Student studying on campus

Physician assistant studies

Physician assistants fill the gap between the demand for medical care and the shortage of primary- and specialty-care physicians in rural and urban communities. Licensed to practice medicine under a doctor's supervision, PAs provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services, many of which have been performed by physicians in the past. Their practices are centered on patient care but may also include educational, research and administrative activities.

Why come to Marquette for the accelerated physician assistant program?

As a freshman, you’ll be admitted directly into the biomedical sciences major as a pre-PA and have the opportunity to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences and, if accepted into the program, a master’s in physician assistant studies in as few as five years. Marquette also offers a postgraduate emergency medicine fellowship for PAs, one of only a handful of such programs in the country.

Be prepared to work anywhere.

You’ll learn in the heart of the city, and you’ll be prepared to work in metropolitan hospitals and clinics, as well as in rural areas. Marquette has teaching affiliations with all the major health care systems in the metro Milwaukee area and a broad range of clinical internship options. Students in the physician assistant program encounter rigorous health science instruction in biomedical sciences, as well as clinical instruction in clinical medicine, emergency medicine and surgery. During your final year of study, you’ll work full time with practicing physician assistants and physicians during your clinical internship rotations in pediatrics, family practice, internal medicine, surgery and emergency medicine. And you can choose to add specialty rotations to customize your degree in areas such as orthopedics, surgical subspecialties or internal medicine subspecialties.

Why pursue a career as a physician assistant?

There are excellent career opportunities in most areas of medicine and surgery. The physician assistant profession is considered to be one of the fastest-growing in the United States. The income potential is excellent. You are able to work in a variety of medical settings with a broad range of skills and responsibilities, including diagnosing and treating illnesses, prescribing medications, and teaching patients how to improve their health.

Suggested curriculum

Major courses are bolded.

Pre-professional Phase

Completed during first three years

Year One

  • Rhetoric and Composition I & II
  • General Biology I & II
  • General Psychology
  • History Elective
  • Histories of Cultures and Societies Elective
  • Introduction to Theology
  • General Chemistry I & II

Year Two

  • Human Anatomy
  • Literature/Performing Arts Elective
  • Philosophy of Human Nature
  • Statistics
  • Theology Elective
  • Theory of Ethics
  • Health and Society Elective
  • Organic Chemistry I & II
  • Biochemistry

Year Three

  • General Pathology
  • Human Gross Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology Lab
  • Molecular Pathology
  • Functional Neuroanatomy
  • Nutritional Aspects of Health
  • Ethics and Diversity in Healthcare
  • Applied Ethics for the Health Sciences

Professional Phase

Summer Session

  • Diagnostics Technology
  • Evidence-based Medicine
  • Introduction to Medical History and Physical Examination
  • Professional Issues
  • Introduction to Clinical Medicine

Year Four

  • Pharmacology
  • Primary Medicine I & II
  • Health Care Systems
  • Clinical Decision-making I & II
  • Emergency Medicine I
  • Interpersonal Aspects of Patient Care
  • Pediatrics I
  • Surgical Principles and Procedures
  • Women's Health
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Clinical Pharmacology
  • Clinical Procedures
  • Practice Management and Health Care Systems
  • (A bachelor of science degree with a major in biomedical sciences is awarded after this year.)

Year Five

  • Master's Capstone Project

Three eight-week clerkships

  • Clinical Family Practice
  • Clinical Internal Medicine
  • Clinical Emergency Medicine

Two four-week clerkships

  • Clinical Pediatrics
  • Clinical General Surgery

Three elective four-week clerkships

Physician assistant

You might like the physician assistant program if you

✓ Excel in science, especially human sciences

✓ Enjoy working with people

✓ Are an excellent communicator

What is the job outlook for physician assistants?

Physician assistant majorAll of our physician assistant program graduates are fully employed — almost all in full-time clinical roles — within weeks of graduation throughout the country at an average annual salary of $78,000. Some of our graduates can be found on special teams for bone marrow transplants, emergency medicine and pediatric heart surgery, among other areas.

Learn more about physician assistant studies.

Visit the department that offers the accelerated physician assistant studies program.

Contact us


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