Pre-Physician Assistant

​​​​Des Moines Area Community College's Liberal Arts Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees provide the flexibility and opportunity to get a solid start on your four-year degree while earning an Associate degree. The courses listed below can be used to fulfill a portion of the Liberal Arts Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree.

A physician assistant is licensed to practice medicine under the supervision of a licensed physician. Physician assistants provide medical care in various settings, including physician offices, multiple specialty clinics, satellite clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and patients' homes.

Courses Recommended/Required for Admission into a Physician Assistant Program*
CHM 165 General/Inorganic Chemistry I
4 credits
CHM 175 General/Inorganic Chemistry II
4 credits
CHM 263 Organic Chemistry I**5 credits
BIO 168 Anatomy & Physiology I 4 credits
BIO 173 Anatomy & Physiology II 4 credits
BIO 186 Microbiology w/lab 4 credits
BIO 112
General Biology I​
4 credits
PSY 241 Abnormal Psychology3 credits
PSY Choice Core Psychology Choice3 credits
PSY ChoiceCore Psychology Choice3 credits
HSC 114
Medical Ter​minology 3 credits
MAT 157 Statistics4 credits
BIO 146 Genetics 3 credits

*These courses are based on the admission requirements for the Physician Assistant program at Des Moines University (DMU); only the courses that can be satisfied through DMACC are included. Program requirements vary by university. Please check with the Physician Assistant department at the university you plan to attend. Students who have not yet completed a Bachelor's degree should work with their prospective four-year college (see additional notes below).

**DMU requires 15 semester hours of chemistry, but only one semester of General Chemistry and one semester of Organic Chemistry; however, the prerequisite to CHM 263 Organic Chemistry I includes one of the following: CHM 132 Intro to Organic Biochemistry, CHM 175 General/Inorganic Chemistry II or one year of college-level general chemistry.

Additional notes:

  1. In order to fulfill a Liberal Arts Associate in Arts or Associate in Science degree, additional courses are required. Please work closely with a DMACC academic advisor. View the full listing of DMACC's Liberal Arts courses and degree requirements.
  2. A Bachelor degree is required for admission into a Physician Assistant program. It is important to work closely with your prospective four-year college and develop a transfer plan to ensure the courses you select at DMACC match your four-year degree requirements. DMU's Physician Assistant program now requires a 300-level (or higher) biochemistry class as part of their admission requirements. This requirement must be fulfilled at a four-year college/university.
  3. DMU uses a competitive admission process to determine who is offered a place in their Physician Assistant program. They require a minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA for admission, but usually a higher GPA is needed. Admission requirements vary by school. Check with your prospective school for information on specific requirements.
  4. An additional requirement for applicants is practical experience. DMU requires a minimum of 750 hours of direct patient-care experience, but most applicants complete far more hours.


Qian Moss
Biology Professor/Pre-Med Advisor
Bethany Gallimore
Academic Advisor​