Physicians assistant (pre-professional) major
Physicians assistant (PA) graduate programs regularly accept students from various undergraduate majors. Pre-health advisers, admissions directors and faculty indicate that developing and sharpening key skills and demonstrating a strong foundation in natural and social sciences are the best preparation for the study of medicine. All strongly agree on the value of a well-rounded liberal arts education with service to community.
- Ellen Du Pre, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Pre-Health Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Glenn Barnett, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry, email@example.com
- Nicole Palenske, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jim Shriver, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry, email@example.com
- Catherine Haustein, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry
Students may major in any area, so choose a major that interests you and that fits with your personal and professional life goals. Students are required to successfully complete a series of courses in the following:
- Social sciences
The Vermeer Science Center recently went through a $20-million renovation and expansion that was completed in fall 2003. The building contains 13 high-tech classrooms. Each contains a ceiling-mounted projector, computer with flat panel monitor, Wolfvision document camera, combination VCR/DVD player and a Ken-a-vision flex camera. Vermeer also contains several computer labs with new Dell computers with flat panel monitors and the most recent versions of math and science computer programs. Numerous science laboratories with state-of-the-art science equipment allow students to conduct their own research. Central was awarded a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) medal rating from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), making the science center the first LEED-rated building in the state.
Department Web site
The biology department has even more information about majoring in biology at their department website.
The chemistry program maintains its own website with even more information about majoring in chemistry at Central College and numerous research opportunities with Central faculty.
No matter what your interests are, Central has a student group or organization that you’ll want to join! Click here to learn how you can get involved with groups and organizations at Central. Student organizations include:
- Bio-Chem Club
- SCATE (students concerned about the environment)
- Tri-Beta (national biological sciences honor society)
- Health Professions Club
Students are encouraged to study abroad with Central College to enhance their development as global citizens. Academic opportunities and internship programs also are available in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.
Strengths in Central's pre-health programs
- Faculty provide support to students.
- Small class and laboratory size allow faculty to provide each student with individualized attention and the opportunity to develop those skills so necessary for graduate school.
- Faculty are invested in the success of their students and provide advising that ensures that students have met the course work and preparation required for graduate schools.
- Faculty provide letters of recommendation that make a vital difference in the decision process for acceptance into medical programs.
- Faculty provide research opportunities.
- Faculty provide students with many professional development opportunities:
- Student instructor and/or teaching assistants working alongside professors to enhance the learning experience of underclassmen
- Working with professors conducting research and attending and presenting at scientific conferences.
We recommend that students take full advantage of as many of these opportunities as possible:
- Undergraduate research and presentation at scientific meetings
Central provides students with the information and opportunities to conduct research which plays a significant role in developing skills and demonstrating the professionalism necessary for success in graduate programs.
- Shadowing programs
- Study abroad
- Targeted service-learning opportunities related to career goals
- Community-based service opportunities
- Student instructor and teaching assistant experience working alongside the professor to develop leadership skills
Heartland Global Health Consortium member
Central College is a founding member of the Heartland Global Health Consortium whose mission is to establish and expand multidisciplinary educational, research and service opportunities to inspire and equip students to become leaders in global public health. The consortium provides additional opportunities for students to participate in educational, global research and global medical service experiences.
Success in getting into physicians assistant programs
Whatever your major, Central College students are extremely successful on GRE exams and securing acceptance into physician assistant programs if they:
- Complete the required courses
- Complete the required hours of observation
- Maintain a GPA of 3.6 or higher
- Take advantage of the many opportunities for professional development
Requirements for PA programs vary with each institution.
Your pre-health coordinator and academic adviser will work with you to ensure that you have taken all required coursework and completed required health care or research experience.
Central graduates have gone on to complete PA programs at the following institutions:
- Des Moines University
- Midwestern University, Chicago, Ill.
- Rocky Mountain College, Billings, Mont.
Career Center — a helpful resource
Staff of the Career Center, located in the Maytag Student Center, provides the following:
- Individual appointments to help students identify career options in the health field
- Job shadowing opportunities with local professionals or Central alumni
- Career mentoring through the use of a database of Central alumni in a wide variety of health and medical careers
- Advertising for and transportation to health-related events and open houses at universities
- Assistance with finding and applying for internships and summer opportunities, including specific internship programs in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
- An annual graduate school conference with representatives from regional universities and presentations about being successful in graduate school
- Help with graduate school essays and related application materials
- Workshops on résumé-writing, interviewing and etiquette
- “Meet the Pros” events where alums return to campus to talk to students about careers in health and medicine