Physician Assistant Studies

The Degree

The goal of the Physician Assistant Studies program at East Carolina University is to provide a primary care-oriented, rural-based training program for entry-level health-care professionals. Physician assistants (PAs) are highly-qualified professionals prepared through a demanding academic and clinical curriculum to practice medicine supervised by licensed physicians. As members of the health-care team, PAs assume a broadly defined range of medical diagnostic and patient management functions that have traditionally been performed by physicians in both office practice settings and health-care institutions.

A commitment to cost-effective, quality and compassionate patient care is the foundation of the PA profession. By assuming some of the duties traditionally performed by a physician, the PA enables the supervising physician to spend more time with patients who have serious illnesses or complicated medical problems. Physician assistants are educated to take medical histories, perform physical examinations, order and interpret tests, make diagnoses, establish and carry out treatment plans, suture wounds, assist in surgery, and provide preventive health counseling. In most states, North Carolina being included, PAs have the authority to write prescriptions. 

Work Settings

The PA profession is one of the fastest growing health careers in both North Carolina and the United States. The majority of PAs work in family medicine and other primary care specialties, but the utilization of PAs has increased to include every field and subspecialty in medicine. Physician assistants have proven their effectiveness and ability to provide quality care in many settings - remote rural areas, major urban medical centers, physicians' private practices, hospitals, public health clinics, managed care organizations, the uniformed services, and other federal agencies. Employers in non-clinical fields, such as research and administration, are also utilizing the talents of PAs. 

ECU Physician Assistant Website

Physician Assistant Education Association PA Program Directory

Contact for questions regarding PA Studies.

Admission / Prerequisites

Admission requires a minimum overall 3.0 gpa and minimum grade of "C" in all prerequisite courses. All courses must be taken within five years of applying to the program. Applicants are also required to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam). Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission.

Applications are accepted between May 1st and September 1st for the following fall semester. Most prerequisites must be complete by September 1st. Applicants will be allowed one outstanding prerequisite, plus Medical Terminology, to be completed by December 31st. GRE score must be submitted by December 31st. All clinical hours must complete by December 31st.

Students wishing to apply for the MS in Physician Assistant Studies must have an undergraduate degree (in any field) and the following prerequisites: 

*Principles of Human Anatomy & Physiology - Biol 2140/2141 & Biol 2150/2151(students must have TWO semesters of Human Anatomy & Physiology)

Principles of Microbiology with lab - Biol 2110/2111 or 3220/3221

Statistics - Bios 1500, Math 2228, Math 2283, or Psyc 2101

General Chemistry I & II with lab - Chem 1150/1151 & 1160/1161

Intro to Psychology - Psyc 1000

Medical Terminology - Hima 3000

Genetics - Biol 2300

Biochemistry - Chem 2770 is recommended, but not required

*It is highly recommend that these courses be taken within two years of application to the program.

Additionally, 1000 hours of clinical experience is required in order to appy.