Biology: Pre-Physician Assistant

Degree Type



Go for the versatility of a medical degree without the time and money it takes to become a doctor or nurse. 


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 31% increase in Physician Assistant (PA)  job opportunities over the next 10 years. This higher than average growth is a sign that health care employers are looking to build out patient care teams to meet increasing demand for aging, chronic and critically ill populations.  

A PA is not a doctor; however, these are master’s-level medical professionals who practice on interdisciplinary medical teams. According to the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), PAs can “diagnose illness, develop and manage treatment plans, prescribe medications, and often serve as a patient's principal healthcare provider.” 

Why become a Physician Assistant (PA)?

Just as there is a growing need for doctors and nurses, there is a critical need for PAs as well. This career has the potential to be personally fulfilling, financially lucrative, and offer better work/life balance than other fields in the medical profession. As practitioners who deliver patient care, PAs also have more space to nurture patient relationships, truly getting to know the unique stories of individual patients.  

Similarly to medical schools and nursing programs, PA programs are subject to accreditation and strict industry standards. However, where doctor and nurse training can require multiple advanced degrees and years of study, most PA programs can be completed in roughly 2 years. Graduates are able to put that education to work almost immediately, showing a clear return on investment for this well-respected career choice. 

Still undecided about pursuing a career as a PA? The AAPA highlights some other benefits to becoming a PA.  

Biology students can also choose from 2 other concentrations to learn the foundational skills that prepare you for advanced study, or any medical career with research or analytical responsibilities:

Learn how to: 

  • Apply core biological science concepts to real world scenarios

  • Master the scientific method and scientific primary literature, experiment design and application, as well as data evaluation

  • Apply biological knowledge to individual, community, and global issues

  • Master basic laboratory skills and techniques across multiple biology disciplines

  • Think critically to formulate problems, gather and analyze data, as well as interpret results

  • Effectively communicate biological information to the scientific community through written and oral formats

  • Translate and apply skills to graduate or professional studies and/or career goals 

  • Demonstrate scientifically ethical conduct, as well as an awareness of legal and ethical implications of scientific issues in society


The Pre-Physician Assistant focus of this program is designed to help students apply biological science theories, principles, and techniques to careers and professional programs related to medicine, pharmacy, and physician assistantships.  

Students studying

750+ Course Options

The Coppin State University Academic Catalog has a wide variety of skill-building courses designed to inspire and prepare you to be in-demand professionals and transformational leaders.

Admission requirements

To be eligible for admission to the Biology and Life Sciences program, students must be currently enrolled and in good academic standing. It also helps if you’re excited about and interested in a career in science!  

Program Requirements

To graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Life Sciences, students must complete 120 credit hours. These credit hours split among: 

  • General Education Requirements, or GERs  

  • Core major courses  

  • Supporting major courses

  • Electives 


General Education Requirements (GERs)

All students must complete 40 GER credits. In addition, all science majors must also take these courses to satisfy GERs:

  • MATH 131 (College Algebra for science majors)  

  • BIOL 106 (Fundamentals of cell biology)

  • CHEM 101 - General Chemistry (Prerequisite MATH 131) 

Learn more about the program courses you may take as part of the Pre-Physician Assistant track within the Applied Sciences concentration of the Biology major.

Core Courses (38 credits)

Course credits Name
BIOL 103 4 Botany
BIO 104 4 Zoology
BIOL 201 4 Anatomy and Physiology I
BIOL 203 4 Anatomy and Physiology II
BIOL 302 4 Animal Histology
BIOL 305 4 Animal Physiology
BIOL 308 4 Microbiology

BIOL 402

4 Principles of Genetics

BIOL 410


Molecular Biology 

BIOL 403 1 Seminar I
BIOL 404 1

Seminar II

Supporting Courses (33 credits)

Course credits Name
CHEM 102 4 General Chemistry II
CHEM 307 5 Organic Chemistry I
CHEM 308 5 Organic Chemistry II
CHEM 313 4 Biochemistry

MATH 132



PHYS 301 4 Physics I
PHYS 302 4 Physics II
MATH 203 3 Statistics

Electives (9 credits)

Course credits Name
BIOL 401 4 General Ecology
BIOL 303 3 Neuroscience: Research & Analysis

PHSC 306


Earth and Space Science

XXX xxx 3 or 4 Advised Course

Remember! You must complete all major and prerequisite courses with a grade of C or higher.

Sample Degree Plan

This plan is only for example purposes. Your academic journey may be slightly different from another student’s, so be sure to always communicate with your academic advisor before finalizing your course schedule. 

Fall Semester (16 credits)

Course credits name
ENGL 101 3 English Composition I
PSYC 201 3 General Psychology 
MATH 131 3 College Algebra
HIST xxx 3 History I Course

PHIL 102


Introduction to Logic

FRSEM 1 Freshman Seminar

Spring Semester (15 credits)

course credits name
MATH 132 4 Pre-Calculus
BIOL 106 4 Cell Biology
CHEM 101 4 General Chemistry I
ENGL 102 3 English Composition II

Fall Semester (16 credits)

Course credits name
HIST xxx 3 History II Course
ANTH 207 3 Anthropology
WLIT 207 3 World Literature
BIOL 103 4 General Botany
MIST 150 (or HEED 101, GEOG 102) 3 Tech Fluency

Spring Semester (15 credits)

Course credits name
CHEM 102 4 General Chemistry II
BIOL 201 4 Anatomy and Physiology I
IDIS 103  (or Foreign Lang, ART 103, Music 201, Dance 226, Theater 211, Speech 105) 3 Visual Arts & Theater
BIOL 104 4 General Zoology

Fall Semester (17 credits)

Course credits name
CHEM 307 5 Organic Chemistry (only offered in the Fall)
PHYS 301 4 General Physics (only offered in the Fall)
BIOL 302 4 Animal Histology (only offered in the Fall)
BIOL 203 4 Anatomy and Physiology II

Spring Semester (17 credits)

course credits name
CHEM 308 5 Organic Chemistry II (only offered in the Spring)
PHYS 302 4 Physics II (only offered in the Spring)

BIOL 305


Animal Physiology (only offered in the Spring)

BIOL xxx 4 Program Elective [Animal Embryology (BIOL 301) only offered in the Spring / Earth & Space Science (PHSC 306)]

Fall Semester (12 credits)

Course credits name
BIOL 403 1 Seminar in Biology I
BIOL 308 4 Microbiology
MATH 203 3 Statistics
BIOL xxx 4 Program Elective (BIOL 303 - only offered in the fall semester or PHSC 306 Earth and Space Science)

Spring Semester (13 credits)

Course credits Name
BIOL 404 1 Seminar II
BIOL 402 4 Principles of Genetics (only offered in the Spring)
CHEM 313 4 Biochemistry (only offered in the Spring)
BIOL 410 4 Molecular Biology (only offered in the Spring)

Related Natural Science Programs

Applied Molecular Biology and Biochemistry


Biology and Life Sciences


Biology: Pre-Pharmacy


Biology: Pre-Medicine






Computational Chemistry




Polymer and Material Sciences


Biology and Life Sciences lives in the Department of Natural Sciences in the School of Arts & Sciences within the College of Arts & Sciences, and Education