any number of careers. 

Anchor: Stats

By the Numbers


Average Salary


Industry Growth


Student-to-Faculty Ratio


PANCE Pass Rate (2023)
Anchor: Programs & Requirements
Programs & Requirements

Programs & Requirements

* The credit hours listed on this page only reference the specific program requirements and is not reflective of the total hours necessary to receive your degree. Cumberlands requires all students obtain a minimum of 60 hours for an associate’s degree and a total of 120 hours for a bachelor’s degree. Transfer and prior learning credits may be counted toward those totals.

To learn more about our General Education Requirements, please visit the page referenced below or explore our Academic Catalog

General Education Requirements

Pre-Physician Assistant

If you are interested in applying for early admission to UC’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPAS) program, you must complete the following coursework in total as Pre-PA Biology majors at UC. You’ll also need to complete all general education curriculum requirements as outlined in the university’s undergraduate catalog. Admission is made during the third year of undergraduate study; all PA admissions requirements must be met by the time of application. Please note that completion of the pre-PA curriculum does not ensure acceptance into the MSPAS program. 

Students who complete the Pre-Professional PA curriculum but do not continue on to the professional phase of the PA program will need a total of 35 hours of biology courses (those listed below, plus BIOL 495 or BIOL 498, and either 6 or 10 additional hours of biology electives), 7 hours of allied science courses, and elective classes to complete the 120 hours needed to attain a Bachelor of Science with a major in biology. Alternatively, students can complete a Biology of Science degree in Independent Directions with a focus on applied health sciences. A third alternative is to complete a Bachelor of General Studies degree. More information on these alternatives may be found in our course catalog. 

Students who successfully complete the pre-physician assistant curriculum and are accepted into the MSPAS program are awarded a Bachelor of Health Science degree by the University after the successful completion of the first year of didactic coursework in the MSPAS program. Students are then awarded the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies degree after the successful completion of the second year of coursework. 

Note: For Registrar purposes, this degree is officially a "Bachelor of Science in Biology - Pre-Professional Emphasis."

Course Requirements

BIOL 111 Becoming a Successful Biologist

BIOL 113 Introduction to Population Biology Laboratory  

BIOL 114 Introduction to Cellular Biology Laboratory  

BIOL 121 Medical Terminology 

BIOL 133 Introduction to Population Biology 

BIOL 134 Introduction to Cellular Biology  

BIOL 210 Introduction to Biological Literature 

BIOL 443 General Animal Physiology  

BIOL 246 Biodiversity  

BIOL 340 Genetics  

BIOL 343* Human Anatomy OR BIOL 442 - Comparative Anatomy  

BIOL 345 Microbiology  CHEM 111 General Chemistry Laboratory I  

CHEM 132 General College Chemistry I  

CHEM 211 General College Chemistry Laboratory II 

CHEM 232 General College Chemistry II 

CHEM 321 Organic Chemistry Laboratory I 

CHEM 331 Organic Chemistry I 

Additional 6 or 10 credits of 300 or 400 level biology courses, upper-level psychology courses, statistics  

*Preferred for the Williamsburg Campus program but not required for the Northern Kentucky Campus program

A Bachelor of Arts degree requires completing the same courses as a Bachelor of Science with the addition of completing one foreign language sequence through the intermediate level.


FREN 131     Elementary French I

FREN 132     Elementary French II

FREN 231     Intermediate French I

FREN 232     Intermediate French II


SPAN 131     Elementary Spanish I

SPAN 132     Elementary Spanish II

SPAN 231     Intermediate Spanish I

SPAN 232     Intermediate Spanish II

Anchor: Mission & Goals

Mission and Goals

The goal of the pre-physician assistant degree program at Cumberlands is to offer students seeking careers as physician assistants the curriculum needed to enter a graduate program that will prepare them for positions in the field.

Gain fundamental knowledge in modern concepts of biology, chemistry, and mathematics.
Effectively use informational resources, perform research, and interpret data.
Demonstrate critical and analytical thought within the context of the scientific method.
Sharpen your communication, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.
Begin learning the basics of medical practice, including the emotional care of patients.
Anchor: Career Outcomes

Physician Assistant Careers & Outcomes

All stats from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Physician Assistant: $121,530

Physician Assistant: $121,530

Physician assistants examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the supervision of a physician. 

Doctor: $208,000

Doctor: $208,000

Doctors diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses and address health maintenance.


Nurse: $77,600

Nurse: $77,600

Registered nurses (RNs) provide and coordinate patient care and educate patients and the public about various health conditions. 

Clinical Researcher: $95,310

Clinical Researcher: $95,310

Medical scientists conduct research aimed at improving overall human health.

Postsecondary Science Teacher: $79,640

Postsecondary Science Teacher: $79,640

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a variety of academic subjects beyond the high school level. 

Natural Sciences Manager: $137,900

Natural Sciences Manager: $137,900

Natural sciences managers supervise the work of scientists, including chemists, physicists, and biologists. 

Anchor: FAQs

Common Questions

Our pre-physician assistant program prepares you for a more specialized focus in advanced physician assistant programs. Following a biology or chemistry degree track, the program offers the kind of well-rounded undergraduate education preferred by most professional physician assistant programs. 

With a degree that offers a pre-physician assistant education, you can continue on to a professional physician assistant program or pursue graduate studies in one of many natural science disciplines. You may take on careers in the field of physician assisting or prepare for job opportunities across the natural sciences, such as careers as certified physician assistants, biology or science teachers, or natural sciences managers.  

We think so! Earning a degree with a pre-physician assistant focus builds the foundational understanding needed to be successful as you advance your education into graduate studies. Ultimately, it’s the first step on the road to a fulfilling and rewarding career as a PA – or a career in a related field. Benefits of pursuing your pre-physician assistant major at University of the Cumberlands include having expanded career opportunities, working with dedicated advisors, and meeting graduate school requirements early. In addition, Cumberlands has two graduate PA programs – one in Williamsburg and one in Northern Kentucky – into which all your undergraduate credits would seamlessly transfer. 

Besides a focus on sciences – including physics, chemistry and biology – this pre-physician assistant program explores English, mathematics, social sciences, and the humanities. It covers a broad range of essential skills for physician assistants so that you’re more prepared to pursue a master’s program after you graduate! 

Absolutely. A pre-physician assistant program can help you meet certain academic requirements for entry into an MSPAS program, medical school, pharmacy school, and more. 

Anchor: Faculty

Faculty Experts in Pre-Physician Assistant Program

Learn more about our experienced faculty in our pre-physician assistant program.

Kara Stanley

Ms. Kara Stanley

Adjunct Professor

Ms. Kara Stanley

Contact Information

kara.stanley [at]
Dr. Leif Deyrup

Dr. Leif Deyrup

Assistant Professor

Dr. Leif Deyrup

Contact Information

leif.deyrup [at]
Correll Science Complex B116
Dr. Joan Hembree

Dr. Joan Hembree

Associate Professor / Adjunct Professor

Dr. Joan Hembree

Contact Information

joan.hembree [at]
Correll Science Complex B115

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