Northwestern’s pre-physician assistant program prepares students for entrance into a Physician Assistant (PA) professional program and an eventual career as a PA where you will practice medicine under the supervision of physicians and surgeons. Most students will attend Northwestern for four years, graduating with a B.A. degree before entering a 2-year PA graduate program. Students most typically pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Biology Health Professions. The pre-physician assistant specific courses are listed below.
The pre-physician assistant courses align with the pre-requisite courses for Northwestern's Master of Science in Physician Assistant Program which began in 2020. Admission to PA programs is competitive; Northwestern's program plans to enroll only 32 students per year. NWC graduates interested in Northwestern's MSPAS program will receive preference in the admissions process: Applicants who complete all the admissions materials and meet all admissions criteria will be granted an admission interview.
Psychology elective (4 credits)
Medical Terminology (2 credits)
BIO 115SN -
General Biology: Molecular and Cellular Biology
An introduction to molecular and cellular biology, with an examination of
the processes common to living organisms and an introduction to the
diversity of life, emphasizing unicellular organisms. This introduction will
provide students with a basic understanding of macromolecules, cell
structure and function, respiration and photosynthesis, the cell cycle,
meiosis, genetics, mechanisms of evolutionary change, and Christian
perspectives on evolutionary biology. (4 credits) (NWCore option under
Science and the Natural World) Note: Three lectures and 3 hours of laboratory work per week.
BIO 116 -
General Biology: Ecology and Organismal Biology
General Biology II is an introduction to organismal biology emphasizing the diversity of life forms. Representative organisms from the plant and animal kingdoms will be emphasized. Students will also be introduced to basic ecological concepts and Christian perspectives on stewardship. (4 credits)
BIO 202WI -
Genetics and Genomics
An introduction to the principles of heredity and their practical
applications. Prerequisites: BIO115SN or 116. (4 credits) (Writing
intensive) Note: Includes 3 credits of lab per week. A fee is associated with this course (http://www.nwciowa.edu/tuition/fees).
BIO 203 -
A study of the morphology and physiology of microorganisms with special emphasis on bacteria and viruses. Those organisms that have an economic or medical importance will be highlighted, and basic laboratory techniques will be stressed.Prerequisites: BIO115, 116 and CHE101, 102 or CHE111, 112.(4 credits)
BIO 221 -
A study of the gross structure of the systems of the human body.Prerequisite: BIO102, 115 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
BIO 222 -
A study of the mechanisms by which the human body functions. Emphasis will be given to nerve and muscle function, and thereafter to hormonal control and the integrated systems that allow for respiratory, digestive, excretory and reproductive activities.Prerequisites: BIO102 or 115 and CHE101, 102 or CHE111, 112 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
BIO 326x -
Biochemistry: Proteins and Metabolism
A fundamental course surveying biomolecules, catabolism, bioenergetics and biosynthesis. Prerequisites: CHE321 and 322. (4 credits)
CHE 321 -
The study of carbon compounds and their functional groups, including nomenclature, synthesis, reactions, structures, mechanisms and spectroscopic analysis.Prerequisites: CHE102 or 112 or permission of instructor.(4 credits)
CHE 322 -
A continuation of the study of carbon compounds and their functional groups, including nomenclature, synthesis, reactions, structures, mechanisms and spectroscopic analysis.Prerequisite: CHE321.(4 credits)
PSY 100SS -
(4 credits)(NWCore option under Self and Society) In this course students learn
how, using methodologies such as
observation, survey and experimentation, psychological science explores
the causes and consequences of human action. An overview of major
findings from the field of psychology such as biological bases of
behavior, learning and memory, motivation and emotion, human development,
personality, intelligence, psychopathology and therapy, the effect of
others on individuals will be discussed and students will be encouraged
to apply this knowledge to their own views and actions. Students will
consider why the integration of faith and science in understanding humans
is important and will explore ways of accomplishing this integration.
PSY 360 -
(4 credits) This course will provide a broad survey of what is considered
to be disordered in behavior, emotional expression, and cognition in
adults. Emphasis will be placed on a scientific view of psychopathology.
The two main foci of the course are the (a) description of various
behaviors, symptoms, syndromes and illnesses as described in the most
recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the
American Psychiatric Association, and (b) research and theories
concerning etiology including discussion of environmental, biological,
social and interactive perspectives. While intervention and childhood
disorders will be discussed, they are not the primary focus of this course.
Prerequisite: 4 credits of psychology courses.
Choose one sequence:
CHE 101SN -
(4 credits)(NWCore option under Science and the Natural World) This course is
an introduction to inorganic chemistry, with an emphasis on the health sciences. It is well
suited for students whose programs require one year of chemistry.
Note: Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory period per week. Open to
CHE 102 -
An introductory course in organic and biological chemistry. The content is especially suited to meet the needs of students whose programs require only one year of chemistry.Prerequisite: CHE101.(4 credits)
CHE 111 -
An introductory course in chemistry that emphasizes physical and inorganic concepts, problems and calculations. Topics include chemical reactions, stoichiometry, properties of gases, thermochemistry, theories of atomic structure, and chemical bonding. The general chemistry sequence (Chemistry 111 and Chemistry 112) is recommended for students with good math / science preparations who intend to proceed to advanced courses in chemistry, the biological sciences or engineering. Prerequisites: high school chemistry and ACT math
score of at least 24 (SAT 570 or above). (4 credits)
CHE 112 -
A continuation of Chemistry 111. Topics covered include kinetics, thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, acid-base chemistry and nuclear chemistry.Prerequisite: CHE111 or consent of the instructor.(4 credits)
Choose one course:
MAT 116QR -
Statistics for the Natural and Social Sciences
(3 credits)(NWCore option under Quantitative Reasoning) This course is
designed to introduce topics in probability and statistics
with an emphasis on problems in the sciences. We will study discrete and
continuous distributions, estimation and hypothesis testing, p-values,
correlation, and simple linear regression. There will be three main
sections in this course, examining descriptive statistics (the nature of
data and how to summarize it), basic probability concepts (the
mathematical study of uncertainty), and inferential statistics (making
claims or decisions based on one or more sets of data).
Note: Students may receive credit for only one course among MAT
116QR, MAT 117QR and MAT 208.
Prerequisites: C- or better in MAT090, an ACT math score of 20 or above
(SAT 510 or above), a passing score on the basic algebra placement exam,
or permission of instructor.
MAT 208QR -
(4 credits)(NWCore option under Quantitative Reasoning) This course is a study of statistical methodology commonly used in the
biological and health sciences. We will start with examining basic
descriptive methods in statistics. We will then introduce the foundational
concepts in probability. After these topics are explored, we will spend the
remainder of the course looking at the uses and interpretation of
statistics. Topics will include confidence intervals and hypothesis tests
involving one or two samples, correlation and regression, contingency
tables, and ANOVA.
Note: Meets four times per week. Students may receive credit for only one
course among MAT 116QR, MAT 117QR and MAT 208QR.
Prerequisite: C- or better in MAT090, an ACT math score of 20 or above (SAT
510 or above), or a passing score on MAT090 placement exam.
Total credits recommended: 61-62