Pre-Physician Assistant

IUPUI Pre-physician assistant science student “Undoubtedly, the experiences I’ve had have molded me into a better leader and equipped me with skills to be the best physician possible. I feel empowered to make an impact on the world around me.” ~Jennifer Romine

At the School of Science at IUPUI, students seeking professional careers in medicine are exposed to opportunities that no other school in the state of Indiana can offer.

Through comprehensive coursework, hands-on experience in the classroom and labs, one-on-one guidance from professors, and research and leadership opportunities in the School, five surrounding hospitals, the IU School of Medicine and the IU School of Dentistry, graduates of the School of Science are well  prepared for PA school and beyond!


Unlike other health profession training programs, most physician assistant programs, including IU's, require or strongly prefer that applicants have some actual direct patient care experience. The IU program also urges applicants to gain experience working with under-served rural populations.

By studying science at IUPUI, students have access to five leading hospitals right on campus. The School of Science at IUPUI offers various programs for students to become involved with research, internship and other leadership opportunities throughout their undergraduate experience. One of those programs is the Life Health Sciences Internship. This one-year program through IU Med School provides students the opportunity to participate in both clinical and scientific research opportunities throughout IUPUI's campus and the surrounding hospitals and labs. For more information on the Life Health Sciences Internship and other opportunities for students in the School of Science at IUPUI, please click here.

What is Physician Assistant?

PAs work in a number of fields of medicine. They often practice in primary care as well as trauma, surgery, the surgical sub-specialties and all other areas. PAs can become experts and earn multiple specializations throughout their careers based on their experience working under the given type of physician or in the given setting in which they specialize.

Physician Assistants are comprehensively trained in a variety of fields including:

  • Conducting physical exams
  • Diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries
  • Ordering and interpreting lab tests and x-rays
  • Counseling on preventative health care
  • Assisting in surgery
  • Writing prescriptions for medicine
  • And more

Like most universities, IUPUI does not offer a pre-physician assistant major because PA schools do not require students to complete specific majors. However, many majors in the School of Science at IUPUI provide students with excellent undergraduate preparation for medical school.

Choosing an Undergraduate Major

PA school success is largely dependent on the knowledge, experience and habits students pick up as undergraduates. Through opportunities to participate in industry-leading research, community involvement and clinical experience, a pre-physician assistant student in the School of Science at IUPUI will be well prepared for success in PA school and life in the medical field.

  • Prerequisites for many PA schools often favor and lean heavily toward science majors and majors in the School of Science at IUPUI provide students with excellent undergraduate preparation for PA school.
  • By studying science at IUPUI, students have opportunities to work, learn and participate in internships and research in the School of Science as well as the IU Medical School and surrounding hospitals.
  • Many science undergraduate degrees are marketable to future employers even if the student chooses not to pursue professional schooling.

Advising + Resources

Visit the Science PREPs Office for expert guidance on majors, professional school admissions, and research, internships and other co-curricular opportunities that will help guide you to the best professional schools.